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...).

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
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Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
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A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
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A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
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London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
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Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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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
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
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
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
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