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

Anger sweeps Belgium over child-sex ring

Palaces in Antwerp and Hasselt with stones; there was a bomb scare at the Vilvoorde home of Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene; and demonstrators in Turhout with pasta in their hair gave the public prosecutor dried spaghetti.

Belgian protest goes on despite justice promise

Belgium's justice minister pledged to reinforce inquiries into the country's child sex and murder scandals yesterday as nationwide protests continued over the sacking of the judge leading investigations.

Belgium erupts in judge's defence

A surge of spontaneous public emotion swept across normally placid Belgium yesterday after the sacking of the crusading judge who led the inquiry into the country's child sex and murder scandals. This triggered strikes in cities and towns throughout the country, protests angrily directed at the state itself.

De Beers sets sights on diamond peace

De Beers will tomorrow attempt to reassure its key customers that its grip on the world's diamond remains intact, as 160 gem buyers from all over the world gather at its City of London headquarters for one of the year's most important "sights".

Romancing the stone among cobbled streets and rococo masonry

The betrothal had long since passed. Families had approved, wedding arrangements had been discussed, but still there was no ring. An initial cash-flow problem was exacerbated by the wait: the more time went by, the larger the eventual prize would have to be. And how to avoid a Ratneresque nightmare of substandard, worthless junk?

Recognition digs deep in hunt for returns

Recognition Systems, a recent flotation now at 121p, has the hallmarks of a highly risky but also extremely promising little company. It was formed in 1989 to develop neural computing technology. Advanced stuff, it allows companies with vast quantities of data to mine the information for customer profiles and save a lot of statisticians' time. So far, the company is targeting banks, insurers, pharmaceuticals companies, healthcare and government - all of which have vast amounts of data buried in their organisations, much of which they are unable to exploit to their full advantage. The gamble is whether the management has the necessary expertise and technical nous to make it work. On a cursory examination, the answer would appear to be yes. Buy.

Letter: EU 3per cent 'limit' on budget deficit is a fallacy

Sir: Gavyn Davies ( 29 April) is guilty of perpetuating the myth that Maastricht imposes a limit of 3 per cent on budget deficits. Three per cent is merely a reference value, such that the EU makes an evaluation of the situation of states exceeding this value in order to determine whether their deficit can be considered to be excessive.

Iranian ship carried arms

Brussels - An Iranian ship that docked recently in Belgium carried arms which could have been used in a terrorist attack in Germany, according to the Antwerp public prosecutor's office, Reuter reports.

`Mosquito' who rattled Russian mafia's cage

In Antwerp, Sarah Helm tracks down a Cold War profiteer struggling with the new disorder

Ivanisevic keeps rolling

Tennis

Agassi falls to world's No 462

Tennis

Krajicek waits for Stich

Tennis

MUSIC: It ain't over till the fat man's hanky song

THE bottom-line demand of Turandot is for two acts of romantic, oriental schmaltz to keep the audience happy until "Nessun Dorma" - but Christopher Alden's production for English National Opera offers nothing of the sort. Set starkly against lurid, neon-lit designs and corrugated surfaces (with the whole of Act 1 contained by a wall of mug-shots of the princely victims looking like a rent boys' gazetteer), the tone is rigorously anti-romantic; and it culminates in a final scene where Turandot and Calaf not only fail to kiss but end up on different sides of the stage, ignoring each other. It's as though Alden refuses to accept the possibility of love between these characters; as though the riddles, challenges and conquests are nothing more than a self-proving game of Russian roulette where the most you can expect is survival. In short, this is no Turandot for traditionalists - or for football fans in innocent pursuit of what the fat man's hanky song is all about.

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