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

Rig engineers accused of ignoring tests that foretold disaster

Managers and engineers aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig may have made a "fundamental mistake" in ignoring the results of tests conducted just hours before the explosion that doomed it, according to testimony given by a BP investigator to a congressional committee.

Steve Connor: A worrying set of results for marine life – and for humans

The oceans are critical to our understanding of climate change because of the way they interact with the atmosphere. They absorb both heat and carbon dioxide and their moderating influence on global warming is undisputed – about half of the extra CO2 put into the atmosphere since industrial times has been absorbed by the oceans. It may come as a surprise to find that scientists are still trying to work out the scale of the temperature rise of the oceans in recent decades. But this is understandable given the size of the surface area covered by the oceans and the depths to which they extend.

Patience on Capitol Hill runs dry as firms try to shift blame for oil leak

Top executives from BP and two other companies involved in the rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico last month were chastised repeatedly yesterday at a key US Senate hearing for attempting at the outset to shift blame for the disaster to one another.

Bubble of methane triggered rig blast, say workers

The deadly blowout of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was triggered by a bubble of methane gas that escaped from the well and shot up the drill column, expanding quickly as it burst through several seals and barriers before exploding, according to interviews with rig workers conducted during BP's internal investigation.

Companies team up with Abu Dhabi over green jet fuel

Boeing, Etihad Airways and Honeywell’s UOP have signed up with an Abu Dhabi government investment vehicle to develop green jet fuel from “pickle weed”.

Emma Bamford: Liferafts are not always the best bet in a crisis

Sea safety regulators now instruct that a boat is usually a much safer place to be in a huge ocean than a liferaft, which is akin to a small tent perched on top of a lilo. The lessons learned from the 1979 Fastnet disaster, in which 15 yachtsmen and women died, many in their liferafts after abandoning ship, helped to form this guideline. So for skipper Richie Fearon to order the amateur crew of Cork off the boat, the situation must have been perilous indeed.

24-Hour Room Service: The Chelsea Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey

Steaks but no stakes at this hip hangout

First person: 'I survived the Northwest Passage'

Kev Oliver, 42

Scientists uncover new ocean threat from plastics



Scientists have identified a new source of chemical pollution released by the huge amounts of plastic rubbish found floating in the oceans of the world. A study has found that as plastics break down in the sea they release potentially toxic substances not found in nature and which could affect the growth and development of marine organisms.

My Life In Adventure Travel: Alexandra Cousteau

'My favourite place is the place I've never been to'

Katy Holland: Surf's up! Time to teach my beach boys how to take to the waves

Are we there yet? It's exhilarating to spend so much time in the sea, even if you do end up drinking most of it

Griddled prawn and asparagus salad

Serves 4 as a main

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto: It's been a long, cold, lonely winter but, here comes the Sun. (And yes, it's all right)

The last time solar activity slowed this much, whole empires fell. But the past few days' activity may augur well

Quadriplegic sailor challenges elements again

Fundraiser aims to sail solo around the British Isles aided by 'sip and puff' controls
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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
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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss