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28 June 2016 Last updated at 15:34

Debt silences Vanuatu public broadcasts

An aerial view of one of Vanuatu's islands Sixty-five of Vanuatu's islands are inhabited, and many people rely on public radio for information

Vanuatu's national broadcaster went off-air on Monday because of an unpaid utility bill, it's reported.

There was a "total blackout" on Radio Vanuatu and Television Blong Vanuatu, with people across the country unable to tune in, Radio New Zealand International reports.

State-owned VBTC, which runs both services, was cut off by its electricity provider last week after failing to settle its debt, according to the Pasifik News website. It had continued to operate using diesel-powered generators - but not for long. On Monday the fuel ran out, leaving both its TV and radio stations silent. The power was reportedly restored on Tuesday.

The website says VBTC has faced this problem before. The same thing happened last year after the company failed to cough up more than 12m vatu (£75,500; $107,000) in unpaid power bills.

Only last week the company's new chairman, Jonethy Jerety, vowed to provide nationwide radio coverage, after Vanuatu's prime minister criticised the service being provided to outlying islands. Communities rely on the broadcaster for essential information during cyclones or volcanic eruptions, which are not uncommon in a country located on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire.

Residents apparently missed seeing the opening of parliament, and football fans will be hoping that service is more reliable in the coming weeks - Pasifik notes that during the TV blackout nobody could watch the Euro 2016 tournament.

Next story: Iceland strengthens road signs to stop thefts

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Iceland makes road signs harder to steal

An Icelandic road sign marking a ford crossing a river Officials want traffic signs to stay on the roads, not on tourists' mantelpieces

Iceland has strengthened its road signs in order to stop tourists stealing them to take home as novel souvenirs, it's reported.

The most popular signs to be pinched are the sort rarely found in other countries, specifically those marking fords that cross rivers, blind rises and gravel tracks, according to Iceland's RUV national broadcaster. Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson of the Road and Coastal Administration says they are now "using bolts that can't be dismantled with an ordinary car toolkit", and making the signs too heavy to carry off easily.

Mr Ingolfsson, who is also a noted crime novelist, designed some of the signs. He tells RUV that the international Vienna Road Traffic Agreement "simply doesn't provide for our topography", and this makes unique Icelandic signs particularly appealing to memento-hunters. "It's the way they look. For example, in English you just have the word 'ford'. But we also have a picture of a car driving into water, which is more easily understood," he says.

At one time Icelandic signs only used words, causing confusion for international visitors. He recalls that 30 years ago some German film-makers put "blind rise" signs up on roads in the north to let drivers know they were filming there, because they thought the word simply meant "warning".

As for the often-mooted idea that Iceland might add English to its signs, Mr Ingolfsson points out that many people in the country are fiercely protective of their language, which has changed little since the times of the Norse sagas. "We use English as a second language on some road information boards, and get complaints," he says. "Besides, not everyone here understands English."

An Icelandic road sign marking a blind rise The signs' unusual images are just too tempting for some visitors

Next story: Hungarian village opts for horses over bin lorries

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Horse-drawn carts replace bin lorries

The rubbish collectors with the horse and cart Switching to horses could mean huge savings for the village budget

A village in western Hungary has started to collect recyclable waste from people's homes using horse-drawn carts.

The trial scheme in Nagyvazsony has seen conventional bin lorries replaced by the much quieter clip-clop of horses' hooves, in an effort to save money and help the environment. It's the idea of village mayor Szabolcs Janos Fabry, and is part of efforts to meet EU and Hungarian rules on collecting recyclable rubbish from every household in the country.

A video about the scheme says that while a regular bin lorry costs 50m forints to buy (£130,000; $180,000), a cart and the horses needed to pull it cost only 4m forints. Maintenance costs for the four-legged option are also cheaper, at about a third of those for the lorry, it says, adding that it could be a viable solution for 75% of Hungary's local government districts. A similar scheme was introduced by a borough in the Belgian capital, Brussels, in 2011.

