HAVANA, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A French climber nicknamed "Spiderman" for his tendency to scale buildings without safety equipment took less than a half hour to scale a 415-foot Cuban hotel.
Alain Robert, 50, climbed the 27-story Hotel Havana Libre in the Cuban capital Monday without any climbing equipment except for a small bag of chalk for his hands, RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.
The hotel, which was originally known as the Havana Hilton, was Cuban leader Fidel Castro's residence following the 1959 revolution.
The stunt, before a crowd of about 2,000 onlookers, was sanctioned by Cuban authorities, one of the few times in Robert's 19-year career that he did not risk legal consequences from his dangerous pursuits. Robert raised a Cuban flag over his head when he arrived at the top of the building, causing the crowd to cheer.
Robert's previous climbs include the Empire State Building in New York and Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers, which stands at 1,483 feet and was formerly known as the world's tallest building. He was briefly detained by Malaysian authorities after the stunt and fined.
Couple win twice in lottery scratch-offs
STUTTGART, Ark., Feb. 5 (UPI) -- An Arkansas couple on a weekend fishing trip bought a pair of scratch-off lottery tickets that turned out to be worth $1 million and $50,000.
Stephen and Terri Weaver of Stuttgart said Stephen purchased a $1 Million Riches instant ticket at the T-Ricks convenience store in Pangburn while headed to Greers Ferry Lake with his wife, KAIT-TV, Jonesboro, reported Tuesday.
The couple stopped at the same store on their way home at the end of the weekend and Terri bought a Taxes Paid scratch-off ticket.
Stephen's ticket turned out to be a $1 million winner, while Terri's ticket was found to be worth $50,000.
The couple claimed their prizes Monday and told officials they plan to put the money toward retirement and investments, magnoliareporter.com, Magnolia, reported.
Putin's gift cat at home in Japan
AKITA, Japan, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A cat Russian President Vladimir Putin presented to the governor of Japan's Akita prefecture has completed its five months in quarantine, a spokesman said.
The cat, dubbed Mir, was given to Gov. Norihisa Satake by Putin in August and was subjected to the required 120 days of curfew at the airport, RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.
The spokesman said the cat is now living happily at Satake's home.
"Mir is a very beautiful cat. He is marvelous. He's a real presidential cat," the spokesman said.
Putin gave the cat to Satake after the governor gave the Russian leader an Akita Inu puppy during the summer as thanks for his country's help following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
Man shoots self in groin with flare gun
LEHIGH ACRES, Fla., Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Authorities in Florida said a man was hospitalized with burn wounds after accidentally shooting himself in the groin with a flare gun.
The Lee County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to a medical assistance call Sunday in Lehigh Acres and arrived to find Jorge Perez, 23, with multiple burns and lacerations on his genital region, WZVN-TV, Fort Myers, reported Tuesday.
Perez told deputies he had loaded the flare gun and set it down Sunday. He later picked it up and, forgetting he had loaded it, fired it at the ground.
The man said the flare bounced off the floor and struck him in the genitals.