When facing a great crisis most will turn and run.
Rats have been said to be the first to sense an impending disaster, such as a sinking ship or a gas leak in a mine - so if rats are seen leaving it's a good idea to follow!
Early records of this expression go back all the way to Pliny The Elder's Natural History (77 AD): 'When a building is about to fall down, all the mice desert it'.
It also appears in a form closer to the modern usage in Shakespeare's The Tempest, Act I, Scene II (1610):
Prospero: In few, they hurried us aboard a bark,
Bore us some leagues to sea; where they prepar'd
A rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg'd,
Nor tackle, sail, nor mast; the very rats
Instinctively had quit it.
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...