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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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Independent Travel
Burgundy
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Como
Bruges
Paris
Prices correct as of 28 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game