QUIRKY WORLD ... A mice surprise - village home to rare rodents

ENGLAND: Rare harvest mice have been rediscovered in the village where the species was first identified, after work by farmers and volunteers to help wildlife.

More than 150 nests of the tiny mammal, immortalised by Beatrix Potter, have been found around the village of Selborne, Hampshire, where it has been thought to be locally extinct for more than 25 years.

Its return to the village, birthplace of famous naturalist Gilbert White who first distinguished the harvest mouse, micromys minutus, as a species in 1767, comes after work by a “farmer cluster” to manage the landscape for wildlife.

On the run

GERMANY:

A convicted rapist went on the run in the German city of Cologne after giving his guards the slip — during a visit to a beer hall.

Police said 58-year-old Peter Breidenbach was on a day trip from prison that included a stop at a brewery near Cologne Cathedral. Breidenbach, a diabetic, disappeared after asking to go to the toilet.

Breidenbach was reportedly sentenced to nine years in 1991, but was remanded in prison afterwards because a court deemed him to be particularly dangerous.

Hunt for jackpot winner

ENGLAND:

National Lottery bosses have taken their hunt to find a £33m (€43.7m) jackpot winner to the streets of Worcester —and urged punters to “check down the side of sofas” for lost tickets.

Camelot’s senior winners’ adviser, Andy Carter, visited the city a day after the lottery operator confirmed a ticket bought in the area matched all six balls in its record £66m jackpot draw on January 9. After posing for camera crews holding a cheque payable to “Mystery Millionaire” for £33,035,323, Mr Carter said: “We have got to the 14-day stage after the draw now, when we release the area. We want the people of Worcester to check their tickets.

“We want them to check down the side of sofas, in pockets, in gloves compartments, on shelves — just anything that can help them find the winning ticket.”

Getaway mess-up

USA:

A man suspected of breaking into two Alaska businesses was delayed in his getaway by locking his keys in his car.

A call to a cab company helped open the car but also led to his identification.

Surveillance video of the burglary and the taxi led police in North Pole, a city 22.5km south of Fairbanks, to seek a warrant for 27-year-old Joseph Michael Barria, who is suspected of stealing tools, stereo equipment and other property from a laundry and a fitness business.

The January 6 video shows a man carrying items from the businesses into his car, then pulling his car closer to the door.

Later, a cab arrives to help the man open the locked car. “There’s pretty good surveillance video there,” said Steve Dutra, chief of the North Pole Police Department.

From the cab company, police obtained Barria’s phone number and name.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports police recovered $3,500 (€3,242) worth of tools stolen from the laundry in the boot of Barria’s car.

Brand new world

ENGLAND:

Jo Brand set off on her 241km coast-to-coast walking challenge for Sport Relief with a trek across a wind-lashed Humber Bridge.

But the comedian wisely failed to follow up on her jokey pre-walk promise to swallow-dive from the middle of the structure and indulge in some synchronised swimming in the muddy water below.

Brand, 58, set off on the Hell Of A Walk challenge from the foreshore at Barton-on-Humber in North Lincolnshire yesterday, with plenty of her trademark dry wisecracks.

She said: “I feel the hand of history upon my toenails.” And added: “I would describe my walking style as ‘fat old woman’.”

Spelling error

ENGLAND:

The Home Office has announced new English tests for migrants — but spelled “language” incorrectly.

An item on the department’s website was headed “New English langauge test for family route migrants”.

Broadcaster Anita Anand wrote on Twitter: “Beyond parody — Home Office can’t spell ‘language’ in their note to migrants who have been told to learn English.”

The new rule affects non-European partners and parents of British citizens or people settled in the UK.

They will need to pass a speaking and listening test at “level A2” in order to qualify, after two and a half years in the UK, for further leave to remain on a five-year partner or parent route to settlement.

The Home Office bulletin said: “The new A2 requirement delivers the Government’s manifesto commitment to ensure that those coming to the UK on a family visa with only basic English will become more fluent over time.

“It will mean that the person can better engage in everyday conversation and thereby better participate and integrate in everyday life in the community.”


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