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
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project