Earlier this month, Mr Fabry, himself a prominent horse breeder, told the Vasarnapi Hirek site that it's expensive for small communities to meet the requirements for kerbside recycling, as lorries have to make several trips a day to collect it all. "By using the horse-drawn carts solution, not only would we save money and spare the environment, we would also once more give meaning to the historic fact that Hungary is an equestrian nation," he was quoted as saying.

Next story: Outcry in Egypt over 'suggestive' milk advert

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Egypt outcry over 'sexual' milk advert

A grab from the advert showing one toddler teasing another toddler The advert shows two of the toddlers teasing their friend for not wanting to drink bottled milk

An Egyptian milk advert in which toddlers refer to their mothers' breasts has been banned after a public outcry, with some complaining it could encourage sexual harassment towards women.

The TV commercial for the Juhayna dairy brand featured two little boys teasing their friend about his inability to grow out of breast milk, accusing him of lacking "masculinity". The toddler whines: "I just cannot forget the dundoo," meaning his mother's breasts. One of the other boys replies: "And you never will."

The word "dundoo" has no origin in Arabic, and seems to have been used as toddler-speak to avoid referring directly to female body parts.

Egypt's Consumer Protection Agency banned the advert on Sunday, saying it contained thinly disguised sexual references, the al-Masry al-Youm website reports.

It first aired at the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, clocking up 1.6m views on YouTube in less than a week. But it quickly ignited a storm of criticism from social media users.

One described the advert as "gross", while another said young men would now use the word "dundoo" to harass women on the street. That view was echoed by journalist and TV presenter Ibrahim Elgarhi, who sarcastically thanked Juhayna for its "valuable contribution" towards "updating the dictionary of sexual harassment terms with the word dundoo".

But others felt the problem was in people's minds. Women's Uprising, a women's rights Facebook page, said only "sick mentalities who view a woman's body as a sex object" would have thought the advert was suggestive. "Breastfeeding has never been something to be ashamed of," the page reads.

Sexual harassment is widespread in Egypt, and campaigners say things are getting worse. In 2014, a UN survey found that 99.3% of Egyptian women and girls had been subjected to verbal or physical harassment.

Next story: Snake slaughter after kindness ritual goes wrong

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Snake slaughter after compassion ritual

The venomous Asian tiger snake The venomous Asian tiger snake is among the serpents which have been released into the wild and are now threatening a village in China

A woman in China has released hundreds of snakes into the wild as part of a ritual which shows compassion to all creatures. But now they are being slaughtered by villagers fearful of being bitten by venomous serpents.

"Originally we gave salvation to more than 200 snakes, but we estimate that now there are over 900!" said the woman, who calls herself "Cool Mandy" on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo. Her post has now been deleted, but not before it was picked up and circulated by state media.

The snakes were reportedly set free in a mountainous area in southwestern Sichuan province and quickly slithered their way to nearby a village. In the ensuing upheaval, its fearful residents caught and clubbed the vermin to death by the dozen, the Shanghaiist website reports. "Villagers said that they have had a few restless nights in the last week," it reports. "For instance, one anxious villager surnamed Lei couldn't help but circle around his house once every hour to make sure it was clear of snakes."

The villagers' fears appear to be well-founded. The Chengdu Economic Daily, a local newspaper, reports that at least some of the serpents have been identified as venomous.

Releasing captured wildlife is considered a righteous deed that brings good karma in China, says Yashan Zhao from BBC Chinese. The ritual is particularly popular among Buddhists, and normally involves purchasing fish, frogs, birds, turtles, etc. at local markets before releasing them into the wild.

But "Cool Mandy's" stint earned her few karma points among Chinese bloggers. "I condemn this releaser, she should be punished, she has created a dangerous situation for the villagers" is a popular view, and one Weibo user wonders: "Why didn't she just release them in her own bedroom?"

Next story: Spanish town's giant dog dropping goes walkies

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Town's giant dog dropping goes walkies

The inflatable dog mess which has gone missing Missing in action: Police are on the trail of this three metre tall inflatable dog mess

A town in Spain is facing an unexpected bill after thieves apparently made off with a giant dog dropping being used as part of a local campaign.

Torrelodones, a municipality just outside the capital Madrid, is 2,400 euros ($2,726; £1,885) out of pocket after the three-metre high inflatable bought as part of a campaign to encourage pet-lovers to pick up after their dogs went missing, El Pais newspaper reports. The bizarre inflatable disappeared after it had been packed away in its carry-case and the police are now on the trail of the 30 kilogramme dog poop, town officials say.

Speaking to the ABC newspaper, town councillor Angel Guirao said staff were shocked and perplexed by the theft, and a replacement excrement was already on order because "we know that the campaign has been a great success".

The inflatable is not the only symbol of the municipality's "Lay an egg" campaign. Torrelodones has also left a number of concrete dog poops around the town bearing the message "This is a big blockage to living together. If you have a dog, help us". People taking the time to engage with the campaign by posting photos on social media can win "Lay an egg" T-shirts, tastefully illustrated with a picture of a hen's egg.

Next story: North Korean Leader seen smoking again

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North Korean leader seen smoking again

Kim Jong-un smoking a cigarette while officials take notes Kim Jong-un, seen with a cigarette this week, is known to be a heavy smoker like his father Kim Jong-il

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been spotted smoking in public for the first time in around two months, despite the country being in the middle of an official anti-smoking campaign.

State media this week has been showing the country's Supreme Leader with a cigarette in his right hand during a visit to a children's camp in Pyongyang. Until now, news reports on Kim's activities have shown him without his habitual cigarette and an ashtray on a nearby table. He's known to be a heavy smoker, and BBC analysts say he may have just stopped smoking on official duties for the sake of the cameras. The leader was last seen lighting up on 15 March while attending a test of a home-grown North Korean rocket motor.

The sight of Kim smoking comes as a surprise, as the country is in the midst of what state newspaper Rodong Sinmun calls a "brisk" anti-tobacco campaign in a country which has a large smoking population. According to the World Health Organisation, over half of North Korean men were smokers in 2012, South Korean news agency Yonhap says, one of the highest rates in Asia.

Smoking in the country is almost exclusively a male habit, and to hammer home the "No smoking" message Korean Central TV broadcast a 40 minute-long programme entitled "The Extra Quality Favourite Item Threatening Life," in which women scolded male smokers, calling them "imbeciles who upset their surroundings".

State television in North Korea shows almost daily compilation programmes of Kim Jong-un's inspection visits to factories, military units and construction projects, and they are a useful barometer for Korea-watchers to catch up on the leader's habits and dress code; and to see which officials are in or out of favour.

Kim Jong-un seen smoking in 2015 A smoking Kim Jong-un seen in familiar surroundings in 2015

Next story: Denmark plans asylum-seeker football league

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Plans for asylum-seeker football league

A team photo of players at the Dianalund asylum seeker centre Asylum seekers from a centre in Dianalund are among those taking part in the project

Plans are under way in Denmark for a football league for asylum seekers, aimed at helping them to integrate into society.

Residents at four centres for asylum seekers in eastern Denmark will compete against each other in the pilot project, which is due to kick-off in August, the TV2 website reports.

It is the idea of Per Bjerregaard, former chairman of the top-flight Danish club Brondby IF. "The project can contribute in a variety of ways," he tells the broadcaster.

"Asylum seekers can get exercise and variety in their daily lives, and get easier access to other Danes and associations in Denmark. In this way we can facilitate integration through football."

The participants are being kitted out with football boots and strips, and Mr Bjerregaard says a number of big names have agreed to help with coaching the players. Among them are former Danish national team manager Morten Olsen and ex-Celtic midfielder Morten Wieghorst.

