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Somali famine killed 260,000

THE 2011 Somali famine killed an estimated 260,000 people, half of them under five, according to a new report to be published this week.

That more than doubles previous death toll estimates.

The aid community believes that tens of thousands of people died because the international community was slow to respond to early signs of approaching hunger in East Africa in late 2010 and 2011.

The report is being made public on Thursday by FEWSNET, a famine early warning system and by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit – Somalia.

Syria rebels in sarin probe

A UN inquiry into human rights abuses in Syria has found evidence to suggest that rebel forces may have used chemical weapons.

Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said that testimonies from casualties and medical staff indicated that the nerve agent sarin was used.

"There are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated," Ms Del Ponte said.

Boozy bishop stopped in car

THE leader of a Catholic diocese has been arrested on drunken driving charges.

Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts, US, was arrested after a hit-and-run accident in the nearby state of Rhode Island.

Police say the driver of the vehicle that was hit followed him and called police. McManus was arrested and said he drove after drinking wine at dinner.