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

Gould's Book of Fish: a novel in twelve fish by Richard Flanagan

A shoal of red herrings beached on Van Diemen's Land

Letter: This bug is covered

THE SENSATIONALISM of the story "Steel-eating microbes threaten to devour Britain's ports" (5 December) is ill-suited to this paper. The phenomenon of accelerated steel corrosion in areas intermittently covered by salt water is well-known and unlikely to be used in "germ warfare"; aggressors would use a more rapid action weapon. The phenomenon is so well-known that before I left this field more than 10 years ago I was working on solutions to it. There's a firm near Cirencester that has worked on impervious plastic wrap; galvanic protection also helps, and there are various paints and petroleum-based products on the market.

Millions of India cyclone victims wait for aid

THREE DAYS after a "super- cyclone" devastated a huge chunk of Orissa, on the eastern coast of India, the relief effort was finally getting under way yesterday. But with deaths probably already in the thousands, and victims maddened with hunger raiding government food stores, for many in the state help will arrive too late.

Food: The Olney way

The late Richard Olney knew almost everything worth knowing about French cuisine. Long-time devotee Simon Hopkinson pays homage to the American food writer's inspirational approach

World's largest bacteria found off Namibia

THE BIGGEST bacteria ever known have been discovered off the African coast. They consist of cells up to 0.75mm in diameter - equivalent to seven pages of a book seen edge-on.

Eating In: Worth its salt

The best salt, writes Michael Bateman, is sifted straight from the sea. And this year's heavy rains may make it more of a delicacy than ever

Acid leaks on to protected marshland

ANTI-POLLUTION TEAMS from the Environment Agency and English Nature were striving last night to contain a major leak of industrial acid onto a protected marshland which is a haven for wild birds.

The sunday poem; 6. Jo Shapcott

Every week Ruth Padel discusses a contemporary poet through an example of their work

Sailing: Crew use shirts to plug leak

TEAM NEW ZEALAND sailors tore off their shirts and formed a bucket brigade to save their America's Cup-winning boat from sinking in the Hauraki Gulf yesterday.

Food: A Christmas tail

Seabass baked in a sea-salt crust - a sumptuous seasonal treat for the discerning non-carnivore. Photographs by Patrice de Villiers

Travel Adventure: Rough ride on a wall of water

It's the ultimate balancing act. Eric Kendall feels the force of the ocean waves on a surf kayak

Signs of life on Jupiter's moons

THE PROSPECT of finding life in space has received a boost with the discovery of evidence suggesting the existence of huge oceans of salty water on two of Jupiter's moons.

Rising sea swallowing East coast

BRITAIN SHOULD wake up to the fact that the sea-level rise predicted to follow global warming is already happening and is eating away the coastline, the Government was warned yesterday.

Monica

Dumb brunette, bunny boiler, Valley Girl, minx, victim, fool for love. Who is Monica Lewinsky and what does she want?

Weave a little magic

PEOPLE IN FASHION: From the needles of knitting duo, Saltwater, Hester Lacey finds softness on a hanger
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Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
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Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
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Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
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Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
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booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
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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
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor