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Not content with being Time's Person of the Year and scoring a Rolling Stone cover, Pope Francis has now achieved superhero status, at least in the eyes of graffiti artist Maupal.

Jang Song Thaek being escorted to court

Nelson Mandela is gone, but South Africa will thrive says Anglo

Anglo American's links with South Africa are so entrenched that it has been described as running like a spine through the country's history. The founder of the FTSE 100 mining titan, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, established it there in 1917, sowing the seeds of a giant empire in diamonds, gold and minerals.

RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie alongside England head coach Stuart Lancaster

Rugby Football Union claims the sport has not been affected by spot-fixing but remains determined in vigilance against corruption

The issue is being raised in all sports following the match-fixing investigations that has rocked English football in recent weeks

Matteo Renzi, the mayor of Florence, was voted the leader of the centre-left Partito Democratico this week, and has been compared to Tony Blair

Dawn of a new era: Italy’s ‘Tony Blair’ shakes up centre left with youthful team

Italian politics is in for a change, with the youthful new leader of the Democratic Party heralding an end to a system moribund with cronyism

Victor Dahdaleh corruption case: Billionaire's fraud trial collapses after key SFO witnesses refuse to give evidence

A major anti-corruption trial involving a billionaire Labour donor who is a friend of Tony Blair collapsed yesterday following an embarrassing error by the Serious Fraud Office.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his uncle, Jang Song Thaek

Page 3 Profile: Chang Song-Thaek, uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Ung

Is all well inside North Korea?

Nelson Mandela with Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Desmond Tutu salutes ‘magician’ Nelson Mandela who healed the nation

South Africa’s Anglican leader fondly remembers his good friend

Pope Francis says he owes his life to a group of nuns who worked in a hospital whilst he was suffering from a recurring lung problem

Pope Francis reveals how a nun saved his life when he was just 21

Incident occurred whilst the pontiff was in hospital due to a lung problem

TV news about the alleged dismissal of Jang Song-Thaek, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's uncle, was broadcast in Seoul on 3 December 2013

North Korea confirms removal of Kim Jong-un’s 'depraved' uncle Jang Song Thaek

Jang was once seen as Kim's mentor long considered the country's second power - but his removal was blamed on 'corruption, drug use, gambling and womanizing'

One insurgent group linked to al-Qa’ida hopes to gain support in Syrian communities torn apart by two years of civil war by distributing aid and setting up its own schools and courts

Syria’s moderate rebel groups launch ‘soft power’ plan to beat Islamists

They hope a ‘hearts and minds’ campaign – promising extra aid and public services  in opposition-held areas – will help counter similar efforts by more radical Muslim groups

The Foundling Boy, By Michel Déon - Review

Michel Déon is one of the most acclaimed French writers of the past 50 years, being one of only 40 authors to be dubbed “un immortel” (an immortal) by his peers at the Académie française. Despite having scooped up many prestigious  literary prizes in his home country, only one of his more than 50 books has been translated into English. Up until now, that is. With the publication of The Foundling Boy, highly praised by William Boyd and Paul Theroux, many more can now enjoy Déon’s quiet, wryly funny prose and story-telling abilities.

The rate of unemployment among blacks is 12.5 per cent – more than twice as high as the 6.2 per cent among whites

Outlook: Nelson Mandela’s legacy is undeniable – but his scandal-riven successors are just not up to the job of preserving it

The South Africa of today  is, at best, underperforming its economic potential

Millions vote in Delhi state poll which could indicate how general election might play out

Turn-out for last of five local polls may have broken all previous records

Spain still struggling with corruption while Greece improves

Corruption was at the heart of the financial crises in Spain and Greece. But now it appears that while Athens is making an effort to clean up, Madrid is heading in the other direction.

Corruption Perceptions Index: Scandal-hit Spain drops 10 places in global corruption rankings led by Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan

Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan are the most corrupt regions according to Transparency International

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas