Strange Stories From The Global Classroom

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The Independent Online

The dark side: French Roman Catholic priests protested against Hallowe'en this week, saying the it was "devoted to Satan, ugliness and absolute evil".

The dark side: French Roman Catholic priests protested against Hallowe'en this week, saying the it was "devoted to Satan, ugliness and absolute evil".

Hallowe'en is becoming increasingly popular in France after the ultimate evil - advertisers and businesses - imported it from Britain and the US. But traditionalist priests, disgusted by the commercial exploitation of the festival, demonstrated outside the church of the Riviera resort town of Saint Raphael with 120 Catholic school pupils. "We should have something else on offer," said Father Louis-Marie of Saint Raphael. "Imposing on them only what is cold, dark and morbid is not good."

Yogic tantrum: What else is the Catholic hierarchy protesting about on the Continent, then? In Slovakia, bishops are enraged over the introduction of yoga to primary and high schools.

Comparing yoga to the spread of Marxism-Leninism in schools during the communist era, they want it replaced with "traditional gymnastics", claiming that yoga is "more than just physical exercise".

Record-breaking degree: An Open University student has entered the Guinness Book of Records as the slowest student on earth.

Stuart Baldwin, 70, from Witham, Essex, has taken 28 years to finish his geology degree because, "studying was a hobby. I didn't want it to end."

Over 28 years he has plugged away module by module until he finally received his degree this year. Mr Baldwin now plans to start a PhD - which, fortunately, has an eight year time limit.

c.brown@independent.co.uk

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