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4,000 cubic meters of rock fell from nearby cliff

Small explosive is discovered during Pope's sanctuary visit in Brazil

Around 300 people clashed with riot police, as Pope Francis embarks on tour of potentially dangerous locations across Brazil

Bomb found at Brazilian shrine ahead of Pope's visit

The device, discovered in a lavatory at one of the country's most revered shrines, was detonated safely

Paperback review: The Watchers - A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I

Stephen Alford's fine study begins with an intriguing titbit of counterfactual history: in 1586, Queen Elizabeth I is assassinated, prompting a Spanish invasion after which Protestant England is reconciled to Rome.

Pope's bank clean-up man 'found stuck in lift with rent boy'

As the man charged with cleaning out the stables at the scandal-struck Vatican bank, Monsignor Battista Ricca will need Machiavellian cunning, good fortune and a whiter-than-white record to have even a fighting chance.

The Penitentiary said that Pope Francis' Twitter account, which has already gathered seven million followers, would be one such medium to follow the 'rites and pious exercises'

One hell of a deal: Pope Francis offers reduced time in Purgatory for Catholics that follow him on Twitter

Court in charge of forgiveness of sins says those that follow upcoming event via social media will be granted indulgences

Jimmy Savile with Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher made repeated attempts to get Jimmy Savile knighted – despite pleas from concerned aides

Former Prime Minister made four attempts to appoint disgraced presenter to knighthood before succeeding in 1990

A photo of the late Pope John Paul II hanging from a stage set up near St Peter's Square in Rome

Pope John Paul II to become saint in fastest canonisation in modern times

Pope Francis confirms his predecessor's 'second miracle' - marking fastest progression to sainthood in modern times

Pope Francis will make his first international trip to Rio for World Youth Day celebrations

Vatican calls on Brazilian government to provide bailout to cover £26m shortfall in funding for Pope's visit to Rio

Pope Francis will make his first international trip to world's largest Catholic country for World Youth Day celebrations

Colombo: he helped transform Italy with the 'miracolo economico'

Emilio Colombo: Politician who helped shape modern Europe

Apart perhaps from Giulio Andreotti, his fellow Christian Democrat and occasional rival who died seven weeks before him, no single politician embodied the history of postwar Italy, with all its successes and failures, more completely than Emilio Colombo.

Monsignor Nunzio Scarano is already under investigation in a purported money-laundering plot

Vatican official, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, arrested in corruption plot

Monsignor Nunzio Scarano is already under investigation in an alleged money-laundering plot involving the Vatican bank

John Paul II’s canonisation is likely to be on 20 October

Former pope, John Paul II, close to being declared a saint

His canonisation is likely to be on 20 October, just after the 35th anniversary of his election

Pope Francis meets Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in Rome

Pope Francis has welcomed the Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev Justin Welby in Rome, the first time the two church leaders have met.

Mauroy in 1989; after being ousted as PM, he continued his career as mayor of Lille

Pierre Mauroy: Socialist leader of France in the '80s

When Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were establishing the global mood music of the monetarist, greed-is-good 1980s, Pierre Mauroy sought to make France dance to a different tune. As the first Socialist Prime Minister of the Fifth Republic (1981-84) and first prime minister of the François Mitterrand era, Mauroy pursued a policy of nationalisation, taxation of the rich, increased minimum wages, retirement at 60 and a 39-hour working week.

Pope Francis has issued a some cost-cutting reforms within the Vatican

Pope says Catholic Church needs 'a heart of poverty, not a heart of a businessman'

Truth of the Gospel should be announced with 'simplicity and gratuitousness'

Paperback review: The Last Highlander, By Sarah Fraser

Sarah Fraser's rich and readable book tells the story of Lord Lovat, the clan chief who supported Bonnie Prince Charlie's rebellion against the crown in 1745.

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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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there