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.

Red Holloway: Jazz saxophonist who also played with John Mayall

Red Holloway, a tenor saxophone player who had a tone as big as the side of a house, made his name in jazz, but more quietly – or musically, more loudly – worked for John Mayall and a variety of rhythm'n'blues stars. "I enjoyed playing with Mayall," Holloway said. "He's a very good self-taught entertainer and I admire that. It takes an awful lot of nerve and perseverance to become successful like he did... We had a good working relationship."

As Britain's fallen soldiers come home, US warns of greater risks on road ahead

Unpublished Pentagon dossier reveals 'danger' of rushing Afghan withdrawal. Kim Sengupta reports
Blagojevich was convicted last year on 18 counts, including charges that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's old US Senate seat for the state of Illinois

Rod Blagojevich drives off to 14 years in prison

Rod Blagojevich, the former Governor of Illinois, began a 14-year jail term in Colorado yesterday. The one-time golden boy of Democratic Party politics in Illinois was found guilty of corruption. His immediate predecessor, George Ryan, was jailed for the same reason.

Sherwood, left, receives his Nobel Prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in Stockholm in 1995

Professor Sherwood Rowland Scientist who helped establish CFCs' harmful effects

Professor Sherwood Rowland was one of the scientists responsible for raising awareness of the damage being caused to the earth's ozone layer by a group of chemicals known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). His work in the field, which began in the 1970s, has led to a worldwide phasing out of these substances and the gradual, natural repairing of the hole in the ozone layer.

Barney Rosset: Controversial publisher who introduced Beckett to a worldwide audience

In a profession renowned for its individualists, the publisher Barney Rosset was an eccentric among eccentrics, a man of strong passions who seldom listened to others – and never, if they wished to persuade him to change his course of action. In 1951 he bought a defunct New York publishing company, Grove Press, and devoted his energies to turning it into the most prestigious and adventurous literary publishing company in America. Professor Wallace Fowlie, of the New School University in Greenwich Village, gave him tips about current French literature and Sylvia Beach, of Shakespeare and Company, told him about a talented Irish writer in Paris called Samuel Beckett. In 1954 Rosset published the first US edition of Waiting for Godot and Beckett remained his most faithful author.

Steve Kordek: Inventor whose work revolutionised pinball machines

Steve Kordek was an unsung revolutionary of 20th century America. His chosen field was notwarfare or politics, sport or art.

A large gap separates the high demand for organs and their scarce supply

'There was someone who needed it...' 60 lives, 30 kidneys, all linked in longest donor chain

Organ donation to stranger starts an amazing series of events across 11 US states

Gorr, right, with Regine Crespin at Covent Garden in 1963

Rita Gorr: Mezzo celebrated for her dramatic abilities

The Belgian mezzo Rita Gorr, whose operatic career lasted an astonishing 58 years, was one of the great singers of the second half of the 20th century.

Burmese pythons, descendants of abandoned pets, are thriving in Florida's Everglades by devouring the native wildlife

Rupert Cornwell: Mass invasion of the alien swamp monsters

Out of America: The US loves movies about bizarre creatures wreaking havoc. Now it's got them for real

<b>Wembley, the home of (American) football</b><br/>
The NFL staged its first game outside North America when the Miami Dolphins played the New York Giants at Wembley in 2007. The game was hugely successful in heightening awareness of American Football in England as well as earning the powers that be a few quid thanks to a sell-out crowd at the national stadium. It's become a regular fixture on the calendar now with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers having battled it out under the Wembley arch last month, while talks are ongoing as to how the NFL can continue to expand its reach.

NFL: St Louis Rams set for three Wembley appearances

The St Louis Rams will face the New England Patriots at Wembley Stadium this October in the first of three visits to London by the team owned by Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.

Prodigious talent of the 'Godfather of Rap': Gil Scott-Heron performing in New York, 2008

The Last Holiday, By Gil Scott-Heron

The only time I saw the late Gil Scott-Heron perform was in a New York nightclub in 2001. I had huge expectations of this iconic, radical, spoken-word artist and musician whose jazz-funk syncopations and uncompromising lyrics spawned generations of imitators. But it was already too late to see the great man as he once was. He would soon be busted for the drug addiction that led to two spells in prison. That night, his crack-ravaged performance was so bad, the audience talked over him.

From skyline to waistline: Gino's pizzeria

Chicago on a plate

The capital of the Midwest may be home to some of the best chefs in the US and boast an eclectic culinary scene, but the Windy City still has a taste for hot dogs and pizza

Temptress: Darcel in a publicity shot for 'Dangerous When Wet'

Denise Darcel: Actress and singer who excelled both as vamp and comic foil

Denise Darcel was a voluptuous actress and singer who appeared in several feature films in the early 1950s.

Album: The Pimps of Joytime, Janxta Funk! (Wonderwheel)

The new year has its first great party album: a no-nonsense distillation of the most infectious elements of party funk, with a welcoming approach that emphasises peaceful good times.

Market mergers at risk

Politics is again blocking attempts at consolidation among stock exchanges
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On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
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Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
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