Saturday, 10 January 2009

Sanction-Busting Lloyds TSB Grudgingly Saying 'Yes' To Massive Fine

Lloyds TSB Bank has agreed to pay a fine of $350m, after it said 'yes' to deliberately breaking sanctions for wealthy investors from Middle Eastern pariah states such as Iran and Sudan.
From 1995 until it was caught red-handed by US officials in 2007, the British-based bank falsified outgoing US wire transfers, stripping out incriminating customer and bank details to evade detection by American institutions.
"For more than twelve years, Lloyds facilitated the anonymous movement of hundreds of millions of dollars from US-sanctioned nations through our financial system," said acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Department of Justice. "Such conduct has the potential to finance terrorist activities."
Senior criminals from Lloyds TSB issued a statement expressing its gratitude to the US agencies for recognising that the bank "provided prompt and substantial cooperation throughout the investigation" once it realised the jig was up, and for sparing its directors from a century or two as guests of the American penal system.
"That just leaves the small matter of the $350m fine," they added. "Not to worry - we'll get British taxpayers to stump up for it soon enough, courtesy of Gordon Brown."

Graduates Promised Short-Lived Careers in Photocopying

Students graduating from university this year are to be strong-armed into working for huge corporate money-hoovers - including Microsoft and Barclays - for next to nothing, under radical new government plans to fiddle the summer unemployment figures.
The scheme - to be formally announced when Parliament returns from sunning itself in warmer climes next week - will see the enormously wealthy companies providing three-month 'internships' for students, who will in turn receive a few pennies more than the pittance they are expected to live on now.
"Shoving every chav who could write their name with a crayon through the doors of the nearest university was a brilliant scam to rig the dole figures, while it lasted," explained Universities Secretary John Denham. "Inevitably, though, this summer will see 300,000 semi-literate noddies unceremoniously crapped out of the course-factories, optimistically clutching degrees in a range of non-subjects such as History of Sport, Art & Artonics, Creative Surfing and Retail Therapy, which employers just laugh at."
Ministers have so far declined to say how much of your taxes will be thrown into the grasping clutches of the multinationals in return for their generous agreement to position an 'intern' at each end of every photocopier.
"I'm already running up a massive debt because the student loan isn't enough to live on," said a typical student. "With my predicted 2:2 in Applied Technics, I was kind of expecting to waltz into a well-paid professional position and be welcomed with open arms by a grateful board of directors. Now the government is telling me to live on air for another three months while I skivvy for that bastard Gates. Sod that. There's only one thing for it - I'm going to have to get myself voted onto the Students' Union exec for a couple of years, and hope the recession sorts itself out."

Friday, 9 January 2009

When Worlds Collide

Britain apparently experienced the world's first interplanetary pile-up last Sunday, it emerged, when a large, disc-like UFO crashed into a wind turbine in Lincolnshire, causing the alien pilot to lose control of his vehicle and collide with several other unearthly visitors.
Local police said the impact caused the turbine to shed a blade, while the UFO that struck it came down in a nearby field. Eyewitness Ed Straker, a passing film producer, was first on the scene.
"It was total carnage," a shaken Mr Straker told reporters. "This big saucer-thing was going far too fast, and completely ignoring the lights in the sky. It was just wobbling all over the place, like it was on a piece of string or something. He bounced off the wind turbine, narrowly missing a child on a flying bicycle, clipped an enormous illuminated mother-ship that was jamming with a guy on the ground with a synthesizer, and then he careered into the back of another big silver saucer full of angry jabbering Martians, who shot him down. Bloody maniac! Serves him right."
The alien visitor was seen to climb out of the wreckage with an eight-foot robot, which he left behind when he ran off into the bushes.
Mr Straker then drove off in some kind of furniture van on tracks for an urgent rendezvous with a giant submarine/jet fighter combination, which he claimed was a movie prop.
"We have traced the vehicle that was abandoned at the scene, and we are urgently looking for a Mr Klaatu to help us with our enquiries," said a police spokesman. "We would very much like him come forward and convince his robotic companion, Gort, to stop laying waste to Lincolnshire."
UFO experts say the incident is the worst interplanetary accident since the far side of the moon was blown clean out of the galaxy in 1999 by an explosion at an ill-considered nuclear waste dump, with the loss of 300 moonbase personnel.

