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    Russian presidential pooch to get satellite tracking device

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    A Russian first deputy premier, in Antarctica on Tuesday to test the Glonass satellite system, has said that President Vladimir Putin's dog will get the satellite navigation collar it was earlier promised.

    ANTARCTIC, March 11 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian first deputy premier, in Antarctica on Tuesday to test the Glonass satellite system, has said that President Vladimir Putin's dog will get the satellite navigation collar it was earlier promised.

    Glonass (Global Navigation Satellite System), Russia's equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), is designed for both military and civilian use and allows users to identify their positions in real time.

    During a presidential briefing about Glonass devices in December, a Russian government official said a tracking system for pets would be available in the summer of 2008.

    "I'll be able to buy one for my dog, Connie, so that she doesn't run away," responded Putin.

    In Antarctica on Tuesday, Sergei Ivanov, who oversees defense industry projects, said that the collar would "be delivered."

    Speaking more broadly about the behind-schedule Glonass project, Ivanov admitted that both its Earth and space-based elements had experienced delays, saying that "Glonass problems are not only related to space...the ground equipment is also slightly falling behind schedule."

    Ivanov, who criticized Russian space agency Roscosmos for the operational shortcomings of Glonass in January also told reporters: "If I had not criticized them, they wouldn't have done anything - constructive criticism is helpful."

    Outgoing president Putin's dog gained fame in 2005 after 'publishing' a book of stories for Russian children. Written in English for young students, 'Connie's Stories' tells the story of the black Labrador's adventures.

    There are unconfirmed rumors that Connie was named after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

    GPS systems have become popular for pets in recent years, especially in the U.S., in response to the growing popularity of the 'dognapping' of rare and expensive breeds of dogs.

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