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 in London surge ahead of regional rivals

Retailers in central London delivered their strongest sales in June since the autumn of 2006, but lacklustre growth in the rest of the UK again reinforced the view of a two-tier sector.

Prickly heat: the suffering of the hedgehogs

prolonged hot weather may be fine for us but it's not much good for wildlife, and it is particularly bad for hedgehogs, while for baby hedgehogs it's even worse.

July named as grumpiest month for Britons

Despite the sunny weather, July is the grumpiest month for Britons as they battle with sleep deprivation and fraying tempers in the heat, a survey suggested today.

A summer's day: Stay cool, stay healthy

The sun is out and it's off with our clothes – but health agencies urge us to stay cool, as heat can kill

Health alert as Britain swelters

There were sweltering temperatures in parts of Britain today as the first heat-health alert of the summer came into force.

What's the buzz this summer?

With highs of 29C and hosepipe bans imminent, summer must really be here. Pavan Amara and Daisy Jellicoe report on seasonal matters

Leading article: Blame game

If the World Cup was awarded for the best excuses and conspiracy theories, this would be a hell of a competition. Many things have been blamed by teams in South Africa for underperformance, from the treacherous aerodynamic properties of the match ball, to the drone of vuvuzelas drowning out the fans. The Slovenian manager even blamed the turf (he should try playing at Wembley).

Grab your trusty hoe and prepare to do battle with weeds

I have just returned from Cornwall and the opening of Kestle Barton, an arts project my mum has been working on for the past four years. The gallery is currently hung with large photographs of a polluted former mining site near Redruth called Goon Gumpas. Beyond the parched and wrecked beauty of the post-industrial landscape on display, through double-doors, the project's new garden is visible. And I have to admit that, as much as I enjoyed the show, the most satisfying part of my weekend was sneaking off to hoe the new flowerbeds.

Girl mauled by fox leaves hospital

A baby girl mauled by a fox as she slept has been discharged from hospital, it was announced today.

Baby girl mauled by fox 'feeling better'

A baby girl mauled by a fox as she slept was "a lot better" today, her grandmother said.

Read in bloom as Notts climb to top of the tree

Nottinghamshire 462 Kent 274-5 (Kent trail by 188 runs)

Leading article: The price of Britain's drinking problem

A boozy summer is in prospect. The football World Cup and a forecast of hot weather make for a potentially heady national brew. So the latest intervention of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) on alcohol abuse is certainly well-timed.

Police feel the heat as crime rises along with temperatures

For most people the arrival of summer provides the perfect excuse to try to master the tricky skill of cooking on a barbecue, sunbathe in a garden they usually never use and walk shirtless in places they otherwise would not. But for the police the hot weather signals one thing: a spike in crime.

Advert overstates climate risks, says watchdog

Two Government adverts which used nursery rhymes to raise awareness of climate change have been banned for overstating the risks, a watchdog announced today.

Best literary fiction of 2009: Cromwell's soul, a Chilean labyrinth and small-town Ireland

"To everything there is a season." Well true, for the most part, but even Biblical prophecy couldn't allow for the dubious reliability of publishing literary fiction. As the past 12 months bear out, a hit or miss often proves as predictable as a hurricane or a heat wave. So who's been subject to a freak downpour and who's found themselves in the unexpected glare of the sun?

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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
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?