'Quantitative Easing' Still Meaningless Jargon

As the Bank of England cut interest rates to an unprecedented 1.5%, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, poured cold water on newspaper claims that he was preparing to print more money - but has not ruled out other, unspecified forms of 'quantitative easing'.
"We are looking at a range of measures to support the economy, to support business and to help people," he claimed, "But nobody is talking about printing money. Let's face it, by the time we got it printed and distributed it would probably be worth less than the paper it's printed on."
"We are considering issuing everyone with a special rubber stamp, however," he went on, as he emerged from B&Q with a shiny new wheelbarrow. "Then people could simply add another zero to the banknotes in their wallets every morning."

All Aboard The Apprenticeship

Gordon Brown is to hand £140m of your money to firms so they can create worthless pretend-apprenticeships as an excuse to pay less than the minimum wage to millions of their workers, he announced proudly.
"A modern apprenticeship is worth five A*-grade GCSEs," he said. "No, really. I am particularly proud that McDonalds - a company with a fine history of treating its employees like royalty - has been piloting this scheme. We have already thrown them £1000 per employee to bring them to the heights of proficiency and professionalism when offering fries with that."

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Britain Liberated From Mumbo-Jumbo By Humanist Buses

Millions of people across the country - but especially in London, where the journalists live - have been joyfully casting off the fetters of their medieval religious indoctrination today after being told by a bus that there was probably no God.
"There I was at eight this morning, freezing my ass off, waiting for another number 11 because the first one didn't even bloody stop, and thinking, 'Please God, let the next one not be full,' and sure enough the next one shot by as well," said some shivering bloke who was too poor to own a car, so we didn't bother to ask his name. "Only this one had a poster on it saying: 'There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.' Those cheeky humanist bastards have certainly opened my eyes. Screw you, God."
"I wish I'd been enlightened by a bus thirty years ago," said an ageing vicar as he angrily tore off his white collar and threw it in the gutter. "If only this revelation had been publicised widely in my day, I might have had a proper career and paid for a decent house by now, with a worthwhile pension to look forward to. Bugger."
Churches, mosques, synagogues and temples across the nation stood empty, as their newly-enlightened congregations flocked instead to their local bus stations and begged the atheist buses to tell them what to think instead.
Fundamentalist Christians, however, remain largely unmoved by the buses' message of liberation from the chains of outmoded deism.
"Where did these buses come from?" demanded one wild-eyed believer. "You can't tell me that these wondrous machines are descended from ugly, tree-dwelling stagecoaches. Look at the miracle of the self-lowering front suspension. Surely that didn't just 'evolve' by random chance? I tell you, it was designed by an intelligent being."
"Brothers and sisters, your faith is being tested," he proclaimed. "I urge you to resist Satan's weasel words by shunning these godless heathen buses and travelling instead only by faithful, believing trains or righteous, God-fearing taxis. Hallelujah!"
Meanwhile, Brian Souter and Ann Gloag - the devout, anti-gay brother and sister who own the caring, charitable Christian bus company Stagecoach - warned that any of their buses found professing unspeakable atheist heresies would be cast into outer darkness (i.e. put on the hellish night-bus run) for all eternity.

Spectre of Gas Warfare Hangs Over Europe

The whole of Eastern Europe has had its gas supply cut off in the escalating dispute between Russia and Ukraine over an unpaid bill. With Germany, France and Italy also experiencing shortfalls in supply, Russia has put forward a solution promising to turn the taps back on if Europe sends a team into Ukraine to monitor the pipeline.
"It's the bloody thieving neighbours at it again, I'm telling you," said Vladimir Putin. "I wouldn't trust them Ukrainian pikeys further than I could throw 'em - not since they welcomed Hitler's troops with open arms, bloody fools them for all the good it did 'em. I reckon there's probably that many garden hoses illegally plumbed into the pipeline, it looks like a great big hairy caterpillar. I'd send in the bailiffs, myself - only when I did that in Georgia last year, you all screamed blue murder. Tell you what, Europe. You send some observers into Ukraine - preferably the kind who do their observing through a laser-guided rangefinder, known what I mean? - and I'm sure we'll have your gas flowing again in a jiffy, no problem."

