News Temperatures have plunged to -13C in the town of Hell, Michigan

The extreme weather in the US has got so cold that even Hell has frozen over.

A pedestrian makes their way along a snow packed street in Indianapolis

What is a polar vortex? The arctic winds that brought cold air and chaos to the US

Much of the United States is currently in the grip of a polar vortex, a system of dense air producing plummeting temperatures and swathes of freezing weather, bringing some parts of the country to a halt and causing chaos in others.

Greenpeace International activist Mannes Ubels from the Netherlands jumps for joy holding his passport outside of the offices of the Federal Migration Service Department in St. Petersburg after receiving a Russian transit visa

Arctic 30 heading home after being cleared under Putin amnesty

30 Greenpeace activists detained in September will have left the country by the end of the weekend after having their charges dropped and being issued transit visas

Dima Litvinov became the first member of the so-called 'Arctic 30' to leave Russia; boarding a train at a railway station in St. Petersburg

First Greenpeace activist leaves Russia - with rest of 'Arctic 30' to leave by Friday

The first of 30 Greenpeace activists arrested after a protest over Arctic oil drilling has left Russia, the environmental group said on Thursday, with all expected to get clearance to leave Russia by Friday.

26 members of the so-called 'Arctic 30' pictured at the beginning of December

Russia formally drops criminal charges against Arctic 30 Greenpeace activists

The protesters and two freelance journalists, including six Britons - were arrested after Russian authorities boarded their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, during an anti-drilling demonstration in September

Arctic 30 and Pussy Riot members to be freed after Russia passes amnesty law

Hopes are now that activists and journalists will be home for Christmas following move by Russian parliament

A photograph supplied bu the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows Arctic sea ice in 2013
This illustration from ‘The Eventful Voyage of HM Discovery Ship 'Resolute' to the Arctic Regions’ is one of a million-plus British Library images that have just been made available on the internet

Historic images brought into 21st century after being posted on Flickr by British Library

More than a million pictures have been scanned from texts published in the 17th to the 19th centuries

Alex Harris was one of the first 'Arctic 30' detainees to be granted bail

Arctic 30: Russia 'defies international ruling' and tells protesters they cannot leave

The Russian authorities have told a group of Greenpeace activists and freelance journalists arrested during a protest against oil drilling in the Arctic that they cannot leave the country.

Canada vows to defend Santa Claus from Russian troops as row over territory escalates

Vladimir Putin told a defence ministry meeting that he wished to see the military bolster its presence in the territory

Greenpeace activists target Real Madrid press conference, leaving Carlo Ancelotti looking bemused

Champions League sponsor Gazprom were the target

Viewpoint: Pepper Club Hotel, Cape Town

Get me out of here... - winter sun, northern Norway, Cape Town

Now... Winter sun in the wild Atlantic

Cape Verde is an Atlantic island nation that basks in year-round sunshine. Departing on 10 December, you can spend a week exploring the main island of Boa Vista, using the Iberostar as your base, with meals, transfers and Thomson flights from Gatwick for £828pp. capeverde.co.uk

Sheep in the hills above Glenarm in Co Antrim, as the first snowfall of the season covered northern parts of the county last month

UK weather: Met Office issues snow and sleet warning as cold front brings Arctic winds and icy conditions

Sleet and snow showers to hit Scotland later in the week

Green peace at last after campaign against drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic?

Russia was no doubt finding the fuss over the Arctic 30 embarrassing

British Greenpeace International activist Anthony Perrett at the Court hearings, in Murmansk, Russia

Greenpeace Arctic 30: Five Britons released on bail

Mr Perrett and Bryan have now been moved to an undisclosed location after a St Petersburg court granted their release

Greenpeace Arctic 30: Two more Brits granted bail in Russia

Seven more Greenpeace activists arrested by the Russian authorities in a protest against drilling in the Arctic have been granted bail, including two Britons - Frank Hewetson from London and Iain Rogers from Exeter.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game