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!

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.

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.

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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Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms