West Flanders - latest news, breaking stories and comment - The Independent

Racing: Revelry the main contender as Flanders field renews rivalry: Richard Edmondson at Waregem tastes the carnival spirit before the Belgian Grand National

IT STARTED on cobbled streets and today the Grand Steeple Chase of Flanders (Belgian Grand National) will ensure spectators return to work with cobbled minds.

King of a divided country: Belgium must find another path to the unity Baudouin offered, says Jonathan Eyal

WITH KING BAUDOUIN, the Belgians at the weekend buried an entire generation of leaders, people who instinctively believed that reason, moderation and vision must triumph. Albert II, his successor due to be sworn today, inherits a transformed state, a country that epitomises everything both good and bad on the European continent.

Belgians yearn for one nation: Politicians accused of following 'uncertain path' of separatism

THOUSANDS of Belgians marched on Brussels yesterday in one of the largest demonstrations ever seen in the city. It was a protest against the division of their country and in celebration of a nation that some fear is in danger of disappearing.

Out of Belgium: Small-screen airing of national drama

BRUSSELS - Viewers in the suburb of Wemmel-Drogenbos were told that, from today, they would not be able to watch their favourite French-language television programmes. The Flemish government, which has a constitutional duty to safeguard Flemish culture, was going to block the signal to prevent 'cultural contamination' of the airways.

Belgian coalition survives budget rift

THE constitutional crisis over elements of the Maastricht treaty that almost sank the Belgian government was resolved yesterday when the warring coalition agreed a budget. Debate over how to cut the budget deficit in line with the criteria for economic and monetary union had created a political stalemate. Gambling his reputation as the consummate deal-maker, the Prime Minister, Jean-Luc Dehaene, last week tendered his government's resignation to King Baudouin.

Baudouin strives to avert chaos: Regional splits and budget row bring Belgium to breaking point

KING BAUDOUIN spent yesterday trying to avert the chaos that has been building for four months and threatens to destroy Belgium's economic security and international reputation as a model European state.

Further apart

BRUSSELS (Reuter) - Belgium's parliament yesterday approved by just two votes a sweeping state reform which will lead the country into a new federal era, further separating Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia. The coalition government mustered 144 votes - only two more than the two-thirds majority of 142 required - to amend the first article of the Belgian constitution. The new deal grants more autonomy to Flanders in the north and Wallonia in the south.

Belgium moves to federal state

BRUSSELS - Belgium yesterday took the first step towards constitutional change in an effort to stop the country tearing itself apart, but hardline Flemish nationalists hope the reform will be but a stage on the road to independence, writes Sarah Lambert.

Europe 1993: City with a mission to save: Antwerp - commerce and culture

NEXT YEAR, Antwerp becomes the latest European city of culture, following Glasgow, Dublin and Madrid. But the celebrations come at a time when many think the city should be asking difficult questions of itself.
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona from £949pp
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro from £799pp
Provence from £599pp
Apulia, Lecce and Vieste – Undiscovered Italy from £899pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples from £759
Classical Spain from £539pp
Prices correct as of 12 September 2014
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week