News Flash: Hacker Killed by Self-Driving Car

La Satira News Service

Police in Manhattan have identified the victim of an accident involving a self-driving car as Lars Gynt, 34, of Oslo, Norway.  Mr. Gynt, a computer systems integration consultant, was attempting to cross a street outside a crosswalk when he was struck by the vehicle, which apparently failed to register the presence of a pedestrian.

The human occupant of the vehicle, Nadia Driver of Lower Muttering, Vt., was not injured.  Ms. Driver reported that Mr. Gynt had stepped out in front of the car without looking.  The car, an electric-powered model, would have been inaudible in the busy street.

Some witnesses have suggested that the car, rather than braking, accelerated slightly as it hurtled toward Mr. Gynt.

The company responsible for developing the car, GGM, has declined to comment pending an investigation into the car’s control software, sensors, and telemetry.

The accident highlights continued concerns over the safety and reliability of self-driving cars in the chaotic road environment.  While proponents continue to point out the advantages of computer drivers–faster reaction time, the ability to “see” in multiple directions simultaneously–skeptics often counter with doubts about the computer’s ability to distinguish what it sees or make moral judgments about how to react, as well as the potential for the computer to fall under the malicious control of computer hackers.

In an ironic twist, the hacker category is one that includes Mr. Gynt himself.  Records indicate Mr. Gynt, operating under the handle 1G0Tch@10101010, had worked with a number of hacker organizations over the past decade.  He was also under investigation by the FBI for his suspected involvement in a previous cyber-attack on control systems developed by GGM.

Rumors that the police are considering the case as one of justifiable homicide by the computer on grounds of self-defense have been flatly denied by police spokespersons.

Copyright 2016


News Flash: Mickey Mouse Elected As US President

La Satira News Service

NOVEMBER 8, 2016–Come January, Michael K. “Mickey” Mouse (pronounced “MOWZ”) will have a new job:  President of the United States of America.

It’s not a job he campaigned or even asked for.  Instead, the 53-year-old plumber from Punxsutawney Springs rode a tidal wave of political discontent and name recognition to rise to the highest office in the land, winning on the strength of millions of voters who, dissatisfied with the choices offered by the major parties, chose to write in the name of Disney’s famous cartoon creation…a name which Mr. Mouse happens to share.

While Mr. Mouse is not the only real person to have a such a name, he is the only one whose practical-joking friends went so far as to submit paperwork at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to make him a bona fide candidate and therefore eligible to receive credit for any write-in votes with his name on them.

“Any big election will have a few ‘Mickey Mouse’ ballots cast by snarky voters,” said Dr. Adam Jefferson of the University of Punxsutawney’s College of Political Science and Herpetology.  “It’s just that this time around, there were so many people fed up with the major candidates–and, for once, there was a candidate legally qualified to receive these particular votes.  In terms of the sheer improbability of his manner of arriving at the Presidency, John Tyler and Gerald Ford have nothing on this guy.”

If Mr. Mouse himself is pleased by the prospect of his new career, he is so far being modest about it.

“What do I know about politics?” he wailed upon being informed of his successful candidacy.  “I’m a plumber, for crying out loud.”

So far, Mr. Mouse has been assigned a Secret Service detail.  He has also been deluged with phone calls and e-mail from well-wishers and others in search of one of the hundreds of diplomatic assignments or other political jobs at his disposal.  Almost lost in the shuffle have been several bitter tirades from a few minor party candidates and a series of increasingly desperate call-me-back messages from White House staffers trying to set up situation briefings.

Mr. Mouse’s friends, who filed the initial paperwork on his behalf, were not available for comment, having fled to Canada for reasons of personal safety.

Public opinion about Mr. Mouse’s sudden election has been decidedly mixed.  Some members of the public express nervousness about his lack of political experience and potentially insular worldview.  Others have expressed enthusiasm for Mr. Mouse based on those same attributes, some adding that his background as a plumber may make him uniquely qualified to drain the cesspool of Washington corruption.

Meanwhile, political analysts and governments around the world are combing through Mr. Mouse’s statements and other records, searching for clues about the direction his presidency is likely to take.  The best guess at this point is that Mr. Mouse will push to lower middle-class taxes while increasing spending on urban infrastructure such as water and sewer lines.  While Mr. Mouse is a member of a local union–a virtual job requirement in Pennsylvania–he has not been a particularly active one, and his presidency is likely to hold to a middle ground on labor issues.  His widely-quoted statement on foreign policy (“How should I know?  Let them sort it out by themselves”)  suggests a trend toward isolationism.

Still, there may be a broad difference between his stated policy goals (if any) and the actual direction taken by his administration (if any).  “In a curious irony, Mr. Mouse in many respects is the ideal candidate for the voter who detests the political insider-ism of one candidate and the wealthy chauvinism of the other,” said the University of Punxsutawney’s Dr. Jefferson.  “However, when he gets in office, he may suffer from Ventura’s Syndrome:  being elected on his own, without a party to back him up and introduce his legislation, he may have a difficult job actually doing anything.”

The election, of course, is not official until the Electoral College meets and the electoral votes are counted in Congress, but a drastic change is unexpected, thanks to state laws requiring members of the electoral college to vote according to the results of the election.

However, the Electoral College does have one degree of freedom that it can exercise:  selecting a Vice President, since Mr. Mouse’s campaign–what there was of it–did not propose a candidate for that office.  Some pundits are said to be pushing for the job to be given to one Donald L. Duck, a media research specialist at the University of Pomme de Terre in Idaho, presumably on the basis that his background in the media will help give depth to Mr. Mouse’s policy team.

“I understand both parties are appealing to the FEC to try to get the results overturned,” said Dr. Washington.  “It’s a pity–if the parties had done a better job appealing to the electorate as a whole, rather than individual constituencies, maybe we wouldn’t be in this pickle.”

Copyright 2016

News Flash: Increase in Alien Abduction Reports Tied to Video Game Fad

Game May Be Prelude to Invasion, Officials Fear

La Satira News Service

Astatine, NV–Officials at the Center for the Avoidance of Extra-Terestrial Intelligence (CAETI) are mulling the possible connection between the most recent video-game craze and a significant uptick in the number of reported alien abductions.

“In the four or five weeks since this game was released, we’ve seen a thousand percent increase in the number of people coming forward,” said Dr. Elliot Spielberg, director of statistical analysis at CAETI.  “Granted, the original numbers were pretty low, so a thousand percent increase doesn’t mean we’re talking about huge numbers yet, but the trend is frankly alarming.”

According to Dr. Spielberg, the abduction reports cover a variety of experiences, ranging from a simple close encounter to vivisection.  The alleged victims are returned in generally good health, apart from a tendency toward short-temper, neglect of responsibilities, and obsession with the game.  “Of course it’s difficult to tell whether these symptoms are indicative of an actual abduction experience, or merely video game addiction,” Dr. Spielberg admitted.

The game in question, Pachymen Grow, requires players to use their smartphones to travel to different locations in the physical world in search of Pachymen, cartoon-like creatures that can be collected and “grown” to compete in so-called Pachymen Jams.  Some areas turn into Pachymen hot-spots, areas were large numbers of Pachymen “hang out” and can be collected by players.  The peripatetic nature of the game, while supposedly promoting exercise and social interaction, can also lead players to explore in relative isolation, leaving them vulnerable.

One hot-spot was reported at a former storage facility for Caterpillar heavy equipment.  The isolated location continues to be a hot-spot but has waned in popularity since reports surfaced of the temporary abduction of Pachyman players from the site on three occasions.  The affected players did not respond to requests for interviews.

