NORTH KOREA: Students required to have Kim Jong-un haircut Male university students in North Korea are now required to get the same haircut as their leader Kim Jong-un, it is reported. The state-sanctioned guideline was introduced in the capital Pyongyang and it is now being rolled out across the country – although some people have expressed reservations about getting the look.

A North Korean now living in China says the look is actually unpopular at home because people think it resembles Chinese smugglers. “Until the mid-2000s, we called it the ‘Chinese smuggler haircut’”. It seems that haircuts have been stateapproved in North Korea for some time – until now from 18 styles for women and 10 for men. Earlier, North Korea’s state TV launched a called “Let us trim our hair in accordance with the Socialist lifestyle”.


ITALY: Hundreds of executive cars to be sold on eBay Italy’s new government is selling off hundreds of executive cars used by government officials, in an online auction on eBay, it has been reported. Around 1,500 non-essential cars will eventually be sold off. A list of 151 car makes and models for sale has been posted so far – among them are dozens of BMWs, Alfa Romeos, and Lancias.

There are also a few surprises, namely nine highpowered Maseratis owned by the Defence Ministry, and a couple of Jaguars. In one of his first posts as the Democratic Party secretary, Renzi tweeted: “Why should an undersecretary have an official car? The undersecretary should go by foot,” the newspaper says.

CANADA: Radio station burns cash and provokes outrage There is outrage in Canada after a radio station burnt 5,000 Canadian dollars in cash as part of a contest for listeners, it seems. AMP Radio in Calgary dubbed the contest the “ultimate social experiment”. But it has received complaints from people saying the money should have gone to a good cause.

“You decide whether to vote #BANK and maybe win the money,” “Or vote #BURN to see the money go up in flames.” It explains the burn option, saying: “If you aren’t guaranteed to win, why should anyone else?” AMP Radio says 54% of people voted to burn the money – which it proceeded to do, posting of the process online. Many people listed good causes that could have used the money. “There are women and children in women’s shelters that are fleeing domestic violence… and people want to joke about burning $5,000. Shame on you!” one listener says.

SPAIN: Deserted medieval villages available ‘free’ Deserted Spanish villages, some of them centuries old, can now be acquired free or bought very cheaply. A Barca, a village that dates back to the 15th Century, is being offered for nothing – but only to a future owner with a viable plan to preserve its 12 crumbling stone buildings.

Meanwhile, the five stone houses in the hamlet of Pena Vella are going for just 62,000 euros. Spain’s National Statistics Institute estimates there are around 2,900 empty hamlets across the country, AFP reports. More than half of them are in the north-western regions of Galicia and Asturias.

Most villages were abandoned as residents moved to larger cities or better land for farming. The economic crisis has also forced some people to put their properties up for sale. Local estate agents say these abandoned hamlets are popular with foreign buyers – with Britons, Norwegians, Americans, Germans, Russians and even Mexicans among those queuing up to own a medieval property.

NORWAY: Priest’s wallet stolen during service A priest in Norway has had his wallet and phone stolen while conducting the Sunday service. John Olav Hodne, parish priest at Melhus Church outside Trondheim, says he left them in the changing room at the back of the church. He only noticed they were missing after the service was over, reports local newspaper.

“This is a particularly disagreeable and unusual theft,” says Ebbe Kimo from the Sor Trondelag county police, public broadcaster reports. Authorities have no clues to follow up and have issued an appeal for information. “I think I saw someone moving around back there at the time, but you cannot do much while you’re leading worship. You also have to get pretty close to the priest holding a church service when you go in there. It’s a bit cheeky.” Mr Hodne said.

INDIA: School textbooks say ‘Japan nuked US’ Parents and students in India’s western state of Gujarat are up in arms over school textbooks full of glaring errors, it’s been reported. The textbook makes statements such as: “Japan dropped a nuclear bomb on the US during World War II,” and “Proportion of poisonous gas CO3 has increased due to cutting of trees,” as well as “Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on October 30, 1948.” It has more than 120 factual, spelling and grammatical mistakes.

In fact, carbon trioxide is not normally found in nature, and India’s independence leader was killed on 30 January 1948. Gujarat’s Standard 8 social science textbook – which is by more than 50,000 students – is said to be particularly bad. The Gujarat government has ordered a probe, but not yet withdrawn the books. “We have set up a two-member committee to look into these errors and make changes immediately,” State Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said in a statement.


DENMARK: Sun, sex and a baby: the unusual package holiday for Danes A TV ad campaign by a package-holiday company in Denmark aims to persuade Danes to have sex on holiday in a bid to boost the country’s low birthrate Hotel rooms are one of life’s great aphrodisiacs – at least that’s the theory behind a new campaign to encourage Danes to go on holiday in the hope that they might procreate while abroad.

The country’s birth rate is at a 27-year low of 10 per 1,000 people (compared with the UK’s 13). The campaign aims to capitalize on the notion that 10% of Danish children are conceived while their parents are on holiday. As an incentive, an “ovulation discount” is being offered. If you can prove that you conceived a child during one of the promoter’s holidays, you will win a three-year supply of baby stuff, plus a free holiday with the child in question.

THAILAND: Leaping Lizards Dokrak Umsaeng, 74 has revealed his secret to staying healthy: eating live lizards. Originally from Ang Thong, he has been eating small geckos, which are commonly found on walls in Thailand, for 12 years – and has no plans to stop it. When the reporters arrived at Mr Dokrak’s house, he was at the centre of a crowd holding a plastic bag containing two small, live lizards. He pulled one of the lizards out of the bag and held it over his gaping mouth. Then he flicked the creature on the head, presumably to stun it, before stuffing it into his mouth. After he took a gulp of water, the gecko was gone.

Mr Dokrak was almost giddy with excitement, as if he had just consumed some sort of stimulant. He told reporters he had been eating lizards for 12 years because he thought they could cure disease. He claimed that he used to suffer from shortness of breath but that eating geckos cured him. He said eating lizards was an old belief that had died out. When he was a child people regularly grilled and ate lizards because they believed it would make them strong. “The way you eat geckos is to take them and grill them.

Or some people cover them in wet tamarind and eat them,” said Mr Dokrak. “These days, whenever I find a lizard I grab it and eat it straight away. Sometimes I don’t eat one for half a month as there aren’t many left and finding them gets harder and harder every day,” he said. “But for health, eating one every two or three days is good. The important thing is it also increases your sexual power,” he added.