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    Muscovites rush to buy fans and water guns as heat breaks new records

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    Moscow's heat record was broken for the second time in a week on Thursday causing sales of fans and waters guns to shoot up and birds to flee the city.

    Moscow's heat record was broken for the second time in a week on Thursday causing sales of fans and waters guns to shoot up and birds to flee the city.

    On Thursday temperatures in the Russian capital soared to 37.7 degrees Celsius (99.86 degrees Fahrenheit), beating Monday's record of 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5) and securing July 2010's place as Moscow's hottest ever month.

    But not everyone is suffering: street vendors are cashing in on selling hand-held fans to drivers forced to sweat it out in Moscow's notorious traffic jams, many of whom drive Russian-made cars without air conditioning.

    Meanwhile, toy shops and online stores are doing a roaring trade in water guns and inflatable pools.

    "In July, we sold all our water guns in two weeks and people are still asking for them," an online store employee said.

    Air conditioners and fans are also selling out fast.

    Muscovites can be seen bathing in the city's fountains and polluted river and walking around town in beach wear.

    Newlyweds have begun cutting short their traditional post-wedding tours of Moscow's main tourist attractions and ice-filled cocktails have replaced heavy spirits at receptions.

    The Moscow Region has suffered from the worst drought in almost three decades and peat fires have broken out causing heavy smog in the capital.

    Moscow environmentalists say the fires have forced birds to leave the region.

    "The birds are affected by the heat and the smoke from peat fires; most are trying to migrate to cleaner places," a spokesman for the Russian Birds Protection Union said.

    But there is an end in sight: meteorologists have suggested that the temperature could fall by as much as 10 degrees Celsius at the weekend. Rain is also expected to clear away much of the heavy smog that has hung over the city since the start of the week.

    MOSCOW, July 29 (RIA Novosti) 

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