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.

Album review: Sven Helbig, Pocket Symphonies (Deutsche Grammophon)

Sven Helbig is a young German composer equally drawn to classical, pop and hip-hop modes, probably most famous for his orchestrations on Pet Shop Boys' Battleship Potemkin and The Most Incredible Thing. That populist spirit informs this debut release, with emotionally expansive pieces restricted to pop-song length.

The Week Ahead: A toast to Majestic despite flat profits

Investors may want to toast Majestic Wine's performance but it won't be with an expensive vintage, more a cheap glass of plonk. It will tout the resilience of its business model this week, despite flat profits in the wake of tougher trading for the chain. The wine warehouse retailer will also reaffirm that it plans to open a similar number of stores this financial year to the 16 it introduced last year.

34 per cent of colonies failed to make it through the winter

A third of Britain's bee colonies perish in wettest summer in a century

A third of Britain's honeybee colonies perished in the winter following the wettest summer in 100 years last year, according to a new survey.

Sun, sand, blue skies and an all-over tan as summer arrives in (parts of) Britain

Britain may have endured the coldest spring for half a century, but that was all consigned to history on Sunday as much of the country bathed in blue skies and balmy weather.

Tomorrow calls time on the coldest spring in more than 50 years

UK sees coldest spring in 50 years, says Met Office

Tomorrow calls time on the coldest spring in more than 50 years, as the past fortnight of below average temperatures dragged the average thermometer reading during March, April and May putting it on course for its lowest level since 1962.

For David Cameron and the rest of us, life goes on despite the terror alerts

The Prime Minister was quite right to stick to his plans for a family holiday

Questioned: Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe

Police seize possessions of rough sleepers in crackdown on homelessness

Police in north London have seized blankets, sleeping bags and food donations from rough sleepers in a crackdown on homelessness.

British Gas pledges to put lid on prices after cold-weather boost

Bonanza from tough winter 'will be used to benefit customers for as long as possible'

Sir David Frost, journalist, comedian, writer, media personality and daytime TV game show host, pictured at his office in London

Sir David Frost calls upon Tony Hall to take a knife to BBC's management structure

Having worked for the BBC for more than 50 years, Sir David Frost has advised the new Director-General Tony Hall that he must take a knife to the organisation’s debilitating management structure.

<b>Sir Alex Ferguson</b><br/>
He came close to retirement in 2002 before having a change of heart. It proved a wise decision. While Manchester United's form was waning at the time, the wily Scot turned it around, made United the dominant force in England and lifted another Champions League trophy.
<br/>
With those achievements in the bank - now could be the opportune time to go. He's 68-years-old and is facing another team re-build after losing Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez. And if the recent financial revelations surrounding Old Trafford are anything to go by - the necessary funds may not be forthcoming.
<br/>
Add to all this his regular referee rants and childish touchline behaviour, it might be wise to leave now with a reputation as one of the greats assured before he destroys it by becoming a cantankerous dinosaur of the game.

The worst tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson

No, it’s not Piers Morgan’s Twitter tirade. Sir Alex’s retirement from Manchester United today has brought plenty of fresh tributes to the most successful managerial career football has ever seen (and possibly ever, given the tumbling average tenure of most managers nowadays). But long before he decided to hang up his hairdryer, the ageing Scot has been beatified by fans around the world.

Get the look: Summer black

Who's that?

Unilever feels euro chill as emerging markets help out

Unilever showed its growing reliance on the emerging markets of Asia and South America today as falling sales in the struggling eurozone saw it miss City forecasts in its first quarter.

Chancellor's biggest challenge yet as UK teeters on brink of a triple-dip recession

George Osborne faces the most severe test of his Chancellorship tomorrow morning when official figures reveal whether or not the economy has slipped into an unprecedented "triple-dip" recession.

Bad weather makes it a game of two halves for pub chain Marston's

Pub chain Marston’s today warned that first-half profits would not match last year’s because it had been hit so badly by the weather, but reassured investors that it expects to more  than make up any shortfall in the second half.

Is spring finally here? UK set for weekend warmth with temperatures set to rise

Mercury could hit 20C on Sunday but showers are also expected

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links