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Following is a summary of current odd news briefs.
Missing Soviet war veteran lives as healer in Afghanistan
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Soviet war veteran reported missing in action during fighting in Afghanistan 33 years ago has been found living as a local healer in the province of Heart, news agency Ria reported. The soldier, who was rescued by Afghans after being wounded in the first months after the Soviet Union's invasion in 1979, was tracked down by a Moscow-based group of war veterans.
German flight set to take off with comet tourists
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A German travel agency is selling tickets for a flight to give 88 astronomy buffs a close-up view of one of two rare comets expected to pass Earth this year. Eclipse Travel, based in Bonn, has joined charter agency Air Partner <AIP.L> and airline Air Berlin <AB1.DE> to organize flight AB1000 on March 16 as comet Pan-STARRS passes through the solar system, 100 million miles from Earth.
Washington state lawmaker backpedals after saying cyclists pollute by breathing
SEATTLE (Reuters) - A Washington state lawmaker has apologized for telling a bike store owner, in a spat over a proposed bike fee, that bicyclists can cause pollution - just by breathing out carbon dioxide. Ed Orcutt, a ranking Republican member of the state House of Representatives Transportation committee, said in an email exchange with a bike shop owner that drivers and bicyclists should both share the burden of preserving the roads they use.
California yacht owner sees his stolen vessel wash ashore on TV
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - An 82-foot Californian luxury sailboat owner was shocked on Monday to glimpse the vessel on a television newscast beached and bobbing in the surf 20 miles down the Pacific Coast from its Sausalito berth. Two men and a woman found aboard the yacht and first thought by authorities to be in need of rescue were arrested on suspicion of stealing the vessel after its owner called authorities to report that the yacht he was seeing on TV was his.
Yankees GM breaks leg in parachute jump for charity
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman broke his right fibula and dislocated his ankle upon landing from a parachute jump for charity in Florida, the team said on Monday. Cashman, 45, the main executive who decides which multimillion-dollar contracts to offer on Major League Baseball's highest paid team, was attempting to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project, which aids U.S. military veterans when they return from war.
What puts the Swiss in a "Swiss Made" watch?
ZURICH (Reuters) - How much are the words "Made in Switzerland" worth to consumers increasingly vigilant about the provenance of everything from what they eat to what they wear? The answer, luxury watchmakers say, is "a lot." Protecting the label is essential to the industry's image, profitability and future growth, many luxury watchmakers say, and studies by St. Gallen and Zurich universities do show the tag can almost double a luxury watch's price.
U.S. urges ban on drunk diplomats at UN budget debates
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States called on Monday for a ban on drunk diplomats at budget debates at the United Nations. "We make the modest proposal that the negotiating rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone," Joseph Torsella, deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for management and reform, told the General Assembly's budget committee.
British "Batman" turns out to be Stan the delivery man
LONDON (Reuters) - It wasn't Batman, it was a joker. A day after making headlines around the world for handing over a suspect to police dressed as Batman, the identity of Britain's mysterious caped crusader has been revealed as Stan, a takeaway food delivery man. Police in Bradford, northern England, were baffled when a portly figure in an ill-fitting Batman costume brought them a 27-year-old man wanted for burglary in the early hours of February 25 before disappearing into the night.
Dutch police arrest Romanian woman in connection with art heist
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch police arrested a 19-year-old Romanian woman on Monday in connection with the audacious theft last October of paintings including a Picasso and a Monet from an art gallery in Rotterdam, police said. The woman was the girlfriend of one of two Romanian men arrested in Romania in January in connection with the heist, one of the most dramatic in years, in which seven paintings were stolen.
Young girl survives jet crash in French Alps
LYON (Reuters) - A small passenger jet crashed in a residential area in the French Alps shortly after takeoff on Monday, killing two people on board and severely injuring a young girl passenger, a local official said. Firefighters found the girl in the wreckage, alive but suffering from multiple fractures. No one was reported injured on the ground.