Meanwhile, many are left wondering, if a connection does exist, whether the abductions might be a prelude to a more serious action.  “Whoever they are, they’re taking a lot of effort to train people to move in the direction of the nearest Pachymen activity,” says Dr. Spielberg.  “At some point, all they’ll need to do to harvest a sizeable portion of humanity is to set up massive hot-spots near major population centers and pick ’em off as they come.  And we’re still no nearer to knowing who or why.”

CAETI investigators will continue to monitor the situation.  The organization recently received a government grant to cover the costs of a number of smartphones which Dr. Spielberg claims will be used by staff for “field research” on the subject.

Copyright 2016

News Flash: CDC to Join Fight Against ‘Iowacoccus’ Outbreak

La Satira News Service

Sources at the Centers for Disease Control have indicated that, contrary to normal practice, resources will be deployed in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the ongoing Iowacoccus plague that has been affecting 10-20 people across the country.

“Normally this wouldn’t be a problem,” said Dr. Germaine Flew of the Office of High-Consequence Pathogens.  “Every few years we have a small outbreak, and apart from a few weird symptoms, the cases typically resolve themselves in a few months.  However, over the past decade the trend is for the outbreaks to start sooner and resolve later.  This is of course worrisome, and we feel it needs further investigation.”

The current outbreak has been active for most of the last two years, though Dr. Flew suggests the contagion may have been active much earlier.

Fortunately, the indications of the disease are not especially severe.  The main symptom is usually an irresistible urge to wander around the countryside shaking hands, kissing babies, eating terrible food in a terrible hurry, and making outlandish promises that the victim has no credible means of fulfilling.  The disease may also manifest itself as an incipient or fully-developed narcissism.

The Iowacoccus disease has only been observed to be fatal to presidential aspirations.

While many people see CDC involvement as a welcome intervention, questions remain about what can actually be done to help the sufferers.  “That’s part of what we need to find out to combat the disease,” admitted Dr. Flew.  “There’s some reason to think that a series of lectures on basic economic principles might be helpful, along with a course of demotivational therapy.  Until we identify the primary source of the infection, this may be the best we can do for now.”

Copyright 2016

News Flash: New Power Plant Runs on Outrage

Investors Hail Exploitation of Infinitely Renewable Resource

La Satira News Service

In an age of increasing concern over long-term energy security, physicist and venture capitalist E. M. Schock thinks he has the perfect answer.

“I was watching TV a while back–some daytime talk show–and I noticed how thoroughly people were getting worked up over things that ought to have had absolutely no personal relevance to them whatsoever,” said Mr. Schock.  “And I kept thinking, if only there were some way to bottle all of this energy….”

Within the next few months, Mr. Schock and his venture capital firm, Schock Value Management, plan to break ground on the world’s first operational power plant run entirely on outrage.  The project builds on the results of an earlier program to tap gymnasiums and exercise centers as potential sources of power as part of a new carbon dioxide capture system.

In the facility currently under development, groups of paid volunteers will operate stationary bicycles while watching politically-oriented talk shows.   The bicycles will be attached to electromagnetic turbines that will be in turn connected to power collection circuits.  As the volunteers see stories that make them angry, their adrenaline will rise and cause them to pedal harder.  Early research suggests that the outrage arising from watching talk shows increases the power output of each participant by 10-50%.

“The beauty of it is, it doesn’t even matter what side of the political spectrum the viewers belong to, or which channel is being shown,” said Mr. Schock.  “If the viewer is from the right and we show MSNBC, they’ll be hostile to the viewpoint.  Result:  outrage.  If we show them Fox, they’ll sympathize with the viewpoint but will be incensed by the content.  Result:  outrage.  Same thing if the viewer happens to be from the left–but the other way around, of course.

“And if the viewer happens to be from the center of the political spectrum, he’ll be annoyed by how worked up everybody is getting.

“We’re sitting on one of the few genuine sources of infinitely renewable power,” said Mr. Schock.  “As long as we have Washington and Hollywood, there’s no reason we should ever run out.  And talk shows.”

As idealistic as the project may sound, it faces resistance on a number of fronts.  Some critics of the proposal claim that the early results have been falsified, and the actual energy output has been bolstered by an auxiliary power source:  the combustion of the works of any historical personage whose life featured some element deemed offensive or unacceptable by modern society.

Mr. Schock dismissed the fraud claim as absurd.  “It’s absurd,” he said.  “Destroying that kind of material would be detrimental to the Outrage Generation scheme.  Do you know how many kilowatts of outrage can be generated by suddenly revealing that a much-admired historical figure was in the habit of, say, picking his nose in public?”

Other critics questioned the practicality of the system.  “Using outrage as a power supply is a bit like trying to harness lightning,” said Professor Nicolai Westinghouse of the University of Punxsutawney’s College of Engineering and Applied Silliness.  “Sure, there’s a lot of electricity floating around in the clouds, but it’s highly dispersed, which means it’s hard to collect–until, of course, it discharges as lightning, and then it’s too violent to manage.  In any case, we may question the wisdom of developing a power system dependent on increasing society’s psychological angst.  Do we really want to be in the position that we’re dependent on people being mad all the time?  Or perhaps Mr. Schock has a solution for that,” Professor Westinghouse added, referring to Schock Value Management’s pharmaceutical subsidiary specializing in antacids, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications and operating under the name of Schock Therapies.

The scheme has also caught to attention of the so-called Citizens’ Civility Enforcement Brigade, which seeks to eliminate societal outrage.  “There’s already enough outrage on the market without deliberately generating more of it,” said Si Kopathic, the group’s leader and chief spokesperson.  “And it’s going to stay that way until we can get people angry enough to show that they just won’t take it anymore.”

The current schedule calls for the first stage of the power generation project to be complete in plenty of time for the Presidential debates.  In the event that the scheme doesn’t work out as planned, sources suggest Mr. Schock is already looking forward to his next energy solutions project: a proposal to build a power plant run on toddler-power.

News Flash: King’s Skeleton Found in Parking Lot–Again!

La Satira News Service

Leicester, England–25 March 2595.  A panel of prominent archaeologists announced at a news conference this morning that the skeleton found under a slab of tarmac at the Leicestershire Regional Spaceport last year is, indeed, the sadly-abused body of King Richard III, the last English monarch to die in battle.

The skeleton was located and dug up after researchers identified Landing Platform 83 as the site of the former Leicester Cathedral, which was demolished in the late 22nd century following an error at the regional zoning and planning office.  Richard’s body had been interred at the Cathedral in 2015, where it was laid to rest after being discovered under a parking lot.

“Richard’s skeleton was in remarkably good condition, considering it’s more than a thousand years old,” said Dr. Anne Teak, who discovered the body, “and considering how many vehicles of various descriptions have been parked on top of it over the years.”

Meanwhile, a fight is brewing over where to dispose of the body this time.  Officials with the Leicestershire Tourist Authority and other local government bodies insist that the ancient king should be reburied in the Leicester Generic Religious Purposes Building, the officially-recognized successor to the demolished Cathedral.  Authorities in York, however, claim Richard should be buried there, based on his family’s historic connections to the city and dukedom of York.

All parties are in agreement, however, that the burial should not take place at the business of local personal transport salesman G. M. Ford.  Mr. Ford has suggested that, as the poor fellow seemed to keep ending up under parking lots, a lot of trouble could be saved by reburying him under Mr. Ford’s vehicle showroom.  “We like to say that our transport vehicles are fit for a king,” Mr. Ford was quoted as saying.  “Why shouldn’t our showroom be as well?”

“There’s no doubt Richard III had a turbulent life and a short and unhappy reign,” said Dr. Teak at the news conference.  “Who could have guessed, though, that that turbulence would go into quite this many extra innings?”

