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The Independent Online
Some of the more alarming stories of the past week that you might have missed:

Rat alert

An elderly woman in the Ukraine was reported to have died of shock after finding a filthy, sopping wet rat in her lavatory. According to a local official, rats have invaded the Dniepropetrovsky sewers, turning them into a "sort of subway for rats". In nearby Luhansk, however, the local market is doing a roaring trade selling trained rats as cockroach killers.

Health food alert

A Taiwanese health food company faces charges of fraud, after one of its products, marketed as a cancer preventative and slimming aid, was discovered to be pig food.

Bear alert

Two months after a woman and her son were killed by a grizzly bear in a park in Alaska, officials report an increase in "bearanoia" among tourists. Pete Robison, a former park ranger, said: "To have the opportunity to be facing a grizzly bear head-on and saying, 'OK, this is the way I'm going to die,' I think that's pretty special - although I wouldn't want it to happen to me."

Spider alert

Residents of Sydney, Australia, have been warned of an outbreak of poisonous spiders and snakes caused by the hot weather. The State Health Department reports record numbers of people treated for bites by black snakes and redback and funnel web spiders. They advise people to check their sheds and outside toilets before use.

Bee alert

Twenty mourners at a funeral in Malawi were left unconscious after being attacked by a swarm of angry African bees. Others fled or stripped off their clothes to rid themselves of the insects.

Elephant alert

Three herds of elephants, numbering 55 in all, have been causing panic in eastern Indian villages where they have been eating the rice crops and rampaging through populated areas. Elephants are protected in India and may not be killed unless declared to be rogues.

Toothache alert

A Turkish farmer killed himself when trying to shoot out a sore tooth. While drinking with friends earlier, he complained of toothache and said he would shoot it out. The bullet went in his mouth and out of the top of his head.

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