The Red Cross, European football's governing body UEFA, and the Danish football association are also backing the project.

Kasper Koch from the Red Cross says football takes people's minds off their other worries and can help them to form personal networks, a key tool in finding employment.

Mr Koch hopes the league could go nationwide - or perhaps even further, telling TV2: "Who knows - maybe it could have the same structure as the Champions League."

Per Bjerregaard holding an Asylum League football with Danish Red Cross President Hanna Line Jakobsen Per Bjerregaard is behind the idea, seen here with Danish Red Cross President Hanna Line Jakobsen

Next story: South Korea launches 'K-pop academy' in Mexico

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S Korea runs 'K-pop academy' in Mexico

Korean pop band Shinee dancing on stage The slick dance moves of K-pop groups like Shinee take years of training

South Korea is offering Mexicans the chance to see what it takes to be a Korean pop star, as part of a government-sponsored cultural course.

Dubbed K-Pop Academy, participants will be given language training to ensure they can pronounce Korean song lyrics, and a month of advanced instruction in singing and dancing, the Yonhap news agency reports.

They'll be taught by K-pop professionals, the agency says, including vocal trainers and choreographers who have worked alongside major successes such as Girls' Generation. Anyone applying must be at least 15 years old.

It's being run by the Korean Cultural Centre in Mexico City, which says more than 400 people have applied to take one of the 60 places available.

"This academy will provide an opportunity for us to upgrade the way we spread Korean culture, from simply watching it to experiencing it," says the centre's director Chang Chi-young. Korean cultural institutes have previously held broader courses covering topics such as the country's food, history and traditional dress.

South Korea's government has for years used K-pop artists as a means of exporting the country's pop culture. But the industry has also faced scrutiny over so-called slave contracts, where trainees are tied into long deals with little financial reward. Some pop stars have also complained of dating bans imposed by their management agencies.

Next story: Top Russian TV presenter mocked for Crimea gaffe

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Russian TV host mocked for Crimea gaffe

Dmitry Kiselyov Dmitry Kiselyov is often referred to as Russia's "chief propagandist"

A top Russian TV presenter's gaffe about the status of the annexed territory of Crimea has provoked mockery from social media users.

Dmitry Kiselyov was presenting state TV's flagship weekly news programme Vesti Nedeli on Sunday, which included a report on the annual Aviadarts military aircraft competition, this year being held in Crimea. When the piece ended, Mr Kiselyov introduced the next report with the words: "And now back to Russia..."

It didn't take long for social media users to pounce on the remark, pointing out that the man widely known as Russia's "chief propagandist" had inadvertently suggested that Crimea was not part of the Russian Federation.

Russia annexed the peninsula following a disputed referendum in March 2014, but most governments around the world still deem it to be part of Ukraine. Mr Kiselyov himself was placed under sanctions by the EU for his role in the coverage of the annexation.

His gaffe quickly became the subject of social media chatter, with several users joking that he had made a "Freudian slip", and one suggesting that this would be his last show. "Kiselyov, you have 24 hours to explain this," threatened a Twitter account parodying Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

But while the blunder may have caused amusement for some, seriously questioning Crimea's status is no laughing matter in Russia.

Last month, Andrei Bubeev became the latest blogger to be convicted under a 2014 law effectively banning separatism in Russia. Among his offences was the reposting of an article entitled "Crimea is Ukraine". He was sentenced to two years in prison.

Next story: Church disrupts Georgian rock festival

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Church disrupts Georgia rock festival

A view of revellers at the Tbilisi Jam 2016 festival The festival had to find a new venue for its second day

An international rock festival has been disrupted in Georgia after protests from a local priest who was unhappy about the location of the event.

