Russia to re-open 'drunk tanks' for World Cup

  • 21 October 2016
A Russia fan with his 2018 World Cup flag before the UEFA EURO 2016 Group B match between Russia and Wales Image copyright Stu Forster/Getty Images
Image caption For many fans the World Cup will pass without incident - but some may overdo the drinking

Football fans who find themselves the worse for wear during the 2018 World Cup in Russia will be able to find help at sobering-up stations, which are being re-opened specially for the tournament.

Russia's "drunk tanks" - known as vytrezvitel - were first introduced in 1904 and became widespread during Soviet times, but the network was shut down in 2011. Now, senior health ministry official Yevgeny Bryun has announced they'll be re-opened in 11 host cities for the month-long event.

Drunk tanks are intended as be safe spaces where people incapacitated by alcohol can be taken by police in order to dry out. An opinion poll last year found that 80% of Russians supported their return.

Russian football fans have cautiously welcomed the plans. Eduard Latypov, head the fan movement Russia Unites, says it's a sensible decision but shouldn't be a form of punishment, just a means of avoiding trouble. "Many fans arrive in another country or city to watch the game and never go to the stadium, they head straight into a bar," he tells the news agency.

Alcohol-fuelled clashes between Russia and England fans marred the early days of Euro 2016, but the head of the All-Russia Supporters' Union thinks drunk tanks will mainly serve foreigners. Alexander Shprygin, who was among those detained after the Euro 2016 violence and has been accused of far-right links, says it's a good solution for English or German fans "who don't know their limits". They may need medical assistance "when they are literally falling out of bars", he says.

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Russian restaurant closes over dead warlord insult

  • 21 October 2016
"Motorola" pictured in February 2015 in the ruins of Donetsk airport after heavy fighting Image copyright VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Rebel commander "Motorola", pictured in February 2015, was killed by a bomb blast in the lift of his apartment block

A Russian restaurant has been forced to close after a social media post insulting a controversial warlord killed in eastern Ukraine sparked an outcry.

Arsen Pavlov, better known by his nom de guerre "Motorola", died last week in a bomb blast in the separatist stronghold of Donetsk.

Read full article Russian restaurant closes over dead warlord insult

Canada church's baby Jesus statue turns heads

  • 20 October 2016
A view of the white statue of Mary and baby Jesus with the orange replacement head Image copyright Radio Canada
Image caption The two-tone look will only be temporary - a stone replacement is planned for next year

A statue of the baby Jesus in an eastern Canada churchyard has been attracting attention after undergoing an unusual restoration.

The white stone statue's head went missing from outside Sainte Anne des Pins church in Sudbury last year, but it's now been replaced by a local artist - using bright orange clay. "It really is shocking to the eyes because of the big contrast in colour," Father Gerard Lajeunesse tells CBC News.

Read full article Canada church's baby Jesus statue turns heads

Halloween attraction angers Japan doll makers

  • 20 October 2016
Traditional Japanese dolls lined up at the Awashima Shrine Image copyright EPA
Image caption Some of Awashima Shrine's dolls are now giving people a fright in Osaka

Japanese doll makers are unhappy about a theme park using hundreds of traditional dolls in a spooky Halloween attraction.

The Japanese Doll Association has written to Universal Studios Japan saying its haunted house makes the dolls seem "cursed or scary", and will damage the business of manufacturers and retailers, the Kyodo news agency reports. "Japanese dolls are excellent works of art. The attraction gives a wrong, negative impression of them to the general public, and also destroys traditional culture," the letter reads.

Read full article Halloween attraction angers Japan doll makers

Bar brawl lands Ukraine archbishop in monastery

  • 19 October 2016
Archbishop Mstyslav Image copyright 1+1 TV
Image caption Archbishop Mstyslav initially said he might have been in the area, but didn't take part in the fight

A Ukrainian archbishop has been sent to a monastery for a month after being caught on CCTV taking part in a bar brawl, it's reported.