Copyright 2015

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News Flash: Late Big-Box Founder at Center of Power Generation Scheme

La Satira News Service

Over the last seven years, retail supergiant All-Mart has become something of a leader in the adoption of renewable energy to power its stores.  As of last year, more than 300 All-Mart discount stores and supermarkets were equipped with solar panels.

New reports out of the northeastern Arkansas, however, tie All-mart to an even more innovative form of renewable energy.  In this case, the man at the center of it all is Sam Allton, the late founder of the retail giant.

“I used to work in the state Department of Commerce,” says Keele O. Watts, now the chairman of the Arkansas Power Solutions Board, a trade group designed to fund research into new forms of renewable energy.  “We always used to hear complaints about the declining quality of the All-Mart experience since the death of Mr. Allton.  Patrons–or, increasingly, former patrons–would say that what the company was doing now would have Mr. Allton spinning in his grave.  Finally, we investigated–and sure enough he was.”

To Mr. Watts, by then installed at the Power Solutions Board, the phenomenon suggested an intriguing opportunity.  Mr. Watts got permission to move Mr. Allton’s remains from a lead casket into an iron casket, which he set on a spindle and enclosed in a large coil of copper wire.  The spinning iron coffin immediately began pushing electrical current through the coil.

Further refinements to the system design increased the efficiency and productivity of the output, to the extent that the innovation now supplies power to a number of communities in northeastern Arkansas for a low rate.  In order to avoid disputes over ownership of the profits, the various interested parties agreed to put any profits from the sale of electricity into programs that help low-income residents pay their electricity bills.

And yet there remains the question of what exactly it is that’s providing the motive power for this scheme.  Mr. Watts claims ignorance.  “We’ve had any number of supernatural investigators come out and look,” Mr. Watts said, “but they leave as confused as we are.  The only hint we’ve got is that the coffin seems to spin a little faster around the time of the annual shareholders meeting, and when the company rolls out its new clothing line-up each season.”

Statistics also suggest a positive correlation between the rotation speed of the coffin and the number of customer complaints and labor disputes filed against the retailer each month.  Mr. Watts adamantly denied the suggestion that the system was driven by the power of poor decisions.

Critics of the arrangement cite the slightly ghoulish nature of the deal, as well as the potential for conflicts of interest.  “The government is supposed to ensure the company follows fair and legal business practices,” said Meg Avolt of Power to the People, a consumer advocacy group for utility customers.  “In this case, it seems the government has an interest in boosting poor business practices on the part of this retailer in the interests of maximizing electrical outputs.”

Mr. Watts himself acknowledges the potentially unsustainable nature of this new power supply.  “There’s obviously a hazard in that the harder we push lousy products under miserable conditions, the more likely we are to alienate our customer base sooner rather than later, in which case we would have to start looking for an alternate source of supply.”  Indeed, the Board has already been quietly pursuing potential deals involving other late retailers, including R. R. Jetskey, the late founder of the once-powerful J-Mart retail chain.  In this case, however the Board made an unexpected discovery.

“It seems Mr. Jetskey has already been powering his little corner of the world for the last twenty years,” said Mr. Watts.

Public reaction to the scheme so far has been muted.  “On the one hand, Mr. Allton himself might salute the ingenuity and spirit of industrial enterprise that led to this solution,” said shopper Al Lacarte.  “On the other, it is kind of gruesome to think about, and I must say All-Mart is showing some unexpected class in not trying to get its share of the profits on this.  Either way, I suppose it gives new meaning to the expression ‘outlet store.'”

 Copyright 2015.

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News Flash: Olympics Mull Change to All-CGI Opening, Closing Ceremonies

La Satira News Service

Beset by a series of high-profile problems during the increasingly elaborate opening ceremonies, members of the International Olympic Committee announced that they were considering a strategy to reduce the risk of malfunction by rendering the ceremonies in computer graphics.

