Business Diary: Flanders finally gets one up on Peston

One of the more entertaining business rumbles of this year has unfolded over at the BBC following the return to work after maternity leave of the corporation's economics editor, Stephanie Flanders. Her return put her head-to-head every day in a battle of the blogs with the Beeb's high-profile business editor, Robert Peston. And at first she proved far less popular. Still, their final pre-Christmas blogs show there has been a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of the two. Peston's festive missive attracted 120-odd comments, while Flanders got more than 150. Game on for 2010, then.

Stackridge, 100 Club, London

Back in the early 1970s Stackridge were what the more discerning listener moved on to when they had finished with Lindisfarne. Like the Geordie folk-rockers, Stackridge had an air of feisty provincialism – they emerged from the Bath/Bristol area – and were not lacking in fiddles and flutes. But they were less earnest and more whimsical.

The first poppy found in war diary

Some fragile petals recovered from the diary of a First World War soldier are thought to be the oldest Remembrance poppies in Britain.

Ripple effect: The Belgian coastline's white sand beaches and chic restaurants will seduce and surprise the sophisticated traveller

Saint-Tropez too pricey? Amalfi too busy? The Costas too hot? The Dalmatian coast too trendy? If you're looking for a quiet and scenic stretch of continental sand, look no further than the Flemish coast.

Credit crisis diary: Flanders sticks her stake in the ground

Another warning shot from the BBC's economics editor, Stephanie Flanders, to her colleague Robert Peston, the Beeb's business editor, with whom, insiders say, a healthy rivalry is developing. In a less than exacting interview with the London Evening Standard, Flanders makes a point of praising Peston for his coverage of the credit crunch, which she says has been "business centred" until recently. Now, however, "the story is moving on to the real economy", Flanders adds. In other words, "Get off my patch, Robert".

Bruges: A genuine work of art

Old master or cutting-edge installation? Bruges is both, says Harriet O’Brien

Simon Calder: Why Go Now?

'Widescreen skies provide constantly changing aerial scenery'

24-Hour Room Service: Kempinski Duke's Palace, Bruges, Belgium

At the end of a narrow cobbled street in the heart of the Unesco city of Bruges towers a cream and red-brick turreted palace that has recently opened as Bruges's first five-star hotel. It is the latest incarnation of the Prinsenhof, built in 1429 by the powerful Duke Philip the Good – then the richest man in Europe – to celebrate his marriage to Isabella of Portugal.

In Bruges, 18<br />Flashbacks of a Fool, 15<br />Street Kings, 15

Gangster romp on the cobbles has the makings of a cult classic

Hugo Claus: Acclaimed author whose work was marked by intelligence and passion

Though often a controversial figure, the Flemish writer, director and graphic artist Hugo Claus was rarely overtly political. His sympathies were with the underdog, but he never descended to agitprop. Claus was the recipient of seven state prizes in Belgium and in 1986 was awarded the prestigious Prize for Dutch Literature. Harry Mulisch, the only other living writer in Dutch to be tipped for the Nobel Prize, called Claus "a great figure", while the poet Remco Campert described him as "the greatest writer of my generation".

Belgian crisis ends as new government is sworn in

A new government has been formed in Belgium, ending nine months of political deadlock which had threatened to break the country apart. But members of the new government are expected to resume battle soon over devolution of powers to the regions.

Album: Bach

Motets &ndash; Flemish Radio Choir/Bo Holten, GLOSSA

Leading article: Prolonging an uneasy marriage

Belgian politicians have found a Belgian solution to a Belgian crisis. Six months after he "lost" a general election, the caretaker Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt is to become an "interim" prime minister at the head of an "interim" coalition government. The longest political crisis in Belgium's crisis-strewn history is over or, at least, suspended until March.

Class of 2007: The top 20 non-premiership players

Championship footballers are back in vogue, with clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea and even Real Madrid taking an interest in players not appearing in the top division. As Premiership managers begin to flex their cheque-books in the January transfer window, Glenn Moore reveals The Independent's second annual survey of the top 20 outside the Premiership
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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent