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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Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
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Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
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Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
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Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
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Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
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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 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor