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In the papers today: 18.01.08

First off, the human interest story. The Independent reports on the remarkable tale of architectural technician John Deeks, from south London, who was resuscitated after his pulse stopped for nearly an hour.

Deeks had been swimming off the coast of South Africa when he was dragged under by a wave, and floated face-down in the sea for almost an hour before he was sighted by a shark-spotter.

Westminster Cathedral is hoping for a similarly miraculous recovery. The London Evening Standard says the cathedral needs £3 million to stop three domes collapsing. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Conner is passing round the collection plate.

£3 million might be enough to stabilise one of Britain's most historic buildings, but it's nowhere near enough to buy Ireland's most expensive house, reports The Times. To get your mitts on No. 53 Ailesbury Road, Dublin – an 11-bedroom mansion which formerly housed the French embassy – you'll need at least £45 million. Phew.

Property developer Simon Halabi is one lucky person who might be in a position to buy the mansion. According to The Times he's set to sell his stake in Renzo Piano's Shard of Glass skyscraper scheme to Qatari investors for £30 million. The Times adds that new ownership might kick-start construction of the Shard.

Another south London scheme making the leap from the drawing board to the site is Terry Farrell's Founder's Place scheme for St Thomas' Hospital in Lambeth, writes the London Evening Standard. When completed in 2013, the £300 million scheme should provide much-needed rented accommodation for more than 400 key healthcare workers. Bless you Sir Terry.

And bless you Damian Hirst (there's a sentence I never thought I'd write…). The Brit art brat has, according to the Telegraph, seen the error of his shark-slicing ways and is on the road to becoming an ecological hero. He plans to spend £1.5 million covering the roof of his Dudbridge Works studio in Gloucestershire with photovoltaic panels, which means he will produce a whopping 2 per cent of all Britain's solar energy.

Finally, sports news. The Financial Times comments on the spat that has broken out between the inventors of Scrabulous, the latest way of wasting time online, and the owners of the intellectual property rights to Scrabble, the venerable game on which Scrabulous is based. 'At first sight it is a battle between the quixotic (26 points) and the quartzy (28 points)', writes the FT in what would be one of the greatest opening lines of all time were quartzy a word in the Oxford English Dictionary and thus acceptable for use in Scrabble WHICH IT ISN'T! One expects better from the FT…

And caps should be suitably doffed to mark the passing of Richard Knerr, co-founder of the Wham-O toy company, who died on Monday at the age of 82. The Guardian notes that Knerr and childhood friend 'Spud' Melin produced catapults, boomerangs and crossbows before marketing the two products that made their name – the Hula Hoop and the Frisbee.

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