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.

Simon Kelner: We're simply not made for this bothersome weather

Why is the automatic assumption in Britain that hot, sunny weather is a good thing? The newspapers are filled with pictures of people (perhaps, more correctly, I should say young women) frolicking in the sea at Brighton, with triumphal headlines saying it's hotter here than Marbella. Or was it Mars? Glorious day, strangers say, by way of a greeting. And there is a common belief that sunshine puts everyone in a good mood.

Mum’s the word: Sadie Frost performs ‘Touched... Like A Virgin’

In the groove with pop and pregnancy

Sadie Frost's one-woman show mixes Madonna and motherhood. By Charlotte Cripps

Between the Covers: 13/05/2012

Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books

Weekend Work: Time to re-pot tomatoes

What to do

Vitec snaps up Camera Corps

The founder of a TV camera company whose specialist equipment is used at everything from top sporting events to the reality show Big Brother is celebrating its £8m sale.

Red, red vine: If you're after a bumper crop of tomatoes there's only one variety to go for...

If you're in possession of a greenhouse, now is the time to sow tomato seeds. And if it's a bumper crop of juicy fruit you're after, there's only one variety to go for

Peter Skyllberg’s car was covered in snow 2ft deep before a group of snow mobilers discovered it

How did a man buried in this frozen car for two months come out of it alive?

Astonishing tale of survival from Sweden as 44-year-old endures temperature of -30C with only ice to sustain him

Tom Croft has said that senior players should be prepared to take more responsibility in helping determine style and strategy

Brian Ashton: Time to raise the tempo after snowshoe shuffle

Tackling The Issues

Call for energy bill cuts as hypothermia deaths almost double

Calls for energy bills to be cut intensified last night after it emerged that the number of people dying of hypothermia has almost doubled in the past five years.

A woman walks along a snow covered road in Sixfields, Northampton

Arctic conditions expected to ease

Today is likely to see the end of the cold snap, with the mercury finally rising slightly after several days of record-breaking sub-zero temperatures, according to forecasters.

Gas price fall sees BG slash fracking in US

BG Group is dramatically scaling back plans to employ the controversial practice of "fracking" for shale gas in the US.

British greenhouse gases rise for first time since 2003

There was a significant increase in UK greenhouse gases in 2010 for the first time in several years, Government figures confirmed yesterday.

Many motorway drivers were forced to spend the night in their cars as the snow brought traffic to a standstill on the M25, while Heathrow Airport cancelled a third of its flights.

Heavy snow leaves roads treacherous

Heavy overnight snow brought severe disruption to road, rail and air travel today with motorists being urged to take extra care in treacherous conditions.

Minus 11 as UK braces for widespread snow

Britain is lying in wait for widespread snow this weekend after another bitterly cold day in which temperatures in some places struggled to get above freezing.

Met Office puts out serious alert

The Met Office issued an England-wide serious weather alert yesterday as the nation continued to shiver in freezing conditions.

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Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada