A student's skill at building a homemade catapult has won him an "egg-cellent" $60,000 scholarship to Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass.

James Vayanos, a 17-year-old senior at North Andover High School, said he was "a little dazed" after his victory Saturday against 20 other high school students from around the region.

The contest: Launch eggs into a frying pan 48 feet away using homemade catapults.

Vayanos came closest to the target as his egg hit the side of the pan, winning him the $15,000-per-year scholarship to Merrimack's civil engineering program.

Vayanos said he spent three hours after school every day for three weeks working on his catapult, and probably will accept the scholarship and attend Merrimack.

This year's judges included the winners from the contest's first two years.



- Florida residents who have a rhesus monkey, Mexican spiny-tailed iguana or Cuban tree frog causing trouble around the house have a chance to unload their exotic friends.

Wildlife officials in Florida and the Miami Metrozoo are holding their fifth annual Non-native Pet Amnesty Day on Saturday.

Owners of exotic pets are allowed to turn them in without facing the usual fines and other penalties for violating the state's wildlife laws.

Wildlife officials say the amnesty day gives overwhelmed pet owners an alternative to releasing exotic animals into Florida's ecosystem.



- A news report says professional astrologers in the southeast Asian country of Myanmar plan to launch a Web site to advise expectant mothers on the most auspicious time to give birth.

The magazine Weekly Eleven quotes vice chairman of the Myanmar Astrologer's Association Zeya Ko as saying it will be the first online tool to enable parents to pick the luckiest time to have their babies through a Caesarean section.

Ko says the Web site will be free and provide its service in both the Myanmar and English languages when it launches in June.

Ko says users will choose the intended birthplace from a list of 528 townships and the proposed birth date, and computer software will calculate the exact hour and minute for the operation.



- And this from India, Hindu activists have stymied an effort to put up a statue of Charlie Chaplin for use in a movie, claiming a monument to a non-Hindu close to their temple was offensive, the filmmaker said Sunday.

Hemant Hegde, a filmmaker who was building the 67-foot statue of the legendary Hollywood comic to use as a backdrop to a dance routine in his new film, told the CNN-IBN news channel he was forced to halt work by a band of Hindu activists.

"I'm really surprised that people would associate Charlie Chaplain with being a Christian and not allowing the statue," he said.

Chaplin, who was baptized into the Church of England, was a self-avowed agnostic.

Hard-line Hindus have routinely protested against the perceived invasion of Western culture into India, recently targeting Valentine's Day celebrations, couples caught in public displays of affection and women drinking in bars.

The proposed site of the statue was some 300 yards from the local Hindu temple near the coastal town of Udupi in the southern state of Karnataka.

Television footage showed activists filling up the large pit that had been dug for the foundations.

Hegde said he hoped to leave the statue up after the film shoot as a tourist attraction but was now scouting new locations.

A local lawmaker from the main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party said there was no place for Charlie Chaplin in his region.

"If the locals are against such a statue, I am also against it," he told the Times of India newspaper. "Why should one bother so much about Charlie Chaplin, who was not even an Indian?"

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