BREAKING NEWS

The annual New Year shopping spree is well underway and, like other big cities, Moscow is enjoying its share of festive bargain-hunting.

With 2008 approaching, a mouse or rat is on the wish list for many in the Russian capital – not only the cuddly or plastic variety but also the real thing!

That is because come February we will enter the Chinese year of the Rat, known as the year of the Mouse to many Russians, who follow the tradition closely.

One pet shop worker said demand had greatly increased.

That is no surprise. After all, the little animals symbolise success according to the Chinese zodiac.

One shopper said she was just looking and although she liked what she had seen, she would not be taking one of the creatures home. She did however accept that any symbol of a year brings good luck.

Some of course will always prefer more traditional family pets. But if you are tempted to welcome a rodent under your roof, 2008 is the year to do it!