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

More than 2,400 teenagers set off on the annual two-day Ten Tors Challenge across Dartmoor

Teenagers rescued girl from swollen river and forsook rain-swept Ten Tors challenge to help dozens of competitors to safety

A team of "selfless" school pupils relinquished their chances of finishing the Ten Tors challenge to rescue a girl from a swollen river and guide dozens of other competitors to safety.

Britain's migratory birds stay away as climate change moves their wintering areas further north

Migratory waterbirds have shifted their wintering areas north-eastwards due to Europe's changing climate, scientists have revealed.

Tim Key: 'We'd acquired the reindeer head from a Finnish military man called Snoopy'

I'm sat in my flat waiting for the paint to dry on the wooden hippopotamus's head I recovered from beside the road yesterday while we were driving back from a Salisbury-based taxidermist who had agreed to clean the maggots off the reindeer's head we imported from Lapland six weeks ago.

Hang on to your brolly - strong winds are forecast for much of England and Wales

Hang on to your brolly! Met Office warns of widespread winds up to 60mph

Britain has basked in glorious sunshine but is facing winds of up to 60mph and driving rain today, according to forecasters.

Mentally-ill patients were 'Tasered' more than 50 times in three years

Freedom of Information request reveals extent of stun-gun use by police in psychiatric wards

The UK is on alert for severe hay fever outbreaks with pollen levels rising due to a late Spring

Hay fever sufferers in pollen alert over bank holiday weekend

Hay fever sufferers are likely to struggle through this weekend's sunny weather, with high levels of pollen expected across England.

Worcester's Shaun Perry forced to quit by injury

Worcester's former England scrum-half Shaun Perry has been forced to retire because of a persistent knee injury.

Derbyshire’s Chesney Hughes brings Yorkshire down at Headingley

Yorkshire’s elation at beating Durham on Saturday was punctured as Derbyshire’s Chesney Hughes and Wayne Madsen put them to the sword at Headingley on Monday.

One of the women on this year’s list, Isabel Jones

Special report: Britain's REAL big society

Volunteering is booming. David Cameron is putting social enterprises and charity projects on the G8 agenda. Today, we honour those who selflessly give back to our communities. They - in the age of cuts - are the true heart of Britain

County Championship round-up: Joe Root makes the difference for Yorkshire

Ashes watch part one Just as the glass half-empty faction among Yorkshire supporters were wondering if promotion might be a step too far, the young England batsman Joe Root demonstrated his class with a supreme match-winning performance against Durham, leading Yorkshire to a four-wicket victory in the final session at Chester-le-Street with a brilliant 182 that lacked only the winning boundary. That was left to his England team-mate Tim Bresnan, who hit his first ball to the boundary after Root was bowled by Callum Thorp with one run needed. He had shared a stand of 101 with Adil Rashid, dropped twice in his 50 not out.

A dead guillemot at Wembury, Devon

Pollution may ‘wipe out’ a generation of seabirds

An entire generation of seabirds could be wiped out on a section of the British coastline after hundreds were found dead last week, wildlife authorities have warned.

Wildlife charities renew calls for oil additive PIB to be reclassified after deaths of hundreds of seabirds in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset

A wildlife charity has renewed calls for oil additive PIB to be reclassified by the International Maritime Organisation to prohibit discharges at sea after “a whole generation of seabirds” died.

‘It has been a frustrating season which could have been different with a bit of luck here and there, and a few more players’

Neil Warnock on Leeds United exit: Off the roller-coaster, but I'm not finished with management yet

I can see myself going into a club briefly to keep them up or get them up

The Blagger's Guide To: Agatha Christie

The queen of crime who did her best thinking in the bath
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The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
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Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
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Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
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Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
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The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
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newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
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Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
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Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links