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OFFBEAT

Greasy mayonnaise halts traffic in western France

A section of motorway in France has been closed because it has been judged too dangerous. The reason: 20 tonnes of slippery mayonnaise that officials say is a recipe for disaster.

Greasy mayonnaise halts traffic in western France
A section of motorway in France will have to be redone after greasy mayonnaise spread everywhere. Photo: AFP

Traffic on the A11 motorway in western France will remain clogged until at least Thursday after a lorry transporting 20 tonnes of mayonnaise caught fire.

While firefighters managed to put out the fire after two hours, the mayonnaise spread across the surface and made the tarmac highly slippery.

Experts who visited the scene at Chapelle-d’Aligne, in between Le Mans and Angers, say cleaning the road won’t be enough and that a section of tarmac will have to be redone due to the risk caused by the greasy spread.

Work is expected to take place on Thursday night, but until then motorists may want to avoid the area.

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OFFBEAT

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.

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