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Myanmar Child monks become royalty for a day (Photos)

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The whole village of Myinkabar, nestled among the centuries-old pagodas of Bagan city, turns out for an annual lavish feast in their honour.

Riding elephants and horses in heavily bejewelled costumes, thick eyeliner and rouged lips, boys in central Myanmar parade through their village as ancient princes in a ceremony to mark their passage to monkhood.

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The whole village of Myinkabar, nestled among the centuries-old pagodas of Bagan city, turns out for an annual lavish feast in their honour.

Everyone pays respects to the children giving up their worldly belongings — at least for a few days.

Buddhist tradition in Myanmar requires youths to spend some time in a monastery or nunnery before the age of 18 in what is viewed as an important coming of age ritual.

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Most people undertake this at least once in their lives.

The first step for both boys and girls is to have all their hair shaved off.

They adjust to a demanding daily schedule of alms collecting, chores, study and worship.

But perhaps the hardest aspect is not eating from 12 noon until sunrise the next morning.

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Many ‘novices’ are happy to exchange their robes — maroon or saffron for monks, pink for nuns — at the end of the week for their normal attire and return to their families.

Others, however, are there for the long-term, destined for a monastic life.

“Sometimes I want to play football like other children in Yangon but I can’t,” says 13-year-old Tate Tha, who has been a novice monk in Yangon for five years already.

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“I’m envious of them but I’m doing good things in life and I am happy for that.”

Traditionally monasteries and convents have offered the chance for children, particularly from poorer backgrounds, to receive an education in the country which is 87 percent Buddhist.

But as free places in government schools have become more widely available, the number of novice monks and nuns is in decline, a trend that worries some Buddhism experts.

“It is like a tree whose roots are being destroyed,” says Mya Thein, 50, a scholar at Yangon Buddhist University.

“We need to take care of it and we also need to find a solution. It is now in danger.”

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24 Hours Across Africa

Nigeria announce 21-Squad for U17 Fifa World Cup.

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Nigeria under-17 coach Manu Garbage has announce a final 21-man squad for the Fifa Under-17 World Cup in Brazil later this month.

Nigeria are the most successful team in the history of the event with five wins (in 1985, 1993, 2007, 2013 and 2015) and three runners-up medals.

The West Africans are in group B alongside Hungary, Ecuador and Australia and will face Hungary in their opening game on 26 October.

They will lock horns with Ecuador three days later before they play their final group match against Australia on 1 November.

Nigeria squad:

Goalkeepers: Sunday Stephen (Football College Academy), Joseph Oluwabusola (Bournemouth, England), Daniel Jinadu (West Ham United, England)

Defenders: Usman Ibrahim (Giant Brilliants FC), Quadri Edun (G12 FC), Charles Etim (Blessed Stars Academy), Ferdinard Ikenna (A&B FC)

Midfielders: Daniel Francis (FC Hearts), Monsuru Opeyemi (B. Angel FC), Ibrahim Said (Dabo Babes Academy), Samson Tijani (Collings Edwin FC), Hamzat Ojediran (Jossy United FC), Peter Agba (Falala FC)

Forwards: Wisdom Ubani (Giant Brilliants FC), Peter Olawale (Delta Warriors FC), Akinkunmi Amoo (Sidos FC), Oluwatimilehin Adeniyi (Sporting Dreams FC), Olakunle Olusegun (ABS FC), Ibraheem Jabaar (Ijebu FC), Abba Bichi (Talentbase Sport FC), Divine Nwachukwu (Riverline FC).

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24 Hours Across Africa

Victor osimhen bags player of the month award

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Lille’s Nigeria international Victor Osimhen has been named September’s French Ligue 1 Player of the Month.

The 20-year-old striker, who joined the club in August from Belgian side RSC Charleroi, scored twice and provided two assists in five matches last month as Lille climbed into the top five.

“It’s been an amazing time at this club and to get this award is surreal,” says Osimhen

“I’m grateful to those who voted, thankful to my teammates, our backroom staff and the entire Lille fans for the love.

“I never expected this to happen so soon but I guess this is what comes when you are surrounded by great players, loved ones and the blessings of God.”

Osimhen saw off the challenges of Monaco’s Algerian international Islam Slimani and veteran Nantes defender Nicolas Pallois to the monthly honour awarded by the Player’s Union (UNFP).

He succeeds Angola-born Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, who won the August award and became the youngest ever winner at the age of 16.

An incredible two months for Osimhen in the colours of Lille has resulted in eight goals in 11 appearances for the northern club.

Osimhen was the top scorer as Nigeria clinched a fifth Under-17 World Cup title in 2015 with 10 goals in Chile, which saw him win the Golden Boot and Silver Ball.

He also scored on his full debut for Nigeria in a 2-2 friendly draw against Ukraine in September.

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