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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen