Festive reindeer for rent at Russian zoo
- 14 December 2018
A Russian zoo is renting out reindeer, foxes and huskies to local people to enhance their Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Royev Ruchei in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk is one of the biggest zoos in Russia, and its new Animals at Home service means "some zoo residents can be brought along for photo opportunities or children's parties, anywhere in the city," local Channel 7 TV reports.
The zoo says the reindeer are in particularly high demand, and are most often loaned out to accompany Grandfather Frost - Russia's answer to Santa - on his visits to children. Krasnoyarsk freezes hard at this time of year, so a snowy background is pretty much guaranteed.
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All the animals are specially prepared for their outings, and there is no risk to the public, the zoo insists.
Short tempers flare in NZ buses row
- 13 December 2018
A row has broken out in New Zealand over a ban on bus drivers wearing shorts to work, right in the middle of the country's summer.
Two drivers in the capital Wellington were told not to come to work the next day because they refused to wear uniform trousers, city newspaper The Dominion Post reports.
Tourists risk lives on Polish thin ice
- 13 December 2018
Park rangers are fighting a losing battle against visitors willing to risk their lives on the thin ice of a lake in Poland's southern mountains.
Morskie Oko lake is a popular tourist destination all year round, but the sight of people venturing out onto the deceptively thin ice cover prompted the Tatra National Park Rangers to post this urgent warning on Facebook at the start of the month: "Tourists, don't go out onto the Morskie Oko ice. It's thin, and can lead to great danger. We appeal to you to use your judgment and act responsibly!"
Danish sea urchin fossil reveals ancient drama
- 10 December 2018
An amateur paleontologist has discovered a rare 66-million-year-old sea urchin on a beach in Denmark.
Peter Bennicke stumbled across the ancient creature while on a fossil hunt at white cliffs of Stevns Klint on the Island of Møn, a UNESCO World Heritage site, according to the Danish TV2 public broadcaster.
Taiwan students DNA-tested in yoghurt thief whodunnit
- 4 December 2018
A woman has been charged with theft in Taiwan for stealing a yoghurt drink from her roommate after being identified by a DNA test, it's reported.
According to the broadcaster TVBS, the unnamed suspect in Taipei was sharing a student house with five other women who were studying at the city's Chinese Culture University.
Poland seeks top 100 national dishes
- 3 December 2018
Poland's agriculture minister wants to codify Polish national cuisine, in a move that has prompted considerable debate in the country's media.
Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski says the aim is to create a canon of 100 dishes to mark this year's centenary of the restoration of Polish independence, Polish radio reports.
China employees fined for walking fewer than 180,000 steps
- 29 November 2018
A company in China has come under fire for fining employees if they don't walk at least 180,000 steps a month, it's reported.
According to Information Times, employees at an unnamed real estate firm in the southern city of Guangzhou have been fined 0.01 yuan (0.1 cents; 0.1 pence) for every step that they fail to make when trying to reach their target.
Finnish lake reveals Stone Age rock art
- 28 November 2018
New Stone Age paintings have been found on a rock face by a sprawling lake system in eastern Finland.
The red-painted stripes and hand markings were partially hidden under lichen on Tikaskaarteenvuori hill near the village of Anttola, which lies on the shore of Lake Luonteri, the Yle public broadcaster reports.
Tajik army faces criticism over draft campaign
- 23 November 2018
The Tajik army has completed its autumn conscription campaign in record time, amid reports of men being forced to join up - including a 62-year-old out for an evening stroll.
Spokesman Orif Nozimiyon told the ASIA-Plus news site that the draft was completed eight days short of the 30 November deadline, and boasted of a record number of volunteers this year.
Siberian mayor's drive to sell off council cars
- 22 November 2018
The new self-styled "people's mayor" of Yakutsk in Siberia is having a clear-out of the city's garage, promising to sell pricey foreign vehicles in order to fund social schemes.
Sardana Avksentyeva swept to victory in September, beating a member of President Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party to become the first woman to take charge of the city in the process.