Voices Flooded fields around the River Tone seen from Windmill Hill, Somerset. Some parts of England have suffered the wettest January since records began

Three Independent letter writers covered the issue superbly

Leading article: Cold comfort

Icebergs in the North Sea. Panic stations! What next? A polar bear "threat" to Skegness? In reality, there are lumps of ice in the North Sea, which is hardly surprising, given the recent cold snap. Even salt water freezes eventually.

Expect more extreme winters thanks to global warming, say scientists

Scientists have established a link between the cold, snowy winters in Britain and melting sea ice in the Arctic and have warned that long periods of freezing weather are likely to become more frequent in years to come.

Three boys rescued after 50 days adrift

Three teens who have been missing in the South Pacific for 50 days - and were already eulogized in a memorial service - have been found alive by a New Zealand fishing boat.

Champagne still bubbly after 200 years at sea

It was lost at the bottom of the sea for 200 years, but the world's oldest champagne still fizzed when experts popped the cork for a tasting session in Finland yesterday.

Asteroid ocean strike 'could strip away ozone layer'

A medium-sized asteroid plunging into the ocean would destroy much of the ozone layer, leaving the Earth exposed to dangerous levels of ultraviolet radiation, it was claimed today.

Album: Antony & the Johnsons, Swanlights (Rough Trade)

The voice of an angel, the lyrics of a crossword puzzle

Now Atlantic is found to have huge 'garbage patch'

A huge expanse of floating plastic debris has been documented for the first time in the North Atlantic Ocean. The size of the affected area rivals the "great Pacific garbage patch" in the world's other great ocean basin, which generated an outcry over the effects of plastic waste on marine wildlife.

Last Night's TV: Faith Schools Menace?/More 4

Religious prejudice may be the only form of discrimination now funded by government. We spend money – and quite a lot of it – on discouraging racial bigotry and age intolerance. We also pay to ensure that gender bias and homophobia keep their ugly heads down. But, through the agency of faith schools, the belief that one form of religious conviction is superior to others (and that pretty much any form of religion is superior to atheism) is actively encouraged by the state. That's a partisan way of putting it, of course. The proponents of faith schools don't like to think of themselves as intolerant, even as they discriminate against those who don't share their beliefs. They prefer to talk of cultural continuity and moral instruction and strong communities. Above all, they prefer to talk of parental choice.

Huge ice island calves off Greenland glacier

An ice island four times the size of Manhattan broke off from one of Greenland's two main glaciers, scientists said on Friday, in the biggest such event in the Arctic in nearly 50 years.

The Last Stand, By Nathaniel Philbrick

Every year in late June, Custer's Last Stand is reenacted on the high plains of Montana. When Custer led out the 7th Cavalry in 2003 - the year I witnessed it - the audience stood and cheered with turbo-charged patriotism. The men they were saluting were not the re-enactors they could see, of course, but the loved ones in Iraq they couldn't. Custer was then, and remains, the zeitgeist on horseback, the closest thing to America made flesh, in all its triumphant glory, and its shameful double-dealing.

Park criticised for overcrowding in lions' den

A safari park has come under criticism by Government vets for keeping lions in a "very crowded" overnight pen for 18 hours a day over the winter.

Crocodiles 'surf' the seas, study finds

Crocodiles "surf" waves to cross many miles of ocean, scientists have learned.

Radical plan to combat global warming 'may raise temperatures'

A controversial proposal to create artificial white clouds over the ocean in order to reflect sunlight and counter global warming could make matters worse, scientists have warned.

Camping cuisine: Meals on wheels

Camping needn't mean a menu of baked beans and marshmallows. With a tiny cooker and the freshest seafood, get a gourmet feast to go, says Tim Walker

The new gourmet delight – bottled sea water

Covering nearly three-quarters of the Earth's surface to a depth of up to seven miles, it is one of the most abundant natural substances and free to anyone who cares to scoop it up and take it away. Yet if one entrepreneur has his way, gourmet restaurants could soon start stocking their larders with sea water – and paying for the privilege.

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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
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable