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

Mikhail Kalashnikov posing with the first model of his legendary AK-47

Revealed: The dying remorse of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the man who made 100m rifles

He always said he had no regrets about inventing the AK-47. But in the days before his death he may have had a change of heart

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a state memorial service for Israel's former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at Israel's parliament, the Knesset on 13 January 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel

Ariel Sharon memorial: Israel holds memorial ceremony for 'fearless warrior'

Hundreds of Israeli VIPs and international dignitaries attended a state memorial ceremony for the late Ariel Sharon on Monday, remembering the controversial former prime minister as a fearless warrior and bold leader who devoted his life to protecting his country's security.

Game of Thrones series four

Game of Thrones season 4 first trailer: 'The war's not won'

The teaser for the new series is all freshly-forged swords and middle distances stares

Bang on target : Shotgun Paddy (left) gets his nose in front of Carruthers in the Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick

Shotgun Paddy shows impressive firepower

Though youth had its afternoon at Warwick yesterday as the novice chaser Shotgun Paddy belied his rookie status to see off a collection of hoary old handicapping hands in the Betfred Classic Chase, he rather took on the role of the man who shot Bambi's mother.

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon pictured in 2005

Timeline: The life of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

From son of Russian immigrants to one of Israel's most influential and controversial leaders

Arifa Akbar: The most memorable history lesson on war is found in fiction

Remember Septimus Warren Smith? The returning First World War veteran who haunted the darker recesses of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway? Septimus Smith, who couldn’t stop being tormented by his raw, ravaging, suicide-inducing memories of the front, even as the sun shone on postwar London? He has remained with me in a way that no history lesson has. Sorry Mr Gove, but I’m not embarrassed to say that I learned the best lessons about the Great War through great fiction.

‘Which inventions were created by accident?’

Potato chips. In the 1800s in New York, a customer at a restaurant sent back French fries because they were too thick. The cook made thinner ones that the customer still thought were too thick. Exasperated, the chef made ones that were exceedingly thin to piss off the customer... who loved them.

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hinted at improved relations between the two Koreas in his New Year's Day message - before also warning of possible nuclear war

North Korea rejects South's proposals for reunion of families separated by Korean War

Secretive state says resumption of programme has been delayed due to planned military drills in the South

A history teacher's appraisal of Michael Gove's approach to the teaching of history

The Education Secretary's ability to brush aside the past work of so many is worrying as well as sad

The Sketch: General Gove discovers the brotherhood of man

What are so-called Topical Questions for if not to address the great controversies of the day?

George Osborne is said to have paid £100 an hour to be trained by a Harley Street vocal specialist during his days as shadow Chancellor

Andy McSmith's Diary: More than a little teed off with the Chancellor’s speech

George Osborne is said to have paid £100 an hour to be trained by a Harley Street vocal specialist during his days as shadow Chancellor, to help him sound weighty and authoritative. But did he get his money’s worth? After listening to the Chancellor’s speech on Monday, the Labour MP Jamie Reed seemed to think not. He tweeted: “Can someone please reintroduce Osborne to ‘t’ as a consonant? Cos I godda dell ya, that speech made me wanna scream.”

Education Secretary Michael Gove

Michael Gove: He's not the Education Secretary, he's a very silly boy

Michael Gove's silliness reached a new peak in his comments on the First World War

Those who've fought, teach: Yes to ex-military teachers but no to cadet units in schools

Former members of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force have a lot to offer – experience of life, for a start

A clash between police and protesters after a crowd attacked polling booths in Bogra in the north

At least 21 dead as violence surrounds controversial Bangladeshi election

At least 21 people have been killed in incidents across the country

Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson in Blackadder

Baldrick bites back: Sir Tony Robinson calls Michael Gove 'irresponsible' over criticisms of Blackadder as propaganda tool for the left

Actor says comments by Education Secretary amounted to 'slagging off teachers'

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Day In a Page

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 20 February 2015
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?