Divers find centuries-old champagne in shipwreck in Baltic Sea

SWEDEN

Divers locate centuries-old champagne

Divers have discovered what is thought to be the world's oldest drinkable champagne in a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea, one of the finders said Saturday. They tasted the one bottle they've brought up so far before they even got back to shore. "It tasted fantastic. It was a very sweet champagne, with a tobacco taste and oak," diving instructor Christian Ekstrom said. He said the bottles are believed to be from the 1780s and likely were part of a cargo destined for Russia. The nationality of the sunken ship has not been determined. The divers discovered the shipwreck Tuesday near the Aland Islands, between Sweden and Finland. About 30 bottles are believed to be aboard the sunken vessel. Swedish wine expert Carl-Jan Granqvist said each bottle could fetch $70,000 if the corks are intact and the sparkling drink is genuine and drinkable. Granqvist said he had seen pictures of the bottle, and it had languished in near-perfect storage conditions — in the dark at a constant cold temperature.

New york

Man back in U.S. after no-fly listing

Yahya Wehelie said Saturday he can't wait to eat his mom's lasagna now that he's back on U.S. soil after FBI scrutiny stranded him in the Middle East for nearly two months on a no-fly list. The 26-year-old Virginia man landed in New York on Saturday afternoon after the ordeal that began when his studies in Yemen aroused the suspicion of U.S. authorities. His family met him in New York and planned to drive him back to the Washington area. "I can't ask for anything else in the world right now," said Wehelie, who had been living in a ramshackle Cairo hotel and surviving on fast food coupons provided by the U.S. Embassy. "I want to eat some of my mom's cooking, lasagna I hope. I've been waiting for that." Wehelie, a U.S. citizen of Somali descent, went to Yemen nearly two years ago at his parents' urging to learn Arabic.

Elsewhere

Hackensack, N.J.: Authorities called off a 22-hour rescue mission at a partly collapsed parking garage Saturday after determining that no one had been trapped when a glass canopy fell the day before, a fire official said.

Albania: Fourteen people died and 12 were injured, many of them seriously, Saturday when a bus fell some 100 feet off a cliff about 85 miles north of the capital, Tirana, Albanian authorities said. Police said a sudden downpour caused the accident.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong passed its first-ever minimum wage law Saturday, a rare departure from the wealthy Chinese financial hub's free-market philosophy. No rate has been set.

Caribbean: Officials are warning that mosquito-borne dengue fever is reaching epidemic stages across the Caribbean, with dozens of deaths reported and health authorities concerned it could get worse as the rainy season advances.

Times wires

Divers find centuries-old champagne in shipwreck in Baltic Sea

07/17/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 17, 2010 10:17pm]

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