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vital statistics

The Church of England is preparing to sell off some of the 44 properties that act as bishops' residences. If it were to sell off the entire £45 million portfolio, the move would include the transfer into private hands of 13 'heritage properties' and nine palaces.

The number of people out of work has fallen to a 20-year low, according to the Labour Force Survey. The number of unemployed fell 8,300 last month to 1.46 million, the lowest since 1984.

London has been named as the top European city-break destination in a survey by research firm Mintel. The capital welcomed 11.6 million overseas visitors and 16.1 million British visitors in 2002, while its nearest rival Paris had less than 9 million foreign visitors.

The House Builders' Federation has warned that Wales is on the verge of a housing crisis even more acute than the rest of the UK.

Housebuilding in Wales is slowing to such a level that homes built today will not be replaced for 2,000 years.

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