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International Briefs


Satire by Lyndon Hood

One Law For All: A French Success Story
Bush Clarifies Position on Torture
Watching Opening of New Zealand Parliament Turns Queen into Republican

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One Law For All: A French Success Story

Speaking towards the end of last month, the nation of France extolled the virtues of "one law for all" - a system under which no official notice is taken of ethnic divisions.

"We are all French people," explained France, "Since we give no special treatment to anyone, there are now no minorities and everyone is equal and happy."

"We should not start down the road to separatism," added the nation.

Responding to suggestion that this system allows tacit or even overt discrimination against members of minorities, France was indignant. "How can we discriminate against them if we don't even admit they exist?"

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Bush Clarifies Position on Torture

US President George Bush today clarified confusion relating to torture, by referring to legal principles predating even the Declaration of Independence.

Bush has come under scrutiny for threatening to veto a bill intended to prevent the use of torture of detainees by US troops, which insisting that US troops do not torture detainees.

"I happened to be leafing through Spee's Cautio Criminalis, and this passage about the treatment of accused witches in the early 17th Century caught my eye:

She is, however, tortured with the torture of the first degree, i. e., the less severe. This is to be understood thus: that, although in itself it is exceeding severe, yet, compared with others to follow, it is lighter. Wherefore, if she confesses, they say and noise it abroad that she has confessed without torture.

Now, what prince or other dignitary who hears this can doubt that she is most certainly guilty who thus voluntarily without torture confesses her guilt?

"So I can say to you categorically that we do not 'torture' detainees, but leave our boys free to extract the important and credible intelligence they need."

In support of this approach, Bush cited the elimination of the word "prisoner". This was the historical term for people imprisoned by US forces, until it was replaced by the more administratively convenient "detainee".

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Watching Opening of New Zealand Parliament Turns Queen into Republican

Watching a live webcast of the opening of the New Zealand Parliament, Her Majesty the Queen yesterday concluded the South Pacific nation should become a republic.

The epiphany occurred early in the ceremony, as a man with a black stick knocked on the door of Parliament chambers, which were closed against him (to symbolise Parliament's independence), while knowing that they were about to be symbolically opened so he could come in and give Parliament orders.

"They're halfway round the world," she exclaimed, leaning closer to the monitor, "I mean, they actually are. What does any of this fiddle-faddle have to do with them?"

She then watched her representative, Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright, deliver the "Speech from the Throne". The speech, concerning the plans of the Government, is written entirely by the Prime Minister.

"What does the Governor General even do?" cried the exasperated monarch, "Pretends to be the Queen, who does what 'her Ministers' tell her to, that's what. You might as well have a sock-puppetarchy."

Her Majesty then listened to the rest of the speech, snorting loudly every time the Governor-General used the words "my Government".

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