NASA ANNOUNCES REPLACEMENT FOR SPACE SHUTTLE (PrT) Washington, D.C.

In a surprise announcement by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) a new replacement for the Space Shuttle was revealed.

Despite the competition for private entities announced by the United States government for a replacement for the Shuttle, the final choice was created in a partnership between the government and General Motors during the period that the automotive giant was partly owned by Washington during its bailout.

The new Earth/space re-entry vehicle will be equipped with heated and cooled leather upholstered seats, a Sportshift automatic transmission, a special premium Bang & Olufsen stereo system, leather interior with cherry panelling, and a built-in GPS system.

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT TAKES ADVICE ON DEMOCRATIC REFORM (PrT) Kyiv, Ukraine

The Ukrainian government has announced a series of democratic reforms regarding freedom of expression and rights of the individual.

The reform package offers prison terms of up to fifteen years for “mass violations of public order” to those protesting against the regime. A bill was also passed which will allow those seen to be slandering public officials to serve a one year term of “corrective labour,” and anyone participating in a motorcade of more than five vehicles in protests against the government will have the ability to have their licences and vehicle registrations revoked. Those who erect or install unauthorized tents, stages or amplification equipment in public places are also empowered to pay large fines or become incarcerated.

The bill was passed very efficiently by a surprise voting method involving a show of hands that did not involve the knowledge of Opposition parties in Ukraine’s Parliament, effecting the speedy passage of the reforms.

Said President Yanukovych of Ukraine, “I am thankful to my good friend Kim Jong-un, Supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for suggesting these democratic reforms, and I personally believe that this can only strengthen our close ties with the people of the DPRK and the people of the Free Lunar People’s Democratic Republic, with whom the Ukrainian government also shares warm and fraternal ties.”

SURPRISE MOVE BY RUSSIA’S PRESIDENT (PrT) Moscow

In a surprise move today, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a major change of policy in his government. The policy shift by the Putin government, regarded by world governments as an 180º turn around by what was largely viewed as an only nominally democratic and corrupt regime, has shaken financial markets and caused consternation by these wholly unexpected proclamations.

Firstly, the Russian government stated that all anti-gay laws were immediately repealed and that the Sochi Olympics would now be LGBT friendly. Also announced was an amnesty for all political prisoners, including the members of Pussy Riot and the recently released members of Greenpeace who were protesting in the Arctic against Russian oil exploration. Further pronouncements included a policy of non-interference in the affairs of former Soviet republics; an investigation into the activities of Russia’s oligarchs and their role in behind-the scenes and possibly illegal activities in the country’s politics and economics; that utterly free and fair elections would be held in within 18 months and that there would be no interference with opposition parties by the government; and an affirmation to have a completely free media, able to criticize the government.

In a further, but separate pronouncement, President Putin announced that he was coming out of the closet, and that he had been gay from the time he was fifteen.

PROFESSOR DETERMINES LICKING TOADS MAY HAVE SIDE EFFECTS (PrT) Utsjoki, Finland

Professor Yhteensä Tyhmäaasi, of the Osasto toteutustapa Typerä kokeilut (Department for Carrying Out Silly Experiments) at the University of Voi Vittu in Utsjoki, Finland has been studying the difference between the Colorado River Toad (Bufo alvarius) and the Cane Toad (Rhinella marina) by licking them to determine the specifics of the halucenogenic effects caused by the psychoactive compounds they produce. While Professor Tyhmäaasi’s report has been inconclusive and at times incomprehensible, he was able to state that in both cases, it was possible to live high on the frog.

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FAX EXPANDING TV LINE-UP (PrT) Hollywood

Fax has announced a replacement for their new TV series line-up. Due to the poor audience reviews of its religious crime drama, Parson of Interest is being replaced in the same time slot with a game show where contestants have to play a series of drinking games to win the grand prize. The Biggest Boozer joins Baiowolf and the popular returning program Joanie Loves Tchotchke.

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