The annual Tbilisi JAM! Fest, which featured heavy metal bands, had been going for about 90 minutes at a venue outside the capital when the power was cut, the Netgazeti news website reports. It followed complaints from the church over the festival's proximity to religious sites, with video footage showing the priest in discussion with organisers and police.

It's not clear what caused the blackout, but the venue's manager says it was the result of a damaged cable.

"This place is between a cemetery and a monastery, which is a holy place for Georgians and this insult is unforgivable," Father Giorgi Razmadze tells the Rustavi-2 channel. "There were cases, we saw it ourselves, when some people were urinating, others embracing and kissing each other on the territory of the cemetery."

Permission to use the site for the two-day festival had been granted by the local authorities, but an alternative location was found for the second day. One organiser tells Rustavi-2 that the venue's managers had bowed to pressure from "extremists who came and tried to disrupt the festival".

The incident left some revellers baffled, with one telling the Sova news site that he's religious but can't understand the fuss. "How can we talk about development when such things happen. This country will stay in the Middle Ages," he says, adding: "This is not how Christians act."

There was also anger among Georgian social media users. "Foreigners have stunned looks on their faces. Once again we disgraced ourselves in the international arena," writes one user. But others feel it could all have been avoided, with one person writing: "What a disaster, could they not have picked a different venue?"

Next story: Sauna photo contest for Finland's stamps

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Sauna photo contest for Finnish stamps

A Finnish sauna hut on a lake Lakeside huts, birch twigs, steaming coals... Sauna-going is Finland's most popular pastime

Finland's postal deliveries will soon take on a steamy theme, as people are being asked to submit photos of their saunas for a new set of stamps.

The national mail carrier, Posti, is running a competition to find the best sauna-related images, and says the stamps will share a key aspect of Finnish culture with the rest of the world, the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper reports.

Finns are being encouraged to send in eye-catching photos of sauna buildings, "interesting sauna details", or sauna paraphernalia such as hot stoves or birch twigs. The four best submissions will be adorning Finnish letters from next spring. "Images on stamps travel around the world and spread the image of Finland in their own right," says Tommi Kantola, Posti's design manager.

The company has succeeded in making a splash with its stamp choices before: in 2014, it released a set featuring the homoerotic artwork of Tom of Finland. There was huge international interest, although one Finnish supermarket refused to stock them and a Russian lawmaker asked Finns not to send them across the border.

The amateur sauna images are likely to be less controversial, but Ilta-Sanomat says they're a natural choice for the country's postal service: "You can't find a more Finnish topic for a stamp than saunas."

Next story: The election where three candidates have the same name

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Three mayoral hopefuls share same name

A composite image showing of Mayor Vasile Cepoi on the left, then the other Vasile Cepois in the centre and right Name game: Mayor Vasile Cepoi (L) will face Vasile Cepoi and Vasile Cepoi in the election

Voters in one Romanian town face a potentially confusing trip to the polls on Sunday, as the three candidates for mayor all share the same name, it's reported.

The incumbent mayor in Draguseni, Vasile Cepoi, is seeking a fourth term in office, but is facing a challenge from two other Vasile Cepois, the Jurnalul national daily reports. Council official Viorel Munteanu says the three men aren't related, and that Vasile is simply a popular Romanian moniker and Cepoi is a common name in the region. The unusual situation "guarantees Vasile Cepoi" a win, the paper says.

But Mayor Cepoi thinks that it could all be an election ploy on the part of his opponents. His namesakes represent the People's Movement and National Liberal parties, both centre-right parties that oppose the centre-left mayor.

"I suspected that the parties would do this... When Messi plays, the whole opposing team plays against him," Mayor Cepoi says, referring to the Barcelona football star. "They did the same with me. I'm the Messi of the Draguseni mayoral election."

The two challengers deny any collusion, insisting that they just want what's best for the town.

Being a seasoned politician, the current mayor has taken practical steps to head off any confusion by adding his nickname to the ballot paper. He'll now appear as "Vasile Lica Cepoi".

