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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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

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From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

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The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

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Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

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A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

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