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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Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before