But one voter has come up with his own way of telling the men apart. Gheorghe Ariton tells Jurnalul he calls them: "Vasile Cepoi from the valley, Vasile Cepoi from the hill and Vasile Cepoi the original. The original!"

Next story: 'No shorts' rule for Beijing marriage licence applicants

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'No shorts' rule for marriage licences

A Chinese groom lifts up his bride Officials want couples to see marriage as a serious undertaking

Couples who want to apply for a marriage licence in Beijing will have to dress smartly in future, or risk being turned away.

The city's Civil Affairs Bureau has announced a new rule stipulating that couples won't be issued a licence to wed if they show up in shorts, T-shirts or other casual wear, the state newspaper Beijing Daily reports.

The bureau's marriage registration director, Han Mingxi, says people aren't showing sufficient respect for the process. "It is not unusual to see couples registering in shorts and slippers. It shows their carelessness and disrespect for marriage," he tells the paper. "From one glance you can see that marriage registration is being treated as a casual affair, and this is prone to many problems."

Coming into effect on 1 July, the new rule is part of efforts to tackle the capital's divorce rate. Mr Han says his bureau is currently analysing a large number of divorce cases, and asking experts to "propose methods and ways to promote marriage and family happiness".

China's divorce rate has been rising for more than a decade: in 2015, the government said that 3.6m couples ended their unions during the previous year. Beijing had the highest rate among cities, with 55,000 divorces in a single year.

There has been a mixed response to the new rule among Chinese social media users. "Marriage is not child's play, it should be dignified," writes one on the Sina Weibo microblogging site. But others think applying for a licence shouldn't have to be a big deal. "What if a young couple want a low-key event?" asks one user, who thinks that applying for a licence is "simply a boring and tedious process" anyway.

Next story: 'Rude' bear statue removed near China securities HQ

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'Rude' cartoon bear statue removed

The bear statues seen from the back, with the government building in front of them The bears were positioned across the road from the government building

A statue of a cartoon bear has been removed from outside China's securities regulator after complaints that it was making a middle-finger gesture at the building.

Statues of two characters from the popular Boonie Bears cartoon had been installed opposite the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) headquarters in Beijing, as part of an attraction marking Children's Day, the People's Daily newspaper reports. But it wasn't long before one bear's paws caught the attention of passers-by, with two outstretched digits apparently aimed at the government building.

Both statues were subsequently taken down and replaced with cartoon monkeys.

Zhu Lei, who was in charge of the Boonie Bear attraction, says the CSRC called to complain about the bear's "impolite hand gesture". They said it was "as if it was putting its middle finger up at them", he tells Beijing Youth Daily. "But a bear only has four fingers, it would not give a middle finger."

The gesture may not have been the only issue though - the term "bear market" refers to falling share prices and widespread selling, and mid-June marks a year since China's financial market turmoil began.

That fact has not been lost on Chinese social media users. "Who knew the CSRC's leaders were superstitious," says one on the Beijing Youth Daily website. Many others find the bears' expulsion amusing, with some cracking jokes at the traders' expense. Another simply declares: "These rotten stock exchange people are too sensitive."

Mr Zhu says the Boonie Bears have now been consigned to a store room in order to avoid any further trouble.

The bear statues seen from the back, with the government building in front of them. Seeing bears in the capital's financial district may have raised some eyebrows

Next story: Denmark project pairs drones and ladybirds

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Ladybird-dropping drones in development

A ladybird on an ear of wheat Nature's solution: Could ladybird drones be the answer to reducing pesticide use?

Danish researchers are developing an insect-dropping "eco-drone" for use in organic farming.

They're working on a device that can disperse ladybirds and predatory mites over organic crops to gobble up aphids and other pests, the FodevareWatch website reports. Researchers say one aim is to make organic farming easier and reduce the amount of crops lost to pest damage, ultimately bringing down prices for consumers.

