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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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
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11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
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Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
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Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
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Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

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America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone