Every Friday euronews’ different languages journalists pick this selection of stories that won’t make the top headlines from around Europe and the world.
“McRussian’s”: The Directors’ Cut
Two famous Russian film directors have been granted state funding to start up a “true Russian” fast-food chain to rival McDonald’s, according to Russian news reports.
Award-winning directors Nikita Mikhalkov and Andrei Konchalovsky had asked President Putin for almost one billion roubles (17,5 million euros). The idea was “to provide an alternative to Western fast-food chains.”
The new restaurants, which coincide with a rise in patriotism prompted by Russia’s dispute with the West over Ukraine, will be called “Eat At Home!”.
Hungary: Against racism, with hugs
In Hungary, a Roma man protested against racism by standing blindfolded in one of the busiest squares in central Budapest. On a nearby banner were the words: “I’m a gypsy. Many of you think I’m a criminal. I trust you. If you trust me, give me a hug!”. His protest was recorded:
In the space of an hour the man received 20 hugs. The idea came from Canada, where a Muslim man performed a similar act.
The Roma minority continues to face serious discrimination in Hungary, as reported recently by Amnesty International.
UK: Top banker’s workplace hell
A female banker – tormented and sexually harassed to the point of mental breakdown by male colleagues who labelled her “Crazy Miss Cokehead” – has been awarded 3.2 million pounds (4.4 million euros) in compensation by a London employment tribunal.
Svetlana Lokhova, 33, who earned £750,000 a year in salary and bonuses at the Russian bank Sberbank CIB, was described as a “resilient person” but had been the victim of a “deliberate” attempt to bully her, which included false accusations that she was a drug user.
Reacting to the ruling, the bank said it was “committed to take on board any lessons” but pointed out that 19 of Lokhova’s 22 complaints had been rejected.
Italy: One in three public contracts ‘illegal’
Italian tax police reported that more than a third of public contracts it investigated in 2014 were illegally assigned.
The annual report of the finance police force (GDF) found that wasteful use of public money and fraud cost the state 4.1 billion euros. Checks were run on 220 public contracts last year with a combined value of 4.6 billion euros.
The report’s introduction notes a high tendency of those in office to “indulge in fraud, bribery and downright embezzlement.”
MPs from all political parties said the figures painted an “alarming” picture of institutional and individual malpractice.
The picture shows a new road in Sicily, between Palermo and Agrigento, which “collapsed” only eight days after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Germany: Student asks to see exam paper in advance under ‘freedom of information’
A bright high-school pupil from Münster, due to take the equivalent of A-level exams soon, went to court demanding to know the questions in advance under the country’s 2006 freedom of information law.
The 17 year old, named as Simon Schräder, sent his request via a website operated by the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF).
The Education Ministry took time to consider the question – before politely declining.
UK: Electricity pylon of the future revealed
The winner of a competition seeking new designs for a potential new generation of power cables has been announced.
Created by Danish company Bystrup Architecture, Design & Engineering, it is described as having a “classic appearance and elegance”.
Among the criteria were a need to balance energy needs with visual impact.
China: Remembering Wham!‘s ‘Wake-me-up’ 30 years on
China received a post-Cultural revolution culture shock 30 years ago when Wham! – the world’s biggest band at the time – played concerts in Beijing and Guangzhou.
The events in 1985 were described as a defining moment in the country’s relations with the West and opening up to the outside world.
The concerts took months of planning with the Chinese authorities – and the sight and sound of the duo of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley astonished those in the audience who had been used to pop music being banned.