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A Duck Out of Water

News about a duck lying on the highway set alarm bells ringing at a police station in Germany, a country fearful of bird flu. But the feathered creature in question turned out to be made of much stronger stuff.

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They're all ducks in Germany

Highway police in the western German city of Münster had a sinking feeling Tuesday when a caller informed them that an Ente, or duck, was lying on the side of a stretch of road.

Angst vor Vogelgrippe in Frankreich

That would raise legitimate fears of bird flu

With Germany, like many other countries in Europe, struggling to contain the spread of bird flu after the detection of a few cases, the first reaction was panic. Officers already had images in their heads of donning protective suits and masks and gingerly picking up a highly-infected bird and sending it to the nearest laboratory for tests.

But once the team rushed to the place near the village of Ibbenbüren, a sigh of relief went around: instead of a sick bird they found a stalled car of the French make Citroen 2 CV.

The affair turned out to be a linguistic misunderstanding -- much like the Volkswagen is known as the "Beetle" in English, Germans fondly call the Citroen 2 CV an "Ente."

Needless to say, the relieved officers helped the metal bird on its further journey by simply filling it up.

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