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

The 10 Best adventure playgrounds

No matter how chilly it is outside, come half term, you're going to need to tire out the children. Try one of these for size

The 12 Apostles, a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park, are evidence of immense forces

Take the scenic route: A long weekend on Australia's Great Ocean Road

If the "wide brown land" of Australia is a Hob Nob then the Great Ocean Road is where it has been dunked into the roiling tea cup of the Southern Ocean. The road – perennial candidate for the title of World's Most Scenic Drive – runs westward for 242km along the crumbling coast of south-west Victoria from the town of Torquay, just west of Melbourne; keep on going around the coast and you hit Adelaide, 800km later.

Tombstone: The Untold Story of Mao's Great Famine, By Yang Jisheng, trans. Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian

This epic work of testimony and investigation lays bare a Communist crime of the century

Television choices: Intricate web of secrets and stealth drives active agent

TV pick of the week: Spies of Warsaw

A Thornton Wilder Christmas, King's Head Theatre, London

There's a famous scene in Citizen Kane where Orson Welles chronicles the disintegration of a sixteen year marriage in two minutes of screen time through a montage of increasingly chilly breakfast confrontations.

Expert dismisses claims WWII pigeon code has been cracked

Historical advisor to Bletchley Park says Canadian historian's solution is 'just silly'

To lose your mother, as Murdoch has, is part of the slow progression into adulthood. Yes, even at 81

Rupert Murdoch's mother Dame Elisabeth died this week, it's a devastating and sometimes transformative experience at any age

Council fined £30,000 for 2007 warehouse blaze that left four firefighters dead

A local authority has been fined £30,000 for health and safety failures linked to a warehouse blaze in which four firefighters died.

'World's oldest person' Besse Cooper dies aged 116

The woman who was listed as the world's oldest person has died in a Georgia nursing home at age 116.

Jatinderpal Singh Bhullar has been given permission to wear his turban instead of traditional regimental headgear

First Sikh guardsman to be given permission to wear a turban instead of a bearskin

Palace under pressure not to break more than 100 years of tradition.

'Downtown Abbey' writer Julian Fellowes

Television: What Julian Fellowes did next

Just how gilded was this age, and how much nose-wrinkling might it have inspired in the dowager countess? The formidable Downton Abbey matriarch wasn't fond of new-moneyed Americans, the subjects of a new NBC series involving the ITV show's writer, Julian Fellowes.

House of Stone, By Anthony Shadid. Granta, £14.99

Pulitzer Prize-winner Anthony Shadid, foreign correspondent for the New York Times, died in February this year. Just 43, he suffered a fatal asthma attack while trying to leave Syria on horseback.

'Call The Midwife' and 'Downton Abbey' will not go head-to-head this Christmas

Downton Abbey versus Call The Midwife in Christmas Day ratings battle

After last year's EastEnders Downton clash, TV bosses are anxious to avoid making viewers choose

Seeing double: Samuel Barnett, Johnny Flynn and Mark Rylance in Twelfth Night

IoS theatre review: Twelfth Night, Apollo Shaftesbury, London
The Magistrate, NT Olivier, London
The Promise, Trafalgar Studios, London

Tim Carroll's all-male production of 'Twelfth Night' is both funny and touching in its exploration of love and sexuality

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newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
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news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
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Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Arts and Entertainment
As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
film
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Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber, is now worth $5.3bn
tech
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Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn