Another week of disgrace, death and divorce

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The Independent Online

As the weekend approaches, let's have another of our little tests in which we find out how much you remember of the week's news.

It's quite simple. I bring you four stories from the past seven days. One is authentic. The other three have been made up in our own workshops and are totally without foundation. All you have to do is spot which is the real news story.

Couldn't be easier, eh? Or could it? Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen!

1. A Michael Jackson lookalike has struck it rich in California by being hired to re-enact proceedings from the Michael Jackson trial, which cannot be televised itself.

It takes Edward Moss, a 27-year-old actor, a mere 45 minutes to transform himself into Michael Jackson, which he will now do every day on TV to recreate everything Jackson says in the trial.

He has been a full-time impersonator of Michael Jackson for nearly 10 years. Early on, he tested his skills at moonwalking by going to the Hollywood Hall of Fame and "performing" next door to the Michael Jackson star. Tourists loved it and gave him hundreds of dollars.

Ted Harbert, the TV executive who hired him, says that, depending how the trial develops, Moss may not have much to do for the first few months, or indeed - if Jackson somehow torpedoes the trial - anything at all.

2. Hunter S Thompson, the American author of Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas, and inventor of the wild, drug-fuelled school of writing known as "gonzo journalism", may still be writing from beyond the grave.

Since Thompson committed suicide a week ago, a Californian medium claims to have received a long article from him in a seance, entitled "Hip Harp in Heaven". It has been examined by an ex-editor of Thompson, Barry Craven, who is convinced it is genuine.

"It is an account of the first day in Heaven by a newcomer who spends all his time trying to find local narcotics and to hunt down the shade of Richard M Nixon to confront him. Fake or not, it's very exciting. I think what we have here is the first example of a new style that we might call gonzo obituaries."

3. A controversial ex-ambassador is being pursued by the Inland Revenue in what he calls a "vicious vendetta". Craig Murray became Britain's youngest ambassador when he was sent to Uzbekistan. But after he started criticising the regime for its lack of democracy and use of torture, he was withdrawn by the Foreign Office.

Now matters have gone a stage worse. In a recent interview, Mr Murray said that in his student days in London he supplemented his grant by busking (he is a competent accordionist). He must have earned at least £200 a week, he said.

Suddenly the Inland Revenue have sent him a bill claiming he owes thousands of pounds in back taxes for his busking activities, and threatening to have him arrested in seven days if he does not pay up.

Mr Murray says it is a continuation of the campaign to discredit him after he said he would stand against Jack Straw in the election, and that he will stand as firm against the tax people as he did against the FO.

4. For the first time, a divorce case has been brought in the USA, not by either of the spouses, but by the children. Bella and Fairfax, teenage offspring of Mr and Mrs Kenning of Priorityville, Ohio, have become so affected by their parents' non-stop fighting that they have brought the action to force their parents apart and give them some mental peace.

"You hear about parents staying together for the sake of the children," say Bella and Fairfax. "This is a question of the parents splitting up for our sake! We like our parents well enough individually, but together they are poison. It is for their sake as well."

Mr and Mrs Kenning will issue a statement as soon as they can agree on one.

Well? Did you spot that the Michael Jackson lookalike item was the gospel truth? Well done! I'll try and make it harder next time ...

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