Miles Kington: Breaking news from the shadow of Millennial madness

French police have discovered an alternative Channel tunnel, made for importing illegal immigrants to Britain
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The Independent Online

As regular readers will know, I like to test your knowledge of the news by bringing you a bunch of news stories, and asking you to pick out the genuine one.

I'm going to do it again today.

Here are four items of news. One is absolutely genuine but the others are all made from totally synthetic ingredients. Think you can spot the right un?

Here we go!

1. The Society of Genealogists have called for the setting up of therapy and counselling for people who are shocked or depressed by what they find in their family history research. Many people set off quite gaily to trace their ancestry, only to find that their forebears were criminals, alcoholics, or even mentally deranged. There should, says the Society, be a facility to enable such people to come to terms with dead relatives, in the same way that marriage guidance can help you adjust to living relatives.

2. French police have discovered an alternative Channel tunnel, made for importing illegal immigrants to Britain.

This illicit tunnel seems to have been constructed parallel to the original one, but it must have been done in conditions of great secrecy, as nobody had any idea it was there until last week, when police spotted hundreds of people going for a bathe near the French town of Sangatte.

"There is a lovely beach at Sangatte, oui," said police chief Emile Zola (no relation), "but only crazy people go swimming in November. So we investigated and we find that they are all going into an entrance in the rocks which we do not know about. And we find that the entrance in the rocks goes into a tunnel we do not know about. Which takes pedestrians across the Channel to Britain. It is an immense project, but then, many of these immigrants are highly trained scientists and engineers and this sort of thing, so it is not impossible for them to have done it under our very eyelids."

The French police intend to slap an injunction on the builders and designers for breaking planning regulations as soon as they find out who they are. British police have not yet found the British end of the tunnel.

3. At the time of the Millennium, many villages in Britain decided to mark occasion with the installation of huge rocks at the entry to the village marked "AD 2000" or "Millennium 2000", or similar. Now, it turns out that these lumps of useless rock are already crumbling away.

"There is no rational explanation for it," says Gordon Furie, head of the Millennium Study Group, a project set up to monitor the after-effects of the Millennium. "The only theory we have come up with so far is that the so-called Millennium Bug, which never crippled computers in AD 2000 as it was predicted to, might have finally arrived after all."

4. Another (unconnected) Millennium story. In the Lincolnshire village of Nether Sowerby they set up a Millennium May Pole. After only six years it has fallen over and injured a passing bicyclist. He now wishes to sue the local council for damages. However, it was not actually the council who erected it, but a specially convened Millennium Action Group, now disbanded.

"Actually, any damage caused by the malfunctioning of any Millennium project is unlikely to get compensation," says Eric Croft, which is the real name of the head of the Millennium Study Group, and not Gordon Furie. "The legislation enacted at the time specifically exempted all local Millennium projects from financial penalties, to encourage people to do their own thing locally. The worst example of this was a Millennium look-out bench installed on a cliff-top in Devon, which fell into the sea last year, unfortunately with two people from Bootle on it. Not a single penny of compensation will ever be paid, simply because of New Labour's anxiety to make the Millennium a success."

Well? Have you selected your genuine story?

Think it was the Society of Genealogists?

Well done!

That means I have obviously made it too easy. Next time, no more Mr Nice Guy.

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