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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.

A city stretched to its limits: David Nicholson-Lord looks at the reality behind John Gummer's glossy vision of London

IT WAS a scene tailor-made for satire. There, puffing and gurgling, were the Lancashire steam engines of Tower Bridge, resplendent in their polished green livery, generating up to 750lb of pressure per square inch. And in front of them, less polished perhaps but generating a rather more impressive head of steam, was John Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment, posing indefatigably for the cameras and talking to anybody with a microphone prepared to listen.

Gummer catches a bus to seek praise for capital: The minister for London wants residents' opinions on a 'great city', writes David Nicholson-Lord

JOHN Gummer was having no truck with whingers and malcontents yesterday. Nor did he take kindly to aspersions that life in London might be less than wonderful. Least of all did he want to hear anything about local government for the capital. That sort of talk, he declared, was divisive.

Museums: Bridging a gap in London's history: Michael Leapman visits the exhibition at Tower Bridge that marks its centenary in 1994

TOWER BRIDGE in London prides itself on being possibly the only bridge in the world to house an exhibition. It is not difficult to work out why.

Letter: Ban overtime pay to improve the police

AS A retired police officer and a contemporary of Ian McKenzie, I support his article, 'First, change the culture' (4 July).

Sports Listings: Sunday / Athletics: NutraSweet London Marathon, Blackheath to Westminster

World champions, Olympians, fun runners and wheelchair entrants will be gathered on Blackheath this Sunday for the world's largest marathon and on the stroke of 9.30am the cannon will mark the start for some 30,000 to set off for the finish on Westminster Bridge.

Pier sought for Thames cruise ships

CRUISE ships could be sailing up the Thames if the Port of London Authority is successful in attracting a developer to build docking facilities.

Property: A lease hath all too short a date: . . . and when it runs out, you're homeless. Jonathan Sale on a bill to free leaseholders

'I'M genuinely sorry about the Duke of Westminster,' Joan South says, 'but people like me are faced with being thrown out on the street.'

Base jumper who defies the City limits 'for kicks'

IT ALL happened so quickly - which is the normal state of affairs for base jumpers such as Russell Powell who actively seek a life in the fast lane.

Minicab driver faces rape charge

A minicab driver will appear before Tower Bridge magistrates in east London today to face rape and false imprisonment charges.

Sports Listings / This Weekend: Powerboats: London-Calais-London race: Tower Bridge

This weekend it is the turn of the mighty offshore powerboats to show their mettle in the London-Calais-London race. The event this year is broken as the competitors will stay overnight in Calais for the first time in 15 years and counts as the fourth and fifth rounds of the British offshore championship. Tomorrow morning the race starts upstream of Tower Bridge and refuels at Ramsgate before setting off on the final 32 miles to France. The 120-mile return leg on Sunday has no refuelling stop and, depending on conditions, could produce the fastest crossing from the Continent to London. Richard Carr, of Poole, attempts to do just that. His 40ft catamaran, powered by two 1200hp Lamborghini petrol engines, can reach 120mph, a speed which could carry Carr and his co-driver, Peter Dredge, to London in an hour.
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Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
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One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

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Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect