The world’s largest flower is also its ugliest

Plants regularly lose out to animals in the charisma stakes. In Pathless Forest, Chris Thorogood seeks to promote a new face of Southeast Asian conservation: Rafflesia, one of the strangest and most gruesome plants on the planet. Rafflesia is a parasitic plant, deriving everything that it needs from its host, spending most of its life as a microscopic thread hidden inside a vine. It cannot photo-synthesise and survives without roots, stem or leaves. Once every few years, buds emerge which take nine months to mature. Finally open, the enormous five-lobed flowers resemble slabs of bloody, white-flecked meat. Most spectacular of all is Rafflesia arnoldii, the largest single flower in the

How Duterte Harry’s legacy of terror lives on in the Philippines

Something momentous is building in the Philippines. Thirty-six years after the kleptocratic despot, Ferdinand Marcos, fled into exile with his family and 300 crates of loot aboard a US airforce transport plane, his only son, Ferdinand Marcos Junior is on course to win Monday’s presidential election. He’s known by his nickname ‘Bongbong’ and is not so junior these days. Now 64, he proudly praises the ‘political genius’ of his father and boldly promises that with another Marcos ensconced in Malacañang presidential palace, the Philippines ‘will rise again.’ The latest opinion polls put him 30 points clear of his liberal rival. It may seem like a remarkable feat of political resurrection