Why not try lunch on the wing?

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The Independent Online

It is time you were tested on your knowledge of the news again. Don't worry, it's quite a painless process.

It is time you were tested on your knowledge of the news again. Don't worry, it's quite a painless process. What happens is that I bring you three or four news stories which have appeared in the last week or so. One is untrue, having been invented by me. All you have to do is say which one you think is fabricated. Fair enough? Here we go then!

1. Police have uncovered a ring of violent pretend "football supporters" who were planning to execute a series of bank raids in Britain during the next month. Their aim was to execute the raids wearing face paint, on the assumption that one person wearing a St George's flag on his face looks much like any other, and could never be picked out by witnesses.

The police, who have arrested the ringleaders, have condemned the proposed crimes as an insult to the national flag. Genuine football louts have condemned the proposed crimes and said that they would have brought football violence into disrepute.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has said he too condemns the proposed crimes, and would think of reasons for this later.

2. It isn't often a cookery book has the wildlife people up in arms, but there promises to be a furore surrounding the publication of The Migrant Bird Cook Book, which will tell people how to catch and cook birds that visit our shores in both summer and winter.

"I think the wildlife people are being rather prissy about this," says author Tristram Wilde. "In the old days we ate almost every bird we could lay our hands on. What about larks? What about rook pie? What about four and twenty blackbirds? They all got eaten - and they were our native birds! Now, I'm not suggesting that we should eat our native birds - all I'm saying is that when our shores are flooded with passing geese, plovers, blackcaps, swifts and swallows, it's almost criminal not to take advantage of nature's larder. Get 'em before the Italians get 'em, that's my motto."

There is to be a launch party on 12 July, with snacks from the book being served, from plover's tongues to martins on a stick. Many protesters are expected to try to disrupt it.

3. A man arrested for driving while using a mobile phone has been let off on the grounds that he was actually using more than one.

Sidney Vavasour, 33, was driving to work on the A4 to Bristol when police spotted him with a mobile clamped to each ear. As he needed one hand for each mobile, he was steering the car with his knees. This was not as dangerous as it sounds, as the traffic was moving at only 5mph at the time, but he was clearly breaking the law and was charged.

In court, his lawyer claimed that the law clearly stated that it was illegal to use a mobile phone while driving. However, he pointed out, his client was not using a mobile phone. He was using two mobile phones. There was nothing in the law against using two mobile phones. It might be an oversight on the part of the legal draughtsmen at Westminster, but that was what the law said.

The judge said he was not entirely convinced by the argument. It was possible to say, for instance, that Mr Vavasour had broken the law twice, once with each phone. On the other hand, it had brought a rare and welcome note of frivolity into this court, and for that reason alone, he was disposed to set Mr Vavasour free. He then proceeded to do so.

4. A woman in Utah claims the ghost of the late Ronald Reagan appeared to her on Sunday morning. He waved his hand in greeting, said: "Now that I can think straight again, I would get the hell out of Iraq if I were you," and vanished. She said she didn't know why she had been selected, as she was not in Iraq. Maybe he had intended to go to the White House, but had forgotten where it was after all these years.

Well? Did you spot that No 1, about the St George bank robbers, was a load of codswallop? Well done!

Oh, and did you spot that all the others were made up as well? Honestly, you can't trust anything you read in the papers these days, can you? I despair sometimes.