GPS Lab tests impress Putin

RUSSIA'S satellite navigation system is not fully operational yet, but it seems to work on Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's dog.

Mr Putin listened yesterday as his deputy Sergei Ivanov briefed him on the progress of the Global Navigation Satellite System. They then placed a collar containing satellite-guided positioning equipment on Mr Putin's black Labrador, Koni.

Mr Ivanov said the equipment goes on a standby mode when "the dog doesn't move; if it, say, lies down in a puddle". Mr Putin interrupted him jokingly: "My dog isn't a piglet, it doesn't lie in puddles."

After watching Koni outside his residence on Moscow's western outskirts, Mr Putin said "she wags her tail, she likes it".

Mr Ivanov told Mr Putin the system, the Soviet era's answer to the US GPS system, would have 21 satellites by the year's end - enough to provide navigation services over the entire Russian territory.

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