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Before Elections, Kazakhstan Does a Little Campaigning

But a Young spokeswoman said the Africa trip -- he was accompanied by former aide, now lobbyist Mike Henry -- had been planned for nearly a year, so Young didn't know he would miss the vote, the Alaska Daily News reported. He went on his own tab, we're told.

In any event, he shot a cape buffalo, a puku and a bushbuck. The meat was given to people in Zambia, the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, speaking of Congress and animals, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the Senate's preeminent dog lover, took to the floor yesterday for a lengthy attack on football star Michael Vick and Vick's indictment for running a dog-fighting ring.

Byrd, who's spoken often of his own dog, a Shih Tzu named Baby, condemned Vick's alleged actions as "barbaric."

Each Wore a Tiny Trench Coat

Also in the animal world . . . From the BBC translators, an editorial by Saleh Eskandari headlined "spying squirrels," published July 10 by the Iranian newspaper Resalat.

"A few weeks ago, 14 squirrels equipped with espionage systems of foreign intelligence services were captured by [Iranian] intelligence forces along the country's borders. These trained squirrels, each of which weighed just over 700 grams, were released on the borders of the country for intelligence and espionage purposes. According to the announcement made by Iranian intelligence officials, alert police officials caught these squirrels before they could carry out any task.

"Fixing GPS devices, bugging instruments and advanced cameras in the bodies of trained animals like squirrels, mice, hamsters, etc, are among modern methods of collecting intelligence. Given the fast speed and the special physical features of these animals, they provide special capabilities for spying operations. Once the animals return to their place of origin, the intelligence gathered by them is then offloaded. . . ."

Always thought there was something squirrelly about those folks.

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