The most recent embarrassment occurred in Sochi, when a plan to have five giant snowflakes transform into the five rings of the Olympic symbol failed, leaving four rings and a snowflake.

“Of course we cut away and used rehearsal footage, in which all five snowflakes opened properly,” said Jacques Bourdes, a member of the Ceremonies subcommittee of the IOC.  “The symbolism of the five rings is sacrosanct.  Can you imagine if we’d permitted footage to go out showing the four rings and a snowflake?  People would have spent the next four years talking about how this Olympics had a big asterisk beside it.”

The error followed incidents at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, in which television footage was supplemented with extra fireworks footage and a young girl was presented lip-synching a song actually sung by a girl deemed not “cute” enough by the organizers.

In order to avoid future problems of this sort, while still maintaining the “wow” factor that audiences have come to expect from the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, organizers are suggesting that future hosts execute these important events as CGI movies.

“Let’s face it:  it’s awkward for everyone when things don’t go as planned, especially when national prestige is on the line,” said Hans Schnitzer, another member of the Ceremonies subcommittee.  “We’ve reached the point where having something done right is more important than having it done live.  Since computer-generated imagery has gained such a wide acceptance in the general audience, it makes sense that maybe some of the more extravagant effects ought to be done in CGI rather than attempted live.”  Mr. Schnitzer suggested that moving to CGI would also reduce the risk of life and limb from some of the acrobatics that have marked recent ceremonies.

“Even the introduction of the athletes could be rendered in CGI,” Mr. Schnitzer added, pointing out that attendance at the ceremonies can be unnecessarily tiring for athletes competing in the earlier events.  Mr. Schnitzer suggested that athletes might use something like a Wii profile to generate an avatar that could be used in their place.

Asked whether attendance at the Olympic ceremonies themselves might suffer, if most of the action was to take place on the screen rather than live and in person, Mr. Schnitzer demurred.  “I don’t see why:  there will be a large screen in the stadium, so they’ll be able to see everything that goes on.  And anyway, there are a lot more home-viewers than people there in person.  But if attendance does suffer, is it that big a deal?  That reduces the logistical problems and risks; and if people want to see a larger audience in person at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, thanks to CGI, we can always add one.”

Asked whether, if the goal of the organizing committee was to prevent unexpected things from happening, it might not be better to cancel the live events and give the medals to the top-seeded participant in each sport, Mr. Schnitzer replied, “Now there’s an idea.”

Rumors that movie directors George Lucas and James Cameron were each maneuvering for an opportunity to take creative control of the 2016 ceremonies were, at this time, unsubstantiated.

Copyright 2014

News Flash: Movie Industry Reels Under Economic Blows

Analysts Fear Academy Awards May Become Academic

Another major studio announced today that it was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, following the dismal opening weekend performance of its latest blockbuster Cronyn the Librarian.

“The fact of the matter is, the cost of making blockbuster movies keeps going up and up,” said GMG Studios CEO Reed Moore.  “We’re doing some really awesome things with special effects, but there’s a price attached to those effects that the public doesn’t seem to realize.  If they like those special effects, they need to buy more tickets, or else get used to higher prices.”

Mr. Moore cited the example of Walrusquake, a CGI-heavy film released earlier this year, in which a freak earthquake sends thousands of angry marine mammals rampaging through the San Francisco water mains.  “It’s incredibly expensive to get a walrus to burst out of a fire hydrant and attack someone and make it look realistic,” said Moore.  “Happily, we were able to make up some of the overruns by skimping on writing and research costs.  Otherwise the movie would have been an even bigger financial flop.”

The announcement occurred on the same afternoon that Congress held hearings on the increasingly fragile state of Hollywood’s economy.

“Hollywood is a national treasure,” said Boris O’Malley of California’s 67th congressional district, arguing in favor of loan guarantees to support Hollywood’s work.  “The extent to which we depend on our ability to export our culture abroad–especially through films and television–is greater than you might think.  Hollywood products make up an embarrassing amount of our national export figures.  We have to do something to protect this asset.”  The Congressman went on to suggest creating a revenue stream by establishing a television tax, such as exists in the United Kingdom.

