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

Best of 2014: Radio preview

Fiona Sturges picks this year's must-hear radio

The five new coin designs which will go into circulation on 1st January 2014

Royal Mint unveils new coins commemorating historic British anniversaries in 2014

Lord Kitchener will appear on the new £2 coin to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War

Michael Gove visits Durand Academy School in Stockwell in 2011

Michael Gove on Radio 4: Doesn't a discussion about teaching History need a teacher on the panel?

The BBC should be doing much more to take schoolteaching seriously

Fiona Bruce's Antiques Roadshow ‘hunch’ leads to discovery of lost £400,000 Van Dyck masterpiece

The presenter said she recognised details of the supposed ‘fake’, bought for just £400 from her work on a programme about the 17th century master

The News Matrix: Thursday 26 December 2013

Lib Dem attacks law on fox hunting

A US Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan

David Cameron to oppose EU 'drones club' on visit to Brussels

A plan for the European Union to develop its own drone programme will be strongly opposed by David Cameron at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels today.

Outraged of Tunbridge Wells, Edited by Nigel Cawthorne - Review

Kenneth Gregory’s 1983 collection of letters to The Times, The First Cuckoo, is a classic; then in the past few years we’ve had a steady supply of loo books, essentially compilations of unpublished readers’ letters to various publications to stuff into Christmas stockings. Now, the British Library habitue, Nigel Cawthorne, has mined the archives to find the best letters in the “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” vein. They all come from the same paper, the Tunbridge Wells Advertiser, from the beginning of the 20th century to the mid-Fifties, so we don’t get the pleasure of Tunbridge Wells residents harrumphing about contemporary issues, Sir Herbert Gussett-style, that we might expect.

Radio Days: The golden age of AM is long gone but it’s cherished by many Americans

Turning up the voice of America

The warm crackle and hiss of AM radio lives on in the US, and is about to get a boost that could put it back at the heart of communities

Premier League to donate new football pitch at Ypres to commemorate 'Christmas Truce' match during First World War

The Premier League is to donate a floodlit football pitch to mark the centenary of the Christmas Truce match which saw British and German troops play each other during the First World War.

Turning the Tide: The Life of Lady Rhondda, By Angela V John: Book review - a Welsh wonder who rode the first waves of feminism

Margaret, Lady Rhondda, was an improbable revolutionary. A socially elitist millionaire who lived next to the Ritz, she threw herself, and her money, into promoting women's equality in politics, in print and (briefly) in gaol. Angela John's excellent biography is thus to be welcomed warmly.

Books of the year 2013: War

Private Alex Stringer, of the Royal Logistic Corps, was 20 when he was blown up in Afghanistan: "The reason I lost my left leg so high up is because the burning paint cooked my left leg all the way down to the bone. But if I hadn't set myself on fire, I would have bled out and died – as a result of it, all the arteries became cauterised".

A biopic of JRR Tolkien's life is said to be in the pipeline

JRR Tolkien film biopic set for silver screen

The Lord of the Rings trilogy made billions of dollars at the box office and now the story of the author who created those fantasy worlds is to be brought to the silver screen.

Paperback review: Her Privates We, by Frederic Manning

Frederic Manning, an Australian writer who settled in Britain in 1903, was little known before this fictionalised account of his experiences in the trenches was published in 1930, attracting praise from Hemingway and E M Forster. But while the wartime poetry of Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke has become lodged in the collective consciousness, Manning’s extraordinary novel, reissued here by Serpent’s Tail, remains somewhat obscure.

Afro-American singer Josephine Baker

Black music: The European connection

Queen Victoria was a fan – and an African superstar’s grandfather an early performer. John Clarke looks back at the hidden history of Europe’s links to black singers and performers

Jones: 'her memory and intellect remained undimmed,' said her local MP, Simon Hughes

Grace Jones: Britain's oldest person, who worked as a seamstress and a civil servant until her retirement in the 1960s

Grace Jones was the oldest person in Britain and the last person in this country to have been born in the 1800s, during the reign of Queen Victoria. Her 113 years of life encompassed the invention of the aeroplane, the development of electronic communications and two world wars. She was the sixth oldest person in the world.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links