Police armed with Kalashnikovs were called to break up the melee involving the Archbishop of Ternopil and Podillya, Mstyslav, some of his clergymen and other patrons, the 1+1 TV channel reports. The men are members of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), the smallest of Ukraine's three Orthodox churches, which says on its website that the archbishop is being sent away "for repentance".

Read full article Bar brawl lands Ukraine archbishop in monastery

Copenhagen clown-hunting event planned for Halloween

  • 18 October 2016
A scary clown mask Image copyright SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The clown hunt will be limited to a few streets in the centre

Anyone spooked by recent "creepy clown" incidents might want to avoid central Copenhagen on Halloween, as dozens of them will be on the loose, it's reported.

About 50 clowns will be roaming around as part of a clown-catching competition, with cash prizes on offer for the participants who collar the most, the regional TV2 Lorry channel reports. Each clown will have a number, which hunters will have to collect and hand in to organisers in the main square. The top prize is being advertised as 3,000 kroner ($440; £360).

Read full article Copenhagen clown-hunting event planned for Halloween

Masking tape saves endangered kiwi in New Zealand

  • 18 October 2016
The baby kiwi - known as Fissure - starts hatching from its egg Image copyright Rainbow Springs Nature Park
Image caption The baby kiwi - called Fissure - breaks out of its cunningly repaired egg

Every life matters when it comes to saving New Zealand's endangered national bird, and one kiwi chick has been kept alive with the imaginative use of masking tape.

Using nothing but tape, a fragment of shell and MacGyver-like ingenuity, nature park worker Claire Travers patched up a badly damaged egg sufficiently for the baby kiwi to survive, New Zealand's Newshub website reports. The egg was found by a Department of Conservation worker, who brought it to the Rainbow Springs Nature Park at Rotorua. "The shell was broken through to the egg's internal membrane, splitting it so the membrane had collapsed on top of the chick, which is very dangerous," Ms Travers tells Newshub.

Read full article Masking tape saves endangered kiwi in New Zealand

Cologne sees bubble-blowing flash mob protest

  • 17 October 2016
A still from a video of the bubble flash mob Image copyright Jayne Mittenzwei/Facebook
Image caption Bubbles in the air, everywhere you look around

A bubble-blowing flash mob turned up in central Cologne on Sunday, after reports that street performers were facing a bubble ban.

The crowd gathered outside Cologne's famous cathedral and filled the air with bubbles after a call went out on Facebook for people to protest against the perceived ban, although city authorities now say it's all a misunderstanding. "We are starting the first official soap bubble flash mob on the Cathedral Square," the call to action on Facebook said. "We'll willingly let the administration ban us from some things. But not the right to blow soap bubbles."

Read full article Cologne sees bubble-blowing flash mob protest

Solomon Islands court approves MPs' tax-free salaries

  • 17 October 2016
An external view of the Solomon Islands parliament building Image copyright iStock/viavado
Image caption Tax-free zone: Members of parliament won't be troubled by income tax in future

MPs in the Solomon Islands won't have to pay tax on their parliamentary salaries, after a court ruling ended a long-running dispute on the issue.

There was a public outcry in the Pacific island nation in May 2015, when a parliamentary commission voted to exempt MPs' earnings from tax. A year later, the High Court scrapped that decision, ruling it unconstitutional because the commission failed to consult the relevant authorities first.

Read full article Solomon Islands court approves MPs' tax-free salaries

Finland church bells toll nationwide for Aleppo

  • 14 October 2016
A map on the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland's website showing which churches are taking part Image copyright Maps
Image caption The initiative has spread across Finland and aims to remind people "to respect and remember" those who have died in Aleppo, Dr Laajasalo says

Churches across Finland are tolling their bells once a day in tribute to victims of the bombardment of Aleppo.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland says more than 200 of its churches are now taking part in the initiative, which started on Wednesday. Their bells will ring at 5pm for 12 consecutive days in memory of those who have died in the Syrian city.

Read full article Finland church bells toll nationwide for Aleppo