News Allan Umscheid, owner of Yards By Al in Lawrence, Kan, feels the bitter wind and catches drifting snow on his face as he runs a snow blower early morning

With Arctic winds plummeting temperatures to  -50C, much of North America has shut down as authorities warn of the life-threatening freeze

George Hickenlooper: Film-maker best known for his documentary about the making of ‘Apocalypse Now’

A director whose eclectic body of work included documentaries and features, George Hickenlooper suffered a heart attack on his way to the US premiere of his latest film, Casino Jack, starring Kevin Spacey as the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. It had debuted in September at the Toronto Film Festival to strong reviews and audience reaction, and it seemed at last that Hickenlooper had managed to merge the two strands of his work into one potentially successful film.

Rupert Cornwell: A last, desperate throw of the dice for Illinois

Out of America: All along the Mississippi, riverboat casinos are helping deficit-hit states to balance the books

Jonathan Franzen: Greatness, one sentence at a time

Fans of this matchless chronicler of American family life have endured a nine-year hiatus since he stunned the literary world with 'The Corrections'. But all the signs are that it will be worth the wait

A Hundred Or More Hidden Things, By Mark Griffin

This enjoyable biography of Vincente Minnelli, described in lukewarm terms by Tony Curtis as "one of the better directors I worked with", traces his trajectory from window dresser to enigmatic MGM stalwart. Leslie Caron said that his "only intelligible bit of direction" during An American in Paris was, "Just be yourself."

Baseball: McGwire closes book on an era of shame

America comes to terms with spectre of steroids after slugger icon admits drug use

Three killed in St Louis factory shooting

An employee armed with an assault rifle and a handgun walked into a manufacturing plant this morning and opened fire, killing at least three people and wounding five others, US authorities said.

Art in Paris: Big Sister is watching you

This weekend hundreds of immense pairs of eyes will be gazing at the river boats on the Seine. They belong to heroic women from the world's worst trouble spots. John Lichfield meets the artist

London: The city of broken dreams

When the Czech Republic joined the EU, Tomasz headed for Britain. He now sleeps rough, one of an army of eastern Europeans who found nothing but despair on London's streets.

England happy with luck of draw in avoiding Germany

England Women 1 Sweden Women 1

Prom 22: A Celebration of Classic MGM Musicals/ John Wilson Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, London

Imagine the soundtracks of your most beloved MGM musicals after an auditory steam-clean. Better yet, imagine being there in the moment of recreation and hearing the crack symphony put through its paces; a saturation of swooning strings, mellow trombones, saxes, and gleaming trumpets. John Wilson is the man who has reconstructed orchestrations thought lost to us and whose orchestra delivers the kind of playing that takes you way beyond make-believe. "Technicolour for the ears"? You'd better believe it.

Prom 22: A Celebration of Classic MGM Musicals, John Wilson Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, London

Imagine the soundtracks of your best beloved MGM musicals after an auditory steam-clean; better yet, imagine being there in the moment of recreation and hearing the crack MGM Symphony put through its paces, a saturation of swooning strings, mellow trombones, saxes, and a bevy of gleaming trumpets, their extravagant vibrato lending the sound an expensive sheen. John Wilson is the man whose keen ears have reconstructed orchestrations thought lost to us for good and whose amazing orchestra has been custom made to deliver the kind of playing that takes you way beyond make-believe. "Technicolour for the ears?" You’d better believe it.

The science of journalism: Reporting on matters of life and death

The latest Masters from one of the UK's premier journalism schools aims to prepare students for reporting on issues that are a matter of life and death. Caitlin Davies reports

Pastor shot down during sermon

A pastor shot and killed during his Sunday sermon deflected the first of the gunman's four rounds with a Bible, sending a confetti-like spray of paper into the air in a horrifying scene that congregants initially thought was a skit, police said.

Mother's 'little miracle' after ovary transplant

A woman who gave birth after receiving the world's first whole ovary transplant has described her newborn baby daughter as "a little miracle".

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star