Why a school drama cost £2m

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The Independent Online

It's time to test you on your knowledge of the news again, and see how well you take in the information selflessly brought to you by The Independent every day.

It's time to test you on your knowledge of the news again, and see how well you take in the information selflessly brought to you by The Independent every day.

So this is what we're going to do. I shall bring you five stories from the last week's news. But one of them is totally fictitious and made up. Can you spot which one it is?

Yes, it's as easy as that. So here we go with this week's four stories...

1. The Ford motor company is suing over 40 local authorities for defamation of character.

This is because in many places throughout Britain, where roads cross small rivers and there is no bridge, there is very often a sign saying "FORD - NOW TRY YOUR BRAKES". This, says Ford, is a very clear suggestion that Ford cars have treacherous brakes which are not to be trusted.

They accept that this may not be the intention of the signs, but they claim that, intended or not, the effect is highly damaging to them.

2. An Alaskan sports manufacturer is marketing black golf balls for use in snowy conditions.

3. The police have decided that rather than try to stop people from torching and burning speed cameras, they will turn it to their own advantage. The thing is that many motorists have taken the law into their own hands by setting fire to these hated speed cameras, so the police have designed a new speed camera which looks as if it has already been torched! They are installed with scorch marks and twisted metal parts already attached, and you would think they had already been subject to arson attacks. Not at all. They are fully working. But they look as if they have been out out of action.

The police say these new "burnt out" cameras are already attracting a record level of convictions.

4. A schoolteacher will be spending £2m on staging her school's next drama production.

Mrs Joyce Wheeler is the art and music teacher at St Bridget's, a primary school on Tyneside. Last year she devised a popular musical entertainment for the children to do based on British legends involving people called Jack (Jack the Giant-Killer, Jack the Ripper, Jackie Milburn, etc). What Mrs Wheeler didn't know is that one of the parents was a well-known impresario called Hanley Bennett, who thought the show had possibilities outside a school production. He has now found backers for the show, which will be going into professional production soon.

It has since turned out that there is a clause in her contract as a teacher under which any profit deriving from a school production must be ploughed back into school funds. She therefore stands to see all the accruing royalties go, not to her, even though she wrote the words and music, but to her art department. She was therefore faced with the choice of either suing the school or mounting a really lavish production of Sweeney Todd next term. She has decided to spend all the money on Sweeney Todd.

5. A man in Seattle is suing a workmate for $2m, for lying about her age.

Joe Kettle was about to apply for a lottery ticket on behalf of his group, and needed two more digits to complete the group entry number. He asked Sandra Wilotsky, who worked near him, what her age was. She said it was 39. He put 39 in the entry. The winning number sequence was exactly what he had put in, except that instead of 39 it should have been 45, so they won nothing. Joe then learnt that Sandra's real age was in fact 45, and if she had told him the truth they would have won £2m. So he is suing her.

Well - did you spot that the item about burnt-out speed cameras was an invention? Well done!

Although, to be quite honest, all the others were made up as well. Really, you can't trust anyone these days, can you?

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