Turkish teacher goes door to door for pandemic pupils

  • 11 September 2020
Turkish teacher during lockdown Image copyright Show TV
Image caption Gamze Arslan teaches villages beyond the internet's reach

When teacher Gamze Arslan realised her students in Turkey's eastern Van province could not attend online classes because of the Covid-19 pandemic, she began to visit them at home instead.

''We have the internet at our school, but it's hard to teach because families don't have access to it at home,'' she told the Haberturk news channel.

''So now I teach by going door-to-door with a whiteboard,'' said Ms Arslan, who works in Van's Tusba district, where there are dozens of villages.

She returns the following day with new tasks and to make sure homework has been done, while maintaining social distancing and reminding her charges how to observe hygiene.

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Read full article Turkish teacher goes door to door for pandemic pupils

Chechen children get cash for poems praising leader's family

  • 5 August 2020
Ramzan and mother Ayman Kadyrov 2020 Image copyright Razman Kadrov/Instagram
Image caption Mr Kadyrov arranged the competition to honour his mother

Children in Chechnya are writing poems in praise of their authoritarian leader's family on the promise of cash prizes and the latest smartphones.

In one recent contest, ten finalists received prizes for poems lauding Ramzan Kadyrov's mother Ayman.

Read full article Chechen children get cash for poems praising leader's family

Runaway camels cause Russian mayhem

  • 31 July 2020
Roaming camels, Russia Image copyright Rossiya 1
Image caption The camels are not camera-shy

A pensioner from southern Russia's Astrakhan Region has caused havoc in three local villages after releasing his 80-strong herd of camels out onto the surrounding steppe.

Residents of Oranzherei, Fyodorovka, and Ninovka say the "invasion" by 83-year-old Yuri Serebryakov's animals has made them scared to leave their homes alone or let their children outside to play, local district head Natalya Butuzova told TASS news agency.

Read full article Runaway camels cause Russian mayhem

'Black and White' campaign highlights femicide in Turkey

  • 30 July 2020
Jessica Biel posts a black and white photograph on Instagram Image copyright InSTAGRAM/JESSICA BIEL
Image caption Global celebrities such as Jessica Biel have joined the selfie campaign

Turkish women are thanking the power of social media after a "black and white selfie" campaign drawing attention to femicide echoed globally.

Millions of women, including Hollywood celebrities like Jessica Biel and Demi Moore, have joined the campaign and shared their own photos on Instagram using the #ChallengeAccepted and #BlackAndWhiteChallenge hashtags.

Read full article 'Black and White' campaign highlights femicide in Turkey

Ukraine offers remand cell upgrades - at a price

  • 27 July 2020
VIP Prison cell Image copyright Ukrainian Ministry of Justice
Image caption Pay-to-stay cells offer improved living conditions for their occupants

The Ukrainian Justice Ministry is offering gift certificates for "luxury cells" in the country's dire remand centres.

The certificate is only valid for six months, and the remand centre gets to keep the money if the suspect is not taken into custody during that time.

Read full article Ukraine offers remand cell upgrades - at a price

Statue of Lenin given a Balkan makeover in Ukraine

  • 23 July 2020
Statue of Lenin transformed with traditional Bulgarian attire Image copyright Vadym Pozdniakov
Image caption The statue faced demolition under a law banning communist symbols

As statues around the world get toppled and vandalised, one Ukrainian village has found a creative approach to its historical legacy.

The monument to Lenin in Zaliznychne, Odesa Region, has been altered to represent the village founders - ethnic Bulgarians who arrived in the 19th century.

Read full article Statue of Lenin given a Balkan makeover in Ukraine

Secret Morse code tune sees game removed in China

  • 21 July 2020
Police detain a woman, (C), during a protest in a shopping mall in Hong Kong, China, 06 July 2020. Several dozen protesters held up sheets of blank paper after the government issued a statement linking the ‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times’ slogan, used during mall protests, to separatism. Image copyright EPA
Image caption China sees activism in Hong Kong as "separatist" and gave security forces more power

A popular mobile game has been taken offline in mainland China for "rectification work", after netizens discovered its musical director had written a song containing Morse code with a hidden Hong Kong pro-democracy message.

According to China's Global Times newspaper, the Cytus II musical rhythm game, produced by Taiwan's Rayark Games, has been removed from China's mainland app stores.

Read full article Secret Morse code tune sees game removed in China

Nordic couple gets married in border ceremony

  • 21 July 2020
Couple getting married in forest Image copyright Philip Nordas
Image caption The bride suggested the idea as a joke

A Norwegian bride married her Swedish groom at a ceremony conducted at the border between their countries - with the guests standing on each side of the border, in line with Covid-19 restrictions.

The couple told the BBC that they couldn't wait any longer for the restrictions to be lifted. ''We did not want to change the date… all we wanted was to get married!'' they said.

Read full article Nordic couple gets married in border ceremony

Russia offers free land to stop Arctic depopulation

  • 16 July 2020
Children ride in a trailer in the village of Chavanga, in Russia's Arctic Murmansk region. Image copyright Lev Fedoseyev
Image caption Russia's Arctic population is shrinking as people move to the big cities

Russians will be able to able to get land free in the country's remote Arctic as part of government plans to stop depopulation, expanding a similar programme for the Far East.

Under a scheme announced by the Ministry for Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, people will be apply to use up to one hectare (2.5 acres) of land free of charge for five years, the Kommersant newspaper reports (in Russian).

Read full article Russia offers free land to stop Arctic depopulation

Musicians go local in Turkish village lockdown

  • 15 July 2020
Mirjam Ellenbrok of the Tango Maluco group in Turkey, July 2020 Image copyright Tango Maluco
Image caption The musicians have fitted into the rhythm of village life

A group of four adventurous young musicians found themselves in a remote village in Turkey's Black Sea region a few months ago, when their road trip across Asia was halted by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Two Argentinian brothers, along with their Spanish and Swiss girlfriends, make up the music group Tango Maluco.

Read full article Musicians go local in Turkish village lockdown