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The Independent Culture
A company in Cortez, Colorado, has invented a vacuum device for sucking prairie dogs from their holes. Called "Dog Gone", it rounds up the young dogs - the vacuum is designed to extract only lighter animals - for sale as pets in Japan. "These little guys are worth $700 apiece," said Gay Balfour, inventor of the machine.

President Suharto of Indonesia has banned beauty contests, barred Indonesian women from competing in such events abroad and halted invitations to other countries' beauty queens to visit Indonesia. "There is no bargaining on it", said a spokeswoman. "It is the president's decision".

An armed robber in Hong Kong was arrested after a female victim snatched his gun from him and called the police. When they arrived he was pleading with the woman to give him his gun back.A 13-year-old boy in Southampton was arrested on suspicion of burglary and criminal damage after he had called the police to free him from a florist's shop he had allegedly broken into.

A promotional festival for Gloucestershire produce was embarrassed to discover that the Gloucestershire Old Spot pig posing for photos had been replaced by a Vietnamese Pot-belly from Herefordshire.

A Vietnamese pot-bellied pig called Brillo has sired three piglets at the Greeb Small Animal Farm at land's End. He had earlier caused consternation by his habit of wandering away from Molly the sow and eating walkers' sandwiches or visiting local pubs.

A bull in Nigeria was slaughtered after eating 103,400 naira (pounds 800) that had been dropped in its trough.

Research by a bra company has shown that 47 per cent of women would prefer to look less buxom.