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A vicars' pension scheme could be facing a precarious future unless church chiefs face up to a potentially massive deficit. John Ralfe, an independent pension expert, claimed this week that the pension scheme for some 16,400 Church of England clergy is "the riskiest in the country in terms of asset-type".

Built to last: the new Christchurch Cathedral by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban

Divine inspiration: The cardboard cathedral in Christchurch

When the gothic spire of Christchurch Cathedral toppled during the earthquake of 2011,  the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban was one of the first to submit a plan for its replacement. Inventive and eco-friendly, Ban said that if chosen he wanted his building to do one thing above all else: “Stay in the minds of people forever.”

Attendance boom seen at cathedrals as worshippers seek anonymity

A desire for anonymity during the act of worship has helped produce an attendance boom at cathedrals with the number of people attending each week up by 35 per cent over the last decade.

Postcard from... Milan

That Milan’s famous marble cathedral needs a constant supply of money for its restoration and upkeep is not in doubt..

The Christmas themed Truro Cathedral Shop opened in Truro today despite record summer temperatures

The most wonderful time of the year? Christmas shop opens in Cornwall despite scorching heatwave temperatures

Rising temperatures haven't stopped the opening of a new Christmas shop

In 1215 the Magna Carta forced the English King (at the time King John) to respect the laws of the land and guaranteed rights and protections to his subjects

Magna Carta: Four surviving copies to be united for first time in history to mark 800th anniversary

The British Library is to bring together four surviving copies of the original Magna Carta for the first time in history to mark the 800th anniversary of King John's royal charter.

The website: Historic Britain allows you to book B&Bs, hotels and holiday lets with notable character. Properties range from a 15th-century manor house B&B to an 18th-century Cotswold farmhouse (historicbritain.com).

Tips and deals of the week: Historic Britain; Aurora Reykjavik; Four Seasons Lion Palace in St Petersburg

The website: Historic Britain allows you to book B&Bs, hotels and holiday lets with notable character. Properties range from a 15th-century manor house B&B to an 18th-century Cotswold farmhouse (historicbritain.com).

Paperback review: Walk the Lines, By Mark Mason

“The running total is 171.1 miles, not quite halfway,” groans Mason after the District Line, though this reader had the thought that no one forced him to do an overground trek of the Underground.

Paperback review: Walk the Lines, By Mark Mason

“The running total is 171.1 miles, not quite halfway,” groans Mason after the District Line, though this reader had the thought that no one forced him to do an overground trek of the Underground.

Baroness Thatcher funeral sets TV record

The BBC's coverage of Baroness Thatcher's funeral was the third-most-requested live television programme ever on the iPlayer – with only the Olympics proving more popular.

Jailed Pussy Riot member sent to hospital due to hunger strike

A jailed member of the punk group Pussy Riot has been taken to hospital on the seventh day of a hunger strike to protest at what she calls a persecution campaign.

First gay couple wed in France amid tight security after controversial new legislation sparked violent protests

Vincent Austin and Bruno Boileau tie the knot in historic wedding in Montpellier

French government seeks to ban extreme right-wing group

The French government is taking steps to ban an extreme far-right movement believed to be planning violence at demonstration against gay marriage in Paris on Sunday.

Dominique Venner; Notre Dame Cathedral is evacuated by the police

Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage

A far-right French historian shot himself in the head beside the altar of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris today apparently in protest against the legalisation of gay marriage in France.

Canterbury Cathedral was founded in 597

Canterbury Cathedral faces closure unless it can find £10m for repair bill

Landmark may be closed to visitors after National Lottery Fund rejects appeal for cash

Paperback review: The Cleaner of Chartres, By Salley Vickers

Fans of Salley Vickers's appealing mix of psychological acuity and religious appreciation will have few complaints here, because this novel traces territory familiar to previous works such as Miss Garnet's Angel or Mr Golightly's Holiday.

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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
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape