News Archbishop Welby had previously spoken out against payday lenders such as Wonga

The  Church of England has appointed a New York-based specialist to screen its portfolio of assets in the wake of its embarrassing Wonga debacle last year.

Topless Christmas Day Femen protest in Cologne Cathedral slammed as ‘unnecessary disturbance’

Germany’s left-wing Green Party among those criticising anti-Catholic demonstration as ‘disrespectful’

Goldstein in 2003; as 'Screw' foundered, his fortunes declined and he became bankrupt

Al Goldstein: Founder of ‘Screw’ who dedicated his career to raging against religion and the establishment

Al Goldstein was the publisher of Screw magazine who smashed down US legal barriers against pornography and raged against politicians, organised religion and good taste.

Tim Berners-Lee invited an atheist minister to present Thought for the Day

Unholier than thou: BBC denies atheist traditional slot on Thought for the Day

Atheist minister says he had been invited by the founder of the worldwide web Sir Tim to present but had been blocked by BBC senior management

Papal blessing: Nothing can excuse the failures of the modern Catholic Church. But Pope Francis has made an impressive start

Francis has thrown open the Vatican windows and let in fresh air

Papal blessing: Nothing can excuse the failures of the modern Catholic Church. But Pope Francis has made an impressive start

Francis has thrown open the Vatican windows and let in fresh air

Christmas Day bombings in Baghdad kill 37 

The attacks bring the number of people killed so far in Iraq this month to 441

Pope Francis delivers his first

'I hope for a better world': Pope Francis calls for peace for Syria and dignity for refugees fleeing misery and conflict in Christmas Day speech

Pontiff spoke from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica to some 70,000 cheering tourists, pilgrims and Romans in the square below

Prince George misses outing as Royal Family attended traditional Sandringham Christmas Day church service

Prince George stayed in the warm as the Royal Family attended their traditional Christmas Day church service.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Justin Welby

Archbishop of Westminster prays for Middle East Christians 'who suffer for their faith'

For many going to church is an act of life-risking bravery, he tells Christmas worshippers

Facebook and Twitter top twenty: The Independent stories you've been sharing this year

From drunken nights out with a llama to testicle-eating fishes, it’s a mixed bag of stories you’ve been sharing on social media in 2013.

Among the top twenty Independent articles you’ve been tweeting and posting on Facebook this year, there are serious reports, ferocious comment pieces, astounding research and a fair few articles that pay tribute to the adage ‘the truth is stranger than fiction.’

Lord Carey attacked Western governments for being “strangely and inexplicably reluctant to confront” the situation in the Middle East

Christians are under pressure to keep quiet about their faith, says former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey

Christians are under pressure to be “silent about their faith” and display “increasing timidity” about admitting they have a faith at work, according to Lord Carey.

Postcard from... Dubai

A worshipper lights candles at the Church of the Nativity

O’ empty town of Bethlehem: a trickle of visits to the site of Christ’s birth thanks to intifadas and ongoing tensions

Intifadas and ongoing tensions are keeping Christian pilgrims and tourists away from Bethlehem, says

Samantha Christensen, left, and Elise Larsen apply for a marriage license in the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office. On Friday, Utah became the 18th state in the nation to allow gay marriage, however the state is seeking an urgent appeal

Utah scrambles to halt same-sex marriages after surprise ruling overturns ban

Judge in Republican stronghold declared existing ban violated constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples

The northern lights or aurora borealis near the village of Vik, in southern Iceland.

Road project in Iceland delayed to protect 'hidden' elves

A road project has been stopped until the country's Supreme Court rules on a case to protect elves and the environment

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Seven Cities of Italy
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Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
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The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
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Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
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How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
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Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
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Bradley Cooper is terrific