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Extraterrestrials dig Russian soil

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MOSCOW — Russian officials said today that strange circles found in a remote southern field showed aliens had returned to collect Earth soil, four years after first dropping by, Itar-Tass news agency reported.

The five concentric circles of wheat, flattened in a clockwise direction, were discovered in a field outside Maikop in the Krasnodar region. The ears of the wheat were undamaged.

Tass said similar circles had appeared four years ago.

"Officials of the region's Emergency Situations Department say this suggests the beings had come back for more soil samples," Tass said.

Britain witnessed a spate of so-called crop circles in the late 1990s, most of which were attributed to pranksters.