News A man sits under the sun at the Centenario park in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The mercury rose to 45C in northern provinces of the country

Music review: Wiley, Forum, London

Wiley sprints on stage so fast you wonder where his run-up began, as if making up for a stop-start career restricted by his unpredictable temperament.

Instructions for a Heatwave, By Maggie O'Farrell

A summer of drought, a sudden flight – and a family thirsty for answers

Australian bush fire

'Like summer on steroids': Australia’s hottest ever year blamed on climate change, with 'really frightening' temperatures in store

A climate “on steroids” was to blame for a summer of record-breaking heatwaves, severe bushfires, cyclones and floods, according to Australia’s leading climate change scientists.

Review: Instructions for a Heatwave, By Maggie O'Farrell

This humorous, humane and perceptive domestic saga broils with the resentments left behind by an absent husband and father

Holmes family, Tammy Holmes, second from left, and her grandchildren, two-year-old Charlotte Walker, left, four-year-old Esther Walker, third from left, nine-year-old Liam Walker, eleven-year-old Matilda, second from right, and six-year-old Caleb Walker, right, take refuge under a jetty as a wildfire rages near-by in the Tasmanian town of Dunalley, Australia

Family took refuge in a lake to escape the Aussie bushfires

As scores of fires continued to burn the length of eastern Australia today, a remarkable survival story emerged from Tasmania, where five young children escaped a blaze that destroyed about 90 properties in their village by sheltering under a boat jetty with their grandparents.

A patch of purple, indicating 50+ degrees C, is visible on this temperature chart

Purple alert! Australian heatwave forces climate experts to use new colour to represent extreme temperatures

Australian Bureau of Meteorology adds two entirely new colours – deep purple and pink – to show the new extreme range on its interactive weather maps

Kathy Marks: 'Heat is on and I can't thank electrician enough'

I love my electrician. I love him because before he disappeared on a month-long break, as many Australians do in January, he installed a ceiling fan in my house. Without that fan, I’m not sure I would have survived today. I sat under it all day, and so did my dog.

A resident from the Stevenage area ticked off the right numbers but hasn't claimed the big prize

Residents of Hitchin conduct frantic last-minute search for largest ever unclaimed National Lottery winning ticket

Lost: one lottery ticket, somewhere in the Stevenage area. Value: until last night, around £64m.

Find the natural beauty in Australia’s harsh ‘Red Centre’

The Lonely Planet Adventures: The Larapinta Trail

In 1908, it was called the finest walk in the world. It's still the country's most popular hike

Owen Jones: Let's rise to climate change challenge

It isn't half nippy out, and with Britain about to be plunged into an increasingly familiar cold snap, it might seem a bit of an odd time to bring up climate change. Weather and climate are two different things, though I'm not alone in hearing grumbling about Britain missing out on the perks of global warming. But the truth is that the state of our planet is way down the list of our priorities. Despite the dedicated efforts of climate-change-denying flat-earthers, 57 per cent of us accept climate change is happening and is mostly down to the actions of humans, according to a poll by ICM a few months ago. But surveys show that our interest in the subject has long been waning.

Scientists find Earth-like planet Alpha Centauri Bb in neighbouring star system but rule-out possibility of life thanks to its 1,500C surface

The planet is the closest and smallest among about 800 'exoplanets' that scientists have identified beyond the Solar System since 1995 when they detected the first extra-solar planet.

Leading article: Melting ice in a still-warming world

The record retreat of the ice sheet covering the Arctic Ocean, confirmed by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, is a dramatically visible marker of the effect of climate change on the planet; indeed, it is the most discernible and convincing sign, currently, of global warming.

Morning glory: September brings golden dawns

Matthew Bell: Hurrah for September, when normal life resumes

I hope for an Indian summer, a full diary and a late break

Chris Froome leads Alberto Contador yesterday

Froome keeps his cool as German tyro takes stage

Team Sky's Chris Froome remains one second off the lead after Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez finished safely in the bunch on the fifth stage of the Vuelta a España yesterday.

Chris Froome leads Alberto Contador yesterday

Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome keeps cool in blistering heat but German sprinter John Degenkolb takes stage

Team Sky's Chris Froome remains one second off the lead after Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez finished safely in the bunch on the fifth stage of the Vuelta a Espana yesterday.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

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Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
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Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

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Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
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Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
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Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

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The man who hunts giants

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