A growing chorus of voices is calling for the centuries-old link between Church and state to be broken after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, ignited the issue last week by saying that it was “by no means the end of the world if the Establishment disappears”.
Three former ministers openly backed the idea of a separation, with one claiming that the majority of backbenchers would vote to end the special position the Church has enjoyed since the Reformation.
On this last Sunday before Xmas,the Observer says that
In one of the most holy weeks in the Christian calendar, a report says that in just over a generation the number of people attending Church of England Sunday services will fall to less than a tenth of what they are now.
Christian Research, the statistical arm of the Bible Society, claimed that by 2050 Sunday attendance will fall below 88,000, compared with just under a million now
There are varied headlines in the papers though,The Times reports that
Detectives are investigating one of Britain’s biggest buy-to-let schemes in which large numbers of investors have seen their savings wiped out.
They fear thousands of people who sought to cash in on the buy-to-let dream during the boom years of 2004 to 2007 may turn out to have been victims of organised fraud
Both the Independent and the Observer report on Barack Obama,Obama cranks up the green revolution says the former
The move, which signals perhaps his sharpest break with the outgoing administration, makes it clear that he was going to put climate change and the environment among the most urgent priorities of his presidency.
And as if to emphasise the difference, President Bush is using his last weeks of power to push through a record number of last-minute rule changes to increase mining and oil drilling on public lands, and even to allow people to carry concealed, loaded guns into national parks.
Barack Obama ushered in a revolution in America's response to global warming yesterday when he appointed one of the world's leading climate change experts as his administration's chief scientist.says the Observer
The president-elect's decision to make Harvard physicist John Holdren director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy reveals a new determination to draw a line under eight years of US policy that have seen George Bush steadfastly reject overwhelming evidence of climate change.
The Mail leads with Perk that lets Lords couples claim living allowance twice even if they share a home
A new row over politicians' perks erupted last night after it was revealed that peers who have formed relationships in the House of Lords are receiving tax-free 'double bubble' payouts of up to £117,000 a year.
They are getting double allowances of £330 per night - twice the £165 intended to subsidise an individual's living costs - even though they may share homes together.
The Times reports that
A mother with four children has been placed by her council in a £2m townhouse at a cost to the taxpayer of more than £91,000 a year.
The stucco-fronted three-storey property is in Kensington, west London, the country’s richest borough. It costs £1,755 a week to rent - a bill met by housing benefit - and has a front and back garden, five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a double reception room and roof terrace. The street is lined with sports cars.
Former Army chief General Sir Mike Jackson attacks US failures in Iraq says the Telegraph
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, General Sir Mike Jackson, the former chief of the general staff, said that the violence in post-war Iraq was "much exacerbated by the security vacuum created by Washington's appalling decisions" to disband the Iraqi security forces.
Gen Sir Mike, who was head of the British Army at the time of the war, added that the US policy to "de-Baathify" Iraq doubled the time taken to reach the point where the coalition could consider a withdrawal from the country.
According to the Observer,Labour MPs plan Heathrow revolt
MPs opposed to construction of a third runway at Heathrow are planning a massive cross-party revolt in the new year in a final effort to halt the project, the Observer can reveal.
Plans are being formed to force a vote in parliament - against Prime Minister Gordon Brown's wishes - in which dozens of Labour rebels would join the Tories and Liberal Democrats to oppose the plan. A defeat for Brown in the Commons would not in itself kill off the proposals as they can be approved by the prime minister and his ministers without legislation. However, such a large "no" vote would send the clearest message that the expansion was being pushed through, despite huge public opposition and concern about potential damage to the environment.
The Times claims that
One of Gordon Brown’s closest political allies has publicly called for a general election to be held next year, sparking fresh speculation that the prime minister will exploit his bounce in the polls to call a snap ballot.
June 2009 would be an “ideal opportunity” to hold an election, according to Charlie Whelan, who was Brown’s press secretary when he was chancellor and is now political officer to Unite, Britain’s biggest trade union.
The Independent reports that
Unemployment is rising faster in Labour's most vulnerable seats and in the constituencies of nearly the entire Cabinet, new figures reveal today.
Scores of Labour marginals have suffered the fastest-rising unemployment levels over the past 12 months, fuelling fears in the party that the recession will cost Gordon Brown the next election.
Some 18 out of 23 cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister, have also seen above-average increases in unemployment in their constituencies, compared with the rest of the country.
The News of the World has an exclsuive with the parents of Rhys Jones
THE heartbroken mother of murdered 11-year-old Rhys Jones today reveals the searing hatred she feels for the teenage lout who gunned down her little boy.
Speaking for the first time since 18-year-old Sean Mercer was sentenced to a minimum of 22 years in jail for the killing, tortured mum Melanie Jones says she prays he will NEVER be released.
The Express has an exclusive as well
SNEERING bankers have released a record mocking the economic misery facing millions of Britons.
The single, Credit Crunch Christmas, features the chorus: “Sorry we ****** up your Christmas, but really we don’t give a s***.”
Staying with the economy and the Telegraph says that
The high street sales war intensified on Saturday as experts warned that hundreds of retailers were now on the "critical list" and at risk of going bankrupt.
The News of the World reports that
shoppers can feast on a load of bargains on CHRISTMAS DAY as desperate stores launch their sales online.
Stores like Asda, Currys, PC World and Dixons are are all slashing prices as we tuck into turkey—24 hours ahead of the usual start of the sales on Boxing Day.
But John Lewis will be an even earlier bird, launching its online bargains on CHRISTMAS EVE, two days before the beginning of its sales in store.
Leading HSBC banker and father of two hangs himself says the Mail
A hotel worker found Danish-born Christen Schnor, 49, hanging by a belt, naked, in the wardrobe of his £500-a-night suite at the Jumeriah Carlton Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge, West London, on Wednesday.
Next to him was a suicide note written in Danish.
Meanwhile the Observer reports that
A combination of 'le credit crunch' and sterling's slide is causing nightmares for British families trying to live the French dream
Maddie returns to the papers
ENCHANTING pictures of Madeleine McCann enjoying a family Christmas are released today in a new attempt to solve the baffling mystery of her disappearance.
In the touching scenes a joyful and smiling Madeleine can be heard talking for the first time.
Home videos of Madeleine playing blissfully with her toddler twin brother and sister, Sean and Amelie, shot around the Christmas of 2006, show her in a relaxed mood at the family home in Rothley, Leics.
reports the Express
Finally many of the papers report that,Beer goggles last longer for women
Researchers found that women who drink even moderately develop a reduced ability to rate attractiveness in male faces, even when they are sober.reports the Telegraph
Those who drank were less able to detect male facial symmetry, a marker of attractiveness and good genes which is thought to play an important role in the choice of a partner.