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News A man walks along a snow covered Cass Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. The first major winter storm of 2014 bore down on the US northeast on Thursday and Friday with heavy snow, Arctic temperatures and strong winds

A second storm is set to hit the region over the next few days that could be even worse, just as the clean up begins

Bestival: Pirouettes in the park

Who needs swans and tutus? This weekend the English National Ballet will headline Bestival, dancing to DJ Rob da Bank's set. It's a great leap forward, says Alice Jones

Album: The Phenomenal Handclap Band, TPHB, (Tummy Touch)

Starting with an instrumental that could be lifted from a turn-of-the-1980s cop movie, The Phenomenal Handclap Band spread their cards on the table upfront.

Dream Teams: New York Cosmos

Long before David Beckham was enticed from the galactico maelstrom of Real Madrid to the Hollywood climes of LA Galaxy, the New York Cosmos became the leading light of the North American Soccer Revolution.

Hit & Run: What does it feel like to be shot with a Taser?

It’d be difficult to get a coherent description of the sensation from, say, the bull, eight dogs, and a Welsh sheep (nicknamed Sparky) who, according to Freedom of Information Act statistics, are among those who have been Tasered by police since the introduction of the 50,000-volt stun-guns in 2004. But human victims have been more forthcoming. One, David Sylvester, a grandfather who owns his own security business, last year told the Independent’s Johann Hari how he suffered indescribable pain when Tasered in the head by police in London.

Another Taser target said it was “like someone reached into my body to rip my muscles apart with a fork.” And a third London man, attacked by muggers using a stun-gun – which can generate an electric shock as great as the police Tasers – says: “I felt like I’d been stabbed in the back with a knitting needle. My knees went from under me. It was really frightening. It left burn marks on my skin, even through my clothes.”

Civil liberties campaigners have called for a ban on use of the weapons, but 6,000 more Tasers are due to be issued to UK police. The London Met are the most trigger-happy force, and have used Tasers 254 times (of 1,181 nationwide).

Unlike one Gwent officer – who checked to see if his weapon was working, only to shoot a barb into his own finger – the Met have managed to avoid Tasering themselves. Tim Walker

My Life in Travel: Edward de Bono

'I was made King of Launceston in Tasmania for a week'

Jane Randolph: Actress best known for her work with Jacques Tourneur and Val Lewton on ‘Cat People'

Jane Randolph was the actress so memorably terrorised by the suggestive effects of shadow, light and sound in the classic thriller Cat People (1942).

Two legs finally good for getting about Manhattan

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's mission to make New York walkable is beginning to take shape

Salvage, By Jane F Kotapish

It seems ungenerous to put down a debut novel, but I found the reliance on kooky, pithy observation after kooky, pithy observation extremely unengaging in this one. Jane F Kotapish is trying too hard from the first line, and it takes her focus away from what matters.

Building collapses in New York

A vacant five-story building collapsed at a lower Manhattan construction site this morning, but there appeared to be no injuries.

Second time lucky for latest winner of Heads or Tails

The Independent seems to bring good luck to Steve Williams. Eight years ago, the engineer won an all-expenses-paid trip to New York in a competition in the paper. And last week, he was at a cousin's wedding when he learnt he had became the ninth reader to receive £10,000 in the paper's Heads or Tails competition.

Five high altitude hotels

Got a head for heights? Try these rooms with breathtaking views.

When school musicals go bad

Inspired by the Columbine massacre, Spring Awakening is a massive hit on Broadway. But will this contemporary take on a 19th-century classic strike box-office gold in Britain? By Michael Coveney

Executive Excesses: In another world

The executive excesses uncovered by the end of the long boom initially incited just employee and shareholder anger. They have now given rise to public fury. Stephen Foley reports

Black box confirms plane lost both engines

The black boxes recovered from the US Airways jetliner that safely splashed down in the Hudson River last week captured thumping sounds, the sudden loss of engine power and the pilot's calm mayday request, evidence that seems to back up the crew's account of hitting a flock of birds shortly after take off.

24-Hour Room Service: The Plaza, New York

As New York icons go, The Plaza is on a par with yellow cabs, Woody Allen and the Statue of Liberty. And, like many of the glamorous ladies who lunch in the image-conscious city, it has undergone a facelift – costing $400m (£267m). The 101-year-old landmark was closed for extensive refurbishment by its new owners ElAd Properties in 2005 and reopened for business last March, with many of the main features opening gradually throughout last year.

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Independent Travel
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These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
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Glasgow girl made good

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Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

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Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

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The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories