News & Current Affairs

August 20, 2008

American ‘Bigfoot’ is monkey suit

American ‘Bigfoot’ is monkey suit

The claimed recent discovery of Bigfoot in the US state of Georgia has turned out to be a hoax – it was a rubber gorilla suit in a block of ice.

Two men said last week they had found a 2.3m-tall (7ft 7in), 226kg (500lb) corpse of the legendary ape-like creature in a wood in June.

Two researchers bought the “carcass”, encased in ice, for an undisclosed sum.

But as it thawed it turned out to be a rubber monkey outfit. Bigfoot has been the subject of decades of hoaxes.

Matt Whitton, a police officer, and Rick Dyer, a former prison officer, told a new conference in California last week that they had made the find while hiking.

‘Dinosaurs’

A photograph on the men’s website showed what appeared to be a large, hairy creature.

But Bigfoot experts reacted suspiciously to the men’s claims and the story soon began to unravel.

BIGFOOT BASICS
First documented report was prints found by Canadian trader in 1811
Name dates from 1958 reports of giant footprints found in California
Ray Wallace, who died in 2002, claimed to have faked these
Most famous footage shot in 1967 and contested ever since

Steve Kulls – of squatchdetective.com – observed the thawing and said that as the ice melted, the exposed head was found to be “unusually hollow in one small section”.

As the process continued the feet were exposed – and were found to be made of rubber.

AP news agency reported that telephone calls to Mr Whitton and Mr Dyer were not returned on Tuesday.

But the voicemail recording for their Bigfoot Tip Line – which proclaims they also search for leprechauns and the Loch Ness monster – has been updated. It announced the duo were also looking for “big cats and dinosaurs”.

August 17, 2008

Belarus dissident leaves prison

Belarus dissident leaves prison

Alexander Kozulin. File photo

The EU and the US have pushed for Mr Kozulin’s release

The former Belarussian opposition leader Alexander Kozulin has left prison and is on his way home to Minsk, his daughter says.

It is not clear whether he has been freed permanently or only so he can attend his father-in-law’s funeral.

Mr Kozulin was jailed for five-and-a-half years in 2006 for staging protests against President Alexander Lukashenko.

Mr Lukashenko had defeated Mr Kozulin in an election that international

observers said was severely flawed.

Reports have suggested that Mr Kozulin may have been pardoned.

This month the Social Democratic party stripped Mr Kozulin of the leadership, replacing him with his long-standing rival Anatoly Lenkovich.

Last year he refused President Lukashenko’s offer to release him if he left the country.

He was allowed out briefly in February to attend his wife’s funeral, but only after a hunger strike that prompted the US and the European Union to push for his release.

Belarus is set for another parliamentary election next month which the president has promised will be free and fair.

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