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Putin Flies With Migrating Cranes, Opines About Group Sex; Seriously

Keeping up with the things Russian President Vladimir Putin says and does that set him apart from other world leaders could be a full time job. Today alone there's word:

-- That he told the Russia Today news channel that "some fans say that group sex is better than one-on-one because, like in any collective work, you can take it easy a bit."

It doesn't look like Putin was making a personal endorsement. Reuters reports that the Russian leader was discussing the arrest and conviction of three women in the punk-protest band Pussy Riot and that:

"He suggested the band's notoriety had forced its 'indecent' name into public discourse, reinforcing the point by prodding his interviewer to translate the word 'pussy.'

" 'I want to direct your attention to the moral side of the issue,' he added, describing a previous group-sex stunt that included at least one of the convicted women and adding a off-color joke of his own about group sex."

-- He recently took off in a motorized hang glider to help try to lead a flock of cranes into the wild. There's video here. Putin "donned a baggy white costume with a spacious helmet and goggles [that supposedly made him look a bit like a bird] and flew in a motorised deltaplane light aircraft surrounded by several young cranes that were born in captivity, in order to help introduce them to the wild," Reuters says.

Oh, there's also some more substantive news. Putin said Russia could work with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney if the former Massachusetts governor wins the White House. But he also "took aim" at Romney, "calling his criticism of Russia 'mistaken' campaign rhetoric and suggesting a Romney presidency would widen the rift over the anti-missile shield the United States is deploying in Europe," Reuters reports.

Update at 1:45 p.m. ET. The State Department On Putin's Flight:

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell was asked today about the Russian leader's flight with the cranes. According to NPR's Michele Kelemen, Ventrell said Putin's personal involvement in wildlife conservation focuses much needed attention on cranes and other animals that need protection. The Russian government and Putin, said Ventrell, appear to be very committed to wildlife conservation.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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