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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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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital