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POSTED September 5, 2012 9:23 p.m.


BEAKED PUTIN TO FLY WITH CRANES ON HANG-GLIDER: MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly planning to put on a fake beak and fly a motorized hang-glider to lead a flock of endangered young Siberian white cranes on part of their migration to Asia.

The cranes, raised in captivity, do not know how to fly south, and environmentalists have to devise an imitation lead crane to show them the way.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Interfax news agency Wednesday that the flight is to take place "one of these days." He could not be reached by The Associated Press for elaboration.

The newspaper Vedomosti said it is expected before Putin chairs the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vladivostok beginning Friday.

Putin has become alternately notorious and beloved for an array of macho stunts, including posing with a tiger cub and riding a horse bare-chested.

Some of the stunts, such as petting a polar bear tranquilized in the wild, have purported scientific connections. But Putin last year was caught short when one of the events was revealed to be a set-up.

In that case, Putin was shown scuba diving and bringing up fragments of ancient Greek amphorae. But Peskov later admitted the artifacts had been planted on the sea floor for Putin to grab.

KITTEN GOES FOR 100-MILE RIDE ON NY WOMAN'S BUMPER: PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (AP) — A woman says a 6-week-old kitten hitched a ride on the outside of her vehicle as she drove about 100 miles over upstate New York roads.

Stacey Pulsifer tells the Press-Republican of Plattsburgh that she recently drove from her home in Plattsburgh to Elizabethtown in the Adirondacks, then back to her apartment. Along the way she stopped for coffee and heard meowing coming from her Jeep.

She asked two friends to help her search the vehicle. They finally found the kitten wedged behind a bumper and had to cut it free.

Pulsifer has since adopted the hitchhiker and named it Pumpkin. She estimates the lucky black cat was lodged in the car for about 22 hours and traveled some 100 miles. She suffered a broken paw during the ride.

1.5 CARAT MEAL: MAN SWALLOWS DIAMOND IN SRI LANKA: COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A man visiting a gem exhibition in Sri Lanka's capital swallowed a 1.5 carat diamond in front of the owner and was taken by police to a hospital, where an X-ray showed the $13,000 stone inside him.

Exhibitor Suresh Wijekoon said the man was behaving suspiciously at his stalls and when he reached closer to the suspect, the man suddenly swallowed the diamond at his hand before Suresh alerted police at the exhibition venue.

Chou Wan, a 32-year-old from China, is in custody pending further investigation, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said.

An X-ray proved the diamond was inside Chou's body, said hospital director Dr. Anil Jasinghe at Colombo National, where the suspect was taken for the test.

Suresh, owner of Belgrade International Pvt Ltd, said the diamond weighed about 1.5 carats. It was worth 1.8 million Sri Lankan rupees ($13,636), Rohana said.

Sri Lanka does not mine diamonds but is renowned for other highly treasured gems. Facets Sri Lanka 2012 is the island nation's annual largest gem and jewelry exhibition and it attracts a large number of local and foreign buyers.

 

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