New spider species that resembles Hogwarts Sorting Hat gets name inspired by Harry Potter

A magic-loving  team of scientists have taken inspiration from the Harry Potter books when naming a newly discovered species of spider – the sixth the team have identified in two years. Javed Ahmed and Rajashree Khalap, who discovered the spider while working alongside colleague Sumukha J.N in a sacred grove in southwestern India, are both big fans of the wizarding books and saw the striking resemblance between the arachnid and the Sorting Hat from the series.

2016 in review: World events that changed history

Killer clown craze, by Jake Hurfurt Stephen King’s ‘It’ came to life in autumn with a spree of ‘killer clown’ sightings first in the US and then in Britain. Across the country, people reported clowns jumping out at people or even chasing them, sometimes holding weapons, in an attempt to scare innocent bystanders. Police forces sought to calm the public’s fears about the Pennywise-lookalikes, most of whom were satisfied with scaring their would be victims. One father was not so lucky, suffering serious wounds to his hand following an encounter with a knife-wielding ‘killer clown.’

'Rabid' bats found by scientists in Sweden

People in Sweden have been warned to urgently seek medical care if they are bitten by a bat, after “rabies” was detected in the blood of several of the animals. Saliva and blood from bats in the central and southern parts of the country were analysed by scientists over the past six years. While no evidence of rabies was found in any of the bats’ saliva, 14 of the 452 bats studied were found to have rabies antibodies in their blood, indicating that they were or had recently been infected with t

How Marine Le Pen transformed the Front National into a party for the populist era

Her father was a racist and a convicted holocaust denier who showed more interest in rabble-rousing than leading the Front National (FN) into power. But Marine Le Pen, a former lawyer with a steely blue-eyed glare, is taking the far-right group in a decidedly different direction. Once a neoliberal club for churlish business owners under Jean-Marie, who led the party for nearly four decades, Ms Le Pen has turned the FN into a movement for the populist era. (additional reporting credit)

Young mother dies after falling into vat of melted chocolate at Russian sweet factory

Other accounts say she was pouring flour into the mixer before she fell in, with one person saying “The girl was dragged in when she was trying to empty a sack.” Ms Roslina, 24, was trapped in the vat before being dragged into the plant’s machinery, where she met her grisly end in the factory’s mixer. A local source at the Russian factory said: “she was minced, only her legs were left.” A local resident said he saw police cars and a hearse drive into the factory’s ground on the evening of Ms R

Boris rebukes Moscow and Tehran as first evacuees leave Aleppo

While many residents and rebel fighters lamented leaving their homes, Assad proclaimed the city’s “liberation” as “history in the making”, for which he congratulated the Syrian people. But the government’s victory, aided by its ally Russia, does not mark the end of the Syrian war. Assad must still wrest more than half of the country – Idlib, Daraa and several other cities – from a panoply of armed groups including the US and UK-backed Free Syrian Army, al-Qaeda and Isil, and cope with an intern

Oxford University dons' verdict on their students? 'Can't spell, read or think'

They are supposed to be the cream of the academic crop. But Oxford University students have been excoriated by their tutors for their poor spelling in exams and displaying a lack of “basic common sense” in essays. Some students at the elite university found it “difficult to express their thoughts in writing” and spoke as if they were “down the pub”, according to examiners’ reports in a range of subjects. **N.B - Also featured on page 3 of the print edition of the Daily Telegraph (22/6/15)**