News A Syrian rebel support group has threatened to blow up the Atomium in Brussels

A plot to attack the Belgian capital stokes fears Europe will targeted by radicalised fighters returning from Syria. Charlotte McDonald-Gibson reports from Brussels

Unpublished Rubens drawings recover from earlier identity crisis

THE HAND of Rubens has been identified in previously unpublished drawings on either side of a single sheet, writes Dalya Alberge.

The European Elections: Party tricks fail to woo Belgian voters: Fiesta Time: Beer and tombola may not save coalition, Sarah Lambert reports from Geel

Belgians are happy for an excuse to party. Yesterday, on the only sunny day of the year, about 800 party-lovers in this small town squeezed into a tent, bent on enjoying the traditional rites of summer, sing-along music, beer and the chance to win on the tombola. But it was not fun for fun's sake. Unusually in a country with little appetite for politics, this was a party for Europe.

Travel: Belgium is in fashion, and that's flat: Antwerp has been quietly turning out talented designers for years. Now it is where those in the know go, among them Alix Sharkey

Big docks, nice paintings, decent football team, fresh mussels, great beer, chocolates to die for, and an in-your-face baroque cathedral bang in the middle. That is the Antwerp story, right there. Or it was until six or seven years ago. Then a funny thing happened on the way to the Nineties.

Travel: A flying start from the Thames: London City Airport offers a taste of journeys from a bygone age. Frank Barrett indulges in a spot of time travel, keeping his feet firmly on the ground

When I tried to buy a ticket to London City Airport at my local tube station, the clerk was perplexed: 'London Airport: you want Heathrow or Gatwick?' he demanded. His ignorance was understandable: would anybody on the Clapham Omnibus, given a map of London, be able to put their finger on the City's airport?

Letter: A capital location for a rhetorical Hell

Sir: Has Miles Kington ('An Antwerp clog - now what would Froggy say?', 30 March) not misheard or been misinformed?

An Antwerp clog - now what would Froggy say?

WE HAD a French teacher at school whose name was Ian Hunter, but who was known to succeeding generations as 'Froggy' Hunter, which just goes to show what a wonderfully inventive sense of humour the English have, even when young. Hunter must have had a sense of humour himself in electing to try to teach languages to British children for, as he himself often said, the British have no inbuilt urge to learn other languages.

The Reith Lectures 1994: Boys will be Boys: The Making of the Male: Marina Warner, in the second lecture of a series entitled 'Managing Monsters', on the threads linking ancient myths and modern machismo

On my way to the Future Entertainment Show at Olympia last year, I found I was the only woman waiting for the Tube. The station was unusually full for the middle of the morning, with scattered groups of young men in jeans and trainers, gaggles of young boys and, with some of the boys, their fathers. When the train came and the carriage doors opened, a rather dazed looking pigeon fluttered out. A man near me laughed. 'Don't worry,' he said, 'it's only a virtual reality pigeon.'

Letter: A Greek contribution to Europe

Sir: Your fears ('Greece's presidency tests the Twelve', 5 January) for the effects on the European Union of the six-month Greek Council presidency are unjustified. Apart from the issue of Macedonia, the Greek government is more in the mainstream of European thinking than is the UK government.

'The Boys' try to do a man's job: Richard Dowden, in Freetown, reports on the young officers who hold power in Sierra Leone

THE OFFICIAL portrait shows him in battledress but he looks away from the camera, with soft lost-boy eyes. At the age of 27, Captain Valentine Strasser is the world's youngest head of state. He is also the shyest. His daily public non-appearance consists of a convoy of seven Land Rovers filled with heavily armed uniformed youths who pose Rambo-style in reflecting sunglasses, one leg draped casually over the tailboard.

Belgium clash

Police used water cannon against workers yesterday as Belgium's powerful trade unions began a series of strikes and demonstrations to try to force the government to soften its tough package of austerity measures, Reuter reports from Brussels.

Tennis: Ivanisevic stays in contention

GORAN IVANISEVIC stayed on course for next week's ATP finals in Frankfurt by defeating the Belgian, Johan Van Herck, in the second round of the European Community Championship in Antwerp yesterday.

Letter: Stop these fascists

Sir: Bravo to the Anti-Nazi League and the Unity march last weekend. I am a resident of Belgium, whose second largest city, Antwerp, already votes 25 per cent for the right-wing Flemish Vlams Blok. In our neighbour France, Le Pen and the Front Nationale now gains more than 14 per cent of the national vote, with much higher votes in various regions. Both these parties are not merely right wing, but clearly fascist, dreaming of recreating Hitler's Nazi Europe.

MUSIC / The phoenix rises: Anthony Payne on the British premiere of Berlioz's 'lost' Mass at Westminster Cathedral

THE excitement surrounding the discovery of the long-lost manuscript of Berlioz's early Messe solennelle has been considerable. Berlioz declared in his memoirs that he'd burnt it, but it turned up three years ago in the organ loft of an Antwerp parish church.

Prostitute's homage to caring King

A FORMER prostitute paid an emotional homage to King Baudouin at the funeral Mass. One of a handful of people chosen to deliver orations, Luz Oral, a Filipino, praised the King for his fight against the international sex trade. She stood in silence as a writer, Chris de Stoop, read aloud the words she had written. Ms Oral had met the King when he paid a highly-publicised visit to a brothel in Antwerp, and De Stoop said both the King and Queen had wanted her to address the funeral. This was her homage:

The Sunday Preview: Exploiting the free movement of labour

THERE is a single currency in Europe and it's called dance. Tanz Werk Statt Europa, or Dance Workshop Europe, brings together young choreographers from four EC countries and invites them to make work around the same theme. This year, the third, the choreographers are Claire Russ (UK, above), Veerle Bakelants (Belgium), Urs Dietrich (Germany), and Christine Marneffe (France). Their pieces on the theme of 'removals' were shown in Munich last week and will be performed in London, Antwerp, Ghent and Angers. Claire Russ's sensuous Heirs and Graces is about the removal of clothing, stripping away and being, about the past and future of a strange family that may be rural or may perhaps inhabit a royal court. (The Place, London, WC1, 071-387 0031, Tues & Wed.)
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Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
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Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

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Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

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