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San Diego Zoo’s Xiao Liwu was named the Panda Cub of the Year.

Where the stars come out to eat bamboo

At the inaugural Giant Panda Zoo Awards on Jan. 27, Fu Long of Vienna's Schonbrunn Zoo was named "Most Popular Returning Panda," and the San Diego Zoo's Xiao Liwu, the "Panda Cub of the Year." The online awards were founded by Belgium's Jeroen Jacobs, who's travelled extensively to view pandas since 1992. Panda fans and experts worldwide cast some 28,000 votes at GiantPandaZoo.com. No bears admitted they were "single" or thanked their agents.

Russian evolution

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Moscow recently introduced its first-ever city pass for tourists, costing 2,400 rubles ($80) for three consecutive days. According to state news agency RIA Novosti, the Moscow Pass represents "a bid to help make the Russian capital a more visitor-friendly destination." In addition to discounts on city tours and restaurants, it offers free admission to inviting sights such as the Museum of the Patriotic War of 1812 and the Museum of the History of Corporal Punishment. Party on, comrades!

A man's place is in the kitchen

Everyone fancies a fellow who can furnish a feast. With Valentine's Day looming, the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver is offering a $149 men's-only cooking class on Feb. 7, led by in-house Yew Restaurant chef Sean Murray. As an effusive press release states, this involves preparing a "manly three-course menu." One highlight will be fig anise French toast. Best of all, "once the aprons come off, participants will dine together." The evening, however, is not co-sponsored by Chippendales.

Sources: RIA Novosti, MoscowPass.com, GiantPandaZoo.com, Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver.

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