Environment Japanese fishermen transporting slaughtered dolphins in Taiji harbour; the water of the cove is red with the blood of dead animals. Locals brand criticism of the cull 'cultural imperialism'

Hundreds of dolphins are killed in a remote Japanese bay during hunting season. The town argues it is an important tradition, but conservationists maintain the bloody practice is inhumane

Concerns raised over 'cruel' badger cull

Concerns have been raised about the suffering of badgers in the forthcoming pilot culls, after official documents were released detailing how welfare impacts will be assessed.

Rate your shag: It's good to see student sex is as bad as ever

Why would any self-respecting person want to go on a website and detail their sexual conquests? 

Dead whale found floating in the Thames Estuary 'will be examined'

A 36ft long humpback whale found dead in the Thames Estuary this morning is being examined after being brought to shore.

The thrill that comes from knowing you'll be sharing the water with the world's biggest fish

Donsal, Philippines: Up close to whale sharks

The Lonely Planet Adventure: There's no need for a cage when you share the water with these giant creatures

Ben Chu: These banks' fortress balance sheets aren't as impregnable as they look

Outlook The London Whale turned out to be more like the London goldfish. JP Morgan's results for the final three months of 2012 today confirmed that Jamie Dimon's Wall Street juggernaut emerged from its annus horribilis in surprisingly decent shape. Revenues were up 10 per cent on the same period of the previous year. Profits were 53 per cent higher. For the full year, profits came in at $21bn (£13bn), 12 per cent higher than 2011. The $6bn trading loss resulting from the activities of the derivatives trader Bruno Iksil, uncovered in May, turned out to be no more than a small blip for this profit-making machine.

A year on, wreck of the Costa Concordia still threatens Tuscan coast

More time and money will be needed to remove the Costa Concordia from the rocks off Tuscany where it capsized last year, in part to ensure the toxic materials still trapped inside don't leak into the surrounding marine sanctuary when it is righted, officials said yesterday.

Rise up: Colombian humpback whale

Dreaming of whales off the Pacific coast

Chocó department, on Colombia’s Pacific coast, is one of the wettest places on Earth. It rains all the time. The small group that I was with was visiting a community tourism project, Mano Cambiada, based in the town of Nuquí. The warning that, on the boat journey to Mano Cambiada’s lodge, we might get wet was an understatement. A little short of two hours in, in our small boat on the open sea, we were drenched to the skin.

Editorial: If a whale spoke to us, what would it say?

Baby beluga in the deep blue sea – runs a much-loved children's song – you swim so wild and you swim so free. And now, it seems, you may be chatting to us as well.

'Who told me to get out?': NOC the talking whale learns to imitate human speech in attempt to 'reach out' to human captors

Acoustic analysis of the sounds made by a beluga whale revealed remarkable similarities to human speech patterns, indicating that the whale was trying to “reach out” to his human captors

Energy centre: Cliffs and cairns of the Snaefellsnes peninsula

Where to go in 2013: Iceland

Why go in 2013? A last chance to beat the crowds

The mystery eye was found by a walker at Pompano

Here's looking at you, squid Giant eyeball washes up on Florida beach

A deep-blue eyeball the size of a grapefruit washed up on a Florida beach has left wildlife experts puzzled.

Flu may spread before symptoms show

If you are reaching for your handkerchief it might be too late to stop the spread of flu, research suggests.

Beached whale dies on Cornish beach despite desperate efforts by rescuers

A beached whale has died despite desperate efforts to refloat it.

Last Night's Viewing: Natural World Special: Living with Baboons, BBC2
The Toilet – an Unspoken History, BBC4

Anthropomorphism fell out of favour a long time ago in natural history films, all that Disney personification being felt to get in the way of a dispassionate scientific presentation of the facts. But you wouldn't have known it from the opening lines of Rob Sullivan's Natural World Special: Living with Baboons. "As with all families, sometimes they fall out," said David Attenborough with avuncular condescension, as two hamadryas baboons tore chunks out of each other. Shortly before, he'd described the troop veterans as "wise old grandparents who've seen it all before".

A farmer in the south of France says meat from cows fed with wine was ‘tasty’

The Mooo-ton Rothschild for madame? Cows have a tipple to beef up flavour

The French are known to like their beef, and they also like their wine. In the southern village of Lunel-Viel, in the Hérault department in southern France, some farmers have taken the next step and are feeding wine to their beef cattle on the principle that if French beef tastes good now, it can only improve with a bottle of Saint-Geniès des Mourgues.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...