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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Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
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Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
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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 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor