A farmer in southern Lebanon has dug up what might be the heaviest potato in the world.
"This giant weighs 11.3 kilos (24.9 pounds)," Khalil Semhat told the AFP news agency at his farm near Tyre, 85 kilometres (50 miles) south of Beirut. "I've been working the land since I was a boy, and it's the first time I've seen anything like it."
Mr Semhat, 56, said he had to ask for help from a friend to get the huge vegetable out of the ground. He insisted that he had used no fertilizer or other chemicals to produce it. Mr Semhat said he hoped his potato will be recognised as the heaviest potato in the world.
The current world record, as recorded in the Guinness Book of Records, is held by K Sloan of the Isle of Man in Britain for a potato weighing a mere 3.5 kg (7 lb 13 oz).
2008 is the International Year of the Potato, a project sponsored by the United Nations which aims to focus attention on the importance of the vegetable in providing food security and alleviating poverty.
A Frenchman tried to smuggle his Russian wife into the European Union by hiding her in a massive suitcase, without realising there had been no need for the would-be James Bond scheme.
Poland's border guards detained the man, who authorities said was in
his 60s, on Friday at the railway station in Terespol, an eastern town
on the border with Belarus.
The size of the luggage drew the suspicion of the officers, according to border guard spokesman Dariusz Sienicki.
"To their surprise, a woman in her 30s emerged. It was the Russian wife of the owner of the suitcase," he told AFP.
"She was alive and well and didn't require medical attention."
The couple, who had been taking the train from Moscow to the French
city of Nice, were soon released after questioning and decided to return
Little did they know the woman would have had no trouble entering the
passport-free Schengen travel zone without the over-the-top caper.
"Had she been sitting next to her husband, she would have made it through without incident," Sienicki said.
Non-EU citizen spouses are allowed to enter if they can prove their marital ties, so that families can stay together.
Instead the couple had risked "a three-year jail sentence because of their attempt to evade border control", he added.
"This was the first time I've seen someone travel like this. She very well could have been a victim of human trafficking."