Tom Boonen enjoys his victory

Cycling: Boonen takes title as rivals crash out

Belgium's Tom Boonen won the Tour of Flanders for the third time yesterday, beating Filippo Pozzato and Alessandro Ballan in a three-way sprint.

Sir Lancelot Errington: Civil servant who helped found the Welfare State

Happily married to the same lady for 70 years, Lance Errington – it did not occur to us to call such an unpompous and witty man Lancelot – was a hugely effective civil servant who devoted his working life to welfare and his social life to keeping friendships in first-class repair.

450 days after the election there's still no government in Belgium

Belgium hit a new milestone today — 450 days without a government — but still no one appears to be in any big hurry to resolve the situation.

The Invention of Murder, By Judith Flanders

Reading this epic dissection of 19th-century murder and the fascination it held for the Victorian public, you are reminded of the odd ways in which the names of perpetrators and victims continue to resonate. The expression "Sweet Fanny Adams" stems from a grisly case of 1867 when the dismembered body of nine-year-old Fanny Adams was found near Alton, Hampshire. Myles-na-Gopaleen, the pen-name used by Flann O'Brien, was a character in Dion Boucicault's drama The Colleen Bawn - derived from the real-life murder of 15-year-old Ellen Hanley, drowned in 1819. Thomas Hood's poem "Eugene Aram", repeatedly used for comic effect by PG Wodehouse – in Bertie Wooster's mangled recollection, it goes, "Tum-tum tum-tumpty mist (I think it's mist),/ And Eugene Aram walked between,/ With gyves upon his wrist" – concerned a Knaresborough man hanged for the murder of a shoemaker in 1749.

Cycling: Nuyens sees off Flanders favourite

The Belgian Nick Nuyens stunned pre-race favourite Fabian Cancellara to prevail in a three-man sprint and win the Tour of Flanders yesterday.

Belgians 'celebrate' 249 days of indecision

John Lichfield reports from Brussels on a new world record for political failure

Belgians celebrate 'world record' for political indecision

What would be a humiliation for many turned into a party for Belgium today as the country's citizens marked 249 days without a government, a figure that they are treating as a world record in political waffling.

Belgium – eight months with no government

A new world record is about to be set for political indecision

Travel challenge: A last-minute winter weekend in Bruges

Every week we invite competing companies to give us their best deal for a specific holiday. Today: a luxurious pre-Christmas weekend break in Bruges, departing on Friday 17 December. Prices are per person, based on two people travelling together for two nights.

Jelle van Damme leaves Wolves in £2.5m deal

Wolves defender Jelle van Damme is returning to Belgium in a £2.5 million move to Standard Liege.

Leading article: Earlier each year

The wearing of poppies, like the preparations for Christmas, seems to start a few days earlier every year. The artificial red flower was already adorning many a BBC presenter's lapel on Saturday, more than three weeks before Remembrance Sunday on 14 November. By then, almost no public figure will want to be seen without one.

The odd couple who hold key to Belgium's future

Election sees unlikely partners begin talks on coalition – and splitting country in two

Flemish party ahead in Belgium

The Flemish separatist N-VA party claimed victory after yesterday's general election in Belgium, as projections showed them on course to gain the most seats in the lower house.

Voters ponder Belgian break-up as polls open

Belgians are going to the polls today in general elections that are widely seen as a vote on an orderly break-up of a country where 6.5 million Dutch and four million French-speakers are locked in a quarrelsome union.

Belgium votes in election that could split the nation

The flag tugs at the wrought-iron balcony railing as if to reach out to the other tricolore across the road.

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
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Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
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The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
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peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
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In other news ... Jon Snow performed at last year's Newsroom's Got Talent charity event
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?