A radical solution to antisocial behaviour

Dog-owners will be executed if they allow their pets to foul the grass


Yes, it's time to test you on your knowledge of the news again!

Yes, it's time to test you on your knowledge of the news again!

And it's almost as easy as switching on a TV set. I simply bring you five stories about recent news. Only one of them is actually authentic. The rest are all concocted for the occasion. What you have to do is pick out the true story. Easy, isn't it?

So here we go with this week's helping of stories for you to mull over...

1. The people of Bath have come up with a novel solution to their Spa headache.

As is well-known, the city of Bath is in real trouble with its new spa scheme. The still unopened spa building has run into financial and structural difficulties, the builders Mowlem have been ordered off the site and the architect Nicholas Grimshaw is nowhere to be seen.

How, Bath and North-east Somerset council are asking themselves, can a modern spa go so badly wrong in a city where the ancient Romans built such a successful and enduring hot bath scheme?

They have now done the obvious, and gone back to the original Roman builders. Bath have been in touch with the Italian government to get a team of experts sent out from Rome who can use the ancient Roman techniques to sort out all their modern problems. Already the first expert to arrive from Rome has looked at the site and pronounced: "Non est problema. Omnis est bene."

2. An American student is suing a correspondence college for teaching him the wrong language. Rice Bentley Jnr had signed up for a two-year course to learn Inuit, prior to going to live in the frozen north and take part in an anthropological survey of Eskimo living habits.

However, the professor who was in charge of the language course was a fierce champion of a dying Amazon tongue called Nqiti, spoken by a small threatened tribe in the jungle, and he decided to teach Mr Bentley that instead of Inuit.

Now that Mr Bentley has unwittingly become fairly fluent in Nqiti, he has found that the tribe which speaks it has become extinct, and he may well be the only person in the world who is able to speak it, apart from the professor he is suing.

3. A Muscovy duck called Jake the Drake was banned from the country park in Devon where he lived, because he was a sexual nuisance to the other wildfowl. He was relocated eight miles away, unable to fly back to his old home because he was too fat to take off.

Undeterred, he decided to walk back to his old home. It took him four weeks to walk the eight miles, during which he dodged foxes, crossed the dangerous A39 and swam the River Yeo. As soon as he got back home, he was reunited with his old female mate Jemima, and resumed carnal relations immediately.

4. The reason that the new German Pope was elected so quickly was not that Ratzinger was so popular. It was because, when the cardinals came down on the second morning, they found his beach towel already occupying the Papal chair.

5. Abdel Hassan is believed to be the only candidate who is representing the Taliban at the forthcoming British election.

He is one of the many fringe candidates standing against the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in his Sedgefield constituency. Earlier this week Mr Hassan issued his Taliban manifesto, the main points of which are: 1. All dog-owners to be executed if they allow their pets to foul communal grass. 2. No music of any kind to be played on any radio. 3. All women to stay in the home all day. 4. Durham Cathedral to be razed to the ground.

Preliminary polls suggest that his measures may be unexpectedly popular.

Well? Have you made your selection?

If you went for the Jake the Drake story, you were absolutely spot on ( which is a bit of a pity, as I was quite convinced by the story about Rice Bentley Jr and the Nqiti language, even though I did make it up ... )

Another news test coming soon!

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