China will start phasing out its decades-long practice of using the organs of executed prisoners for transplant operations from November, a senior official said yesterday, as it pushes to mandate the use of organs from ethical sources in hospitals.

China remains the only country in the world that still systematically uses organs extracted from executed prisoners in transplant operations, a practice that has drawn widespread international criticism. (Reuters)

Marianne Faithfull injured

Singer and actress Marianne Faithfull is recovering after breaking a bone in her back in an accident.

The 66-year-old, who dated Sir Mick Jagger in the 1960s, has had to cancel shows in Lebanon and the US as a result of her injuries.

Faithfull, known for hits such as As Tears Go By, fractured her sacrum on the first day of a holiday in the US. She spent four weeks in hospital but has now returned to her home in Paris to continue her recovery.

Faithfull, who had drug problems in the 1960s and 1970s, has bounced back from a number of health problems. She was taken to hospital with exhaustion in 2004 and two years later was treated for breast cancer. Faithfull also has hepatitis C. (PA)

Topless activist out soon

An activist for the right of women to bare their breasts, who is serving a 16-day sentence related to an arrest for topless sunbathing, is set to be released by the end of the week from a New Jersey jail, where she is currently on a hunger strike, officials said.

Phoenix Feeley, of New York, is serving the sentence in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution for refusing to pay fines in connection with her 2008 arrest at a beach in Spring Lake where she was sunbathing topless in violation of a town ordinance in an act of civil disobedience. (Reuters)

New species of mammal

Imagine a raccoon with a teddy bear face that is so cute it’s hard to resist, let alone overlook. But somehow science did – until now.

Researchers announced yesterday a rare discovery of a new species of mammal called the olinguito. It belongs to a grouping of large creatures that include dogs, cats and bears. The raccoon-sized animal leaps through the trees of mountainous forests of Ecuador and Colombia at night, according to a Smithsonian researcher who has spent the past decade tracking them.

But the adorable olinguito should not have been too hard to find. One of them lived in the Smithsonian-run National Zoo in Washington for a year in a case of mistaken identity.

The zoo’s creature was mista­ken for a sister species, the olingo. Ringerl was shipped from zoo to zoo in the US from 1967 to 1976 to try to get it to breed with other olingos but it would not. (AP)

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