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

Teams set rotations

Podium: The fight for equality within the armed forces

Krishnan Guru-Murthy

Notebook: The road to Washington begins at home

Former senator Bill Bradley was wise to return to little Crystal City, Missouri, to launch his bid to become US President

US helicopters bomb mosquitoes

NEW YORK has done a great job of cleaning itself up over the past few years, with city authorities fighting crime and urban decay. But now they face a new enemy, one that may be just as hard to get rid of: mosquitoes.

TODAY'S NUMBER 53

TODAY'S

Film Studies: Louis B Mayer: reborn on the fourth of July

This is a Fourth of July story, and it takes a long journey. A man named Lazar Meir was born in the summer of 1885, somewhere in Ukraine. Lazar never knew the precise date. In later years, though, he did what he could to bury the real place. Why? Because he had been born very poor, in ignominious circumstances; and because by the late 1930s he was Louis B Mayer, the West Coast executive in charge of Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer. He was by then not just "American", but the friend of President Herbert Hoover, of Henry Ford and William Randolph Hearst; and in 1937 he was paid $1.3m, which made him the highest-salaried person in the land. He held that title for nine years, and he had long since decided that his birthday was 4 July. So on that public holiday he threw a swaggering picnic on the studio's Culver City lot, to which his stars brought flags, and gifts for Mr Mayer.

Charity concert: London Palladium

I was born in a trunk at the Prince's Theatre. Actually, I wasn't and nor was Frances Gumm, better known as Judy Garland. This week sees the 30th anniversary of the death of this irreplaceable performer - and the world's greatest gay icon - and in addition to a season of her films at London's Metro cinema, there's a one-off charity concert this Sunday. The frankly mind-boggling line-up includes such likely suspects as Garland's daughter Lorna Luft, Little Voice impersonator Jane Horrocks and Margaret O'Brien - who nearly stole Meet Me In St Louis from beneath Garland's nose. There are some unlikely suspects on board, too. Come on down, Sir John Mills, Max Bygraves and Vikki Carr.

Obituary: Ernie Wilkins

THE TRUMPETER Clark Terry was responsible for Ernie Wilkins's success as a musician and for lifting him up when he fell upon bad times. Terry has spent a large part of his career helping jazz lame ducks. Humphrey Lyttelton said:

Obituary: Freddy Randall

AT ONE point in the Fifties the three most popular revivalist jazz bands were led by trumpeters. Humphrey Lyttelton was the most eminent, Freddy Randall was the most instrumentally gifted, and everybody liked Mick Mulligan even though he wasn't much good as a trumpet player.

The monster within

Monsanto survived its association with Agent Orange and chemical warfare in Vietnam. It was even forgiven for foisting Astrotruf and Nutrasweet upon the world. But when Robert Shapiro chose to apply the science of genetics to improving crops, his company became demonised as the dark force behind `Frankenstein Foods'. On Friday he faces his shareholders at the AGM. Can he convince them he can put the lid back on this can of genetically modified worms?

Obituary: Mark Steinberg

WITH THE death of Mark Steinberg, the King's Road - that enduring symbol of Swinging London - has lost one of its more colourful (some might even say outrageous) characters. Not some celebrity restaurateur or hairdresser, but in fact the American-born maitre d' of Steinberg and Tolkien, a Tardis-like emporium that is home to the most extensive collection of vintage costume and period jewellery in Britain, if not the world. And not just any old costume, but the stuff of dreams.
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scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
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Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
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David Moyes gets soaked
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A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
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Day In a Page

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All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born