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From new non-stop flights and 'Place Pins' to photo workshops and air bridges

Final chance arrives for Europe's South African wannabes

The groups have largely taken shape but there's plenty still to be decided in Europe

Prom 1: BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Belohlavek, Royal Albert Hall, London

A festive start, to be sure. A flourish of fireworks (Stravinsky's, I hasten to add), an unfamiliar ode to music, two piano concertos fielding three pianists, and, of course, the obligatory psalm of praise. Let no one suggest that Roger Wright's three-tier first nights don't reflect the comprehensive, inclusive, spirit of the Proms. But in terms of musical satisfaction, does the fragmented form, with its interminable intervals, really add up? No. Best to focus on the parts rather than the sum of them.

The Ten Best England Routs

Wembley turned into a shooting gallery this week as England put six past the part-timers of Andorra.

James Lawton: Rooney leads rejection of bad old ways to highlight Capello progress

It is not likely to shake any foundations in Spain or Brazil or Argentina but what happened at Wembley last night was some measure of Fabio Capello's reclamation work. His reclaiming, that is, of an England team who are developing a competitive depth guaranteed to avoid the worst kind of embarrassment on the world stage.

Rooney and Defoe double up to punish part-timers

England 6 Andorra 0

Beckham's deft touch shows no sign of waning

Contrary to last night's general impressions, the Andorran nation and David Beckham do share something in common in football. The nation and the player were unleashed on international football in the same year, 1996, days when the nation awaited a Labour government with baited breath and the Football Association had the same kind of belief in Glenn Hoddle's powers of management.

Rooney leads the way as England hit Andorra for six

England 6 Andorra 0

Glenn Moore: Minnows given a bite at big time by Uefa sharking for votes

That 70,000 people will tonight attempt to reach Wembley, despite the Tube strike, is an astonishing testament to the combined pulling power of Fabio Capello's revived team, and the aura of the new stadium. Because very few spectators will be there to watch England's opponents, and no one will turn up expecting to see a contest.

Capello to rotate as he eyes Croatia

England set to rest booked players for Andorra game in order to avoid suspensions

England stroll but Capello has work to do

Kazakhstan 0 England 4

Outside the Box: Andorra have pulling power as football masters the Apprentice

Should this column, like Fernando Torres and Michael Ballack, be rewarded with an extended contract on improved terms for next season, there will have to be an occasional item on The Power Of Football. Consider, for instance, the BBC's extraordinary decision to bring forward the final of The Apprentice from its regular Wednesday night slot to this evening, purely in order to avoid clashing with England's less than gripping World Cup game against Andorra. "Our priority is to schedule programmes in a way that offers viewers the best possible experience," said a Beeb spokesman in best possible PR-speak. More relevantly, when Sir Alan Sugar and his irritating entrepreneurs were in direct opposition to the Champions' League final, the audience dropped from 8.4 million the previous week to 6.5 million, compared to 7.9 million for the football. Now, thanks to the pulling power of those Andorrans, the apprentices need only go into bat tonight against the excellent but minority interest Empire of Cricket on BBC2. Oh, and Extreme Fishing with Robson Green.

Wright-Phillips ruled out of England qualifiers

Winger Shaun Wright-Phillips has been ruled out of England's World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra next month by a knee injury.

James Kirkup: Poet, author and translator who also wrote approximately 300 obituaries for The Independent

James Kirkup, who died on Sunday 10 May, aged 91, at his Andorran home, was an internationally celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, playwright and translator. James Falconer Kirkup was born on 23 April 1918 in South Shields, County Durham. He attended Westoe Secondary School before studying Modern Languages at Armstrong College (later incorporated in the University of Durham), where he co-produced the poetry magazines Dint and Fulcrum, which featured his earliest verse.

Colin Blunstone, 100 Club, London

The resurgence of all things progressive in rock, from the re-emergence of Van der Graaf Generator to the stadium-filling antics of Radiohead and Muse, has cast a new light on overlooked catalogues from bands such as The Alan Parsons Project (recently revamped and expanded in de rigueur, de luxe fashion).

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there