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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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention