News of the weird

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Dead lucky: Relatives of Juan Villasante Paz fear that he took a winning ticket in the Spanish lottery with him to the grave. Sr Paz died of a heart attack two hours before last week's lottery draw. He has been identified as the winner of a prize of around pounds 20,000, but the ticket cannot be found. It may have been buried with him. He was 76 and worked as a street sweeper.

Southerners prefer blondes: According to a survey by Mintel, the south of England leads the country in its percentage of naturally blonde women. 24 per cent of southerners are blonde compared with only 12 per cent in East Anglia and the Midlands. The Midlands also has the highest proportion - 22 per cent - of grey-haired women.

It's a dog's life: At a cost of $7m, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in San Francisco has opened a state-of-the-art animal shelter which includes a section called "Lassie Lane" where dogs live in private furnished apartments with cable television and a limitless supply of tennis balls. Elsewhere, cats can look out onto aquariums stocked with tropical fish.

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