Voices Ice forms on the shore of the East River due to unusually low temperatures caused by a polar vortex in New York

All 50 US states are below freezing as the polar vortex sworls around North America, shattering temperature records and causing a collective shudder across the continent.

Elmwood Village residents walk down Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, New York

Polar vortex: All 50 US states are below freezing – and even Hell's frozen over

Central Park breaks 118-year-old record when the temperature dropped to -15C

Judge rules Chicago's ban on the sale of firearms in the city is illegal

Officials in Chicago have vowed to fight a ruling by a federal district judge which threatens to lift a long-standing ban on the sale of firearms in the city, one of the last vestiges of the toughest crackdown on gun ownership in the US.

Sherlock Holmes portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC series

Sherlock Holmes and the case of copyright

A long-running legal battle in the United States could change the way Sherlock Holmes and other characters are portrayed in future books and films

Allan Umscheid, owner of Yards By Al in Lawrence, Kan, feels the bitter wind and catches drifting snow on his face as he runs a snow blower early morning

'Polar vortex' snowstorm plunging America into record-breaking cold snap may bring coldest day of 21st century

With Arctic winds plummeting temperatures to  -50C, much of North America has shut down as authorities warn of the life-threatening freeze

US braced for record low temperatures as 'polar vortex' brings minus -51C wind chill

Extreme forecast in America with -31 Celsius in Fargo, North Dakota, -35 C in International Falls, Minnesota, and -26 C in Indianapolis and Chicago

US groom killed while helping a stranded motorist hours after his wedding

He and the stranded woman he helped both died in the incident

Martin Bashir hosted a regular afternoon news discussion show on the US TV channel MSNBC

Princess Diana made him, Sarah Palin destroyed him: the rise and fall of Martin Bashir

'I deeply regret what was said, and will always appreciate our viewers'

A heroin user prepares the drug in Zhukovsky, near Moscow

Krokodil in Canada? Ontario reports three potential cases of flesh-eating drug

Health workers have reported patients being hospitalised with gangrenous wounds

A series of tornadoes sweeping across Illinois and Indiana have killed at least two people and injured at least 40 while flattening large parts of the city of Washington in Illinois

US tornadoes: Storm sweeps through America’s Midwest leaving at least six dead

A series of tornadoes sweeping across Illinois and Indiana have killed at least six people and injured at least 40 while flattening large parts of the city of Washington in Illinois.

Joint Nobel prize goes to economists with rival theories: US trio Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert Shiller share award

Three Americans rewarded with $1.2 million prize for work on predicting global financial markets

Krokodil the flesh-eating drug spreads to Chicago suburbs with three cases in a week

Krokodil, which is considered more addictive that heroin, originated in Russia

Three-year-old boy in critical condition after 12 are injured in Chicago park shooting

Authorities say there are no reports of fatalities and that no one is in custody

Beanie Babies founder Ty Warner fined $53m for tax evasion

The billionaire founder of the 1990s toy craze Beanie Babies has admitted tax evasion after hiding more than £3 million of income in a secret Swiss bank account.

Suzann Pettersen celebrates her Evian win

Suzann Pettersen holds off teenage challenger Lydia Ko

How do you like your champagne moments? Suzann Pettersen posted her entry with victory at the Evian Championship to claim her second major championship. An eight-footer for par at the last to give her a two-shot victory over 16-year-old prodigy Lydia Ko triggered an avalanche of corks at the foot of the Alps.

Hard times: McIlroy admits this year has been a bit of a struggle

Rory McIlroy tries to get mind right after saving face 

In the context of what had gone before, a birdie was cause for letting off flares. After three in four holes around the turn yesterday and an eagle at the last for a 68 Rory McIlroy was pledging a round of drinks in the Conway Farms clubhouse.

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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall