Travel

Mons is embracing the future as it prepares for its role as next year’s European Capital of Culture, but it’s also steeped in intriguing history. Philip Sweeney explores its two sides

French forward Franck Ribery (R) speaks with midfielder Samir Nasri at the French national football team training base in Clairefontaine

Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri admits he didn't deserve France call-up - and promises to behave from now on

The former Arsenal player lashed out during Euro 2012

Delphine Boël plans to start fresh proceedings against Albert

Belgian king’s ‘daughter’ drops one legal fight, but plans another

British-educated artist, Delphine Boël, drops legal case demanding DNA samples from two of Albert II's acknowledged children

Portfolio: Belgian photographer Eva Vermandel kicks against the modern culture of disposability

'I dislike how photography mostly gets used to describe the tangible," says Eva Vermandel of the Instagrammisation of her medium. "Too often bodies of work can easily be described in one simple sentence. From art, I expect something different: I want it to hit me right in the gut and plant seeds into my brain."

Gerard Depardieu has insisted it was not French tax rates but his globe-trotting soul that brought him a mile over the border to Belgium

I still love France, says Gerard Depardieu as he hosts Belgian housewarming

There was singing, steak and suckling pig at the weekend as the French actor, Gerard Depardieu, threw a house-warming barbecue in his new home town of Néchin, insisting it was not French tax rates but his globe-trotting soul that brought him a mile over the border to Belgium.

Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines in pre-season action for Everton

Transfer news: Manchester United 'preparing' a £35m return offer for Everton pair Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini

United's original offer of £28m was slammed as 'derisory and insulting' by David Moyes' former club

Ricky van Wolfswinkel celevrates scoring Norwich's equaliser

Norwich City 2 Everton 2 match report: Ricky van Wolfswinkel scores on his debut to give Canaries a share of the points after Ross Barkley stunner

Steven Whittaker had put Norwich ahead but goals from Barkley and Seamus Coleman had looked to give Roberto Martinez a winning start before van Wolfswinkel header

Marouane Fellaini of Everton celebrates his goal during

Transfer news: Manchester United to accept defeat over Cesc Fabregas by making £23m offer for Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini

David Moyes looks set to raid his former club for the Belgian international as well as maintaining his interest in defender Leighton Baines

Oscar winner: Spaniard Garcia turned down more lucrative offers because he is 'fascinated' by English football

Oscar Garcia: Even Pep Guardiola had to start somewhere

Brighton's new head coach tells Nick Szczepanik he is ready for big break and, after missile attack, nothing will faze him

Tottenham have boosted their attacking options with the signing of Belgium winger Nacer Chadli

Nacer Chadli wings way to Tottenham after £7m deal is agreed with FC Twente

Tottenham have boosted their attacking options with the signing of Belgium winger Nacer Chadli.

Belgium's new King: Albert II abdicates after 20-year reign to make way for son Philippe

King Philippe becomes the news monarch after his father announced plans to abdicate less than three weeks ago

King Albert II and Queen Paola in Liège yesterday

The Belgian King’s brief? Unite a divided nation

The new Belgian monarch is a former fighter pilot – and he will have a scrap on his hands trying to maintain the unity of this hybrid country

Spain's defender Sergio Ramos (C) raises the trophy as Spain's national football team players celebrate winning the 2010 World Cup football

World Cup and European Championships to remain free-to-air after Uefa and Fifa lose appeals

Football's governing bodies had wanted to be able to sell matches to the highest bidders

Postcard from... Brussels

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Joan Iyiola in A Season in the Congo

Theatre review: A Season in the Congo, Young Vic, London

It's six years since we last saw him on stage giving an award-winning portrayal of Othello at the Donmar Warehouse. Now Chiwetel Ejiofor is back and in magnificent form as Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the newly independent Congo, in Joe Wright's production of this 1966 play by Aime Cesaire about the fraught political struggles that led to Lumumba's CIA-endorsed assassination after barely seven months of power. 

Postcard from... Brussels

Britain isn’t the only country enjoying a welcome spell of balmy weather at the moment. In Belgium, too, the sun has come out after one of the most miserable springs on record, and people spent the weekend picking up some much-needed rays in gardens, parks and on beaches.

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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