Here is today's news bulletin (perhaps)

`A major scandal is about to break in the toilet-paper industry. Makers have been changing the perforations'
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The Independent Culture
HOW WELL do you follow the news? Most of us think we keep a pretty good eye on current affairs, but it's amazing just how much escapes our attention. And when I say "our" attention, I mean "your" attention, dear reader. So I am going to challenge you to a contest. Here are six news stories taken from the last seven days. One of them is totally invented. Can you spot it? Here we go!

1. After the news that Cherie Blair had unintentionally become pregnant, John Prescott immediately ordered a review of all relevant safety procedures. "Obviously something went desperately wrong here," he said. "I want to know what it was that went wrong, and to make sure that an accident like this never happens again."

2. A friend of Jeffrey Archer has now revealed that he was not, all along, a friend of Jeffrey Archer. "I said at the time that I was a friend of Jeffrey Archer's because he needed friends, and he asked me to say that I was a friend of his, and I went along with this and let it be known that I was a friend of his. Indeed, I wanted friends myself, and I let it be known that Jeffrey Archer was a friend of mine. I now bitterly regret having got drawn into this web of deceit, and wish that I had let it be known that I had no friends at all, which I now realise would have been preferable. Incidentally, I am not a friend of Chris Evans either."

3. Suspicions are growing in the West Country that crop circles are not the only fear. Normally there are no sightings of crop circles during the winter months, or anything like them, but recently there have been reports of strange behaviour by cows, which have been standing in fields in formations that correspond almost exactly to crop circles, such as spirals and interlocking ovals. A veteran cereologist, Ken Burns, says: "We definitely have got cow circles going on here! And nobody can say that THEY are faked!"

4. A major scandal is about to break in the toiletries industry. It appears that the makers of lavatory paper have been gradually spacing the perforations further and further apart, so that each pull of paper becomes imperceptibly bigger. This means you get fewer sheets per roll, which means that in the long run you have to buy more lavatory paper, which means massively bigger profits for the moguls. The scandal has been referred to the regulatory body of the toiletries business, Offwipe.

5. A West Country newspaper, The Bath Chronicle, has been printing millennium photographs of different village populations in the area. On Sunday mornings in each village, the entire population has turned up to be photographed, which takes about half an hour. During that time there has been a wave of burglaries in the villages while all the houses were empty. The editor of The Bath Chronicle has been taken in for questioning on charges of organising mass burglaries in rural areas of Wiltshire and Somerset.

6. A man in Dundee who had taken a pile of newspapers to his local paper bank managed to get his spectacles, hanging round his neck, sandwiched in the newspapers as he threw them away, and threw away his spectacles as well. Getting the lid of the paper bank open, he started rummaging through the papers looking for his specs and suddenly came across a newspaper (thrown away by someone else) with his wife's picture on the front. This was curious, as his wife had disappeared many years ago at sea, and was presumed dead. Now here she was on the front of a weekly paper from New Zealand. It later turned out that she had run away to Auckland and started a new life. However, she did not enjoy her new life, and when her old husband got in touch with her after the Dundee paper bank incident, she got back together with him, and they are very happy again. He did not, however, find his specs.

Well, did you spot the wrong `un? That's right! Number six was totally made up! As indeed were all the others, except for the one about Robin Cook, Geri Halliwell and the seven red-bearded dwarves! Well done!

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