Fri, Jul 10, 2009 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

Police badger drunk badger

Police called to clear a road of a dead badger found the animal in question had in fact gorged itself on over-ripe, fermented cherries and, blind drunk, staggered out into the middle of the road. “The animal’s stomach had turned the fruit to alcohol and the badger was, to put it crudely, drunk as a skunk,” a police statement on Wednesday said. “In addition, the badger was suffering from diarrhea studded with cherry stones.” Prodding the reluctant beast with a stick, officers managed to persuade it to leave the road near the town of Goslar and to sleep off his night of excess in a nearby meadow.

■LATVIA

Credit firm asks for souls

A credit company asking borrowers for their immortal souls as loan collateral has outraged churches in the recession-hit Baltic nation, sparking demands for a formal investigation. “We are treating the case very seriously,” Roman Catholic Cardinal Janis Pujats said on Wednesday. Pujats said he and the heads of the country’s Russian Orthodox and Lutheran churches had asked the interior ministry formally to investigate the case, fearing “Satanists, not just cynical money lenders” could be behind it. Kontora, the Riga-based company in question, offers loans ranging from 50 to 500 lats (US$100 to US$1,000) to anyone, no matter their age, credit history or whether they have material collateral. The loans are issued for 90 days at an annual interest rate of 365 percent. “There is just one condition, a borrower should pledge their soul,” says the company Web site. If a borrower fails to return the money, their soul belongs to the company. “It’s just a business. We lend real money and if a person believes that a soul is important to them, we will definitely get back our money. All is fair,” an unnamed company representative reportedly told Latvia’s Vesti Segodna newspaper.

■UNITED STATES

Man dies in vat of chocolate

Authorities say a man has died after falling into a vat of melted chocolate in a New Jersey processing plant. The Camden County prosecutor’s office identified the victim as 29-year-old Vincent Smith. He was a temporary worker at the Cocoa Services Inc plant. The accident happened on Wednesday morning as Smith was loading chocolate into a vat where it’s melted and mixed before being shipped elsewhere to be made into candy.

■UNITED STATES

Turtles invade JFK runway

A runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport was shut down briefly on Wednesday morning after at least 78 turtles emerged from a nearby bay and crawled onto the tarmac. Ground crews eventually rounded up the wayward reptiles and deposited them back in the brackish water farther from airport property, but not before the incident disrupted JFK’s flight schedule and contributed to delays that reached nearly one-and-a-half hours. The invasion began unfolding, slowly, at around 8:30am, when an American Eagle flight crew reported seeing three turtles while taxiing out for departure.

■UNITED STATES

Butter statue churns debate

When officials announced that a butter sculpture of Michael Jackson would feature at next month’s Iowa state fair, they churned up such a fierce debate that they’re now trying to moonwalk their way out of it. The reaction was immediate, and people were obviously whipped up, the fair’s general manager Gary Slater said.

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