Fish May Prove Existence of God

A German research team from Tübingen University has discovered a fish that uses mirrors in its eyes to see in two directions at once.
Uniquely among vertebrates, the deep-sea spookfish has mirrors within its eyes instead of lenses, so that it can look upwards and downwards simultaneously. Although the spookfish was first discovered 120 years ago, Professor Hans-Joachim Wagner's team are the first to capture a specimen alive.
"This unlikely miracle fish surely proves that God exists," proclaimed a Christian fundamentalist taxi. However, a passing bus contended that it was simply another example of how problems are solved by natural selection through evolutionary forces.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Blair Strolls In, Solves Middle East Crisis

The peace representative of the Four Powers to the Middle East, Tony Blair, has suddenly appeared from nowhere - strangely enough, as coincidence would have it, on the very day that President Bush told the world he was giving Mr Blair the Presidential medal of Freedom - and announced that he has worked out the solution to the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.

"Look. It's very simple," grinned Mr Blair. "All you have to do is cut off the weapons supply from Egypt to Hamas. I haven't worked out the details. Gosh, do you realise the pressure I'm under to write an acceptance speech for this wonderful shiny medal, which my very good friend George is giving me in a week's time in recognition of my great work in bringing freedom, democracy and human rights to the whole world? No, don't laugh."

On hearing Tony Blair's revelation, the US President immediately announced plans to close off the supply of arms to Hamas - by invading Egypt immediately.

"And if Egypt's neighbours, Libya and Sudan, try to supply it with arms - hell, we'll invade them too," he laughed. "Why not? I want to go out on a high note. Freedom, democracy, human rights - I'll bring them to the people of the Eastern Mid, if it kills them."

When asked whether, in the interests of balance, he would consider cutting off Israel's supply of weapons from the United States as well, Mr Bush just looked confused.

Huge Reductions In High Streets

Recession-hit retailers today announced huge January reductions in the high streets of Britain.

"1,000 jobs off! Everyone must go!" said Marks and Spencer. "Stores, head office, warehouses, we're making reductions across the board - er, except for the Board. Hurry! We can't last forever!"

"Hundreds of prime-location leases for sale at rock-bottom prices!" said a spokesman for Woolworths, just before receiving the last of 27,000 P45 forms.

Market analysts said that Wedgewood china and Waterford crystal were likely to be offered for sale at a previously-unthinkable bargain price.

"Go on, make us an offer," said the official receivers. "We've got more shops on our hands than we know what to do with."

"A massive 15.9% off house prices!" screamed a spokesman for the Nationwide Building Society. "Huge reductions everywhere!"

"Except on mortgage rates," he added. "We're keeping them unchanged, of course."

Shoppers were reported to be out in droves, taking one last look at their high streets with the lights on before they were all boarded up for good.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Lessons Not To Be Learned: Ofsted

The 13-year-old head of the schools inspection body Ofsted, Christine Gilbert, has urged schools to stop wasting their time trying to educate young people and concentrate on the core task of keeping them entertained instead.
"School? Yawn! Bor-ing!" she said. "My inspectors used to spend ages sitting in on lessons and writing all these reports what I had to read and god, it was dull stuff. After staring out of the window for five minutes I came up with this really amazing idea that nobody's ever had before, right, straight off the top of my head - why don't all the teachers stop droning on about boring old Shakespeare and evolution and stuff, and do a really funny stand-up routine instead? Then we could all vote for the best one! Then everyone could have a debate about who's better, footballers and their WAGs or pop stars, right? And then you could, like, go online for the rest of the day and the lads could download porn and the girls could buy loads of pink-coloured things. Brilliant!"
Parents said they were all for the idea in principle, explaining that they didn't really mind what happened in schools as long as they took their whiny, attention-seeking brats off their hands during the daytime.
Some pupils, however, said the proposals didn't go far enough.
"It's all very well making school less boring," said Sammy Jo, 14. "But sooner or later I'm going to have to face the reality of a really tedious job in Sainsbury's, endlessly restocking the bread shelves or making things go beep and shit. When are they going to do something about making jobs less boring? I tell you, I'm not looking forward to entering the world of work at all. The more I think about it, the less I feel like living. The only way out, as far as I can see, is to keep shagging until I get pregnant. Then my life would be really, really interesting."

