Tentacled tipster Paul the Octopus gets memorial

Berlin, Jan 21 (AP) Paul the celebrated octopus hasfinally got his tentacles wrapped around a football.

The Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen yesterday unveiled amemorial to the World Cup''s most unlikely star: A 2-meter(6{-foot) tall plastic replica of Paul clutching a ball in hiseight arms.

Aquarium spokeswoman Tanja Munzig said Paul''s crematedashes were placed in a gold-leaf-covered urn inside the ball.

Paul died three months ago.

"We acted upon the wishes of fans and created a place ofremembrance," Munzig told The Associated Press. "This monumentwas also built to show visitors just how much people aroundthe world loved Paul."

Paul correctly tipped the outcome of all seven ofGermany''s games at last year''s World Cup, plus theSpain-Netherlands final. He made his predictions by openingthe lid of one of two boxes, each containing a mussel andbearing a team flag.

The oversized football that the immortalized Paul sits onis covered with different national flags and also has a smallwindow through which visitors can look at the urn.

In addition, the aquarium created "Paul Corner," whichincludes newspaper clippings in many different languages thattell of Paul''s global fame and exhibits gifts sent to themuseum.

A family in Spain sent a glass of mussels in oil as areward for Paul after he correctly predicted that Spain wouldwin the World Cup, Munzig said. A fan from New Zealandtailored a red, sleeveless football shirt for Paul _ with ahole for each tentacle.

As for Paul''s successor, a six-month old octopus broughtfrom France and also named Paul, Munzig said it still isn''tclear whether he will also try his tentacles at forecasting.

"We''re not pushing him into being an oracle against hiswill, that''s for sure," Munzig said. "But if he is going todevelop an interest in football and forecasting, we''ll be verysupportive of his talents." (AP) AH

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