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.

Mortgage market starts year with steep decline

The mortgage market started the year on the back foot with lending diving by 13% in January, figures showed today.

'Superfood' broccoli supplies hit by Big Freeze

Severe winter weather conditions have led to a collapse in supplies of one of health-conscious foodies' favourite vegetables - purple-sprouting broccoli.

Gillis exits Blacks after sale process is ended

Neil Gillis, the chief executive of Blacks Leisure, is to resign from the outdoor retail group a little over two weeks after it terminated a process to sell the company.

Potholes surge is 'a serious hazard'

There has been a 90% increase in the number of potholes on UK roads since the severe winter weather struck in December, according to a survey today.

First Frost, By James Henry

A warm welcome back, Jack

700 million people on the move for new year festival

The world's biggest annual migration has begun. For the next six weeks, 700 million Chinese people will return home for the Lunar new year holiday and are packing airports and train and bus stations.

Two rivals remain bidding for Blacks

The sale of Blacks Leisure is drawing to a close this week.

McCoy is less than masterly

As Master Minded repelled Somersby by the width of his whiskers after a down-and-dirty scrap in the mud to take the Victor Chandler Chase here at Ascot yesterday, the first reaction of his trainer,Paul Nicholls, was consternation. A win it was for the eight-year-old, his seventh at Grade One level, but the former two-mile champion is associated with imperious wide margins, not desperate, diminishing short-heads.

Primark to keep a lid on price rises as sales surge

Primark ratcheted up the pressure on rival retailers yesterday with a pledge to keep its prices down, even as other fashion chains warned of price increases to offset soaring costs.

Eight-year low for home sales

The number of homes being sold fell to an eight-year low during December, as the severe winter weather exacerbated an already subdued housing market, research indicates today.

Luminar sales fall by a fifth

The owner of nightclub chains Liquid and Oceana reported a severe decline in sales over Christmas as clubbers avoided the freezing weather and stayed at home.

Mist may mar firework displays

Mist and lingering fog threatens to mar revellers' enjoyment of tomorrow night's New Year's Eve firework displays, forecasters said.

Fog to dampen New Year's Eve celebrations

Mist and lingering fog is threatening to mar revellers' enjoyment of tomorrow night's New Year's Eve fireworks displays, forecasters said.

Northern Ireland to import water

The authorities in Northern Ireland came in for heavy criticism yesterday after water shortages affected tens of thousands of homes, some of which have had no running water for a week.

Leading article: Cold comfort

Icebergs in the North Sea. Panic stations! What next? A polar bear "threat" to Skegness? In reality, there are lumps of ice in the North Sea, which is hardly surprising, given the recent cold snap. Even salt water freezes eventually.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn