Norway second best place to be a mum: report

Norway has leapfrogged Sweden to second place in a list of the world's best country in which to be a mother, after reporting a slight rise in maternal mortality.

Norway second best place to be a mum: report
Tove R Wang of Save the Children Norway and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg when Norway topped the list in 2012 (Photo: Terje Bendiksby/Scanpix)
The State of the World's Mothers report, published by Save the Children, has ranked Norway in top place four times in its 15-year history.  Last year it fell to third place behind Finland and Sweden after three years in a row in the top spot. 
Save the Children said that Finland had won this year because it did well on all five of the organisation's criteria: Maternal Health; educational status; Children's wellbeing; economic status; and political status. 
"Although Finland does not perform the absolute best overall in any indicator, it is the only country to place in the top 15 on  all five indicators," the report concluded. 
Norway is second only to Sweden in the number of times it has topped the list. Finland has claimed the lead rank twice, and Switzerland once. 

Tove Wang, Secretary General of Save the Children, said the gulf between the worst-performing country, Somalia, and Finland was "striking", with one in sixteen Somali women dying in childbirth, 15 percent of Somali children dying before age five, and with a Somali child receiving an average of just two and a half years schooling. 
"In Somalia, located at the very bottom of the list, there has been conflict for decades, and there has been little focus on building up basic services," she said. "There must be a security situation that makes it possible to build a robust health system. It has failed in Somalia because of the situation there." 
Somalia regained the bottom place from Niger, which was ranked worst in 2013. 
The organization warned that the United States's performance was deteriorating rapidly, slipping from top ten early in the ranking's history to 31st place today. 
"The health of American mothers and children is falling behind," the report warned. "The United States is among  the countries that has made the least progress since 2000 on maternal and child survival." 

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Fugitive mum whose plight divided Spain turns herself in

The Spanish mother at the heart of a bruising public custody battle turned herself in on Tuesday, the latest chapter in a case that has sparked fierce debate in Spain.

Fugitive mum whose plight divided Spain turns herself in
Juana Rivas outside court in Granada on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

Juana Rivas accuses her ex-partner of domestic violence and refuses to let him see their boys, aged 11 and three.   

She had been on the run since rejecting an order to hand her sons over to her Italian ex-partner, Francesco Arcuri, in July.    

Rivas gave herself up at a court in the southern city of Granada on Tuesday, her legal adviser Francisca Granados told reporters.   

She has since been released and a judge allowed the children to remain in Rivas's custody pending her appeal of the order to turn the boys over to Arcuri.

READ MORE: Plight of mother-of-two abuse victim divides Spain

Dozens gathered outside to support Rivas but opinion on social media was deeply divided.

Her return was the top trending topic on Twitter, even as four surviving suspects of an alleged terror cell that unleashed carnage last week in Catalonia faced charges in court.

“What court forces a mother to hand her children to an abuser? We should think about this,” wrote one Twitter user, Ana Garcia @angarfi68.    

Others said she should be jailed for ignoring a court order.    “Is Juana Rivas in jail yet?” wrote another Twitter user Carlos Mas @carlos_fer_mas.

According to the Maracena municipal women's centre which is representing her, Rivas suffered “psychological and physical violence” at the hands of her ex-partner who was found guilty of abusing her in 2009.   

He filed a complaint for child abduction after she took their sons away in May 2016.

A Spanish court ruled the children should return to live with their father in Italy, arguing among other things that the eldest boy was evaluated by psychologists and was all right with seeing his father.   

Rivas told media after her release: “I don't want to be a fugitive, I came to explain my situation and ask for help.”   

In an interview with Italy's Ansa news agency, Arcuri denied any violence.    “I want to be able to hold my children again in my arms, I haven't seen them since last year,” he said.