Russia sprays vanilla to repel World Cup gnats in Volgograd

England’s Harry Kane celebrates, in the company of a swarm of gnats, after England’s 2 — 1 win over Tunisia, in the Volgograd Arena. (Reuters)
Updated 22 June 2018
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Russia sprays vanilla to repel World Cup gnats in Volgograd

  • England and Tunisia players could be seen swatting away swarms of gnats during their opening World Cup game in the southern Russian city on Monday.
  • Russian authorities said on Thursday they hope that spraying the vanilla concentrate on trees and shrubs around the venue will keep the gnats away.

VOLGOGRAD, Russia: Russian authorities said on Thursday they were spraying the area outside the World Cup stadium with vanilla concentrate to prevent gnats from spoiling soccer matches there, TASS news agency reported.
England and Tunisia players could be seen swatting away swarms of gnats during their opening World Cup game in the southern Russian city on Monday.
Players covered themselves with bug spray before the game and at halftime, but that seemed to have little effect.
Russian authorities said on Thursday they hope that spraying the vanilla concentrate on trees and shrubs around the venue will keep the gnats away.
“The vanilla concentrate will not create inconveniences for fans, but it will be enough to repel the gnats,” TASS quoted Volgograd’s regional administration as saying.
The area around Volgograd is known for its swamps and wide rivers, the perfect breeding ground for insects during the hot and dry summer in the region.
It was unclear if the measures had already been taken, but a Reuters reporter in Volgograd said on Thursday there appeared to be significantly fewer gnats in the city than during Monday’s match.
Volgograd, which is set to host three more group stage matches, will host Iceland’s match against Nigeria on Friday.


E. Guinea fury as Brazil seizes $16m from visiting delegation

Updated 13 min 53 sec ago
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E. Guinea fury as Brazil seizes $16m from visiting delegation

  • Federal police found $1.5 million in cash in one bag and watches worth an estimated $15 million in another
  • Brazilian law prohibits people from entering the country with more than 10,000 reais, or about $2,400, in cash

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea: The tiny West African state of Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday demanded Brazil hand back more than $16 million in cash and luxury watches that border officials confiscated from a delegation accompanying the president’s son.
Foreign Minister Simeon Oyono Esono Angue denounced the seizure as “paltry and unfriendly behavior” and demanded the items be returned, state television TVGE said.
Teodorin Nguema Obiang, vice president of Equatorial Guinea and son of its longtime ruler, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, arrived Friday on a private plane at Viracapos airport near Sao Paulo as part of an 11-person delegation.
Federal police found $1.5 million (1.28 million euros) in cash in one bag and watches worth an estimated $15 million in another, O Estado de Sao Paulo reported.
Brazilian law prohibits people from entering the country with more than 10,000 reais, or about $2,400, in cash.
“The vice president was on a private trip to Brazil,” the Brazilian ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, Evalde Freire, who was called in to the foreign ministry in Malago, told TVGE on Monday.
“All international travelers are subjected to national airport procedures, where customs and police do their job,” Freire said.
O Estado de Sao Paulo quoted a diplomatic source from Equatorial Guinea as saying the money was to pay for medical treatment Obiang was to undergo in Sao Paulo.
The watches were for his “personal use” and engraved with his initials, the report said.
Obiang junior, 49, was sentenced in France to a three-year suspended term in October 2017 for money-laundering.
He has visited Brazil several times, attending the 2015 Carnival in Rio de Janeiro when a samba school won top honors for a Equatorial Guinea-themed parade but was heavily criticized because its was allegedly funded by the Obiang regime.
Obiang senior, 76, seized power by ousting his own uncle, the first post-independence president Francisco Macias Nguema, who was then shot by firing squad.
He won a fifth seven-year term in 2016 with nearly 94 percent of the ballot. General elections last November saw his party win 92 percent of the vote. Both elections have been criticized as fraudulent.
Critics accuse him of brutal repression of opponents as well as election fraud and corruption.
Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest oil producers, but a large proportion of its 1.2 million population lives in poverty.