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vital statistics

Last year, there were 3,600 architectural thefts from churches in the UK, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has claimed. These crimes included the robbery of statues, fonts and even of whole altars.

Journey times into London in the second week of the congestion charge were 26 per cent quicker than for the same period last year, despite the end of the school half-term break, according to Transport for London.

The total number of people on earth is expected to be 8.9 billion by 2050, says the United Nations Population Division.This is 400 million fewer than was predicted in 2000.The world's population currently stands at 6.3 billion people.

The number of properties sold to investors for the rental market climb by 100,000 purchases a year for the next decade, says a report from consumer research company Mintel.

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