But dropping insects from the sky isn't straightforward, even if some of them can fly. "The challenge is to develop a spreader that can spread the insects without destroying them," says Associate Prof Soren Wiatr Borg from the University of Southern Denmark (SDU). "They need to eat the pests before they themselves end up as bird food."

SDU is collaborating with Aarhus University and technology company Ecobotix on the project, which has received 8.4m kroner ($1.3m; £870,000) in funding from the Danish government.

Initially the project will focus on strawberry fields, orchards and Christmas tree plantations, because they cover a relatively small area, but the team thinks the drone could be used on a much bigger scale. "Previously, it has been difficult and far too expensive to use nature's own pest control methods on large areas, but by using the drones it is now possible," Prof Borg says.

Next story: Romania virtual gallery turns corruption into art

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Virtual gallery turns bribery into art

Painting of a bag of cash being handed over in a cemetery Cash, sheep and wooden doors have all featured in recent bribery cases

Cases of bribery in Romania have become the inspiration for a new virtual art gallery, which aims to highlight the country's corruption problems.

The Museum of Corruption can be "toured" online, with a host of unusual bribes depicted on its digital walls, the Ziarul de Iasi news website reports. Among them, a piece called "Bribe in the Cemetery" relates to Romania's former finance minister, Darius Valcov, who is on trial for corruption and allegedly accepted bags of cash while in a graveyard. The gallery format was chosen because corrupt officials "have managed to raise bribery to the level of art", according to the project's Facebook page.

It was developed by digital marketing agency Kinecto Isobar, which tells the BBC that there's an educational aim, highlighting that cash isn't the only way of bribing people. Sheep, mineral water and even a bridge feature among the real cases depicted. "Some bribes seem so incredible that they appear to have been invented by some creative people in an advertising agency," says senior copywriter Denisa Armasu.

To illustrate the point, there's also a "bribery quiz" where visitors can decide whether a story is true or false - with a bit of humour thrown in. Asking whether police officers really took a bribe of whisky and fish (apparently they did), it adds: "Together they would be a bit indigestible."

Corruption is a long-standing problem in Romania, which ranks third from bottom among EU member states on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index. Former Prime Minister Victor Ponta is among a number of top officials facing corruption charges.

A view of the virtual gallery Visitors can take a tour of the gallery's artwork without leaving the house

Next story: Rewards for South Korea soldiers who quit smoking

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Rewards for soldiers who quit smoking

A South Korean soldier at an anti-smoking clinic The defence ministry says it will expand the number of anti-smoking clinics for soldiers

South Korea has launched a new campaign offering soldiers a host of rewards if they stop smoking.

The defence ministry is hoping it can encourage whole platoons to kick the habit together with the promise of extra holiday time if every member manages it, the Yonhap news agency reports. There will also be a cash prize of 4m won ($3,360; £2,300) for the units judged to have been most successful in their anti-smoking efforts. The ministry says it will give out leisure equipment such as pool tables, too.

The ministry cites a survey conducted in 2015 which said that just over 40% of soldiers smoke, compared to about 35% of Korean men in their 20s. It also found that smokers light up more often each day after joining the military. Officials say they want the cut soldiers' smoking rate to 30% by the year 2020.

The announcement was timed to coincide with World No Tobacco Day on 31 May, and the ministry says it will provide extra support for soldiers who want to quit smoking, including an expansion of anti-smoking clinics.

South Korea's government has been trying to cut tobacco usage in the general population through a variety of measures including a ban on lighting up in restaurants, bars and cafes. Parliament also approved an 80% increase in the price of cigarettes, which came into effect at the start of 2015.

Next story: Finland military exercise mistaken for invasion

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Military exercise mistaken for invasion

A press release photo of soldiers on a training exercise by the sea Finland's military held large-scale training exercises last week

Finland's armed forces caused alarm on one of the country's own islands when an after-dark training exercise was mistaken for a real invasion, it's reported.

