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The Belgian frigate has transported its cargo of sacred soil from the cemeteries of WWI battlefields in Flanders to London for use in a new Flanders Fields Memorial Garden at Wellington Barracks.

Ruck and Maul: Boris ready to party with the Maoris at the biggest ballin the world

The draw for the next World Cup takes place three years early, so when the competition begins in New Zealand in 2011 present form could look very silly indeed. So why the premature announcement? "Logistics," explain the International Rugby Board. The draw – will England manage to avoid the All Blacks? – will be held on 1 December next to Tower Bridge... within a rugby ball. It is not, however, an ordinary Gilbert but the world's largest ball. At 25m long and 17m metres wide it can accommodate 230 people, and the message from New Zealand is that people "are set for a trip to rugby Nirvana". When the ball is opened to the public on 25 November, they are set for something else: Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, will take part in a Maori ceremony. What have the Maoris done to deserve that?

Woman killed in bus crash on Tower Bridge

A woman was killed and 19 people were injured today after a double-decker bus crashed into a tree close to one of the UK's most-recognised landmarks.

Pandora: What's the buzz around IDS?

Hear that? Yep, silence. It's the sound of Iain Duncan Smith's bees. The former Conservative leader and self-styled "Quiet Man" of British politics has taken to bee-keeping for relaxation.

Ashes to Ashes: Bang to rights

Sexist, bigoted DCI Gene Hunt of time-travelling cop show 'Life on Mars' is back – and his new sidekick is a woman. Has he met his match? Gerard Gilbert thinks so

Fan's Eye View: West Brom

EVENTS: PICK OF THE WEEK

Tower Bridge Valentine's Day Mon Tower Bridge, London SE1

The Rise of the Indian Rope Trick: the biography of a legend by Peter Lamont

Stairway to heaven or money for old rope?

Paint-filled balloon hits Blaine's box

It takes time and energy to be alternative

Vic, the primal scream exponent, came round to rebirth me in a brick pyramid like Mrs Blair
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own