News Pope John Paul II in 1995

Relic is considered to be of great religious significance

Marine Le Pen is facing the prospect of disappointing results in local elections in March

France's National Front: After a series of political setbacks, it seems Marine Le Pen is not so mighty as all that

After three years of almost unbroken success, the National Front leader Marine Le Pen has begun to stumble in her drive to steam-clean and re-brand the French far right.

Pakistani Muslim devotees light candles while visiting the shrine of Saint Mian Mir Sahib, during an event marking the 369th death anniversary of the saint in Lahore
Tim Sherwood has been dismissed by some for his lack of experience but has excelled working with Spurs' Under-21 side and oversaw an excellent win at Southampton

Tottenham manager: Mousa Dembele declines opportunity to back Tim Sherwood for the full-time role

The Spurs midfielder instead focuses on the victory over Southampton

Why Can The Dead Do Such Great Things? By Robert Bartlett: Book review

The jury is out on the cult of saints and martyrs in this magisterial work

Nelson Mandela in 1956

Nelson Mandela life story: Thabo Mbeki's praise poem

'You have stood at the brink...'

Saints of the Shadow Bible, By Ian Rankin - Review

Ian Rankin’s Rebus is supposed to be written in real time but perhaps that has become somewhat elastic in the Edinburgh created for him. The set up for his latest – Saints of the Shadow Bible – is made possible by a raising of the retirement age in Scotland.

The Breath of Night, By Michael Arditti. Arcadia, £11.99

Matters of extreme religious or political belief rarely trouble modern British novelists, whose default setting is agnostic/liberal. The nagging question behind most criticism of Graham Greene is "Surely he didn't believe in sin? In God? In Hell?" A similar worry may affect readers of Michael Arditti's latest novel. Greene would have appreciated the setting in the steamy Philippines, a country corrupted by an unholy alliance of church and state, and the cast of apostate priests, brutal police, and a young protagonist thrown into a world almost beyond his moral comprehension.

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

John Paul II to be made a saint alongside John XXVI next year, announces Pope Francis

The third longest-serving pope in history, John Paul II created more saints than all the previous popes put together

Mother Teresa: Skopje also has plans for a huge statue of the nun, who was born in the city

Alexander the Great and Mother Teresa... Macedonia goes big on its national monuments

Not content with four-storey statues of Alexander the Great and Mother Teresa, city planners in Skopje are now inviting bids for a version of Rome’s Spanish Steps, part of a beautification campaign that has divided residents.

London launch is in the bag for Moynat

France's richest man and luxury tycoon Bernard Arnault is bringing his new luggage brand to the UK.

Monsieur Le Commandant, by Romain Slocombe. Gallic, £8.99

A French Academician, Paul-Jean Husson writes a letter to his local SS officer revealing his illicit passion for his Jewish daughter-in-law, so placing her fate in the commandant’s hands.

GK Chesterton: He converted to Catholicism in the 1920s and wrote several religious works

Saint GK Chesterton? Bishop begins preliminary tests for canonisation of writer

Room for more than one ‘good book’ as the writer is advanced for his ‘lay spirituality’

Laura Steele is campaigning against the proposed housing development near the Warwickshire village of Lighthorne

A rural retreat near Stratford-upon-Avon? Not if you build 4,800 homes on it

Country idyll under threat - and residents fear Tory cronyism could be at work

Restaurant review: River Cottage Canteen, St John's Court, Whiteladies Road, Bristol

Tracey Macleod visits Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's latest River Cottage Canteen housed in a former church hall in Bristol. But will she be subjected to lengthy sermons about locavorism and sourcing fish responsibly?

For the first time since it was built in the early 1500s, the Tour Saint Jacques is opening to the public this summer

Tower at heart of Paris opens to the public for the first time

Gothic edifice that has inspired writers and scientists alike has just undergone a restoration

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Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
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Former ‘Daily Mirror’ editor Piers Morgan
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Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
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Actor Burt Reynolds last year
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Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
newsMeet the enthusiasts determined to stop them dying out
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The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
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Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
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The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game