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Billy the brave

London, June 22 (AFP): A homing pigeon who took a wrong turn on his return to Britain from France, ending up in the US, is to be flown home by British Airways, the airline said today.

“We promise Billy’s trip home will be more comfortable than his trip out,” an airline spokesperson said. Billy, from the town of Bootle in north-west England, had been expected to arrive home seven hours after being released from Fougeres in France, on June 6.

The two-year-old’s owners, John and Maria Warren, thought Billy had died after failing to return but they received a call earlier this week to say he had turned up in New York. “Birds often hit power lines so we thought the worst. He’s a youngster and this was his first channel race,” Maria said. She added Billy had become a star in America and had been renamed Tony Blair, after the British Prime Minister, “for his guts and determination”.

City of Lights

Paris (Reuters): Thousands of new bulbs made the enduring symbol of the City of Lights twinkle again in Paris on Saturday almost two years after wear-and-tear darkened the Eiffel Tower’s lighting system. The 20,000 new lights on the tower recreate a glittering display originally meant to show off one of the world’s most visited tourist sites on the night of the millennium.

Lord’s gift

Rome (Reuters): Praise the Lord for sexy girls! An Italian priest on Sunday prepared to celebrate his parish’s patron saint by presiding over a beauty pageant to choose the town’s candidate for the upcoming Miss Italy competition, Italian news agency ANSA reported. “If you look at the girls in an innocent way it’s not a sin but a way of thanking the Lord,” Carlo Crucianelli, a priest in the central Italian town of Civita Castellana, told ANSA. “Beauty is never embarrassing for it is a gift from the Lord.” The beauty queens of the parish will take to the catwalk on Sunday in front of the parish church of San Luigi Gonzaga.
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