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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'