Vatican: Pope Francis gets his own basketball jersey
Pope Francis attempted to spin a basketball on his fingertips on Wednesday as he welcomed the Harlem Globetrotters in St. Peter’s Square.
The traveling exhibition team, famous for its basketball artistry and theatrics, came to the Vatican to mark its 90th anniversary. The team, which has met eight other popes throughout its history, came with a gift for Pope Francis: a framed custom jersey bearing his name and the number 90.
Syria: music from besieged Yarmouk refugee camp
Palestinian piano player and music teacher Ayham Ahmad has given a concert at the Syrian refugee camp of Yarmouk, seized by Islamist militants in April and besieged by the armed forces of president Bashar al-Assad.
Despite a weak Internet connection, he managed to broadcast the performance via Skype. Ahmad used a simple keyboard as ISIL militants reportedly destroyed his piano.
The video below shows his audience in Jordan.
Cyprus: book your sun bed at the page
Cypriot sunbathers rejoice: the southeastern city of Larnaca is setting up a new booking system for sunbeds and umbrellas at its beaches. The move is expected to boost municipal revenue, create jobs and prevent people from placing their towels on a sunbed early in the day to secure a spot, but only returning hours later.
By the end of June, the city will no longer depend on the private sector to offer the service. It has ordered 2,500 new beds and 1,200 umbrellas that will bear the municipality logo. The city will charge €2.50 per bed and plans to later allow online bookings. It expects its new service to reap about €1million in revenue compared to the €120,000 previously collected from a fixed rent paid by companies.
Germany: Christian and Bettina Wulff romance rekindled
Former German president Christian Wulff, 55, and his wife Bettina, 41, are back together and have dropped plans to divorce. The couple had been separated for two and a half years after Wulff – a Christian-Democrat like Chancellor Angela Merkel – was forced to leave the presidency in disgrace for accepting favors from rich acquaintances. He was cleared of corruption last year.
Since the breakup, Bettina Wulff had stayed in their house in Hanover and written a book on her life as a first lady, widely mocked in the media.
Twitter users joked about the rekindled romance, with one alluding to Germany’s train strike:
France: tarantula crawls around Jura mountain village
A tarantula from Amazonia was found this week in a town in the French mountainous Jura region, according to local media.
Local authorities suspect it was kept as a pet, but escaped. Keeping tarantulas is not illegal in France but requires a certificate. The spider has found a new home: the laboratory of a local museum. Nicknamed “Goliath spider”, the tarantula measures up to 15cm in diameter and weighs more than 100g but is not the most dangerous of its species.
France: army will drive American pickup trucks
For more than three decades, the French army had been using the Peugeot’s P4 as its heavy four-wheel vehicle. This “Made in France” equipment was due for replacement. And the winner is… a Yankee, the Ford Ranger. French media have choked on this choice, but the army said there simply was no equivalent from domestic manufacturers.