Thursday 18 January 2018

In brief: T-shirt protester freed

A protester arrested in Belarus for wearing a T-shirt criticising authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko has been freed after five days in jail.

Leonid Smovzh, a 53-year-old railway engineer, said he was given no heat, light or food for two of those days.

He was arrested after a protest on Sunday for wearing a T-shirt on which he had written "For Belarus without Lukashenko". On the back it said "For Belarus without dictatorship".

COWELL INKS ITV DEAL

Simon Cowell has agreed a new deal with ITV which will see the 'X Factor' and 'Britain's Got Talent' on screen for a further three years.

The two shows – among the most popular series on the channel – will remain on air until the end of 2016.

But as the new contract was announced, there was no word on a much-anticipated return by Cowell to the 'X Factor' panel. Since his departure after the 2010 series, there has been a dramatic slide as millions of viewers abandoned the singing show.

POPE CATCHES COLD

POPE FRANCIS CANCELLED HIS MORNING AUDIENCES YESTERDAY BECAUSE OF A COLD, THE FIRST TIME THE INDUSTRIOUS POPE IS KNOWN TO HAVE SLOWED HIS BUSY SCHEDULE DUE TO ILLNESS.

THE 76-YEAR-OLD PONTIFF, WHO LOST MOST OF ONE OF HIS LUNGS DUE TO AN INFECTION IN HIS YOUTH, WAS EATING AND RESTING COMFORTABLY, A VATICAN SPOKESMAN SAID. FRANCIS CANCELLED FOUR APPOINTMENTS WITH VATICAN OFFICIALS, FORCING THE VATICAN TO REISSUE ITS DAILY BULLETIN WHICH HAD REPORTED THAT THE AUDIENCES TOOK PLACE. FRANCIS, HOWEVER, PLANNED TO PRESIDE AS SCHEDULED OVER A MASS IN ST PETER'S BASILICA TO ORDAIN A NEW BISHOP LATER IN THE DAY.

POLICE CATCH KANGAROO

Texas police officers were involved in an unusual chase after calls came in reporting a runaway kangaroo hopping along a rural road.

Deputies helped corner the 4ft-tall kangaroo as the owner offered a treat to the animal, then grabbed the pet.

HI-TECH HELP FOR DEAD

Amid a rash of tombstone thefts from cemeteries in Johannesburg, a company will be offering relatives of the deceased a hi-tech solution: microchips that can be inserted into the memorial that will sound an alarm and send a text message to their mobiles if it is disturbed.

With thefts often carried out at night and the recycled marble or granite tombstones winding up in the hands of crooked stonemasons, authorities are taking technology a step further to foil those who take "graveyard shift" a little too literally.

Irish Independent

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