Fans of a newspaper that only appears once every four years will get the chance to read it on Wednesday.

"/> Fans of a newspaper that only appears once every four years will get the chance to read it on Wednesday.

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Rare newspaper makes ninth appearance

Fans of a newspaper that only appears once every four years will get the chance to read it on Wednesday.

Rare newspaper makes ninth appearance

Since it was founded in 1980, “La Bougie du Sapeur” is published only on February 29th in each leap year. 

Its name means “The Candle of the Sapper” and refers to a cartoon character created in the 1890s, Sapper Camember, who was born on February 29th.

Wednesday’s issue is the ninth in the series of the newspaper which describes itself as “funny but not naughty” (“drôle mais pas méchant”). 

The latest issue contains a front page editorial dealing with one of the anomalies of French life, the measure of beer known as a “demi”.

While a “demi” literally means “half”, a request for a “demi” in a bar produces a quarter litre of beer.

“It’s a veritable scandal,” says the newspaper. “When you ask for a demi in your local, you get a quarter. It’s organised theft. We are starting a crusade to return the demi to being: a demi!”

Little has changed since the newspaper was founded although current editor Jean d’Indy added photos in the 1992 issue (number 4). 

Readers may be frustrated by some of the newspaper’s quirks. 

Answers to the crossword puzzle are given in the next issue, meaning a wait until February 29th 2016.

The editor said he had been asked to create a similar newspaper to appear every April 1st, but he declined.

“Things that are rare have a great value in the hearts of people,” he told radio station Europe 1.

Profits from the newspaper are donated to an autism charity.

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France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.