Seeking Islamic truth beneath the golden arches

McDonald's lawyers, the militant wing, are known to be swift and terrible in their actions
HOW WELL do you follow the news? As you sit there glazed in front of your newspaper or double glazed in front of the telly, how much do you actually take in and digest?

Well, here's your chance to test yourself! Here are eight news stories from the last week. One is true, or as true as news ever gets. Which one is it? Lay your bets now!

1. Deceived by the prevalence of warm weather well into autumn, swallows and swifts were still last week flying around two or three south-facing villages in Pembrokeshire. Afraid that the sudden onset of freezing weather would kill them off, the local bird protection society captured them and sent them off by road to their winter home in Egypt. The lorry driver who was taking them reckoned that when he got to the warm south of Italy he was near enough to their destination, and released them so they could fly the rest of the way. They have now reappeared in Pembrokeshire. There is no sign of the lorry driver.

2. In the lead-up to his 50th birthday, among the other packages received by Prince Charles was a delivery from Social Security addressed to Charles Windsor. It noted that according to their figures the recipient had not worked at a regular employment for many years, but nor had he claimed any unemployment benefit either. They would therefore be sending a representative round very soon to see if Mr Windsor needed any care, counselling or, indeed, cash.

3. To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the end of the First World War, a group of nonagenarian British ex-servicemen from the north of England decided to get together with a group of their German counterparts who had also fought in the Great War. They met on neutral territory, in Belgium, and the dinner was going fine until one of the veteran German ex-soldiers joked that it was only a matter of time before Belgium was recaptured for Germany. Scuffling broke out and a general fight erupted in the course of which one of the English veterans had a heart attack and died. The Germans are now claiming this as another casualty to be added to Great War statistics.

4. An intruder at Prince Charles's house, Highgrove, was chased by dogs and security guards last week, though in an organic sort of way, before being caught. He turned out to be a social worker from Social Security following up a letter about Mr Charles Windsor's long-term unemployment, which had been sent to him but never answered.

5. The reason that France, China, and Russia are taking Saddam Hussein's side against the Americans and British is nothing to do with politics, or military power. It is a cultural one. The French, Chinese and Russians bitterly resent having been subject to colonisation by American junk food and junk fashion, and have noticed that Baghdad is one of the last remaining major cities in the world not disfigured by McDonald's food joints or Coca-Colonisation. They would like to help Saddam Hussein keep it that way.

6. One of the major hits in the American Latin music scene has been a new single of a song called "Mambo Yo Yo" which means in Spanish, more or less, "I am Mambo". However, the youth of America have assumed it is all part of the yo-yo craze and made it a best-seller on that mistaken assumption. Yet another illustration that you should never underestimate the gullibility of the American public.

7. Another intruder caught at Highgrove late last week also claimed to be a Social Security emissary following up an unanswered letter about long-term unemployment. When it was pointed out that someone else had already made a call on "Mr Charles Windsor" for this purpose, the new visitor said that she had no interest in him; she was coming to interview Mrs Camilla Parker- Bowles.

8. A new Muslim pressure group called Islamic Truth, which aims to lobby Western politicians and persuade them to see the Islamic and Arabic point of view, has run into trouble with its chosen logo. It is coloured red and yellow, and looks very like the large M symbol which hovers over all McDonald's food joints. The Muslims have agreed to change the logo in order to avoid wounding the sensitivities of McDonald's executives, who passionately believe in the truth of their burgers, and to avoid rousing the fury of McDonald's Lawyers, the militant wing of McDonald's, who are known to be swift and terrible in their actions.

Picked the item you think was true? That's right ! The last one! Isn't that wonderful...? No, I'm sorry. That was just wishful thinking. I'm afraid it was No 6, about the "Mambo Yo Yo" record.