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A 20-year restoration of Louis XIV's 17thcentury Château de Versailles will cost £274 million.The 700-room palace outside Paris, set in 800 ha of gardens, attracts 10 million visitors a year.

Norman Foster's £130 million giant 'gherkin' in the City of London will cost reinsurer Swiss Re £14 million a year because of a shortfall in rents.The firm is to move 800 staff into 40 per cent of the 50,000m 2tower and let out the remainder.

Had Guy Fawkes' 36 or so barrels of gunpowder blown up the Palace of Westminster 398 years ago, he would have flattened Westminster Hall, the Abbey and surrounding streets.According to explosives experts, everything within 42 metres would have been destroyed

Women solicitors earn on average 15 per cent less than male colleagues.Half the women quizzed for a legal journal felt their careers were blocked by a 'glass ceiling'. Men with two years' post-qualification experience earn on average £47,813 - £2,310 more than women.

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