Emma won her Oscar, but Oscar didn't win his Emmy

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The Independent Online
HOW WELL do you follow the news? Just to test, here are some news stories that may or may not have appeared in the press in the past week. Can you spot the fakes?

1. To greet the opening of the Channel tunnel, two advertising campaigns are being prepared. One, for Britain, has the slogan: 'Now all of Europe is on your doorstep]' On the French side, the slogan will be: 'Why not pop over to Folkestone for the day?'

2. Kenneth Clarke, the Home Secretary, has decided to introduce a scheme whereby convicted criminals who want to leave a life of crime behind will not in future have to go to prison. Instead, they will be allowed to retire from crime 'on medical grounds'. This is to give them parity with police officers who otherwise would be tried for fraud and corruption and who are allowed to retire 'on medical grounds'.

3. Passengers booked on Virgin Atlantic flights yesterday were surprised to be telephoned by representatives of British Airways and offered a free vacuum cleaner if they agreed to transfer to a BA flight. At midday they were rung back with the news that it was an April Fool's prank by Richard Branson.

4. Although an airliner crashed in a Central American forest on Tuesday, and left no survivors out of the 146 people aboard, experts now believe that nobody actually died in the crash. This extraordinary finding is based on medical evidence that everyone was dead before the plane landed. It seems that most passengers had perished through food poisoning (probably because of a heavily toxic prawn salad) and that, of the rest, several became entangled in their headphones and were strangled, others were bored to death by the in-flight movie, and one at least was fatally run over by a run-away duty-free trolley. Insurance assessors are now examining the theory that everyone on board was involved in some sort of life assurance conspiracy scam.

5. This is the first time in history that anyone called Emma has won an Oscar. Nobody called Oscar has ever won an Emmy, although Oscar Levant was once nominated for a Grammy. A person called Grammy once won a Tony, but never turned up to collect it, and it's still waiting if he's interested. Several people called Tony have won Baftas, but nobody called Bafta has ever won anything, although there is a small Portuguese fish called a bafta, which is very good when fried and eaten whole.

6. Addressing a farmers' meeting in the West Country, a speaker started his speech with the words 'John Selwyn Gummer', and was halted for five minutes by laughter.

7. The result of the French election was that 58 per cent of French people favour some form of mini-compact disc, 35 per cent favour the retention of the reusable tape in a new digital hi-fi form, 64 per cent would like to see all music centres of Japanese origin forcibly repatriated to the country of origin, 2 per cent are still using 78rpm players, and 10 per cent never listen to any recorded music at all, but prefer playing it. The odd fact that this adds up to 169 per cent is something to do with the way proportional representation works in France.

8. The worst art mix-up for years has taken place at a Bond Street auction. Against much opposition, the Duke of Debenture has been trying for years to sell a large Rembrandt that has been in the Debenture family for 200 years. Finally, he was given clearance to sell the painting, which duly went to a wealthy collector from California on Tuesday.

However, it appears that the catalogue entry was faulty, and what the collector bought was not the painting, but the owner of the picture - the duke himself] The collector has declared himself happy to have a real live duke in the house. The duke's family are more than happy to see him go. Only the duke is putting up a fight and he has appealed to the Government to refuse to grant an export licence for him.

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