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Stars in festive card fundraiser

Stephen Fry, Ian McKellen and Ricky Gervais are among the stars who have donated hand-drawn Christmas cards for auction in aid of a rainforest charity.

Their handiwork will be sold on eBay alongside works from artists including Tracey Emin as part of the 12 Days Of Christmas event, run by the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK).

The auction will launch on November 12, with all items to be sold by November 23. Everything will be shipped within seven working days of payment to ensure they arrive in time for Christmas.

Sailors released after four years

Somali pirates have freed seven Indian sailors detained for nearly four years in exchange for an undisclosed ransom.

At one time the pirates made millions of dollars in ransoms from seizing ships sailing the Horn of Africa nation's waters, but increased patrols by international navies have reduced incidences of piracy.

The sailors had been held since the pirates hijacked the Panama-flagged MT Asphalt Venture in September 2010.

Wheelchair joke proves costly

A woman has been handed a two-year driving ban for dragging a friend in a wheelchair behind her car at a supermarket.

Maria Adams's prank ended up costing her £1,400 (€1,800) and her licence when she towed a man in a borrowed wheelchair outside the Tesco in Roker, Sunderland.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the call centre worker (20) drove up and down the car park with her friend holding on to a towel hanging out of the boot of her Nissan.

66pc of Scots want poll re-run

Two-thirds of Scots want another independence referendum to be held in the next 10 years, while more than half think a vote on the country's future should take place within just five years.

A tot al of 66pc said they backed another referendum within a decade, according to the survey by Ipsos MORI.

The research also found that regardless of what happens, 58pc of people support having another vote in the next five years.