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Brief Reports

After news that a man managed to survive for two months in a frozen car by hibernating, there has been a flurry of unconfirmed reports that some old people in parts of Scotland are managing to survive the winter on a state pension. “I can’t believe it’s true,” said Pensions minister Ian Duncan Smith, “but if it is, we will certainly be looking at making cuts.” A leading clinician explained that in certain unusual circumstances it may be possible for the elderly poor to stay alive when the state doesn’t want them to: “They might be doing it by setting fire to all their furniture and eating their slippers. And we shouldn’t rule out cannibalism. We would love to research this phenomenon more closely, but of course there’s no money.”

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Jeremy Clarkson’s remark that the 30 November public sector strikers should be executed in front of their families was not in breach of broadcasting rules, Ofcom has ruled. The remarks sparked 31,000 complaints to the BBC. “It’s a disgrace,” said one licence holder, “everybody knows that strikers’ families should be executed too. It’s the only language these Bolsheviks understand.” Mr Clarkson commented, “I’m sorry I used the word ‘executed’. What I meant to say was ‘hanged, disembowelled and boiled in lard’. Now everyone will think I’m a gay liberal.”

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The US commander in Afghanistan has apologised over reports that Nato troops had "improperly disposed" of copies of the Koran. In a statement he said, “We wish to reassure Moslems everywhere that it is our policy to murder them while showing their storybooks the utmost respect. We regret any offence caused. Normal toilet paper has now been restored to the latrines.”

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The Prince of Wales has admitted he was a failure as a schoolboy football captain at an event for his Prince's Trust Football Initiative. Speaking to a group of famous footballers, the Prince told them his school team never won a game with him in charge. “It’s nice that he’s honest about it,” said Tottenham’s Jermain Tothepoint, “and it explains why he’s never been much cop as a prince either.” A spray of mixed wallflowers and antirrhinum sprang to the Prince’s defence: “He might not know much about architecture, but he knows how to water a plant, and he keeps us amused.”

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Firms and charities are to be invited to bid for a payment-by-results scheme to try to get MPs into work or training, in a project launched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. “Many MPs are not in employment, education or training, and do nothing all day but sit in front of a computer looking at stock figures. Many of them have complex problems, including truancy, idleness, a lack of motivation and disengagement from the electorate. It’s crucial to help these people now before the next election and unemployment hits us all.”

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Many large retail stores have expressed concerns over another government work experience scheme which has been derided as "slave labour". One chief executive blasted critics of the scheme: “It’s ridiculous to imply these trainees are worse off than our regular staff. This is making us look bad to our shareholders. Let’s get this straight, all our employees work in slave conditions, not just a few miserable trainees.”