Ukraine official spins mouse tale to highlight corruption
- 5 June 2020
A Ukrainian official's announcement that mice had eaten some 30 million dollars worth of grain in the state reserves - enough to fill some 2,700 containers - has stirred a wave of concern in the country.
Mykhaylo Apostol, an adviser to the interior minister, quickly clarified that he was really talking about shortages caused by corruption and that his reference to mice - who "have names, job titles and must be brought to account in line with the law" - was intended to draw attention to a problem ignored for decades.
Most people responded with mirthful disbelief on social media.
Entrepreneur Roman Grabezhov laid out long calculations to argue that it would take "almost a billion mice" to eat that much grain and a popular Facebook community Baba i Kit featured a mugshot of Mickey Mouse holding a sign and admitting to his guilt.
But others said the situation was far from funny.
India's Kolkata city rallies to help its booksellers
- 28 May 2020
Communities in the Indian city of Kolkata are rallying round to help its booksellers after images of thousands of books in flood water have gone viral on social media.
Cyclone Amphan hit Bangladesh and India's West Bengal state on 20 May, causing huge amounts of damage. Kolkata's booksellers on College Street, like many others, are doing their best to recover.
Bosnian art installation makes a splash
- 21 May 2020
A sculpture installed near the city of Vitez in Bosnia and Herzegovina has divided public opinion on whether it is takes too many liberties, figuratively and literally.
Called Unity, it depicts three figures urinating into a basin in the shape of the country.
Russian veterans beat lockdown to mark Victory Day
- 4 May 2020
The Covid-19 outbreak has robbed Russians of the planned military parades to mark this year's 75th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany, but some veterans are celebrating the occasion in their own way.
Parades are traditionally held on Red Square on 9 May to showcase the country's military hardware, but the government has postponed them until later in the year.
Singapore's home businesses lament lockdown shutdown
- 1 May 2020
Cooks and bakers operating out of their kitchens in Singapore - and those who order meals and treats from them - have been dismayed by the government's decision to clamp down on home businesses as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The city state recently extended its lockdown measures following a spike in cases among migrant workers living in dormitories.
Manhole cover thieves 'may get death sentences' in China
- 23 April 2020
China's top judicial bodies have introduced strict punishments for those who remove or damage manhole covers, with the maximum sentence being the death penalty, it's reported.
The Supreme People's Court, The Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security have issued a joint statement, instructing courts to penalise people more strictly if they have been found to steal or damage manhole covers, the official People's Daily reports.
Turkish medics get hitched in PPE
- 21 April 2020
A couple of Turkish healthcare workers whose wedding party was cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, have tied the knot wearing personal protective equipment - with their parents watching behind a glass screen.
Once at home, the newlyweds put on their full attire for a symbolic wedding broadcast on Instagram, as their family and friends posted their congratulations.
Icelanders urged to hug trees to overcome isolation
- 15 April 2020
Iceland's forestry service has come up with a novel way to overcome the sense of isolation many people suffer because of Covid-19 preventative measures.
"Why not come and enjoy the forest, where you can hug the trees and just get the energy from this area," Bergrun Arna Thorsteinsdottir, a senior ranger at the Hallormsstadur National Forest in East Iceland, told the RUV public broadcaster.
Turkey feeds stray animals during Covid-19 outbreak
- 7 April 2020
As the people of Turkey stay at home to contain the spread of Covid-19, the government is tackling the question of who will feed the country's hundreds of thousands of stray animals.
The interior ministry has decided that the job falls to local councils nationwide, and has ordered them 'to "bring food and water to animal shelters, parks, gardens, and other areas where animals are found''.
Elderly Israelis beat isolation with tech lessons
- 6 April 2020
Senior citizens in Israel stuck in their homes by the Covid-19 epidemic are taking advantage of an online course on how to use smartphones to overcome social isolation.
Three technology innovators set up the free lessons, which begin by explaining how the WhatsApp video and Zoom video-conferencing apps can help keep in touch with families and friends all over the world, The Times of Israel news site reports.