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Monday, 17 February, 2003, 17:38 GMT
Coming soon - the Kalashnikov brolly?
Palestinian police officer teaches girls how to use an AK-47 rifle
The AK-47 is blamed for more deaths than Hiroshima
The Russian inventor of the world's most famous assault rifle has turned his attention to more harmless activities, such as keeping out the rain.

Mikhail Kalashnikov, 83, has reportedly secured a 30% share of the German MMI company - which specialises in umbrellas - in exchange for use of his name.

Mikhail Kalashnikov
Kalashnikov wishes he invented the lawn-mower
Mr Kalashnikov, who lives in a modest one-bedroom flat in the Urals city of Izhevsk, said the Solingen-based company's products were somewhat similar to his AK-47 rifle.

"They're reliable, easy to use and low-maintenance," he told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

Moves are also afoot to produce Kalashnikov mineral water and vodka-based cocktails, MMI head Thomas Herriger told the newspaper.

Weapon of choice

Mr Kalashnikov invented the AK-47 after being shot by German soldiers during World War II.

It is the weapon of choice for gangsters and guerrillas all over the world.

A staggering 100 million AKs have been produced so far.

Easy to use and maintain, they are said to be responsible for more deaths than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Mr Kalashnikov recently said he wished he had invented the lawn-mower instead.

He claims he has made no money from his rifle and is said to live on a meagre pension.

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