BREAKING NEWS

RUSSIA

Moscow's annual cadet ball brought together military school students for a spectacular show filled with imperial-style grandeur.

The Moscow International Kremlin Cadet Ball was held on Tuesday and involved about 1,500 students from across Russia and other ex-Soviet nations.

The participants performed traditional dance routines to classical music, while dressed elegantly, a nod to tsarist Russia's imperial splendor.

The ball was sponsored by the Russian Defence Ministry as part of the government's efforts to revive patriotic traditions.

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SPAIN

A street artist in Barcelona sought to lower tensions ahead of Wednesday's El Clasico football fixture by painting a picture of Barcelona defender Gerard Pique and Real Madrid's captain Sergio Ramos involved in a romantic kiss.

The graffiti appeared as the two sides prepared to meet at Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium in one of the world's most intense and bitterly contested sporting clashes.

The work was the latest in a series of football-themed street works by a local artist called TVBOY.

It was captioned "Kiss and Talk".

The fixture was postponed in the autumn because of security fears after a number of Catalan leaders were convicted over their role in a failed bid to press for independence.

The rescheduled game took place amidst strict security, with supporters of Catalan independence promising to stage protests.

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JAPAN

From humanoid-like robots that quickly transform into cars, to four-legged devices that roll over and sit, this year's iREX exhibition has many of the devices we've become used to from science fiction.

But amid all the gadgetry this year, the expo's theme is clear: making robots that will help humans bridge the pathway to a "friendlier society."

The iREX, or International Robot Exhibition, is held in Japan biennially and brings together all things robotic.

It's put on by the Japan Robot Association, and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, one of Japan's biggest publishers.

At the "Omron" robotics company's booth, there's a robot ready for play.

"Forpheus" is a large, ping pong-playing robot designed to demonstrate what its manufacturers call the future of "integration between people and machines".

It's equipped with state-of-the-art sensing equipment which allows it to detect the movements of the human player, their paddle, and the ping pong ball simultaneously. It does all this at high speeds, and with a high degree of accuracy.

This year's iREX is the biggest so far, with 637 exhibitors and 3,060 booths. The event runs from 18 December to 21 December 2019.

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