• A Church of England vicar has taken a novel approach to delivering the sacrament of Holy Communion under social distancing requirements, using chopsticks to give bread to parishioners. Rev Eileen Harrop, the vicar of two County Durham churches - St Mary's in Gainford and St Andrew's in Winston, has been using extra-long chopsticks to present bread to those in church services. Harrop, who grew up in Singapore, says she decided to use chopsticks after many of her parishioners had expressed concern over receiving communion (which under Church of England's coronavirus-related guidelines is only allowed to include bread and not wine as would usually be the case). "I thought, 'Why can't I use a long pair of chopsticks, real bread rather than wafers, and drop it into the communicants' hands?...'" she told SkyNews. "This is a first for both churches, and perhaps a first in any parish church in the diocese."

Palmerston the cat

A playful Palmerston during his time as Chief Mouser at the Foreign Office. PICTURE: FCO (licensed under CC BY 2.0

Public servant Palmerston recently announced his retirement from his job as 'chief mouser' at the UK's Foreign Office in London. Palmerston, who has made headlines for his spats with 10 Downing Street cat Larry, informed the government of his decision in a letter posted to his Twitter account in which he said that after four years in the role (we're not sure how many that equates to in cat years), "I believe the time has come for me to go into retirement so I can spend more time relaxing away from the limelight". While ending his formal role, Palmerston - named for former two-time UK PM Viscount Palmerston - says he will remain an ambassador for the UK and the newly named Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The Foreign Office responded by saying, in a pun-filled statement, it would "miss him paw-fully, but wish him a purr-fect retirement". No news on a successor as yet.

The world's last Blockbuster store - located in the town of Bend in the US state of Oregon - is hosting a series of 1990s-themed movie sleepover parties for residents of the local county. The store's long-time manager, Sandi Harding, has listed the premises on Airbnb inviting movie lovers, up to four guests at a time, to stay on one of three dates in September. "It's our 20th year as a Blockbuster, we were hoping to celebrate that this year, but with COVID throwing a wrench into everybody's plans, we were really excited to be able to pull this off..." she told CNN. "With everybody being stuck at home and re-experiencing family time together, we thought it would be fun to enjoy some family time in a throwback '90s environment." And the price for a stay? Just $US4, which Harding says is a penny more than a new release movie rental. For those who don't live nearby but still want to partake of the Blockbuster experience, the store's website has a range of merchandise for sale.