New Zealand town funds its own petrol station

  • 16 October 2017
The new petrol station in Pongaroa Image copyright Radio New Zealand
Image caption "Fill her up please, and wipe the flies off the blinkers while you're at it"

A remote New Zealand township has funded its own petrol station because residents were fed up with their four-hour round trip to buy fuel.

The nearest petrol station for people living in Pongaroa on New Zealand's North Island had previously been a two hour drive to either Pahiatua or Dannevirke, Radio New Zealand reports. The round-trip journey was some 144 miles (232km).

Pongaroa has not had a petrol station since its last one closed four years ago, and so its 120 residents set about raising NZ$250,000 (US$180,000; £135,000).

In the end, donations, interest-free loans and a grant from the local authority meant that they were able to fund half of the costs themselves. The Allied Petroleum petrol company agreed to front the rest of the construction costs and the station opened this weekend, Stuff.co.nz said.

No more road trips

Many residents described how the long drive had become a frustration.

Read full article New Zealand town funds its own petrol station

Japanese zoo mourns anime-loving celebrity penguin

  • 13 October 2017
Grape the penguin and his Hululu cut-out Image copyright Tobu Zoo
Image caption Grape (L) and Hululu (R): A match made in heaven

A celebrity penguin, which made international headlines after forming an attachment to a cardboard cut-out in a Japanese zoo, has died at the age of 21.

Tobu Zoo in Japan's central Saitama prefecture announced Grape's death through its Twitter account, saying that the cause of death was unknown. But according to NewsWalker, he would have been around 80-years-old in "human years".

Read full article Japanese zoo mourns anime-loving celebrity penguin

Icelandic Pirate Party MP forced to wear eyepatch

  • 13 October 2017
Eva Pandora Baldursdottir sports an eyepatch following an eye injury Image copyright Eva Pandora Baldursdottir
Image caption Avast ye! Eva Pandora Baldursdottir sports an eyepatch following an eye injury

A member of parliament from the Pirate Party in Iceland was forced to wear an eyepatch for a television appearance following a bizarre household accident.

Eva Pandora Baldursdottir wrote on her Facebook wall that her one-year-old daughter "scratched my eye, which means I have to wear an eyepatch over the weekend," Reykjavik Grapevine reports.

Read full article Icelandic Pirate Party MP forced to wear eyepatch

Anime hero joins Japan's antibiotics resistance campaign

  • 12 October 2017
Poster saying "AMR countermeasures are launching" in Japanese Image copyright Japan Health Ministry
Image caption Superheroes: The perfect metaphor for mankind's greatest problems

Japan's health ministry has enlisted characters from cult anime series Mobile Suit Gundam in its campaign against the overuse of antibiotics.

The new campaign twists Gundam hero Amuro Ray's catchphrase "Amuro ikimasu!" ("Amuro launching!") into "AMR taisaku ikimasu!" ("AMR countermeasures are launching!") to raise awareness of antimicrobial resistance, the Japan Times reports.

Read full article Anime hero joins Japan's antibiotics resistance campaign

Voting flap hits New Zealand's Bird of the Year poll

  • 12 October 2017
White-faced heron Image copyright Hasitha Tudugalle
Image caption The white-faced heron: an innocent victim of alleged voting fraud

New Zealand's 'Bird of the Year' poll has been hit by vote-fixing claims for the second time in three years.

The prestigious, and, some would say, heated competition is run by the country's Forest and Bird organisation, and has run into controversy just three days after its launch, Newshub reports.

Read full article Voting flap hits New Zealand's Bird of the Year poll

Cambodian ambulance drivers told to get licences

  • 11 October 2017
An ambulance in Cambodia Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many of Cambodia's emergency services drivers don't have driving licences

Cambodia's government has issued a stern warning to its health services, telling them that they need to shape up and ensure that their ambulance drivers have the proper paperwork to drive, it's reported.

According to the Phnom Penh Post, the country's Health Ministry said in a 10 October statement that hospital and health service chiefs should "strengthen the management on ambulance drivers by recruiting drivers who have a driving licence".

Read full article Cambodian ambulance drivers told to get licences

Russian football commentator walks out live on air

  • 11 October 2017
Action from Torpedo Vladimir and Tekstilshchik Ivanovo Image copyright Tomix TV
Image caption Footage suggests that the referee should, perhaps, have gone to a well-known chain of opticians

A Russian TV football commentator became so enraged over the refereeing of a first division football match that he walked out halfway through the second half, leaving viewers to watch the remainder listening to dead air.

During the televised match between Russian first division teams Torpedo Vladimir and Tekstilshchik Ivanovo, finely balanced at 1-1 during the second period, Ivanovo goalkeeper Alexei Smirnov skittled an attacking player in the penalty area, online video shows.

Read full article Russian football commentator walks out live on air

Tajik actors get 'beard permits'

  • 11 October 2017
Scene from The Death of the Usurer Image copyright Akbor/Gulsara Kamolzoda
Image caption The Death of the Usurer: The main character's end is a bit hairy

Two stage actors in Tajikistan have been granted temporary permits enabling them to sport facial hair in public.

The wearing of beards is unofficially banned in Tajikistan as part of a crackdown against religious extremism in the largely Muslim country, and the bearded actors were detained by police in the northern town of Konibodom earlier this week.

Read full article Tajik actors get 'beard permits'

Students skate 352 miles during Chinese holiday week

  • 10 October 2017
One of the students travelling by roller skate along the road Image copyright SINA WEIBO
Image caption Two students travelled 352 miles (567 kilometres), the same distance from London to Sheffield and back

A couple of Chinese students opted to avoid traffic jams during the Golden Week holiday by travelling 352 miles (567 kilometres) to their destination by roller skate, it's reported.

According to Beijing Youth Daily the two university students set off from Jining College in eastern Shandong province on 1 October and spent five days travelling by roller skate along the motorway to Beijing, where they had plans to spend their autumn break.

Read full article Students skate 352 miles during Chinese holiday week

Iceland's 'unicorn' goes under the hammer

  • 10 October 2017
The one-horned sheep amid others in the farm's sheepcote Image copyright Erla Porey Olafsdottir
Image caption Einhyrningur's unique appearance may yet save him from the abbattoir

There's good news for a single-horned ram found in Iceland earlier this year, after it emerged that he's been saved from the slaughterhouse.

Einhyrningur, which incidentally is Icelandic for 'unicorn', was found among Erla Porey Olafsdottir's flock with his horns fused into one, and become an internet sensation around the world.

Read full article Iceland's 'unicorn' goes under the hammer