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

Arsenal's Lukas Podolski has admitted it's a good feeling to be back from injury after scoring on his return against West Ham

Newcastle v Arsenal: Lukas Podolski glad to be back after goalscoring return from hamstring injury

The German forward came off the bench against West Ham to score Arsenal's third goal and he has admitted that it wasn't easy during his three months on the sidelines

How is the New Year celebrated in your culture?

In Japan, New Year's Eve itself is called oh-misoka, and is a day to spend quietly at home for most people. It is not a day for fireworks at all in Japan (fireworks are reserved for summertime). You reflect on the old year, watch some year-ending entertainment programmes on TV such as Kohaku Uta Gassen (a long-running singing contest show), and perhaps go to the local temple at midnight, while hearing the 108 rings of the bell to ring away the evils of the old year. People looking for a party on New Year's Eve are often disappointed.

Boxing: Mike Tyson’s former trainer Tommy Brooks is right man for David Price

British heavyweight David Price has hired Mike Tyson’s former trainer Tommy Brooks as his new coach.

UK is on course to become Europe's largest economy within two decades

UK on course to become Europe's largest economy

GDP to leapfrog Germany around 2030

The Berlin Wall was built along the border between the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Federal Republic of Germany

Red Love: The Story of an East German Family, By Maxim Leo, trans. Shaun Whiteside

An illuminating look at life behind the Berlin Wall

Mikhail Kalashnikov obituary: Man behind world’s most famous assault rifle dies aged 94

Soviet general whose design for a cheap and reliable assault rifle transformed the nature of conflict round the world

Mesut Ozil

Champions League: Stopping 'individualist' Mesut Ozil the priority when Bayern Munich play Arsenal, reveals Manuel Neuer

The sides meet in the last-16 of the competition next year, and the Germany keeper admits Arsenal were the team they wanted to avoid in the draw

Winter Solstice 2013: Shortest day of the year marked with 'knitted' Google Doodle

December 21 is the year's shortest day and longest night

One of the towers of the Reichstag building, that hosts the Bundestag, lower house of parliament - according to Edward Snowden, some German buildings were targets of GCHQ and the NSA

German government buildings and charities were targets of GCHQ and NSA, says Edward Snowden

Latest disclosures also highlight key role in national security played by the small Cornish holiday resort town of Bude

Boere in court in 2009: he refused to apologise for his actions

Heinrich Boere: War criminal

Dutch-German soldier who was convicted for his role in murdering civilians as part of a Waffen SS hit squad

Kevin de Bruyne has made three Premier League appearances for Chelsea

Transfer news: Kevin De Bruyne looks set for Chelsea exit - reports

Bundesliga clubs on alert

Fabian Schar of Basel celebrates after scoring

Transfer news: Manchester United and Arsenal look set to battle for Basel defender Fabian Schar

Swiss defender reportedly attracting Premier League interest

The woman made a video in which she taped 33 mice to the ground and then stepped on them one by one

German woman fined for crushing mice in fetish video

Former soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one

Transfer news: Arsenal in contact over Basel star Fabian Schar

Gunners join Dortmund in enquiring about player according to agent

US snooping revelations: Merkel 'told Obama NSA was like the Stasi'

During angry exchanges over the scope and scale of American spies' snooping exposed by the NSA whistlewblower Edward Snowden, Angela Merkel reportedly told Barack Obama his country's conduct was reminiscent of the Stasi.

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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
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss