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CHANGJIANG NEWS NET(China), HUNAN ONLINE(China)

Worldcrunch

WENZHOU - A few days ago a special Buddhist funeral ceremony was held in a temple at Taishun in Zhejiang province. But it was not a person being laid to rest, but rather a renowned "Pig King" from a nearby village, the Hunan online reported.

Dozens of villagers volunteered to clean the enormous pig before the temple ceremony, which included chanting for salvation according to the Buddhist rite. An ice box was urgently built to hold the cleaned-up corpse to prevent it from rotting before the villagers decided how the eventual funeral would be carried out.

According to the Chinese media, the nine-year-old swine measured 2.45 meters (8 ft) long, 1.25 meter (4 ft) tall, and weighed 1.1 ton when it died.

The story started in 2003 when Gao Shengtuo, a single old man, brought the pig home. At that time it weighed in at 45 Kg (99 lbs). He thought that he would sell it in a year or two to make some money. But somehow he grew fond of the pig and started treating the pig like his own child. "I feed him ginseng, deer antler liquor, cola, or rice alcohol, whatever I eat or drink," Goa told a reporter of Ku 6 web TV.

But apart from these unusual foods, the Pig King also had a particularly good appetite (see below video below for proof). As it grew bigger and bigger so did its appetite. At last Gao simply wasn't able to afford to maintain the beast anymore. As he had already refused many times to sell the pig to the butcher, the villagers donated money to help him send it into the care of a nearby temple.

But even the temple found it difficult to afford to feed this ever-hungry hog. Fortunately, by this time, the Pig King had become so famous that people from all over China, including China's state TV crews, came to report on it -- and village and the temple became tourist destinations.

The temple also put up a collection box outside the pig sty. Pretty soon the treatment became VIP class. The animal took rice for breakfast and a dinner of clean and fresh vegetables. And every morning at nine it enjoyed a few kilos of fruit.

After a few days of discussion about funeral arrangements, the villagers decided against the initial idea of putting the pig in a crystal glass coffin as being too costly. The next-best option was chosen instead: bury the Pig King and build a life-size statue as a memorial. Hopefully the tourists will still have their apetite.

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Donetsk People's Republic holds referendum on joining Russia

Irene Caselli, Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

Russia's proxies in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions announced that referendums on joining Russia had begun that Ukrainian and Western officials have denounced as shams.

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For four days, "voting" will be held at people's homes "for security reasons," Russian state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti wrote. On the last day of the "referendums," on September 27, locals will be asked to go to "polling stations."

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