First News
Volume:7, Number:45
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Muslim Marriages Cannot be Ended by Husband Alone

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The Islamic practice of triple talaq is unsustainable and bad in law because Muslim marriages are contracts that cannot be unilaterally rescinded by the husband, the Allahabad High Court in India has said. The court’s observation came while hearing a petition filed by a man whose wife is pursuing criminal charges against him for allegedly torturing her for dowry and then divorcing her when she refused to pay. Hearing in the case ended on April 19 and details of the judgment were made public on May 9. The Islamic practice under which a man can divorce his wife by saying “talaq” (divorce) thrice has grabbed national headlines after a bunch of women approached the Supreme Court against the custom.

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China to Launch Own Encyclopedia to Rival Wikipedia

China plans to launch its own online encyclopedia next year, hoping to build a “cultural Great Wall” that can rival Wikipedia as a go-to information source for Chinese Internet users who Beijing fears are being corrupted by foreign influences. China is under pressure to write its own encyclopedia so it can guide public thought, according to a statement by the project's executive editor Yang Muzhi published last month on the website of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Unlike Wikipedia — and its Chinese version Baidu Baike — which are written by volunteers and are in a constant state of revision, the new project will be entirely written by professionals. So far over 20,000 scholars and academics have been enlisted to compile the project, which aims to have more than 300,000 entries by its 2018 launch.

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EU Chief Says Influence of English is Fading

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker took a swipe at Britain on May 5, saying he would not give a speech in English because the language was becoming less significant following Brexit. “Slowly but surely English is losing importance in Europe,” Juncker told a conference in Florence before switching into French and drawing applause from his audience of EU officials, local leaders and Italian students. Juncker, who hails from Luxembourg, speaks several European languages fluently and regularly uses English at international gatherings.

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Nepal to Limit Age for Climbing Mount Everest

Family and supporters honored the 85-year-old climber on May 7 who died attempting to regain his title as the oldest person to scale Mount Everest, while Nepali officials stressed the need to limit the age for such a daunting physical challenge. The death of Min Bahadur Sherchan has revived concerns about allowing elderly people to attempt scale mountain peaks where the conditions are harsh and oxygen level low. Under Nepali law, climbers have to be at least 16 years old to climb Everest, but there’s no upper limit. The Nepal Mountaineering Association is planning to push the government to limit the age of climbers to at least 76.

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Fashion Models in France Need Doctor’s Note Before Taking the Runway

Fashion models in France will need to provide medical certificates proving they are healthy in order to work, after a new law was introduced banning those considered to be excessively thin. Doctors are urged to pay special attention to the model’s body mass index (BMI), a calculation taking into account age, height and weight. However, unlike similar legislation passed in Italy and Spain, models will not have to reach a minimum BMI. Under World Health Organization guidelines, an adult with a BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight, 18 malnourished, and 17 severely malnourished. The average model measuring 5feet 9 inches and weighing 50 kilograms has a BMI of 16.

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