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Weird Europe: Villagers in Cyprus chip in for a giant potato

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

George Tasou is proud of helping to bring a giant potato statue to the Cypriot village of Xylofagou. Photo: Iakovos Hatzistavrou/AFP via Getty Images

A community leader in Xylofagou, on the island of Cyprus says he is “not bothered” about ridicule over the village’s attempt to attract tourists by building a 4.8m (16ft) fibreglass statue of a potato.

George Tasou rejected social media claims that his giant spud resembled a penis and said: “I wanted this potato to become a point of reference in the community and I am glad as the defamation taking place is actually the best advertisement for us.”

Tasou, who raised 8,000 euros (£6,747) to build the potato, said he wanted to add bench seating near it and later to “a kiosk offering potatoes cooked in many different ways”.


Germany’s least successful shoplifter has been charged with attempting to steal a pair of jeans while wearing only underpants and a sweater.

The half-naked man was held in Lippstadt, near Paderborn, when clothes-shop assistants noticed a bulge in his Y-fronts, which turned out to be the denims, along with a pair of socks he had stolen earlier from another shop.

Police said the 35 year old had a blood/alcohol content of 4.38mg of alcohol per mm of blood, nearly nine times the legal driving limit.


A controversial Catholic priest who conducted a televised mass while floating in a yellow rubber dinghy on a swimming lake in Greinbach, Austria has been banned from future TV appearances.

Pastor Josef Reisenhofer said: “A mass has to be celebrated, not read. Otherwise, there is no spark. It’s not about the boat, it’s about the content.” The diocese of GrazSeckau said Reisenhofer could continue his aquatic masses via the internet.


Police in the Paris suburb of Lognes have seized 160 kilos of “Mbappe” cannabis resin, in slabs stamped with the surname of PSG footballer Kylian Mbappe. Six men have been arrested.

Officers said the name stamp was a ruse so dealers could make lowerquality cannabis more popular. They also recovered drugs stamped with the surnames of French president Emmanuel Macron and justice minister Eric Dupond-Moretti.

Police said the arrests were part of an investigation that had also uncovered the existence of a cocaine “call centre” in Paris where users could order the drug via phone and have it delivered by courier.


Around 50 former Alitalia flight attendants stripped off their old uniforms at a Rome protest against aircrew redundancies following the national carrier’s bankruptcy.

The airline’s last flight was on October 14, and only 3,000 of its 10,000 staff are being rehired by new national airline ITA, at lower wages. The protest saw the women take off their Alitalia shoulder bags and slowly remove their jackets, skirts and high heels before shouting: “We are Alitalia!” Flight attendant Cristina Poggesi said: “We are here to express first of all our pain and also the solidarity for all our colleagues who were forced to sign a humiliating contract.”


A 13-year-old boy whose bike was stolen in Dalby, Sweden was amazed when it turned up in a small village near Lublin, Poland, 1155km (718 miles) away, just four days later.

Oliver Knutsson’s dad had fitted his 9,000 krona (£760) Giant Talon two-wheeler with a small tracking device, allowing police to see its progress from the bus station where Oliver left it to the Swedish port of Ystad, where it travelled by ferry to Sassnitz, Germany, before being taken to Swinoujscie, Poland.

The bike was then logged going through Warsaw, before being recovered by police in Debowa Kłoda.


Dutch footballer Mohamed Ihattaren has gone AWOL and into hiding after an apparently unhappy move to Italy.

The 19-year-old Netherlands international joined Serie A giants Juventus from PSV Eindhoven in the summer and was immediately loaned out to Sampdoria to get first-team football.

But he quickly angered the Genoa club by turning up five kilos (11lb) overweight and making regular trips to Monaco and Milan to meet friends. On October 12 he phoned Sampdoria to say he was heading home to deal with a family emergency, but has not been heard from since and there have been no sightings of him near his family’s house in Utrechtse Vecht.

Juve and Sampdoria believe Ihattaren is not in danger but simply wants a transfer. He is also thought to be splitting from superstar agent Mino Raiola, whose clients include Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku.

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