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Angela Merkel loyalist Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has been elected the new leader of the German chancellor’s party.

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Airline bans ’emotional support’ animals on long flights

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An airline has banned “emotional support” animals from flights longer than eight hours.

Delta Air Lines says it is introducing the new rules after an 84% increase in animal incidents in 2016-17.

They include a passenger being attacked by a dog, as well as animals urinating and defecating while on-board.

The US airline is also introducing a ban on any animal under four months of age regardless of the length of the journey, including service animals which help people with disabilities.

The changes do not affect pets that customers pay to take into the cabin in enclosed carriers.

Delta says the new rules will take effect from 18 December.

Customers who had already bought tickets before the announcement will have their journey honoured until 1 February.

There have been incidents of animals on planes urinating and defecating. File pic
Image:
There have been incidents of animals on planes urinating and defecating. File pic

The airline is not alone in changing its rules on comfort animals, with others bringing in bans to restrict the type of animal allowed after goats, pigs and snakes were being brought on-board by passengers.

Delta requires passengers to prove their eligibility for emotional support animals with a form from a medical professional vouching for them.

They are different to trained service animals, which work to assist people with visual impairment, deafness, seizures and other limitations.

Both types of animals fly for free and are not required to be caged during the flight.

John Laughter, Delta’s senior vice president for corporate safety, security and compliance, said: “These updates support Delta’s commitment to safety and also protect the rights of customers with documented needs, such as veterans with disabilities, to travel with trained service and support animals.”

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Chocolate factory spillage ‘repaves’ German road

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A mishap at a German chocolate factory “repaved” a road with a thick, brown pathway after a ton of the sticky stuff escaped and flowed on to the street.

The spillage quickly solidified and around 25 firefighters in the town of Westoennen were forced to hack away at it with shovels.

Bosses at the DreiMeister factory blamed “a small technical defect” for Monday night’s incident, according to German newspaper Soester Anzeiger.

Spilt chocolate is cleared from a road in Werl, Germany
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Firefighters attacked the rogue chocolate with shovels

The chocolate seeped into the pores of the road and there were worries it would be a hazard, so hot water was used to removed the final thin layer.

The local authority closed the road and set up oil warning signs while the clean-up took place, the newspaper reported.

Owner of the factory Marus Luckey said it would have been a “catastrophe” had the spill occurred closer to Christmas, but that things would be back to normal on Wednesday.

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Fastest-moving animal in the world is… an ant

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The fastest-moving animal in the world has been revealed – and scientists say speed isn’t always influenced by size.

Known as the dracula ant, its jaws snap shut 5,000 times faster than the blink of an eye at 200mph.

The tiny insect is comfortably ahead of the cheetah, whose record running speed is 60mph.

Researchers believe the ants, found in Africa, Australia and southeast Asia, use their rapidly accelerating jaws to smash into potential prey.

Entomologist Professor Andrew Suarez, from the University of Illinois, said: “Their powerful jaws work like a mousetrap, except the latch and spring mechanism are all in one.

“The ants use this motion to smack other arthropods, likely stunning them, smashing them against a tunnel wall or pushing them away.”

Instead of pushing their jaws together, dracula ants slide one across the other in a motion that takes 23 microseconds.

He added: “Even among ants that power-amplify their jaws, the dracula ants are unique – instead of using three different parts for the spring, latch and lever arm, all three are combined in the mandible.”

They use venom to stun their prey which are then brought back to the colony for the larvae to feed upon.

They are called dracula ants after Count Dracula, the fictional vampire, due to their unusual feeding habits.

Queens and workers practice a form of “non-destructive cannablism”, which involves chewing holes into and feeding on the haemolymph, insect “blood”, of the colony’s own pupae and larvae.

Dracula ants were discovered in 1994 – and at 200mph, their jaw motion is three times faster than trap-jaw ants – the previous record-holders.

The findings were published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

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