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Potter for polls

Moscow, March 2 (Reuters): Harry Potter has captivated readers and cinema-goers world-wide, but a Russian man has decided to see if the famous name can pass an altogether different test — winning him election as a provincial governor. After previous unsuccessful election campaigns in the Sverdlovsk region, the 32-year-old hopes to enlist a little magical help from the boy wizard by changing his name to Harry Ivanovich Potter, NTV television reported.

Russians can change their family name, but must always have a middle name derived from their father’s first name — a law that prevented the aspiring politicians from being called plain Harry Potter.

“People are going mad, they are doing things unthinkable for a sane person,” said Archbishop Vikenty of Ekaterinburg, capital of the Urals region, when NTV told him about the challenge.

Dial trivia

Hanoi (Reuters): In most countries, if you want to find a shop, settle a trivia question or ask a delicate question about sex, you turn to the internet or ask a friend. In Vietnam, you dial 1080. In one of Asia’s poorest countries where the internet is carefully controlled, the 1080 information service and its upmarket cousin 1088 have become the nation’s problem solvers. There are few topics that communist Vietnam’s national dial-a-question service doesn’t tackle outside of the universally sensitive realms of politics and

religion.

Born free

Beijing (PTI): A captive turtle, thought to be over 500 years old, has been released back to sea by an elderly man in south China’s Hainan province, a report said today. When Ye Fangrong, 63, a retired bank official learned that a fisherman captured a large turtle near his hometown of Paipu, he bought the turtle for 590 yuan (about $ 71). The turtle is about 68 cm long and 42 cm wide. A businessman from Haikou, capital of the island province, proposed to buy the turtle with 15,000 yuan ($ 1816) and was refused by Ye. He attached two pieces of aluminium to the shells of the turtle, on which were carved eight Chinese characters saying this creature has been freed after being captured and asking people not to hurt it. “I wish people would never kill wild animals,” said Ye.

Clone of joy

Beijing (PTI): Yangyang, one of China’s first group of cloned goats, had a granddaughter delivered by her daughter, Qingqing, at a university in northwest China’s Shaanxi province. Yangyang, born in June 2000, has given birth to twins of different genders in August 2001 and in February this year.

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