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.

Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas, By Matthew Hollis<br />Selected Poems, By Edward Thomas, edited by Matthew Hollis

Thomas Hardy, writing in "Afterwards" of "the dewfall hawk" and the "glad green wings" of May, hoped to be identified as "a man who used to notice such things". Edward Thomas (1872-1917) lacked even this vestigial optimism, but as he walked and cycled the breadth of rural England, he too was intimately attentive to what he encountered – a group of aspens, a nettle-bed, a path vanishing in a wood. In Now All Roads lead to France, Matthew Hollis, himself a poet, sets out to honour Thomas with similar care for the poems, the life and the literary climate in which the poet worked and where, with the help of Robert Frost, he eventually uncovered his poetic gift before joining the millions killed in the First World War.

Yew and me: Anna Pavord visits a garden near Leeds where topiary is a cut above the usual

In the garden of Hillbark, Bardsey, just north of Leeds is one of the strangest pieces of yew topiary you're ever likely to see. Tim Gittins and Malcolm Simm have been gardening at Hillbark for 26 years, starting from scratch on a long, thin piece of ground that sloped away from the house to a stream in the valley below. Cleverly, they terraced the garden into three different levels and made a very beautiful pond at the bottom.

Shabazz Palaces - inside avant rap's soul

Miguel Cullen interviews Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces - the face of the avant-rap movement glamorised by Tyler the Creator - about rap selling its soul, winning a Grammy in another life and race-relations in America.

International paedophile ring leaders jailed

Three men were jailed today after they admitted running an international paedophile ring that distributed millions of indecent images and films of children to over 40 countries around the world.

Leading article: Preparation is the only defence against drought

The consequences of an exceptionally dry spring are hitting home.

Kelly campaigners to fight on as Government rules out inquest

The attorney-General's refusal yesterday to request an inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly was furiously condemned by campaigners, who are now planning a legal challenge.

David Kelly inquest ruled out

Attorney General Dominic Grieve has ruled out asking the High Court to order an inquest into the death of David Kelly.

Pensioners trade eating for heating says report

Pensioners use less than half of their winter fuel payment for heating, while many cut back on food during cold snaps in order to spend more on keeping warm, a report has indicated.

Music for Solaris: the mentoring process

The Australian experimental composer Ben Frost is in London to meet his mentor Brian Eno, ahead of their joint project at the Reykjavik Festival in Iceland this weekend.

Album: Sigyn Birkeland, Frost: Parapraxis, Bassoon Concerto; Karlsen: Serenata (Signum Classics)

Sigyn Birkeland has put together an intriguing programme of modern bassoon pieces.

Meek's Cutoff, Kelly Reichardt, 104 mins (PG)<br/>Cold Weather, Aaron Katz, 97 mins (No Cert)

John Ford would have hated this stark Western in which a girl and a native American emerge on top

Osborne's Budget 'has betrayed the elderly'

Cuts to fuel allowance will create worry for millions of pensioners, say campaigners

Get back in trim: Make the big tidy-up your new season's resolution

It's the start of a new season, and garden centres and high-class nurseries alike are trying to persuade you to start spending your money. But before that, think about the following ways to make a fresh horticultural start to 2011...

Cauli wobbles: farmers' fear as harvests rot

First purple sprouting broccoli, now cauliflowers. It's been a bad year for brassicas, reports Jonathan Brown
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A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice