Ukraine official spins mouse tale to highlight corruption

  • 5 June 2020
Field mouse
Image caption One official tries a 'best-laid scheme' to address a pervasive problem

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.

Read full article Ukraine official spins mouse tale to highlight corruption

India's Kolkata city rallies to help its booksellers

  • 28 May 2020
Books laid out to dry in the sun Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The city's book market street has been lined with tomes drying in the sun

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.

Read full article India's Kolkata city rallies to help its booksellers

Bosnian art installation makes a splash

  • 21 May 2020
Three figures urinate in a pool shaped like Bosnia and Hercegovina Image copyright DRUKCIJI RADIO
Image caption To pee or not to pee? Bosnians disagree over the artwork's meaning

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.

Read full article Bosnian art installation makes a splash

Russian veterans beat lockdown to mark Victory Day

  • 4 May 2020
Russian war veteran Zinaida Korneva raises money for Covid-19 victims on YouTube Image copyright Zinaida Korneva/YouTube
Image caption Zinaida Korneva's war stories raise money for Covid-19 families

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.

Read full article Russian veterans beat lockdown to mark Victory Day

Singapore's home businesses lament lockdown shutdown

  • 1 May 2020
Pineapple tarts Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pineapple tarts and other baked treats are a way some earn extra cash during Ramadan

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.

Read full article Singapore's home businesses lament lockdown shutdown

Manhole cover thieves 'may get death sentences' in China

  • 23 April 2020
A man worksing in a manhole in Chengdu, China Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Manhole covers are vital for public safety

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.

Read full article Manhole cover thieves 'may get death sentences' in China

Turkish medics get hitched in PPE

  • 21 April 2020
Couple wearing PPI Image copyright Cemre Yetgin/Instagram
Image caption This isn't the white wedding they had in mind

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.

Read full article Turkish medics get hitched in PPE

Icelanders urged to hug trees to overcome isolation

  • 15 April 2020
Woman hugging a tree Image copyright Iceland's Forest Service
Image caption 'This works, you know!' - Iceland's forestry service has put out instructions for best results

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.

Read full article Icelanders urged to hug trees to overcome isolation

Turkey feeds stray animals during Covid-19 outbreak

  • 7 April 2020
Istanbul city employee caring for stray dog 2020 Image copyright OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Istanbul city employees are already checking on strays

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''.

Read full article Turkey feeds stray animals during Covid-19 outbreak

Elderly Israelis beat isolation with tech lessons

  • 6 April 2020
Israeli online apps course for the elderly Image copyright smartphonelessons.net/YouTube
Image caption Five lessons a week are posted to YouTube

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.

Read full article Elderly Israelis beat isolation with tech lessons