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OFFBEAT

Renée, 80, traps head under radiator for three days in French Alps

An 80-year-old woman from the French Alpine town of Annecy had to endure three days without food or water after getting her head stuck under a radiator.

Renée, 80, traps head under radiator for three days in French Alps
Photo: asdsoupdsa/Flickr

The pensioner, named only as Renée, ended up with her head wedged under the radiator after falling head first in her apartment in the Haute Savoie town in south-east France on the afternoon of Friday January 8.

After getting stuck she was too frail to push herself free and unfortunately her personal alarm device, with which she could have summoned help, was distressingly out of reach on the kitchen table.

After unsuccessfully trying to raise the alarm by shouting, Renée was forced to give up and sit and wait until help arrived.

Fortunately on Monday one of her neighbours heard her anguished cries and immediately called fire fighters who were able to set her free.

Although tired and dehydrated, Renée’s three-day ordeal, left her with only minor bruises and a black eye.

Thankfully she appears to have recovered well enough from her nightmare to give an interview to French radio RTL.

“The hardest thing was the thirst,” she told RTL. “You can go without food but not water.”

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HEALTH

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25

Free birth control for all women under 25 will be available in France from Saturday, expanding a scheme targeting under-18s to ensure young women don't stop taking contraception because they cannot afford it.

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25
A doctor holds an interuterine contraceptive device (IUD) before inserting it in a patient. Photo: Adek Berry/AFP

The scheme, which could benefit three million women, covers the pill, IUDs, contraceptive patches and other methods composed of steroid hormones. Contraception for minors was already free in France.

Several European countries, including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, make contraception free for teens. Britain makes several forms of contraception free to all.

France announced the extension to women under 25 in September, saying surveys showed a decline in the use of contraception mainly for financial reasons.

The move is part of a series of measures taken by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to boost women’s rights and alleviate youth poverty. The free provision is supported by women’s groups including the association En Avant Tous.

“Between 18 and 25-years-old, women are very vulnerable because they lose a lot of rights compared to when they were minors and are very precarious economically,” spokeswoman Louise Delavier told AFP.

Leslie Fonquerne, an expert in gender issues, said there was more to be done.

“This measure in no way resolves the imbalance in the contraceptive burden between women and men,” the sociologist said.

In some developed countries, the free contraception won by women after decades of campaigning is coming under attack again from the religious right.

In the United States, former president Barack Obama’s signature health reform, known as Obamacare, gave most people with health insurance free access to birth control.

But his successor Donald Trump scrapped the measure, allowing employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage on religious grounds — a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2020.

Poland’s conservative government has also heavily restricted access to emergency contraception as part of its war on birth control.

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