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
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
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11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
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Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone