Charles Nevin: That beast from Belarus meant to pull the trigger

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The Independent Online

Happy Monday: It's wild out there. Foxes, for example. I've mentioned they are growing larger at an alarming rate; now a hunter has been shot by one in the steppes, in Belarus, as he tried to finish it off with his rifle butt. "The animal fiercely resisted," said a police spokesman, "and in the struggle accidentally pulled the trigger with its paw." Accidentally?

Meanwhile, in Norfolk, which is also very flat, a crow has stolen a golfer's ball twice at the same hole. Very intelligent, crows: in Japan, they place their walnuts on pedestrian crossings when the lights are red so they can be crushed open by the traffic. I thought pigeons were pretty bright, too, after reports that they regularly hop on and off London Tubes. Now, however, I see that a man in the Isle of Wight has been arrested for urinating on one. More as I have it.

Anniversaries: Time for a fitting Mondaily reflection on that revered British tradition, cruelly ignored in the recent Ashes series, of preferring glorious loss to competent victory: today is the 99th anniversary of Scott reaching the South Pole a month later than Amundsen. It's also 82 years since the debut of Popeye. During the Second World War, you know, Mae Questel voiced both Popeye and Olive Oyl. Remarkable. And I have received a reply from 9XM, the University of Wisconsin's radio station, regarding its weather forecast 90 years ago, the first transmitted. It was wrong.

Wild news latest: The pigeon was unharmed, the court heard. Elsewhere, a four-inch long gecko which crawled out of Margaret Perthen's broccoli in Gloucestershire is being nursed back to health by vets. Margaret, 62, has also recovered. In Taiwan, Wang Han-Chin has failed in an action against neighbours for training a mynah bird to call him a "clueless big-mouthed idiot". In Hull, a Yorkshire terrier has eaten part of a man's ear bitten off by his girlfriend, and you don't want to see what the rat did to the sleeping prisoner in New York.

Finally, good news: Who could resist a Christian Cruise this summer featuring George Carey, formerly the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Frank Williams, formerly the vicar in Dad's Army? Bad News: Syd Little, Dana and the party-loving former Bishop of Southwark, Tom Butler, are on another boat. More bad news: there could be up to 13 black panthers lurking on Romney Marsh. Happy Monday.

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