“That’s typical, isn’t it?” retorted Congressman Eric Kartoffle (PG) of Idaho.  “First you try to sell things that the public doesn’t necessarily want at a price that the public can’t really afford, then you blame them for your discomfort and try to get them to bail you out.  Where have we heard that before?”

Congressman Kartoffle went on to ask Oscar Gramm, the head of Stony Pictures, about the increasing disconnect between the increasing expense of making films and the shrinking revenue.  “In light of the high quality and great achievements the industry is creating,” said Mr. Gramm, “I think it is extremely narrow-minded to try to measure the value of our art in strictly monetary terms.  After all, it is art we’re talking about.  Even Walrusquake, while hardly a success from a dramatic perspective, was technically brilliant.”

Asked how Hollywood measured its progress, Mr. Gramm replied, “Well, we must be doing something right–look at all the awards ceremonies we have.”

In the Senate, a parallel effort to assist the industry is being spearheaded by Senator Karl Rice (G) of Arkansas, who has filed a bill to establish a tax credit to offset the cost of movie-tickets.  “This would be far more popular, and benefit far more people, than simply providing corporate welfare,” said Congressman Rice.  “At the same time, since we’re encouraging people to watch more movies, the studios should benefit from a larger revenue stream.  It’s a win-win situation.”  The Congressman dismissed criticism claiming that the proposal amounted to the government paying people to watch movies.

Meanwhile, studios are working furiously to come up with strategies to combat their financial woes in the event that no subsidy is forthcoming. One such strategy involves augmenting movies with PBS-style fundraising breaks, in the hopes that the public would be willing to contribute directly to defraying the production costs.

Farther afield, the networks responsible for creating bootleg versions of American films were also said to be in disarray.  “If the main studios go under, where are we going to get our product?” said one representative of the industry, who asked not to be named.  The representative declined to comment on the role played by the bootleg industry in undermining studio revenues.

In other entertainment news, the VBC network announced that it had finally run out of ideas for new television programs, and that this fall’s prime-time lineup would consist largely of test patterns, raw webcam footage and community interest programming.

Copyright 2013

News Flash: Cuban Error Misplaces Weapons Cargo, Leaker

La Satira News Service

Havana, Cuba (July 2014)–Officials at the Ministry of Dubious Cargoes are ordering thorough investigations to determine how a clerical error in a shipping office mistakenly sent weapons bound for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to Ecuador and a foreign political asylum candidate to the DPRK instead.

The error came to light when the Ecuadorean Ministry of Incoming Refugees sent a message to the Cuban embassy asking why they were receiving this particular cargo of superannuated weaponry and not their expected passenger, an individual codenamed Eduardo Blancanieves who is being pursued by the United States on charges of espionage and leaking sensitive information.

Mr. Blancanieves, who leaked certain information on government monitoring to protest what he saw as overly-intrusive behavior by the federal government, could not be reached for a personal comment.  A representative of the DPRK government passed on a message purportedly from Mr. Blancanieves praising the hospitality of Kim Jong Un.

The long, strange journey of Mr. Blancanieves has been a subject of diplomatic wrangling, media curiosity, and political posturing for more than a year now.  After being granted  temporary asylum in Moscow, Mr. Blancanieves is believed to have arrived in Cuba in early January.

Preliminary investigations suggest that, once both cargoes were loaded on their respective ships and hidden beneath a camouflage of bags of sugar, a miscommunication occurred as to which ship should head toward which destination.

The government of Panama sent a strongly worded letter of protest to the Cuban Embassy, criticising Cuba for using the Panama Canal to transport a dangerous cargo with the potential for destabilizing the political environment.  Panama also objected to the use of the canal for transporting weapons.

Copyright 2013