If you're a priest with a sports car, try not to crash it

...especially if you're possibly drunk and the car has sketchy diplomatic plates. The Telegraph's Tom Parfitt reports:

An Orthodox priest who endorses the jailing of the Pussy Riot group of Russian activists has crashed a BMW Z4 roadster with diplomatic licence plates into two cars in Moscow, raising new questions about the lifestyle of the country's clergy.

Alexei Podobedov – also known as Igumen Timofei – collided with the vehicles on the evening of July 31, but details of the accident only emerged this week.

The BMW sports car the priest was driving had Maltese diplomatic number plates and he told police it belonged to a friend. Reports that Mr Podobedov, 38, was inebriated, were strenuously denied by his lawyer.

The driver of one the vehicles struck by the priest's car, Irina Likholetova, contacted a popular news website saying she feared the incident would be covered up because of the priest's status.

The blinged-out lifestyles of the Orthodox clergy have been an issue before, particularly surrounding the case of Patriarch Kirill's magically disappearing $30,000 Breguet watch

Julia Ioffe wrote last year about the popular rage generated by the Russian elite's frequent disregard of traffic laws. 

Cameron J Spencer/Getty Images


What are you allowed to ship to Cuba?

One exception to the U.S.-Cuba embargo is "family aid," goods shipped to individuals in Cuba by relatives in America. But there are exceptions, as Mimi Whitefield reports

Flat-screen TVs, Froot Loops cereal, washing machines, laptops, bedroom sets. No problem.

But air conditioners, a power lawn mower, clothes dryers, even an above-ground swimming pool are rejects. The Cuban government has nixed these items since International Port Corp. began a humanitarian shipping service to the island from its Miami River terminal in July.[...]

The government will accept fans but not air conditioning units. Clothes washers are fine but not energy-gobbling dryers, said Sanchez. While bicycles are popular items to ship, the Cubans recently said no to a motorcycle chassis and a car transmission.

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Overall, the restrictions seemed aimed at keeping energy-guzzling appliances from overtaxing Cuba's strained power grid. 

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