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Putin in fitness drive

RussiaN President Vladimir Putin has called for the revival of a Soviet-era physical evaluation programme that required all schoolchildren to pass fitness tests.

Mr Putin, a judo enthusiast and a regular swimmer, said that the restoration of GTO, the Russian acronym for Ready for Labour and Defence of USSR, would teach children to "stand up for themselves, their family and, in the final run, the fatherland". GTO was introduced in 1931 under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Pigs pulled from river

Hundreds more dead pigs have been pulled from the river that provides drinking water to Shanghai, China's financial hub, bringing the total to more than 6,600 since last Friday.

Pictures of swollen carcasses in the Huangpu river have worried residents, but officials said the water supply remains safe. The surge in dumping of dead pigs – believed to be from farms in the upstream Zhejiang province – has followed police campaigns against the sale of pork products made from diseased pigs.

Bomber kills seven

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of Afghans watching the traditional sport of buzkashi, killing seven people in the north of the country and wounding eight.

Among the seven killed in the bombing in the remote village of Basos were several family members of the Afghan speaker of parliament. The speaker, Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi, was born in Basos. The dead include his father, two brothers and one nephew.

Thieves are beheaded

Seven men convicted of theft, looting and armed robbery have been beheaded in Saudi Arabia, a week after their families appealed to the king for clemency, the official news agency said.

Human Rights Watch had called for the sentences to be cancelled because the men were juveniles when they were arrested. One of the men, Nasser al-Qahtani, said earlier this month that he was 15 when he was arrested as part of a ring that stole jewellery in 2004 and 2005.

New role for Wintour

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ANNA Wintour, the editor-in-chief of 'Vogue', has taken on an expanded role at the publishing house Conde Nast, effectively ending speculation that she would take up the position of US ambassador to Britain.

Wintour (63) has been named artistic director, adding to her responsibilities at 'Vogue'. Her new role will give her responsibility for developing a "creative vision" for Conde Nast.

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