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
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific