Every Friday, journalists from euronews’ various language teams select stories from Europe and beyond that did not reach international headlines. Enjoy!
UK: send a card to Mars
Britain’s postal service has figured out the cost of sending a Christmas card to Mars. Answering a question from a five-year-old, the Royal Mail consulted with NASA to work out the cost of delivering mail on a space rocket. The answer is around £11,602, or more than 18,000 stamps. The price includes £2.25 to send the letter to a NASA launch site.
Ukraine: not very diplomatic
Ukraine’s interior minister Arsen Avakov threw a glass of water at Odessa region governor and former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili and launched into a colourful tirade of insults on Monday (December 14).
The dispute erupted during a council meeting in Kyiv when Saakashvili accused Avakov of corruption, shouting: “I will prove that you personally are a thief, I will prove that indeed the Cabinet of Ministers leads the corruption. I will never allow… Unlike you, I have no money, but I have an honour and a reputation!”
Japan’s $60-million toilet museum
Japan has given the world the Walkman, the PlayStation and karaoke. It’s also known to be obsessed with toilets. So much so that Toto, the maker of the high-tech, butt-washing and tushie-warming Washlet, has built a $60-million dedicated museum. Designed to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary in 2017, the museum has already welcomed 30,000 visitors in the three months it’s been open.
Syrian jihadists pimp a Texan plumber’s ride
In October 2013, a U.S. plumber sold his truck to an auto dealer in Houston, Texas. A year later, that same pickup truck, still bearing his company’s name and phone number, appeared in a photograph of an Islamist militant in Syria — with an anti-aircraft gun mounted in the back and apparently firing at somebody.
The photo has gone viral on the internet and the plumber, Mark Oberholtzer, is now suing the dealer he sold the truck to and seeking $1 million in damages. He says the harassment generated has damaged his business.
Ultimate typing with the Ultimate Keyboard
Crowdfunding was successful so there is no obstacle to the manufacturing of an IT innovation: the self-proclaimed ‘Ultimate Hacking Keyboard’. The concept comes from a group of Hungarian engineers and features various upgrades compared to standard keyboards: it can be split in half to let users find their most comfortable typing position, and lets you completely redefine the keys as you see fit. It comes in various colours, too. Gift idea? Perhaps for next Christmas: it will sell for around $200, with shipping slated to begin in the second half of 2016.
India: postman gets two years in jail for tearing a letter
When a postman tore a letter in a fit of rage six years ago, little did he know it would cost him a two-year stay in prison. Back in 2009, convict Samuel John lost his temper during an argument with his boss, ripped apart a letter meant for delivery and stormed out of the post office. On Wednesday (December 16), a judge sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment under the Indian Post Offices Act. John plans to appeal the ruling and says the case was a matter of office politics.
Greek cat filmed on the toilet
Cats can be crazy and that’s why the Internet loves them. On the Greek island of Syros, this cat is too good for a litter box and prefers to use the toilet like a human. Its owners say the next thing it ought to learn is to flush.
Iran: wall of kindness
Iranian youth are using walls not as a factor of division but to bring people together and encourage acts of kindness towards the poor ahead of the winter. In several cities, activists have been hanging clothes along walls with the message: “If you need clothing, take according to your needs, and if you have clothing at home that you don’t need, please hang it here.”
دیوار مهربانی به اصفهان رسید.— sepehr (@filmkotah2011) 13 Décembre 2015
برای جوونای اصفهانی چه تیتری می زنید؟ pic.twitter.com/mekqp2B8il
Climate talks chef fined for environmental damage
A French chef who cooked meals for world leaders at the climate change summit in Paris has been slapped with a hefty fine for breaching environmental law. On Friday (December 18), Michelin starred Marc Veyrat was fined 100,000 euros for illegally removing woodland around his home and restaurant in Manigod in the French Alps. The Annecy court also ordered him to restore the wetlands within three months.
Peru: skateboarding dog
Otto the bulldog rolled into the World Records hall of fame by riding through a tunnel formed of 30 people in Lima.