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.

Leading article: Time for Nato to fill in the blanks on Afghanistan

As if one insoluble problem were not enough, world leaders moved directly from discussing the woes of the eurozone at Camp David at the start of the weekend, to the equally intractable challenges of the Nato summit in Chicago at the end of it. Even without the thousands of protesters lining the streets, the meeting would not have been an easy one. And the issue at the top of the agenda is the most difficult of all: the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Five arrested on terrorism charges at Chicago Nato summit

One man was arrested on terrorism-related charges and another for possession of explosives, bringing the number of people arrested to five ahead of the NATO summit on Sunday in an alleged plot to target U.S. President Barack re-election headquarters.

Romanian director Cristian Mungiu (third from right), with the cast of Beyond the Hills in Cannes yesterday

Messy, dirty, rough. 'Lawless' in Cannes...

Violent gangster thriller fails to liven up film festival

Afghan forces will take sole control of security in the country after Nato forces pull out in 2014

Nato fears split over Afghan withdrawal will fuel bloodshed

Hollande’s pledge to pull out troops early will dominate Chicago talks as UK bill is set to hit £20bn

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan at Camp David in 1986

David Usborne: Leaders follow in the footsteps of FDR and Winston Churchill

Camp David is the presidential retreat where history is made

Chicago police had to deal with protesters at the city’s main immigration court

Police gear up for battle ahead of Nato summit in Chicago

Arrests made as city prepares for thousands of activists expected to target high-profile event

Revellers at last year's Glastonbury Festival

Festival fans take a swipe at the 'Big Brother' wristband

Privacy fears over microchip that would replace tickets – and cash

One World Trade Center towers above the Lower Manhattan skyline

Will building boffins knock the Freedom Tower down to size?

At a symbolic 1,776 feet high (1776 being the year the Declaration of Independence was issued) above the New York skyline, 1 World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, was to be the ultimate symbol of America's fightback from the 9/11 attacks – stood in the place of the Twin Towers, the tallest building in America, nay, the western hemisphere would emerge. Except that, oh...

High-energy: Seau with the New England Patriots in 2007

Junior Seau: American footballer beset by inner demons

The news that Junior Seau, for 20 seasons a star linebacker in the National Football League, had killed himself at the age of 42 with a gunshot to the chest, shocked America. Few played the game with such high-energy enthusiasm, and few played it with such physicality for so long.

Images of Taliban fighters giving up their weapons appear to contradict claims of a growing insurgency

The Taliban are divided and in retreat, insist top US officials

Two of the most powerful American officials in Afghanistan have insisted that the Taliban are in retreat with its leadership divided, contradicting claims by senior figures in Washington that the insurgency has actually grown stronger since Barack Obama authorised the surge of forces two years ago.

Conrad Black released from prison

Former media mogul Conrad Black was released from a federal prison in Miami today after serving about three years for defrauding investors.

Rebecca Tyrrel: 'The patriotic Olympic nappy has the Union Jack emblazoned upon its rear

Who knew that Paula Radcliffe had it in her to brazen out her new role as Olympic frontwoman for Pampers nappies while ignoring the obvious irony? Somehow she has done just that. Radcliffe has posed for photo-shoots and made promotional films with her infant son modelling the GB Design Active Fit nappy, without a single raised eyebrow or knowing smirk about her own legendary lavatory stop.

François Hollande says he will pull French troops out of Afghanistan by the year’s end

French election throws Afghan exit into disarray

François Hollande's promise to withdraw troops this year means Nato allies may have to fill the gap

US charges six Chinese citizens with insider trading

The US government froze the assets of six Chinese citizens and one company charged with trading on confidential information that a China-based pork processor, Zhongpin Inc, was about to go private.

Oprah Winfrey's network, OWN, has only 180,000 viewers a day, but hopes it will soon recover its balance

Oprah Winfrey admits mistakes in cable network launch

Oprah Winfrey, the once unassailable empress of talk show television, admitted for the first time today that she made “101 mistakes” in trying to launch her own cable network and that had she known then what she knows now she probably would never have tried.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine