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.

Britain braced for more freezing temperatures

Forecasters warned that temperatures will hover around 0C (32F) for most of the day, before plunging as low as -7C (19.4F) in some places tonight.

Scores die as eastern Europe freezes

A severe cold spell in eastern Europe has left at least 58 people dead over the past week, including dozens who were homeless. Hundreds have sought medical help for hypothermia and frostbite, while snow and ice disrupted traffic, cut off power and forced schools to close.

Weak demand knocks Hornby profits off track

Toy firm Hornby has admitted its profits have been knocked off track by weak demand for train sets and Scalextric racing cars over Christmas.

Mild winter will raise price of fruit

The mild winter could lead to smaller fruit crops in the autumn, potentially pushing up prices, the Royal Horticultural Society has warned.

Michelin sees 50% increase in sales of cold weather tyres

Michelin is reporting a substantial increase in sales of cold weather tyres this winter, despite the unusually mild weather enjoyed by most parts of the UK in the final three months of last year.

Yorkshire's rhubarb crop crumbles in mild winter

The heat is on growers of Yorkshire's world famous rhubarb as the mild winter threatens a crisis in the crop.

Energy companies are too concerned with profits, say British consumers

Britons feel that energy companies are working against their interests and have no understanding of the financial difficulties people face, a survey from Energyhelpline.com suggests.

Damage remedy restructuring shampoo, £18.50, aveda.co.uk

How To Be Beautiful: Winter hair repair

So, one week in; how's detox-and-diet season going? Whether or not you've signed up for the annual asceticism championships, January is a mean month. In beauty terms, it's a time for retreating to the bathroom for some seasonal damage reparation – a reasonable way of killing a long, dark evening when more sociable activities are off the cards due to self-denial (whether your own or others').

'Next' admits pre-Christmas sales were 'disappointing'

Retail bellwether Next offered a snapshot of Britain's austerity Christmas today after admitting to "disappointing" sales in November and December.

Retailers' seasonal sales boost won't last

Hopes of a seasonal lift to retailers' gloom have been raised by record-busting weekly sales figures published yesterday by the department store chain John Lewis.

Poetry: Songs of elegance and of experience

Christmas books of the year

Black Cat Bone, By John Burnside

Paperbacks Of The Year: Significant verses for a perfect winter

Drivers are 'unprepared for icy roads'

Only one in five motorists is prepared for severe weather on the roads this winter, according to the British Red Cross.

Baseball: Comeback Cardinals beat Rangers to win World Series

The St. Louis Cardinals completed their magical comeback season by beating the Texas Rangers 6-2 in a deciding Game Seven to clinch the World Series last night.

Album: Terje Isungset, Winter Songs (Icemusic)

One senses a certain froideur...In fact, Isungset is that rare thing: an ice musician, who writes songs about winter and plays them on ice instruments (ice horn, ice harp, icefone...).

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Prices correct as of 21 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

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Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
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24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

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How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
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'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
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Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

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Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

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London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

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Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty