Voices Rant and everyone soon tends to ignore you (a 1936 orator seeking a crowd at Speaker's Corner in London's Hyde Park)

Favoured topics are matters of practical morality, dress sense, litter – that sort of thing

Postcard from... Montejo de la Sierra

Locals sometimes claim that the centuries-old grove of beech trees in Montejo de la Sierra in Spain is the most southerly in Europe or indeed the world. Not true – that honour goes to a beechwood on the slopes of Mount Etna. But even so there is little doubt the  beech grove running alongside the edge of the River Jarama just north of Madrid is among Spain’s most beautiful and ancient, as well as being very rare for these latitudes.

A British Shorthair kitten plays with a toy mouse

People who write about their cats used to make my eyes roll. How things change

The hidden philosophical appeal of cat literature

Badgers being vaccinated against TB near Stroud

Farm minister resolute about badger cull despite death threats

Farming minister David Heath has vowed not to be intimidated by opponents of the badger cull after revealing he has received death threats for his part in the controversial scheme.

Badgers being vaccinated against TB near Stroud

How do you vaccinate a badger? Very, very carefully

A curious Tom Bawden joins David Heath, the Farming minister, on the front line of the battle against bovine tuberculosis

Good hair day: Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman: A whisker away from a superhero

Hugh Jackman's X-Men alter-ego is about to get a solo outing. The Australian actor tells Gill Pringle how he became the Wolverine

Bovine TB has risen dramatically over the past few decades and badgers have been implicated in the rapid spread of the disease

As well as cull, contraceptives lined up for badgers in battle against farm TB

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson pledged to eradicate disease from English cattle within 25 years

Eddie practises in his training pool

Eddie the basketball-playing otter fights arthritis one hoop at a time

Keepers at Oregon Zoo have come up with a novel way for an arthritic otter to improve the movements in his joints - basketball.

Facts that prove life is beautiful

So January's over: and here's why it's now OK to feel chipper. Spring is coming. Maybe tonight's the night you'll break a month long detox. It's Friday. And these facts, collected by Ink Tank blog, will (temporarily) make you feel like the world is a brain-meltingly wonderful place (which it might be).

Jack Harvey, winner of the 2012 World's Biggest Liar contest spins his tale at the Santon Bridge Inn, Wasdale

The World's Biggest Liar: the art of fibbing

“Now you're not going to believe this,” said Glenn Boylan as he took to the stage at the Santon Bridge Inn in the Lake District valley of Wasdale. But, of course, that was the whole point. Glenn was defending his title of World's Biggest Liar in the competition that is held annually in the pub.

July 30, 2012: Niger's Hamadou Djibo Issaka is pictured after competing in the men's single sculls semi-finals of the rowing event during the London 2012 Olympic Games, at Eton Dorney. He finished last by a distance.

'Issaka the Otter' receives huge roar as he finishes 33rd and last in rowing event at Eton Dorney

Niger's Hamadou Djibo Issaka received the roar of a home gold medallist from the Eton Dorney crowd as he finished 33rd and last in the men's single sculls.

Badger cull to halt rise of TB in cattle 'will in fact spread the disease'

Caroline Spelman’s proposed badger cull to halt the rise of TB in cattle will in fact spread the disease, campaigners will tell the High Court tomorrow.

I've been made a pariah says Cairns

Chris Cairns' lawyer has called on the International Cricket Council to censure Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi over "defamatory" comments which he claims have jeopardised Cairns' future earnings.

The incredible journey of an intrepid otter

Discovery on Northumbrian island means animal swam three miles in North Sea, to amazement of naturalists
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor