It's quite simple. Here are five "news stories" from recent days. Four of them were manufactured in our own "truth" laboratories. Only one was taken from a news source and is therefore really true. But which one?
1) The US authorities in charge of restoring New Orleans have decided that the only hope of rebuilding the city in the same place is to accept the fact that it is below sea level and therefore to construct a new underwater city.
"Not maybe completely underwater," says leading subaqueous architect Seiko Omako. "And not totally underwater. But at least as underwater as Venice is underwater. Do the Venetians mind going everywhere by boat? Of course not! Nor will the inhabitants of New Venice."
For that is the new name by which New Orleans will be known when it is rebuilt as a partially submerged resort.
2) A French policeman has returned to work after spending 12 years on paternity leave. Despite being absent from police work for two thirds of his career, Eric Krasker can now apply for promotion to chief inspector. The father of five used his free time to become a world-renowned expert on the Beatles and write two books about them.
3) Archaeologists in Yorkshire were amazed to find a treasure trove of remains while digging in a site on the outskirts of Bradford. What was extraordinary was not just the amount of artefacts, but the variety. There was Turkish tableware, African tribal articles, Maori carvings, trinkets from Cromwell's time and so on and so forth.
"What really excited us was that the site had appeared so humdrum before we started digging," said excavations director Hugo Blanning. "It was just the remains of a Victorian chapel where one or two objects had been found and we thought it just might be worth investigating. We never expected an Aladdin's Cave like this."
When asked if the objects might not just have been part of the decor of the chapel, he said he thought not.
"Many of the artefacts predate the warehouse, for a start, some by two centuries. Our theory is that either it is the site of some great house, belonging to a great collector, or the staging post for a wealthy Yorkshire importer of global objets d'art."
However, the truth has turned out to be more mundane. It now transpires that the objects were buried there in 1968 following a great clear-out of unwanted items by Bradford City Museum. To avoid controversy, they just dug a hole at night and chucked everything in.
"We hadn't thought of that one," admits Blanning. "But it makes a lot of sense."
4) In the town of Decatur, Tennessee, there is an organisation of local businessmen called the Young Professionals of Decatur. Nobody would ever have heard of them were it not that their initials are YPOD.
"That's as near as dammit the same as 'iPod'," claims their spokesman, "and so we are taking Apple to court for infringement of trade names. Leastways, we're going to threaten to. We hope that Apple will then buy us off before it gets to court, and reluctantly we will accept their bribe. Either way, it's going to get the Young Professionals of Decatur the kind of publicity that money can't buy."
5) A shoplifter in Exeter got off scot free, even though she was found guilty. Anna Gromble had taken 10 books from the self-help section of a local bookshop, without paying. She explained in court that she thought the sign meant you could just help yourself. Magistrates said it had been a very dull day so far and they were glad to accept her explanation.
Well? Which one did you pick as the true one? I hope it was the second one, about the French policeman, which I took word for word from 'The Week', although I have no idea what it's about.
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