Odds and Ends – Friday July 6, 2018 – July 12, 2018

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Beer may lack fizz in Europe amid carbon dioxide shortage

London (AP) – No beer at this time of year? A British trade group says there’s a shortage of carbon dioxide in Northern Europe, sparking fears that drinks may lack fizz just as thirsty soccer fans fill pubs for the World Cup. Gavin Partington, director-general of the British Soft Drinks Association, says the shortage is due to the closure of several production sites for various reasons, including seasonal maintenance. But industry publication Gasworld says the situation is worse this year because normal maintenance has coincided with technical issues at chemical plants that also produce carbon dioxide. That shortage comes just as the World Cup is getting underway in Russia, driving up demand for beer and soft drinks. The British Beer and Pub Association predicts England fans will drink an extra 14 million pints during the group stages of the tournament, which last about two weeks. “We will continue to monitor the situation carefully,” said Brigid Simmonds, the group’s chief executive. “However, given the time of year and the World Cup, this situation has arisen at an unfortunate time for the brewing industry.” The shortage could also affect meat producers, who may have trouble preserving some fresh foods.

In India, rats have a $19,000 meal

Gauhati, India (AP) – It was a cash machine heist with a difference: The attackers were hungry rodents. At least one rat slipped through a hole in the back of an ATM in northeastern India and started eating. By the time it was finished, police say more than $19,000 in bills were shredded. When technicians arrived June 11 to fix a broken State Bank of India cash machine in the town of Tinsukia they found a dead rat inside it and Indian currency notes worth nearly 1.3 million rupees, or a little over $19,000, chewed to shreds. The rat had entered the ATM through a small hole for cables, police superintendent Mugdha Jyoti Mahanta said Friday. The notes were in 500-rupee and 2,000-rupee denominations. The ATM had been broken since May 20, officials said. A State Bank of India official said the cash machine was overseen by another company. “We are surprised at what has happened. An investigation has been ordered,” said the official, Bimal Debroy.

(AP Photo/Channi Anand, File)
(AP Photo/Channi Anand, File)

Slow farm tractor flees police, setting off low-speed chase

Brewer, Maine (AP) – Police say a slow-moving farm tractor that fled a traffic stop in Maine led police on a nearly 3-mile, low speed chase. Police Sgt. Nelson Feero Jr. says a Brewer police officer pulled over the tractor Tuesday morning after he saw it knock over a series of traffic cones in a construction zone. The Bangor Daily News reports the 41-year-old driver got back in the tractor during the stop and “took off” – leading police officers on a slow 3-mile chase toward Eddington. The farm tractor was hauling a large piece of machinery during the low-speed chase. Police say the driver is charged with failing to stop for a police officer and driving to endanger.

Spraying snake with gas leads to house blaze in Finland

Helsinki (AP) – An improvised method of getting rid of a snake in a garden by spraying it with gasoline kicked off a chain reaction that ended up with a house on fire in southern Finland. Finnish public broadcaster YLE reported Tuesday that some of the flammable liquid spread by an ill-fated homeowner in Siuntio, west of Helsinki, landed on a nearby lawnmower that was warm enough to ignite a fire. Flames spread quickly Monday in extremely dry conditions to the wooden house, reaching the exterior wall and attic. The broadcaster said firefighters extinguished the blaze but damages may reach 15,000 euros ($17,000), although the home’s interior was not affected. YLE didn’t identify the reptile, but venomous adders, smooth snakes and grass snakes are the most common types of snakes in Finland.