Skip to main content

Hello. It looks like you’re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best experience possible, please make sure any blockers are switched off and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help you can email us

Weird Europe: Miss Belarus publicly pledges allegiance to president

Pictures emerged showing the winner posing with other models in the colours of the opposition.

Miss Belarus 2018 Winner Maria Vasilevich (L) and Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko dance at the republican Christmas youth ball. Photograph: Maxim Guchek/Getty Images.

The winner of the Miss Belarus beauty contest has publicly pledged her allegiance to president Alexander Lukashenko after old photos emerged of her posing with other models in a red-and-white background – the colours of the opposition.

Daria Goncharevitch, 18, said she had got involved in the photoshoot “completely by accident” and criticised the organisers, who she claimed had “used me to pursue their radical objectives.”

She is the most recent winner of the biennial Miss Belarus contest, which is run by the state-owned National School of Beauty modelling agency. It was created by Lukashenko in 1996 and previous winners are often seen on the president’s arm at functions and on international trips. 

The 2018 winner, Maria Vasilevich, accompanied Lukashenko to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and a year later became the country’s youngest MP at the age of 22.


A celebrity episode of Sweden’s version of Masterchef turned gory when singer Eric Gadd sliced off the end of his thumb while making a sauce.

The 56-year-old gamely carried on, telling viewers: “Just when I started to chop vegetables to add to the sauce, I cut off a piece of my thumb. Time is short now because I need to make a new sauce and I am bleeding quite a lot.”

Pictures showed Gadd bleeding through his plaster, with blood then seeping into the rubber glove he put on to cover the injury. His hands then began to shake violently as he began to plate up his dish.

Despite all this, Gadd was not eliminated from the competition, with former international footballer Josefine Öqvist going instead.


A wildfire that spread over 49 hectares of land near the San Juan reservoir on the outskirts of Madrid started when a female nudist set fire to her toilet paper, according to police.

The blaze, on July 31, caused the temporary closure of a motorway and the evacuation of 100 people from nearby villages. The woman, who had been on a naked retreat with a female friend, has been charged with causing a forest fire by serious negligence.


A 12-year-old foster child from the Milan suburbs cannot join in a youth vaccination programme because her biological father, who she has not seen for six years, will not give his consent.

The girl, named only as Giorgia, wants to be jabbed so she can attend dance classes and visit her foster grandmother, who is 78.

Giorgia’s biological mother, who is serving a prison sentence, has already signed a letter consenting to the vaccination, but her father, who still holds legal authority, is refusing.


A 15-year-old spent two months in hospital in Castellon, Spain after being diagnosed with an addiction to the video game Fortnite.

Doctors said the boy had stopped going to school and missed meals and bathing in order to spend up to 20 hours a day playing the game.

Family members say the addiction took hold after the death of the boy’s mother after two years of fighting cancer.

A German YouTuber who earns millions from videos of him playing video games has been robbed of vintage console cartridges worth 100,000 euros (£86,000).

Marcel Eris, known to fans as MontanaBlack was at the hairdresser near his home in Hamburg when a thief dressed as a DHL courier driver struck.

The burglar ignored jewellery and money and instead looted Eris’ horde of rare games, many still in their original packing. Eris told his followers: “I was a criminal once too. Maybe it was karma that got me back.”


A farmer’s rooster in Roszków, Poland, can carry on crowing after police found no evidence that it was waking locals in the middle of the night.

Officers investigated claims that the bird crowed every day from 3am, and counter-accusations that its owner had been told by neighbours that he had three days to chop its head off or they would take matters into their own hands.

The farmer, Mr Zenon, said: “The countryside has its rights. There, the cows will hum, the pigs will squeal, and the roosters will crow. When the evenings get colder, the windows will be closed and my rooster will not be heard.”

See inside the September 30: Crisis? What crisis? edition

A stack of Christmas trees - which will be in short supply this year. Photograph: Getty Images.

Brexit leaves Britain pining for Christmas trees

Britain previously relied on foresters from Eastern Europe. Brexit is now putting its stock of Christmas trees at risk.

The bodies of demonstrators shot by police lie in front of other protestors detained by officers. Photo: Daniele Darolle/Sygma via Getty Images.

Death on the Seine: The massacre that shames France

This month marks the anniversary of a bloodbath in the centre of Paris, the full story of which is yet to emerge. SUNA ERDEM reports on a tragedy that continues to haunt France.