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‘Unsafe’ Bolshoi Theatre blamed for second death in eight years

News that you might have missed from around the continent, selected by Steve Anglesey.

A police car outside Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre after actor Yevgeny Kulesh was crushed to death by a prop during a performance of Sadko by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Photo: Mikhail Japaridze/TASS via Getty Images

A former dancer has hit out at safety measures at Moscow’s historic Bolshoi Theatre after an actor was crushed to death by falling scenery during an opera.

Yevgeny Kulesh, a 37-year-old who had been in the theatre’s company since 2002, was killed during a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sadko when an enormous backdrop depicting a palace wall fell on top of him. It was the theatre’s second tragedy in eight years, after the 2013 death of veteran first violinist Viktor Sedov, who was killed after falling into the orchestra pit.

Former dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze said: “It is real hell backstage. People get hurt when by falling scenery, or falling downstairs. I have been shouting about the problems of the Bolshoi for 25 years. There is no order, no ethics.”

An Austrian family who held a birthday party for Adolf Hitler, including a swastika tablecloth, ‘Fuhrer wine’ and a Heil Hitler cake, have been given suspended sentences of between 12 and 21 months.

Family members claimed they were remorseful after playing “stupid pranks”. However, prosecutors said that did not explain why one had a personalised numberplate with the number 88 on it – used in Nazi circles as an abbreviation for ‘Heil Hitler’ as H is the eighth letter of the alphabet – or a string of WhatsApp messages that included an image of Santa Claus wearing a swastika armband.

One family member said: “We are neither Nazis nor xenophobes.”

Polish prosecutors have refused to bring charges against a Catholic sports club that took a statue of the Virgin Mary wearing boxing gloves to a prayer meeting for athletes.

Three complaints of blasphemy were received, with one claiming the statue had “a violent character and low artistic value. It exposed the mother of God to mockery on social media.”

Jerzy Drynda, president of the club, said it had all been a misunderstanding, claiming: “The gloves were to protect Mary from evil people.”

Bavarian police called to intervene in a fist-fight between residents of an apartment block in Stockstadt am Main discovered that the row had been started over a dead mouse.

They said that one family had been upset to find the animal laid neatly on their doormat, and matters had escalated as they questioned cat-owning neighbours about whose pet might be to blame.

Affray charges are now pending against several people, but the feline culprit has yet to be identified.

An eight-year-old real-life Red Riding Hood spent two days and bitterly cold nights in a Czech forest after getting separated from her family on a hike.

The girl, who was alone for 45 hours, told police she had spent her time watching foxes, deer and a wild boar. She was found near Ceska Kubice in tall grass in a meadow where she had been sleeping, having walked for several kilometres in search of the mountain trail where she had lost sight of the rest of her family.

Around 1,400 rescuers had joined the search, but the girl – named only as Julia – said she had been afraid to shout out for help in case it attracted predators.

Four Italians died while making wine from their family vineyard for a contest in Paola, Calabria.

Police said the bodies of Santino and Massimo Carnevale, aged 70 and 45, and brothers Giacomo and Valerio Scofano, aged 70 and 50, were found in a small shed where they had been fermenting grapes without proper ventilation.

They believe that one of the older men went into the shed first to stir the vat of grapes when he was overcome by carbon monoxide fumes. The second older man is thought to have gone in to rescue him before being overcome himself, a process that then tragically repeated itself with the younger men. 
A female family member followed them but passed out near the shed’s entrance and is recovering in hospital.

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