Two circus elephants survive Siberia fire

Updated 14 December 2012
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Two circus elephants survive Siberia fire

MOSCOW: Russian rescuers saved two circus elephants on a Siberian highway when their wooden van caught fire amid freezing temperatures, police said Friday. The elephants’ wooden truck caught fire on Thursday evening in Siberia’s Novosibirsk region. A petrol-powered heater in the van most likely set fire to their straw, police said, publishing photographs of the blackened vehicle.
Police, firemen and passing drivers helped rescue the elephants, their trainer said in a police video, adding that “the animals are alive and well.” The elephants, which belong to a Polish circus, were on tour between the Siberian cities of Novokuznetsk and Omsk, police said, a distance of around 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).
Amid temperatures of minus 35 degrees Celsius (-31 Fahrenheit), the elephants “suffered a light frostbite to the tips of their ears,” a local official told the RIA Novosti news agency. “They rubbed them with special ointment, and as far as I understand, nothing else was wrong with them.”
The animals have temporarily been sheltered in a garage, police said. Traveling circuses are popular attractions in Russia’s remote regions, but are poorly regulated with frequent accidents and attacks on children.


Han Solo’s ‘Return of the Jedi’ blaster sells for $550,000

Updated 24 June 2018
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Han Solo’s ‘Return of the Jedi’ blaster sells for $550,000

  • The faux weapon, mainly made of wood, had been put on display in New York by Julien’s Auctions last month after more than 30 years tucked away in the belongings of James Schoppe, art director of “Return of the Jedi”
  • Martin Nolan, the auction house’s executive director, said Schoppe, an Oscar nominee for his work on the film, finally decided to part with Solo’s gun and about 40 other items from the movie, including an Ewok axe and plans for Jabba the Hutt’s ship

WASHINGTON: In the wildly popular “Star Wars” films, Han Solo once told a lightsaber-wielding Luke Skywalker: “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”
That was the case when one of the blaster pistol props used by Harrison Ford in “Return of the Jedi” (1983) went under the hammer, selling for $550,000 — topping the $450,000 previously fetched by Skywalker’s lightsaber from the first two films.
“SOLD for $550,000! An original Han Solo blaster used in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi!” Julien’s Auctions announced on Twitter Saturday.
The faux weapon, mainly made of wood, had been put on display in New York by Julien’s Auctions last month after more than 30 years tucked away in the belongings of James Schoppe, art director of “Return of the Jedi.”
Martin Nolan, the auction house’s executive director, said Schoppe, an Oscar nominee for his work on the film, finally decided to part with Solo’s gun and about 40 other items from the movie, including an Ewok axe and plans for Jabba the Hutt’s ship.
The Ewok axe went for $11,250, while another blaster prop from the film fetched $90,624, according to Julien’s Auctions.
But none of the props were a match for the space saga’s much-loved droid: last year, an R2-D2 used in the making of several “Star Wars” films sold for $2.76 million at auction in Los Angeles.