Russian post offices raise funds with beer

  • 16 January 2019
Beer bottles on sale at Murmansk post office Image copyright
Image caption Prices to suit every pocket, along with your 2019 pig or puppy calendar

Russia's beleaguered mail service plans to keep local post offices open by letting them sell beer.

Among the first to notice the new goods on sale was a caller to a post office in Murmansk Region, in the far north of the country.

"It looked like Russian Post couldn't sink any lower, but it turns out they could," he complained, taking to the VKontakte social media platform with photos of beer stacked up for sale at the counter.

This left only one cashier position free, which was "already witnessing an involved discussion about bed linen. So now we can expect the local winos to hold things up even more," he lamented about the bottles, priced at up to 135 roubles ($2; £1.60) a piece.

'Kebabs too?'

Comments on the VKontakte page also mix exasperation with humour, while some comfort themselves with the thought that at least they "won't get bored in the queue anymore".

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Russians fly orphan bear to new life

  • 14 January 2019
Bear rescued in Russia after poachers killed mother 2018 Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Mashka was saved by the kindness of strangers

Members of the Russian public have raised a large sum of money to fly a bear cub from one end of the country to the other, so that she can start a new life after poachers killed her mother.

Villagers in the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula found the starving 10-month-old roaming their freezing streets last month, crying out for food and help.

Read full article Russians fly orphan bear to new life

Taiwan man fined for sending cat in post

  • 11 January 2019
The cat sent by post Image copyright Taipei City Government Animal Protection Office
Image caption Staff at an animal shelter in New Taipei City were shocked to discover a package delivered by courier contained this cat

A man has been fined in Taiwan for sending a cat that he no longer wanted via an express postal service, it's reported.

According to the UDN news website, a 33-year-old man surnamed Yang was fined NT$60,000 ($1,952; £1,522) this week, for violating the Taiwan Animal Protection Act, after he posted a Scottish fold cat in a sealed cardboard box to a local animal shelter in Banciao District.

Read full article Taiwan man fined for sending cat in post

Israeli mining company unearths rare mineral

  • 10 January 2019
Israeli firm Shefa Yamim's trademarked Carmel Sapphire Image copyright Shefa Yamim
Image caption The mineral's rarity will make gemstones pricey

A mineral - previously only known to exist in outer space - has been found on Earth by an Israeli mining company, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports

Carmeltazite was added to the official list of known minerals this week after being approved by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA).

Read full article Israeli mining company unearths rare mineral

Finnish town backs youth curfew

  • 8 January 2019
Laitila, Finland Image copyright
Image caption Laitila is not the first Finnish town to try a youth curfew

A town in south-western Finland has introduced a controversial evening curfew on children and teenagers of school-age.

Laitila council insists that the curfew enjoys broad support in the town of about 8,000 people, and follows months of public discussion, the Yle public broadcaster reports.

Read full article Finnish town backs youth curfew

Kazakh 'Golden Man' to be reburied

  • 4 January 2019
The Golden Man armour in the Kazakh National Museum Image copyright Kazakh TV
Image caption The 'Golden Man' is believed to have been a Scythian noble

Kazakhstan will rebury an iconic ancient warrior in a time capsule this year, in the hope that future generations will be able to establish who he really was, Kazakh TV reports.

Archaeologists uncovered the remains along with magnificent gold-embroidered armour and other precious funerary artefacts during a dig at the Issyk burial mound in the south of the country in 1969, and quickly dubbed him the "Golden Man".

Read full article Kazakh 'Golden Man' to be reburied

German row over Schindler's List tickets

  • 3 January 2019
Lobby material for special screening of Schindler's List. Hachenburg, Germany 2019 Image copyright
Image caption The screening of Schindler's List marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day

A German cinema has found itself at the centre of a political row after offering free tickets to members of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party to see the Holocaust film Schindler's List.

The management of the Cinexx cinema in the western town of Hachenburg told the SWR regional public broadcaster that they only wanted to "start a discussion about the Holocaust with a party that has trivialised it" at a special showing of Steven Spielberg's 1993 classic scheduled for 27 January - International Holocaust Remembrance Day.


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Russia searches for Napoleon's gold

  • 3 January 2019
Adolph Northen's painting 'Napoleon's Retreat from Moscow' Image copyright Hohum/Wikimedia Commons
Image caption Only a fraction of Napoleon's Grande Armée made it back to France

A Russian historian has come up with a new theory about the legend that the French Emperor Napoleon hid wagonloads of stolen treasure during his disastrous retreat from Moscow in 1812.

Viacheslav Ryzhkov says treasure-hunters have been looking in the wrong place for 200 years, and told his local Rabochy Put newspaper that they should turn their attention to his home town of Rudnya, near the border with Belarus.

Read full article Russia searches for Napoleon's gold

Bulgaria rocked by Xmas hog roast row

  • 21 December 2018
Traditional Bulgarian Christmas grilled pork Image copyright Biso/Wikimedia Commons
Image caption Pork chops are a traditional Bulgarian Christmas dish

A plan to butcher two whole pigs and roast them in the centre of the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv as a Christmas celebration has been dropped after local protests.The hog roast was set to take place next to the Christmas tree by the city council building on Boxing Day, the bTV Novinite news site reports.

Celebrity chef and actor Uti Bachvarov was going to do the honours in a bid to reacquaint Plovdiv city-slickers with one of Bulgaria's oldest Christmas culinary traditions - a meat feast that ends the 40-day Nativity Fast.

Read full article Bulgaria rocked by Xmas hog roast row

Red defeat in Belarus Xmas 'star wars'

  • 20 December 2018
Star of Bethlehem on New Year tree, Maladzyechna, Belarus, 2018 Image copyright Eduard Balanchuk
Image caption 'Following yonder star'

The spirit of Christmas has won through in Belarus, where a campaigner has persuaded a city council to put the traditional Star of Bethlehem atop its official festive fir tree, in place of a Communist-era red star.

Local historian Lyavon Tsimokhin raised the alert after passing through Central Square in Maladzyechna, north-west of the capital Minsk, where he noticed a large five-pointed Kremlin Star - a symbol of Soviet power dating back to the days of dictator Joseph Stalin - perched on top of the tall, brightly-decorated tree, the RG news site reports.

Read full article Red defeat in Belarus Xmas 'star wars'