Oregon Zoo sea otter has talent for hoops

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PORTLAND — Nothing but net? No problem for one sporty sea otter at the Oregon Zoo.

Eddie the otter has been trained to dunk a basketball through a small plastic hoop. It’s an exercise a veterinarian recommended for his arthritic elbows.

Eddie is 15, quite old for a sea otter. But as they put it at the Oregon Zoo, he’s got game.

Eddie makes most of his shots. But when he misses, he hits the boards, grabs the rebound and goes up again until he scores.

Keeper Jenny DeGroot notes sea otters have incredible dexterity, so Eddie’s hidden talent for hoops isn’t that surprising.

No word on whether the Portland Trail Blazers are interested in signing the sea otter to help snap their six-game losing streak, but coach Terry Stotts did major in zoology. To see Eddie in action online, go to bit.ly/Ylvq1q

Ex-Canada ambassador slighted by Affleck’s ‘Argo’

TORONTO — The former Canadian ambassador to Iran who protected Americans at great personal risk during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis says it will reflect poorly on Ben Affleck if he doesn’t say a few words about Canada’s role should the director’s film “Argo” win the Oscar for best picture today.

But Ken Taylor — who said he feels slighted by the movie because it makes Canada look like a meek observer to CIA heroics in the rescue of six U.S. Embassy staff members caught in the crisis — is not expecting it.

“I would hope he would. If he doesn’t then it’s a further reflection,” Taylor told The Associated Press. But the 78-year-old Taylor added that given what’s happened in the last few months, “I’m not necessarily anticipating anything.”

Taylor kept the Americans hidden at his residence and the home of his deputy, John Sheardown, in Tehran and facilitated their escape by arranging plane tickets and persuading the Ottawa government to issue fake passports. He also agreed to go along with the CIA’s film production cover story to get the Americans out of Iran.

Taylor became a hero in Canada and the United States afterward. He felt the role that he and other Canadians played in helping the Americans to freedom was minimized in “Argo.”

“In general it makes it seem like the Canadians were just along for the ride. The Canadians were brave. Period,” Taylor said.

Affleck’s thriller is widely expected to win the best-picture trophy.

Pistorius granted bail by South African magistrate

JOHANNESBURG — Although South African athlete Oscar Pistorius was released from custody on bail Friday, analysts say he faces significant hurdles in trying to beat murder charges for his girlfriend’s shooting death.

Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair, who ruled Pistorius was not a flight risk and could be released on $115,000 bail, said he had difficulties with “improbabilities” in Pistorius’ account of what happened at his Pretoria home in the early hours of Valentine’s Day.

Pistorius, the double amputee runner who used carbon-fiber legs to compete in last year’s London Olympics, is accused of premeditated murder in the fatal shooting of Reeva Steenkamp, 29.

Rapper, two in taxi meet violent end in Vegas crash

LAS VEGAS — Kenny Cherry was an aspiring rapper who moved from the Bay Area to Las Vegas to pursue his career. His music videos online show him cruising the Strip in a Maserati.

Taxi driver Michael Boldon was a family man who hailed from Michigan; and his passenger, Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, came from a loving Washington state family and was well regarded in her community.

The three lives ended early Thursday in violence normally seen only in movies: gunfire, a fiery crash and an explosion before dawn on the neon-lit Las Vegas Strip.

Police continued Saturday trying to find the gunman in a black Range Rover SUV who triggered the shocking chain of events, while families and friends in Las Vegas, California, Michigan and Washington tried to grasp the blink-of-an-eye finality of it all.

“Right now my heart is breaking,” said Cherry’s great aunt, Patricia Sims, of Oakland, Calif. “This has really been a tragedy. Kenny was just a delightful kid.”

Sims, 75, said Cherry moved to Las Vegas from Northern California, though she didn’t know her nephew was a rapper using the name Kenny Clutch.

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