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Since 1st March, 1999
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Cricket crunch

Salt Lake City (Utah), June 15 (Reuters): Mormon crickets, the plague of the western US, are on the march again, ravaging farms and turning roads “blood red.”

Farmer Duane Anderson said the bugs are at times so thick that he could kill 10 crickets with a single step on his 3,200-acre spread in Dog Valley about 100 miles south of Salt Lake City. Officials in Utah, Idaho and Nevada say this year’s infestation may be the worst in recent history.

The grasshopper-like insects have become a traffic hazard, rendering some hilly roads impassable as they become caked with crushed bug carcasses. But for Anderson and other farmers, the bigger concern is economic. Mormon crickets and grasshoppers have for six years in a row wreaked havoc in Utah.

Loch Ness

London (Reuters): Sorcerer Kevin Carlyon performed an incantation on the shores of Loch Ness on Friday, trying to lure Britain’s favourite monster into the open. Carlyon, High Priest of British White Witches, said he had cast a spell two years ago to scare off the monster so it would not be caught by a visiting Swedish scientist Jan Sundberg. But Sundberg is no longer a threat, he said, and now the time has come to reverse the hex on “Nessie”. “I feel this one went quite well,” he said. During Friday's ceremony, Carlyon said he cast a talisman into the loch — a flat stone inscribed with ancient Nordic runes and witchcraft symbols — while chanting the incantation: “Let Nessie be free, may her spirit be free, so may it be.”

Reality bites

Rio de Janeiro (Reuters): Police in Rio de Janeiro arrested an amateur actor on Friday who played a drug-runner in the hit gangster film City of God for trying to steal a woman’s purse. “Fiction turned reality. Unfortunately, it is another example of social inequality in this country,” said police investigator Carlos Alberto Pinto, adding that Rubens Sabino, 19, could spend up to four years in jail.

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