Top news: Pope Francis, Gazza, and a decline in uni students

The River’s Jack Hammond rounds up this week’s top five news stories at a glance.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio elected Pope Francis

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina has been elected as the new head of the Catholic Church, taking the name Pope Francis.  

White smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel chimney on Wednesday evening, signalling the election of the new Pope. 

The 76-year-old from Buenos Aires replaces Benedict XVI, who resigned last month at the age of 85, saying he was not strong enough to lead the Church.

 

Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce jailed for eight months

Former cabinet minister Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce have each been jailed for eight months for perverting the course of justice.

The former Liberal democrat MP admitted asking his ex-wife to take his speeding points to avoid losing his licence in 2003, and Pryce was sentenced for agreeing to do so.

 

Gazza out of rehab

Ex England football star Paul Gascoigne revealed he thought he was going to die during his most recent spell in rehab.

The former England midfielder has flown back to the UK after more than a month at a clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, that specialises in treating alcoholism.

The 45-year-old told The Sun that he heard three doctors conclude he was going to die, before he slipped into a three-day coma.

 

Decline in part-time university students in England

There has been a “dramatic decline” in the number of people studying part-time for degrees in England, according to the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Numbers taking up part-time undergraduate degrees have fallen by 40 per cent since 2010 – that is 105,000 fewer students.

This comes after maximum tuition fees for universities in England rose to £9,000 a year in 2012. However, for the first time part-time students were given access to student loans.

 

American stars targeted by hackers  

US celebrities including Beyoncé and Jay-Z have had private details of their finances posted online.

Some of the private financial information posted includes social security numbers, which could allow fraudsters to commit identity theft.

Other celebrities reported to be targeted are actors Mel Gibson and Ashton Kutcher, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears.

US Vice-President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were also said to have been affected.

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