Iranian singer gets summons over solo performance

  • 22 May 2019
Iranian singer Negar Moazzam on Instagram Image copyright Negar Moazzam/Instagram
Image caption Negar Moazzam initially uploaded the video to her Instagram account

A female singer in Iran has been summoned to appear in court after performing solo in public, according to media reports.

Negar Moazzam sang for a group of tourists in the historic village of Abyaneh last week, wearing the traditional costume of that part of Isfahan Province, until local Cultural Heritage Organisation staff cut short her performance, Fars news agency reports.

Ms Moazzam uploaded a video on social media, where it was quickly noticed by fans and the authorities alike - her Instagram account alone has more than 180,000 followers.

The video has disappeared from her platforms since prosecutors in the county town of Natanz announced the court summons, but it has been widely reposted elsewhere.

The chief prosecutor of Isfahan Province, Ali Esfahani, confirmed to Tasnim news agency that his office had opened an investigation into reports of "a woman singing solo".

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Abe Shinzo? Japan re-thinks the order of names

  • 22 May 2019
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono Image copyright Maliepa/Wikimedia Commons
Image caption Mr Kono is no stranger to controversy

Japan's foreign minister wants Japanese names to be written surname-first in foreign languages.

Taro Kono told reporters he plans to ask overseas media to write personal names in the Japanese style, so Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will become "Abe Shinzo", for example, the Sankei Shimbun newspaper reports.

Read full article Abe Shinzo? Japan re-thinks the order of names

Thieves steal German strawberry field

  • 21 May 2019
Lambsheim, western Germany. Image copyright Polarlys/Wikimedia Commons
Image caption Lambsheim lies amid rich farmland

Thieves have made off overnight with most of a strawberry field in western Germany.

Police say the fruit bandits loaded two-thirds of the crop from a field at a farm near Lambsheim in Rhineland-Palatine state, the local Rheinpfalz newspaper reports.

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Huge bee colony removed from Spain bedroom

  • 21 May 2019
Beekeeper inspecting beehive behind a bedroom wall Image copyright 20 minutos
Image caption Beekeeper Sergio Guerrero was stunned at the size of the nest

A couple in the Spanish town of Pinos Puente has discovered the reason for the constant buzzing noise in their bedroom - a massive bee nest behind the wall.

The couple had spent two years not knowing where the droning sound that kept them awake at night was coming from, until one day they found the culprit, the 20 Minutos news site reports.

Read full article Huge bee colony removed from Spain bedroom

'Dutch Venice' bolsters its bridges

  • 17 May 2019
Canal in Giethoorn, Netherlands Image copyright RTV Oost
Image caption Even small boats can damage the fragile foot-bridges

A village known as the "Dutch Venice" is shutting its canals for several hours each morning to repair the damage tourist boats have caused to its historic bridges.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to Giethoorn in the eastern Netherlands each year, attracted by its network of canals, but many of them have trouble handling their hire boats and end up bumping into the bridges, the regional broadcaster RTV Oost reports.

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Eurovision 2019: Belarus TV host's homophobic remarks condemned

  • 15 May 2019
Yavhen Perlin interviewing Eurovision performer from Belarus Zena Image copyright Belarus Television
Image caption Some social media users said they felt embarrassed by Yavhen Perlin's remarks

Homophobic remarks by a Belarusian state TV presenter during the Eurovision song contest in Israel have stirred indignation on social media in Belarus.

Yavhen Perlin was providing live commentary during the semi-finals on 14 May, when a "kiss-cam" zoomed into affectionate couples during the performance by Israel's transgender pop diva Dana International.

Read full article Eurovision 2019: Belarus TV host's homophobic remarks condemned

Russian deserter dodged arrest for 14 years

  • 14 May 2019
Call-up of conscripts, Sochi, Russia, 2019 Image copyright Russian Defence ministry
Image caption Russia calls up conscripts twice a year

A deserter from the Russian army has given himself up after evading arrest for nearly 15 years.

Private Nikolai Akhmineyev walked off the Naro-Fominsk army base south-west of Moscow, where he was performing his national service in July 2004, and didn't look back, military prosecutors say.

Read full article Russian deserter dodged arrest for 14 years

Man detained in China for giving dogs 'illegal' names

  • 14 May 2019
A Chinese dog with a controversial name Image copyright Beijing News
Image caption This pup's name got his owner in trouble with the police

A man has been detained in eastern China for giving his dogs "illegal" names, it's reported.

According to popular newspaper Beijing News, a dog breeder in his early 30s surnamed Ban in eastern Anhui Province was summoned by the police on Monday, after posting on mobile messenger WeChat that he had two new dogs, named Chengguan and Xieguan.

Read full article Man detained in China for giving dogs 'illegal' names

Russian TV red-faced over interview with dead singer

  • 13 May 2019
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Opera singer Elena Obraztsova died in 2015

The TV channel of the Russian defence ministry has been ridiculed online after it published an interview on its website with an opera singer who died several years ago.

Zvezda claimed to have spoken to Elena Obraztsova as she attended the funeral of controversial journalist Sergei Dorenko over the weekend, the Russian independent media report.

Read full article Russian TV red-faced over interview with dead singer

Tajik carpenter makes full-size wartime tank

  • 10 May 2019
Carpenter made a full-size wooden tank, Tula, Russia, 2019 Image copyright TeleTula
Image caption The tank seats five, at a push

A young Tajik carpenter has made a full-size wooden version of the iconic Soviet T-34 tank in time for the annual celebrations to mark the end of World War Two in Europe this week.

Muhammadsharif Jalilov lives in the Russian city of Tula, the historic centre of the country's arms industry south of Moscow, and decided to fashion the wooden tank at a friend's suggestion.

Read full article Tajik carpenter makes full-size wartime tank