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

Retailers can expect a bad sales report again

Retailers are preparing for further bad news. Key figures to be published tomorrow are almost certain to reveal that consumer spending again disappointed last month, amid fears that the ongoing squeeze on household disposable incomes is set to depress the sector for the rest of the year.

We must focus on the big picture, says Anglian man

As the water industry faces a year of change, one of its leaders asks Ofwat to avoid micromanagement

Thorntons blames heatwave for profit meltdown over Easter

The scorching weather this Easter has caused a meltdown at the chocolate-maker Thorntons, forcing it to warn on profits for a second time in three months.

Hot weather hits Thorntons chocolate sales

Chocolatier Thorntons issued a profits warning today as it blamed the record temperatures in April for a meltdown in Easter sales.

Met Office comes to the rescue as hayfever sufferers wilt in heat

Britain's millions of hayfever sufferers have a new helping hand: the Met Office has introduced daily pollen forecasts on its website.

Anti-smog buildings could be the future, as pollution soars

Britain may face EU courts over poor air quality, but tests on new 'sponge-like' materials offer hope

Jeremy Laurance: Asthma sufferers beware: the dangers are all too real

Ozone produced by the action of sunlight on vehicle pollution causes smog, and is a particular threat to asthma sufferers, contributing to tens of thousands of serious attacks each year and hundreds of deaths.

Smog alert issued for Easter break

The Government today issued a "smog alert" for the Easter weekend for ozone and polluting particles known as PM10s, which can affect people's health.

Julie Burchill: Leslie Nielsen – the Hamlet who found wisdom as a clown

I was well-pleased to read in the obituaries of the actor Leslie Nielsen – who died this week at the age of 84 – that he had started out as a serious actor, but decided against it in later life. "I've finally found my home," he said, upon being cast in Airplane! in his fifties, when critics warned that he was being cast against type and bound to fail. Indeed, so much did he prefer the mask of comedy to the mask of tragedy that even in his own time he liked to stand in a crowded elevator, urge the palms of his hands to mimic flatulence and then apologise sheepishly. What a guy!

One of the wettest, coldest Augusts

Last month brought the coldest temperature recorded in August for 23 years – and a complete absence of "hot days", figures showed yesterday.

Penelope, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Enda Walsh has long been one of the best and most challenging of all Irish playwrights; his new piece, Penelope breaks out of his Cork confines and deposits us in a drained swimming pool on the sweltering hot day of Odysseus's return.

Mushroom hunt claims 18 lives

At least 18 mushroom-lovers have been killed in accidents while hunting for their favourite fungi in the mountains and forests of northern Italy.

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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
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003