AFGHANISTAN: 58,000 stray dogs killed
Teams of veterinarians and police shooters have killed some 58,000 stray dogs in and around the Iraqi capital over the past three months as part of a campaign to curb an increasing number of strays blamed for attacks on residents. The surge in strays - estimated by provincial officials to number around 1.25 million - is ironically linked to what officials say is an improvement in some elements of daily life in Baghdad. Officials with the provincial veterinary directorate said that with open-air markets and bustling city life returning, the dogs are able to find more food and are having bigger litters.
VATICAN: Third year in the red
The Vatican said Saturday it had posted its third straight financial loss, registering a $5.2 million deficit for 2009. Most of the expenses went to support Pope Benedict XVI's activities and the Holy See's offices, especially Vatican Radio. But the Vatican said annual donations from churches worldwide, the so-called Peter's Pence, were up in 2009, with Catholics donating $82.52 million last year. In 2008, the faithful gave $75.8 million.
RUSSIA: Little fanfare over spies
The 10 spies sent to Russia after being uncovered as sleeper agents in the United States have received a tepid reception. Russian state news media Saturday reported their arrival Friday in Moscow concisely and with little of the usual patriotic spin. The Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper decided it was the fourth most-important story Saturday, leading with an octopus and a parakeet predicting World Cup victories.
SPAIN: Five hurt in bull run
Five revelers were injured but there were no gorings at a danger-filled and crowded weekend running of the bulls at Spain's San Fermin festival Saturday. The run was quite fast, lasting two minutes, 53 seconds, and danger arose when three of the six bulls became separated at the back of the pack.