Environment Scientists have found that temperatures are rising faster in the Arctic than in the rest of the world, and two and a half times faster than in previous estimates

It was the evidence that climate change sceptics loved to cite. While the scientific community’s warnings about global warming had become ever more convincing, the critics pointed time and again to graphs showing the rise in the world’s average surface temperatures has slowed down since 1998 – a fact extensively interpreted by many vocal opponents as a fundamental failure in the basic science of climate change.

How We Met: Vikram Seth and Giles Gordon

Giles Gordon (52) grew up in Edinburgh. He was a publisher until he became a literary agent in 1973. Last year, he sold Vikram Seth's novel, A Suitable Boy, for pounds 250,000, the biggest advance ever paid for a first novel in Britain. Seth (42) is a poet, novelist and playwright. His novel in verse, The Golden Gate, received great acclaim when it came out in 1986. He has also published two volumes of poetry. He lives with his parents in New Delhi, where he would rise at 4 o'clock in the morning and write 12,000 words a day to finish A Suitable Boy, published last week by Orion.

How We Met: David Sweetman and Franco Zeffirelli

Franco Zeffirelli (70) was born in Florence, the illegitimate son of a fashion designer. He fought as a partisan during the Second World War; he has directed operas and plays, but is best-known for films such as Romeo & Juliet, La Traviata and Otello. He lives in Rome and Positano, and is now filming The Little Sparrow in Sicily. He asked David Sweetman (49) to help him write his autobiography, published in 1986. Sweetman grew up in Northumberland, and was a producer for BBC television before leaving to write full-time in 1988. His biography of Mary Renault appears in April.

OPERA / Mixed company: David Patrick Stearns on Ariadne auf Naxos

RICHARD Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, an 'opera within an opera' that first depicts the backstage chaos and then shows the on-stage result, has remained a unique juxtaposition of musical theatre elements. As pretentious 18th-century opera seria singers are forced to share the stage with a commedia dell'arte troupe, the rarefied and the coarse, the obvious and the subtle, the artificial and the real rub shoulders in a way that might have intrigued Bertolt Brecht while delighting more conservative opera-goers with its dry wit.

How We Met: Naim Attallah and Richard Ingrams

The Palastinian-born publisher, film producer and financier Naim Attallah (62) was born in Haifa. He came to Britain after the war to study engineering, taking over Quartet Books in 1976, then launching the Literary Review. He is also chief executive of Asprey, the jewellers, and wants to write a

Classical Music Awards: Composition of the Year - The Ghosts of Versailles: Artists strike triumphant note on big awards night

JOHN CORIGLIANO is the composer of this grand opera buffa, but in accepting the award was quick to praise his librettist, William M Hoffman. The work, commissioned by the Metropolitan in New York, is set in Marie Antoinette's private theatre in Versailles. It uses characters from Beaumarchais' La Mere Coupable - the third play in his Figaro trilogy. Fiction and the real world are brought together. The score, a dazzling deployment of modern techniques in approachable ways, uses a double orchestra and was the Met's first premiere for 25 years, produced by Colin Graham and conducted by James Levine.

How We Met: 55. Toyah Willcox and Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp (46) started the rock band King Crimson. He has guided this highly successful group through several incarnations, run guitar seminars, lived for a spell in New York and recorded with artists such as David Bowie and Brian Eno. He married Toyah Willcox (34), on his 40th birthday. As high profile as he is low, Toyah combines successful singing and acting careers. Her films include Derek Jarman's The Tempest and Jubilee. The couple live in the late Sir Cecil Beaton's Queen Anne house, near Salisbury, when not pursuing their separate schedules across the world.

How We Met: 41. David Thornton and Cyndi Lauper

Singer and actress Cyndi Lauper, 38, was born in New York, the granddaughter of Sicilian immigrants. Her first album, 'She's so Unusual', sold 4.5 million copies and her new single, 'The World is Stone', recently reached the top 30. She now stars in the film 'Off and Running' together with her husband David Thornton, 37, who plays a psychotic killer. Thornton studied at Yale and Lee Strasberg's Actors' Studio, and is now appearing in the play 'One Neck' at the Home for Contemporary Theatre in New York. They were married in November of last year and live in Connecticut.
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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
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Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
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Army general planning to come out
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Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

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Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

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A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
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Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

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These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

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A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

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A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

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Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project