Ukrainian edible carrier bag wins award

  • 19 October 2018
Dr Dmytro Bidyuk of Sumy National Agrarian University, Ukraine, 2018 Image copyright 1+1 TV
Image caption Dmytro Bidyuk says the bags are like al dente noodles

Ukrainian scientists have invented an eco-friendly plastic bag that decomposes quickly, does not pollute the environment, and what's more you can eat it once it's worn out.

Dr Dmytro Bidyuk and his colleagues discovered the material as a by-product of combining natural proteins and starches in their laboratory at the National Agrarian University in Sumy in north-eastern Ukraine, the local Depo.Sumy news site reports.

They have moulded cups, drinking straws and bags from seaweed and a starch derived from red algae. These would otherwise be made from disposable plastic, which can take hundreds of years to decompose.

"The main advantage of this cup is that it completely decomposes in 21 days," Dr Bidyuk told 1+1 TV. The bag, he added, disintegrates in the earth in just over a week.

Image copyright 1+1 TV
Image caption The colours and logo are all natural, too

The cups can be frozen or used to bake cupcakes, but their unique quality is that they are all fit for human consumption.

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Read full article Ukrainian edible carrier bag wins award

Russian minister offers land as prize on Instagram

  • 15 October 2018
Russian Minister Alexander Kozlov's Instagram post. Image copyright Alexander Kozlov/Instagram
Image caption Mr Kozlov racked up thousands of replies in days

A Russian minister has come in for criticism for awarding a plot of land as a competition prize on his official Instagram account.

Alexander Kozlov, minister in charge of the development of the Far East, launched a mystery prize draw, open to anyone who subscribed and commented on his Instagram page as long as they also tagged a friend - with surprise gifts for anyone who guessed what the main prize was, the Rambler news portal reports.

Read full article Russian minister offers land as prize on Instagram

Russian region offers phones for extremism tip-offs

  • 12 October 2018
Dagestan police lists prizes for denouncing extremists 2018 Image copyright Dagestan interior ministry
Image caption The website encourages the public to report extremist material

The authorities in a restive region of southern Russia have been offering smartphones in return for tip-offs about extremist material online.

Dagestan set up a website for members of the public to leave warnings about "posts that promote terrorism or incite religious or ethnic hatred", with the most prolific contributor winning an iPhone SE and the runners-up Chinese smartphones, the local Kavkaz-Uzel news site reports.

Read full article Russian region offers phones for extremism tip-offs

Thousands apply to be an Iraqi minister

  • 11 October 2018
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi Image copyright Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu News Agency/Getty Images
Image caption Mr Mahdi has until the end of the month to form a government

Iraq's new government decided that a novel way to recruit new ministers was to let interested members of the public apply online, and has been taken aback by the response.

The nominee for prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, said on Facebook that "those with the expertise, specialisations and practical experience" should put their names forward on a special government website.

Read full article Thousands apply to be an Iraqi minister

'Stolen' Turkish bridge was washed away

  • 9 October 2018
Archive image of Arslanca bridge, Turkey Image copyright DHA/YouTube
Image caption The bridge in its heyday

Villagers in north-eastern Turkey raised the alarm when a cherished 300-year-old bridge seemed to vanish overnight.

The people of Arslanca feared that treasure hunters had dismantled the arch bridge, which connected the village with three highland pastures, stone by stone in their remote area of Gumushane Province, the Demiroren news agency (DHA) reported.

Read full article 'Stolen' Turkish bridge was washed away

Campaigners want to free Portugal's tethered dogs

  • 9 October 2018
Dogs chained up in a yard, Portugal Image copyright Quebr'a Corrente
Image caption Tethered dogs are a frequent sight in rural Portugal

A new campaign is taking off in Portugal to free the thousands of dogs that spend their lives chained up in back yards.

Quebr'a Corrente (Break the Chain) aims to work with owners to make their outside spaces secure, so that animals can have the freedom to roam without the risk of running wild, the Jornal Postal do Algarve news site reports.

Read full article Campaigners want to free Portugal's tethered dogs

Thieves steal entire German vineyard

  • 2 October 2018
Deidesheim, Germany Image copyright Renate007/Wikimedia Commons
Image caption Deidesheim lies at the heart of Riesling country

Police in southern Germany are looking for thieves who stole an entire vineyard of grapes from under their noses.

The criminals made off with the field full of grapes by "running a professional harvesting machine over the entire vineyard", the police said, according to the local Rheinpfalz newspaper.

Read full article Thieves steal entire German vineyard

Mistaken identity as Pakistan embarrassed by wallet theft

  • 1 October 2018
CCTV footage shows a figure taking a wallet from the table Image copyright YouTube
Image caption CCTV footage of the theft which has reportedly left the Kuwaiti delegation furious

A senior Pakistani civil servant is under investigation after reportedly being filmed stealing a visiting Kuwaiti delegate's wallet at an official function.

However, photographs said to be of the suspect, Zarar Haider Khan, published in mainstream and social media show a completely innocent individual who resides in the United States.

Read full article Mistaken identity as Pakistan embarrassed by wallet theft

Archaeologists unearth Roman road in Netherlands

  • 28 September 2018
Archaeological dig at Katwijk, Netherlands, 2018 Image copyright Omroep West
Image caption The dig is metres away from a main road

Archaeologists in the Netherlands have discovered a 2,000-year-old stretch of Roman road and the remains of a Roman village at the town of Katwijk, which once marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire.

The road is 125 metres (410 ft) long and lies close to a busy highway in the Valkenburg suburb. The Roman village comes complete with a canal and burial ground, the Omroep West regional broadcaster reports.

Read full article Archaeologists unearth Roman road in Netherlands

Mickey Mouse expelled from Egypt schools

  • 28 September 2018
Pyramids at Cairo, 2018 Image copyright KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Qalyubia lies north of Cairo

Children in a province north of Cairo may face the new school year without familiar Disney characters to cheer them up, it's reported.

The governor of Qalyubia has decreed that cartoon images of Mickey Mouse and his friends on the walls of pre-schools must be replaced by "military heroes", the Youm7 news site reports.

Read full article Mickey Mouse expelled from Egypt schools