x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Yes, we are likely to have no bananas soon

A fungus could wipe out the most popularly eaten banana, plus a boozy moose gets stuck in a tree, breakup "specialists" in China will end stalled relationships and more news you can lose.

Bananas could become a luxury food because of a fungus that could wipe out nearly half of the world's crop.

The disease has already spread across Asia and Australia and is expected to reach Latin America next. Plants are infected through the soil, causing purple stripes to appear on the trunk before it dies.

Most supermarket bananas in the US are a variety called Cavendish, chosen because it was believed to be resistant to disease.

In addition, Indian scientists now suspect that a second disease, which wiped out another popular variety of bananas called Gros Michel, has jumped to Cavendish plants.

Cavendish bananas account for 45 per cent of the world crop and are worth Dh32bn in exports for producing nations.


Dog lost, owner barks

Police and diplomats have been called in to locate the missing pet dog of a Russian tycoon.

The Toy Terrier, called Johnny, was stolen from a hotel room in Genoa, Italy, occupied by the family of Stanislav Rybchinsky, a chemicals tycoon.

Mr Rybchinsky has now demanded that the entire hotel staff take a lie-detector test and has contacted Russian diplomats to step up pressure on Italian police to investigate the case.

They have also alerted more than 100 local vets to watch out for the dog. A Dh55,000 reward has also been offered for the animal's recovery.

Mr Rybchinsky's daughter Yana said: "He was like a member of the family who was always kind and never barked at anyone."


Un-dating agencies

Chinese couples are now employing trained middlemen to ease the pain of ending a relationship.

Asking the equivalent of Dh180, the agents will either telephone or email the bad news that a romance is over.

According to the Daily Telegraph of London, at least 40 specialists in ending relationships are now advertising their services on Taobao, a Chinese version of eBay.

They also offer a "platinum service" where an agent will deliver the bad news in person, but accompanied by a small gift.

One agent even boasted to the paper that he could create stresses to break up a relationship if one party was unhappy.

"We create the conflict in 10 days, propose a break-up in 15, and complete the deal in 20," he said. "We have a 100 per cent success rate, or your money back."


Boozy moose

Firemen in Sweden were called out to assist a drunken elk that was accidentally stuck in a tree after eating fermented apples.

The owner of a house discovered the animal in his neighbour's garden, entangled in the branches and bellowing.

Per Johansson said: "I thought at first that someone was having a laugh. Then I went over to take a look and spotted an elk stuck in an apple tree with only one leg left on the ground."

After firemen arrived, they bent the branches of the tree until the elk escaped.

Drunk elk - known as moose in North America - are a common sight in Sweden at this time of the year, when apples left on the ground begin to ferment, naturally producing alcohol.