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By Rod Nickel and Liz Hampton CONKLIN/LAC LA BICHE (Reuters) - A convoy of stranded residents drove back through the Canadian oil town of Fort McMurray, escaping the fire-ravaged region under police escort on Friday, taking the only route out as the massive wildfire spread. Fire enveloped Fort McMurray, burning some 210,000 acres (85,000 hectares) in the area, forcing 88,000 people to flee on Tuesday and Wednesday, and threatening two oil sands sites south of the city. With helicopters overhead and police roadblocks at every turnoff through on the road, the convoy did not stop until vehicles passed the mandatory evacuation zone, south of Fort McMurray, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesman said.
By Stella Mapenzauswa JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A weak rand and a government U-turn on restrictive visa rules are helping South Africa's tourism sector to stage a strong recovery after a shaky 2015. Foreign visitors dropped nearly 7 percent last year, partly due to new visa regulations requiring children to travel with full birth certificates and visitors from some countries, including China, to appear in person at a South African embassy, often requiring lengthy journeys. The government relaxed those rules in October, and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said on Tuesday that the industry, which was also hit by health fears sparked by an Ebola outbreak in West Africa last spring, was on the mend.
South Africa's government will never sell the national airline, South African Airways,President Jacob Zuma said on Friday. SAA has received a number of government bailouts worth billions of rand and is in the middle of a turnaround strategy. "Government is very clear, we will never sell this company, no matter what other people say," Zuma said at SAA's offices in Kempton Park, near Johannesburg.