Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

1. Spanking new law

As the Constitutional Court decides on the right of parents to spank their children, in an application brought by Freedom of Religion SA, in France MPs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill that bans parents from smacking their children. The "corporal punishment or humiliation" bill seeks to ensure that parental authority is exercised without violence. It now goes to the senate. About 85% of French parents resort to corporal punishment. Previous attempts to ban the practice have failed, though it has long been outlawed in French schools, as it is in this country.

2. Belated compensation

The Dutch state-owned rail company is to compensate survivors and relatives of Jews transported in its trains to the Nazi death camps during World War 2. Nederlandse Spoorwegen ferried 102,000 people to concentration camps across Europe. It apologised in 2002. The decision to pay follows talks with Salo Muller, 82, a former Ajax football club physiotherapist, whose parents were taken by train from Amsterdam to a transit camp, then to Auschwitz and gassed. Muller’s 2017 book See You Tonight and Promise to be a Good Boy! takes its title from the last words his mother said to him as she dropped him off at kindergarten, before being taken by the SS.

3. Send in the clones

As he campaigns for re-election next year, Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, 76, has had to deny rumours spread on social media that he has died and been replaced by a lookalike. He said some people thought he had been "cloned", but "it’s [the] real me, I assure you". Rumours that Buhari, who has spent long periods on "medical leave" in the UK, has been replaced with a body double called "Jubril" from Sudan were widely shared online by what he termed the "ignorant and irreligious".