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OSLO, Norway (CAP) - Rumors have been circulating for the past week among top Norwegian government officials that the keys to the "doomsday" seed vault, which were last seen at the inauguration in February, are missing and may be sealed inside the massive sarcophagus which was supposed to protect millions of plants from the threats of global climate change.
The rumors were purportedly sparked by a top-secret internal memo that circulated last week, a copy of which was obtained yesterday by CAP News' International News Bureau. Norway's lead scientist on the project, Sonja Ibsen, sent the memo to officals who were at the ceremony.
"Does anyone remember that little ceremony we had up in Svalbard, about the seeds and the climate things?" the memo reads. "We don't have the key. We've checked everywhere. I remember putting them down in the vault. Does anyone remember picking them up? It was the set on the green key chain and a small, gray voice recorder attached.
"If you press the play button on the voice recorder," the memo continues. "You'll hear a message I recorded that day reminding me to stop at Ace Hardwarivik on the way home and get some copies of the keys made."
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, located on an island off Norway about 600 miles from the North Pole, holds millions of seeds that were collected from around the world. It was created to protect the world's crops from being wiped out due to natural disasters or eventual global climate changes.
The Global Crop Diversity Trust, which runs the vault in cooperation with the Norwegian government, attempted to make its first withdrawal from the vault last week to help replenish crops in cyclone-ravaged Myanmar. It sent a telegram to the Myanmar's ruling military junta with details of the plan.
The junta apparently replied with an email sent from an iPhone which included a photo of a man bent over and naked from the waist down. The associated text message reportedly said - loosely translated - "you can stick your seeds right here."
It was during this attempted withdrawal that Ibsen realized the keys she thought were for the vault were actually her keys to the old Volvo she had at university.
Criticism of the apparent key snafu has come in swift and harsh from around the world. Switzerland, famous for its safe-deposit boxes, called Norway "amateurs." And the nearby Baltic nations have already organized a campaign to create a new vault in either Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia. "Keep It Safe In The Bals" is their motto.
Ibsen said she's asking the Norwegian government to contract the Russian space administration to construct a 40-ton crowbar that could be used to open the vault doors.
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