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Wednesday 13 December 2017

50 more schoolgirls freed by Boko Haram

Up to 50 Chibok schoolgirls were released by Islamist militant group Boko Haram yesterday after more than three years in captivity - the largest group yet to be freed after years of tense negotiations between the terror group and Nigerian government officials.

The girls were among about 220 students abducted from a secondary school in the town of Chibok in 2014, sparking the #bringbackourgirls campaign supported by then US First Lady Michelle Obama and list of celebrities.

About 21 schoolgirls were released in October in a deal brokered by Switzerland and the International Red Cross, while a handful of others have escaped or been rescued. About 195 are still missing.

At least 2,000 boys and girls have been kidnapped by Boko Haram since 2014, with many used as cooks, sex slaves or fighters. Boko Haram's use of children as suicide bombers is also on the rise in the Lake Chad region, with 27 such attacks recorded in the first three months of 2017.

Thin models must prove they're healthy

A law in France banning the use of unhealthily thin fashion models has come into effect. Models will need to provide a doctor's certificate attesting to their overall physical health, with special regard to their body mass index, which is a measure of weight in relation to height.

The health ministry said the aim is to fight eating disorders and inaccessible ideals of beauty.

From October, digitally altered photos will also have to be labelled. Images, in which a model's appearance has been manipulated, will need to be marked "retouched photo". Employers breaking the law could face fines of up to €75,000 and up to six months in jail.

France is not the first country to legislate on too thin models - Italy, Spain and Israel have already done so.

35 die as school minibus falls into ravine

Thirty-two schoolchildren, two teachers and a minibus driver died in Tanzania yesterday when a vehicle taking them to sit an exam plunged into a roadside ravine in the northern region of Arusha, a senior police official said.

"It happened when the bus was descending on a steep hill in rainy conditions," police said. "We are trying to determine if it was a mechanical defect or human error."

More than 11,000 people died in road accidents in Tanzania between 2014 and 2016.

Man (85) dies trying to get Everest record

An 85-year-old Nepalese man died yesterday while trying to scale Mount Everest to regain his title as the oldest person to climb the world's highest peak.

Min Bahadur Sherchan died at the base camp. An official said the likely cause of death was cardiac arrest.

The grandfather of 17 and great-grandfather of six first scaled Everest in May 2008, when he was 76 - at the time the oldest climber to reach the top. His record was broken by then 80-year-old Yuichiro Miura, of Japan, in 2013.

Before leaving for the mountain last month, Mr Sherchan had said that after he had completed the climb and become famous, he intended to travel to conflict areas to spread a message of peace.

He had trained for months before the attempt and said he did not suffer from any respiratory problems, and his blood pressure was normal. He was born in the mountains, so did not have a problem with high altitude and the low level of oxygen on Everest.

Sunday Independent

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