Snake Oil Manufacturers Claim 'Science' Completely Unsupported by Expensive Advertising

Makers of faddish 'detox' products are disputing recent statements by charitable trust Sense About Science, saying the scientists' claims are unsupported by any meaningful advertising spend.
"It's all very well them making wild claims that our products are worthless," said a spokeswoman for the wishful thinking industry. "But there is plenty of circumstantial evidence that our facial scrubs, shampoos and bottled water are in fact worth a great deal to the advertising industry. Look, here's a spurious computer graphic. I could have used a flipchart, but just one application of CGI animation has made the all-important pointless-graphics demographic £25,000 richer than if we'd just bought a traditional pad of paper and a couple of chisel-tip markers."
The scientists were also criticised for simply repackaging existing research.
"A couple of weeks ago they used wrinkle creams to create the ephemeral illusion that the cosmetics industry is in some way manipulating women's fear of falling short of utter physical perfection," said the spokeswoman, walking ecstatically through a tropical rainforest set. "We urge consumers to use their higher emotions and cling to what they desperately want to believe, and not be swayed by scientific claims that rely on a superficial appeal to base reason. Do you really think we'd spend so much on advertising if it hadn't been conclusively proven to work? Look at this sales chart, which I've chosen to present in the form of a cute endangered parrot embarking on a voyage of cleansing through a massively-simplified representation of your digestive system."
She then dived into a pool of gigantic, sentient bubbles and had an orgasm.
The scientists retorted by saying that it was ridiculous, in the 21st century, to see a return to mystical properties being claimed for advertising, and challenged the cosmetics industry to at least come up with a meaningful definition of the word 'bolox'.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

'Now Look Here,' Brown Warns Israelis

Israel was said to be seriously considering withdrawing its army from the Gaza Strip after Gordon Brown finally decided to open his mouth and say something about their campaign against Hamas, now in its second week.
"This is serious international criticism," said repentant Israeli President Shimon Peres. "When it was just that little twerp Miliband making bleating noises, naturally we took no notice of whatever it was he was saying. And when people all over the world demonstrated the strength of their opposition to our indiscriminate bombing raids by taking to the streets yesterday, we just laughed at them and sent in the tanks as well. But when a statesman of the stature and gravitas of Gordon Brown says, 'Now then, now then' - well, we have to sit up and listen."
Mr Brown's wise words suggest a rift in UK-US attitudes to Israel, coming less than a day after almost-time-expired US President George W Bush said Israel could do whatever it liked, and he would blame Hamas alone for everything.
"Look at history," said the President . "Everyone says, like, 'Oh, Hitler was a bad guy' for invading Poland in 1939. But we should also recall that he was forced into it by the blatant aggression of the terrorist Polish government in refusing to let the peace-loving Nazis goose-step their way through to Danzig whenever they felt like it. World War II? I blame the Poles."

Government to Cripple UN Disabled Rights Convention

Britain has been criticised by a select committee of MPs for its failure to ratify the UN Convention on disability rights, which sets out to guarantee equal treatment for disabled people. The government says it is seeking several opt-outs from the convention and hopes to ratify the convention - or bits of it, at any rate - by Spring, but has provided scant detail about its reservations.
The Joint Select Committee on Human Rights also voiced its disappointment at the government's failure to adequately consult - or even inform - the disabled about which rights it felt were too good for them.
However, the government responded by pointing out that the government was very sympathetic towards the disabled.
"Look at our record," said a spokesman. "What other country is led by a man with so many physical and mental disabilities? Gordon Brown is blind to his own faults, deaf to criticism, and has a chronic difficulty in learning from his mistakes. His face is paralysed into a permanent scowl, he has a complete lack of empathy with ordinary people, he is totally unable to understand the consequences of his actions, and he has constructed a bizarre delusional fantasy in his head in which he has single-handedly saved the world. Despite all of this, he has - purely by his own efforts, because nobody actually wanted him - risen to the exalted position of prime minister. Britain is clearly a fantastic country in which to be disabled - who needs rights anyway?"