Kamsholmen island resident Bjarne Winberg watched as a large boat docked near his house and unloaded a group of uniformed men carrying rucksacks and what looked like guns, the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper reports. When the group headed into the forest, Mr Winberg hopped into his own boat, fled the island and called the emergency services. "Of course I was scared," he tells the paper.

It subsequently transpired that last week's unexpected late-night arrival, was part of the military's spring training exercises. What isn't clear is whether Kamsholmen was a planned stop on the military's route. While the local Ostnyland newspaper quoted a defence spokesman as saying the island wasn't meant to feature in the exercises, other reports suggest organisers had intended to land there but forgot to tell residents.

There's some consolation for islanders who were worried by the non-invasion, though. Ostnyland reports that coffee brand Gevalia, long marketed as being ideal when faced with "unexpected visitors", has spotted an unlikely marketing opportunity in the news. The company says it will send free packs of coffee to anyone who had "unexpected military guests".

Next story: Russian paper adds warning to state TV listings

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Russia paper adds warning to TV listings

A photo of the newspaper TV listings The warning was printed above the schedules for state-controlled channels

An independent regional newspaper in Russia has printed an unusual warning on its TV listings, after one channel broadcast a programme falsely accusing it of being in the pay of foreigners.

"Beware! News programmes on TV often permit themselves distortions and false information. This most frequently occurs on Rossiya and NTV," reads the warning that appeared in Yakutsk Vecherny, one of the most popular newspapers in Siberia's Yakutia region.

Rossiya 1 and NTV are two of Russia's biggest state-controlled channels. Earlier this year, NTV showed a programme accusing Yakutsk Vecherny and other independent regional media of serving the interests of Russia's enemies because they received loans from a US-based NGO.

Russia's press complaints council ruled this month that the programme was a "false denunciation" that had deliberately caused viewers to be misled.

A photo of the unconventional TV listing was posted on Facebook by a local reader and quickly became a social media hit, with many users giving it a big thumbs-up. "Bravo!", "Well done" and "At last, honest media" were among the comments.

The paper's director-general, Vyacheslav Levin, says they thought about printing warnings on the TV listings earlier, but held back until after the ruling by the press complaints council.

"Why did we decide to do this? It's clear - because of the numerous instances of falsehood and distortion," he tells the Govorit Moskva radio station, adding that he hopes similar warnings will appear in future editions of Yakutsk Vecherny.

Like their national counterparts, independent regional media in Russia have been coming under increased pressure in recent years. The last truly independent regional TV station, TV2 in the Siberian city of Tomsk, went off the air in 2015.

Next story: Backlash as Seoul plans longer 'cram school' hours

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Backlash over Seoul 'cram school' hours

A classroom of students taking the CSAT exam Exam success can land students a place at a top university, considered crucial to secure a good job

Councillors in Seoul have been criticised over a move to allow "cram schools" to teach secondary school pupils until 11pm.

The privately run schools provide after-hours tuition, sometimes called "shadow education", to prepare students for exams. In Seoul they can currently teach until 10pm, but the city council thinks that's not enough, the Korea Times reports.

"Ending classes for high school students at 10pm is too early for seniors preparing for the CSAT," says councillor Park Ho-keun, referring to the rigorous College Scholastic Ability Test. He says some students keep studying after 10pm anyway, at home or at institutes that aren't overseen by the authorities. "It's better to legally allow the students to study at cram schools," he says.

The council's plans have provoked an outcry from some education organisations and teachers, the paper reports. Non-profit group World Without Worries About Shadow Education says Korean youngsters already study for 70 to 80 hours each week. "They rank on the bottom of happiness indexes and their physical and mental health, relationships and creativity are being stifled," the group says.

It's common for students to undertake gruelling after-school study schedules, with little free time between school and evening study sessions. South Korea takes the university entrance exam so seriously that flights are re-routed on the day to avoid distracting students.

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