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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A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
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Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
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Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
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Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
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'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home