Drink and Smoke More!

Russia's finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, has urged his countrymen and women to boost the country's revenues by drinking and smoking more. "If you smoke a pack of cigarettes, that means you are giving more to help social problems," said Kudrin.

Russia, noted for its high consumption of both cigarettes and alcohol has among the lowest duties on cigarettes in Europe. In June, plans to double the excise duty on cigarettes for 1,000 cigarettes were outlined.

The comments by the minister seem to contradict recent government moves to control Russia's excessive nature and improve its life expectancy rates.

Hostage over ironing

A US man has been arrested for taking his mother hostage at gunpoint for six hours after she refused to do his ironing.

Robert Edward Tyrrell Jr, 29, lives with his parents. He stated that doing the ironing was "woman's work": When his mum refused to iron his clothes, he pulled out a gun, took his mother's keys and mobile phone, and refused to let her leave the house.

The 51-year-old mother eventually managed to escape, and went to the police station. Deputies were dispatched to the home where Tyrrell surrendered without incident. He is now facing charges of aggravated assault and false imprisonment.