News Cuadrilla operated drill site in Balcombe, West Sussex. The company has withdrawn applications for permits to frack in Lancashire

Cuadrilla, the fracking company responsible for a series of earth tremors around Blackpool in 2011, has withdrawn applications for permits to frack in Lancashire after problems surfaced relating to the disposal of radioactive waste.

Water Crisis: Mass killer: dirty water

Poverty can be measured in gallons. For more than 20 per cent of the world's population - 1.4 billion people - the lack of safe drinking water is perhaps the greatest deprivation of all. Even more - about two billion - do not even have basic sanitation: their wastes often get into the water.

Water Crisis: How WaterAid was born

I witnessed the birth of WaterAid. The date was 21 January 1981, the place was a conference hall in Central London, and the midwife was David Kinnersley, a civil servant.

Private water health risks hushed up

Britain's private water companies have put public health at risk on more than 500 occasions over the past six years, an inquiry by the Independent on Sunday has established, writes Geoffrey Lean. But the Government has failed to publish details of pollution incidents and has launched only four prosecutions.

Water alert leaves four in hospital

Four elderly people are being treated in hospital after drinking water contaminated with the microscopic parasite cryptosporidium, six days after warning notices were issued to nearly a million people.

Parasite in water makes 100 sick

Almost a hundred people are suffering severe stomach sickness after drinking tap water was contaminated with a microscopic parasite, it emerged yesterday.

Radiation risk to bottled water

Checks were ordered on bottled mineral water after fears of a radiation leak at a nuclear power station, it emerged last night.

Fat cats show the way to tasty dishes point the way to good food

Water "fat cats" who have been accused of feasting too heavily on the proceeds of their newly privatised companies have delighted their detractors by sponsoring a series of good-food guides.

Complaints about water rise

Ian Byatt, the water industry regulator, yesterday criticised several privatised water companies for failing to do enough to improve services to customers. The annual report on service standards by the industry watchdog, Ofwat, found that over the past year written complaints rose by 10 per cent while unplanned and prolonged interruptions to water supplies more than doubled.

Clean breaks

Kansas City Robert Altman (15)

Water-fight that threatens to leave wildlife high and dry

A month-long war of words over water starts today with an unprecedented public inquiry over a much-loved chalk stream. It will establish how much power the Government's top environmental watchdog has over the privatised water companies.

Letter: Whitehall power behind the menace of organophosphates

Sir: The evidence is staring us in the face: organophosphates have in the last two years been associated with: Gulf war syndrome, mad cow disease (BSE), scrapie, and CJD.

Sales go into orbit as US drinks to pink balls

Pardon me while I get the mucus out from under my tonsils. One second. There, that's better. Now I can tell you all about this seriously odd drink I've just tried. It's called Orbitz and it has these little gelatinous globules suspended in it. Funky, is the word - it's retro-cool, Sixties hip, funky.

Letter: Victorian values just don't work

Sir: You correctly suggest ("Is this a labour party, brother?", 17 September) that the Labour leadership is recreating the party as a Victorian Liberal Party. Socialist members like myself are asked to keep quiet until the Tories are ousted and to go along with Labour's weak, compromising policies. This is rather like asking a patient in need of urgent radical surgery to be content to lie in bed with a comforting hot-water bottle.

Letter: Fragile treasures beneath Bosnia

Sir: As a potholer and speleologist I am categorically opposed to any blasting in the Karstic area ("Bosnia's Big Bang alarms the mayor", 21 August). Bosnia is a part of the Yugoslav "Dinaric Karst", a very fragile limestone Devonian formation with stalagmites, stalactites and other natural beauties underground, and typical Karstic landscape, wildlife and flora on the surface. All this will be totally destroyed when the subterranean formations crash in the detonations. The subterranean waters, rivers and lakes will change their courses, and the reserves of drinking water will disappear - the whole country will turn into a moonlike desert.

The thing about... bottled water

WWhat is water to you? The start of life? Something you own shares in? Something you get from a standpipe? Or a fashion accessory?
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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