Russian post offices raise funds with beer
- 16 January 2019
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.
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".
Russians fly orphan bear to new life
- 14 January 2019
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.
Taiwan man fined for sending cat in post
- 11 January 2019
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.
Israeli mining company unearths rare mineral
- 10 January 2019
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).
Finnish town backs youth curfew
- 8 January 2019
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.
Kazakh 'Golden Man' to be reburied
- 4 January 2019
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".
German row over Schindler's List tickets
- 3 January 2019
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.
Russia searches for Napoleon's gold
- 3 January 2019
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.
Bulgaria rocked by Xmas hog roast row
- 21 December 2018
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.
Red defeat in Belarus Xmas 'star wars'
- 20 December 2018
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.