Here's all the false news that's totally unfit to print

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The Independent Culture
HOW WELL do you keep up with the news? Think you're in touch with what is happening? Think you could hold your own on the News Quiz or Have I Got News For You? Well, here's your chance to find out!

All you have to do is read the following half dozen news stories taken from the last seven days, and decide which are true and which have been made up specially for this quiz.

1. The case for General Pinochet's extradition to Spain has been made even more difficult now that it emerges that one of the Law Lords who voted in favour of extradition is a practising Christian. Apparently people who believe in Christianity and its creed are against torture and violence and all sorts of evil, which may well result in this particular Lord being prejudiced against the General's case.

"Obviously," says a lawyer acting for General Pinochet, "anyone who has been involved with Christianity is bound to be prejudiced, and should declare their interest beforehand. As Pinochet is perhaps the most evil man left alive, then Christian bias in favour of goodness will prevent any justice being done.

"This is a farce from beginning to end. I demand that the General be tried by fellow torturers and murderers. Only then will we get a fair result."


2. At the time of going to press, Richard Branson's attempt to go round the world by balloon is still on, which means he will probably be up in a balloon on Christmas Day. Wherever he lands at this time, Branson is ready for the eventuality, as he has with him in the balloon a full Father Christmas costume into which he will change prior to getting out with a bag of toys. The gesture may well fall flat if he lands in an Islamic country, but he says that Virgin flights have always offered good in-flight entertainment, and this one should be no different.


3. Legal history is being made on a major daily paper, where the newspaper's lawyer is suing a journalist who actually works for the same paper. Apparently, one of the regular columnists wrote a piece attacking the quality of legal advisers on newspapers, saying that, in his experience, only the very poorest and least efficient lawyers ever sank so low as to work for a newspaper. This rankled with the paper's lawyer, who has now sued the columnist for libel.

The columnist is claiming in his defence that if the article is libellous, the lawyer should never have let it appear, thus proving his case that he is indeed an incompetent lawyer. The case continues.


4. After the wind-up radio and the wind-up torch, a firm in Nigeria is now selling the world's first wind-up computer for use by people who have no access to mains electricity, or cannot afford batteries. It has to be wound up every 10 minutes to prevent files being lost.


5. A child in the US is suing his own parents for telling him that Father Christmas exists, on the grounds that they were instilling a palpable falsehood in his mind.

He claims that the distress caused by his eventual discovery that Father Christmas does not exist, plus the scorn and humiliation heaped on him by his classmates who already knew the truth, has caused him unreasonable mental suffering which they could have avoided by telling him the truth in the first place.

The parents are claiming in mitigation that they really thought Father Christmas existed, and they are counter-suing their son for being the first person to tell them the truth.


6. Police could scarcely believe their eyes when they saw a small saloon car take a humpbacked bridge in Norfolk, going at about 25 mph, and become airborne the other side for about 20ft. They followed the car and arrested the driver - Jack Broughton - for speeding, the only charge they could think of.

The driver then revealed that he had been experimenting with super-helium- filled wheels which made the car lighter, though not, normally, lighter than air. Police have decided to not to proceed with speeding charges, but to prosecute the driver instead for dangerous low flying.


ANSWER: All of these stories are false, except the one about Alan Clark MP, General Pinochet and the Chilean judge's twin daughters.