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

Online dating myths busted

Online dating is now the third most popular way to meet a potential partner and is a great way to cast your net a little wider than your immediate social circle; yet despite this, there still seems to be many myths surrounding it. If you haven’t tried online dating yet or you’re thinking about trying it but are put off by what you’ve heard listen up, because Independent Dating are here to dispel some of those nasty rumours.

Sperm whale dies on beach 'after getting lost'

A 44ft (13.4m) sperm whale which became beached probably died because it got lost, a marine expert involved in the rescue bid said yesterday.

Whale stranded in loch 'was killed by infection'

The death of a pilot whale who died off the Scottish coast was caused by an infection, a post-mortem suggested today.

Fears for whales as they return to shallows of loch

Pod headed out to sea, but last night came back and now risks mass stranding

Whales move into deeper water

A pod of pilot whales at risk of beaching themselves in shallow waters off the Western Isles have "calmed down" overnight, rescuers said today.

Experts fear mass whale stranding

Marine experts have been deployed to the Western Isles to try to prevent a mass stranding of pilot whales.

My Natural History, By Simon Barnes

A lucky encounter with an ugly bat can change a life

Travel challenge: A family trip to the Azores

Every week we invite competing companies to give us their best deal for aspecific holiday. Today:a family half-term holiday on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores. Prices are based on four peopletravelling together, departing 28 May.

Album: Cocoon, Where the Oceans End (Sober & Gentle)

The French duo Cocoon bring the softest of touches to bear with their folksy harmonies on Where the Oceans End, a maritime-themed collection in which their affinity for aquatic mammals is displayed in songs addressed to dolphins, whales, sea lions and most quaintly, "Baby Seal", the pup perhaps evoked by the quiet wisps of theremin or bowed saw that peek out from behind the strings.

On The Road: Conquer your aquatic anxiety by swimming with a giant of the ocean

I'm afraid of the ocean. It seems ridiculous for someone spending time in Australia, but I really don't like swimming in the sea and snorkelling is even worse. How can anyone not have a panic attack when they hear themselves breathing like that?

Video: Whale found dead off UK coast

A 45-foot sperm whale has been discovered dead off the coast of east Kent.

197 beached pilot whales die

An entire pod of 197 pilot whales found stranded on a New Zealand beach have died, including 48 that were euthanised, government officials said yesterday.

107 pilot whales die in New Zealand stranding

All members of a pod of 107 pilot whales that stranded on a remote New Zealand beach have died, including 48 that were euthanised, the government's conservation department said today.

Protesters stop whale hunt

Anti-whaling activists' high-seas confrontations with Japanese ships forced Tokyo to cut short its annual Antarctic whale hunt for the first time yesterday.

Japan forced to halt whaling in Antarctic as activists claim victory

Environmentalists claimed victory yesterday after Japan halted its annual Antarctic whaling cull following weeks of harassment by a militant conservationist group.

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there