ARAB LEAGUE SECRETARY HINTS AT AGREEMENT WITH SYRIA; SHEIKH AL-RIFAI OF DAMASCUS COMPARED TO ITALIAN SOCCER PLAYERS; CATHERINE ASHTON NOW CALLED THE INVISIBLE DIRIGIBLE

August 29, 2011-Second Posting today-  URGENT AND IMPORTANT:  Arab League Secretary General, Nabil Al-Arabi,  hinted today at what may be a new agreement with Syria’s president Dr. Bashar Al-Assad, a trained opthamologist.  According to reports leaked to the Mercury News Service,  Dr. Assad has agreed to provide all active employees of the Arab League with “eye examinations” and treatment “if necessary” at no cost to the employee.  The Secretary General remarked this afternoon in Cairo, off the record, that the “agreement is unique and closes the issue of unrest in Syria”.  He also stated in an aside that Dr. Assad is “trained in England and has a great bedside manner.”  Any insurance payments will be contributed to the Bayanuni Religious Tolerance Foundation. Gertrude Bandersnatch, MNS (Cairo).

Oussama Al-Rifai, the fire-breathing octogenarian cleric at the mosque of the same name in Kafr Soussa, Damascus, is apparently faking injuries supposedly inflicted by “Syrian buggaboos” when they invaded his mosque on Saturday after he delivered a speech exhorting the parishoners to “Rise up! Kill all infidels. Kill Christians, Shi’is, Alawis, Ismailis, Druzes, Assyrians, and Romulans”.  (He might have meant `Rumelians’)  When Syrian security personnel attempted to stop the Sheikh from making a complete fool of himself,  he thrust his rather frail body at one person  and started to scream:  “Look at what he did.  He speaks with that “qaaf”! Kafir! Kafir!”  What the sheikh did not know was that the man upon whom he threw himself was a Lebanese Druze actor from Faalougha who wanted to see what all the hurly-burly was about.  The sheikh was reportedly spirited to the nearest chiropractic clinic which was operated by Dr. Maher Qalqashandi who mentioned to reporters:  “that Sheikh Oussama reminds me of those Italian football players.  Great actors. He’s just fine.”  Mandy Gristlethwaite for MNS, from ‘Aad,  Yemen. 

In what appears to be a major scoop reported exclusively by the Mercury News Service, it has been learned from “absolutely reliable sources” that Lady Catherine Ashton, the part-time foreign secretary of the EU, is referred to by her security detail as “the invisible dirigible”.Named by People Magazine as “World’s Biggest Bore”, Lady Ashton was just recovering from an attack of the “vapours” after a very disappointing report from the UN commission investigating the unrest in Syria.  This leaked information about her code name with security has caused a veritable maelstrom of self-flagellation, a British specialty, from Cardiff to Newcastle, from York to Southhampton, from Liverpool to the English Channel and so on and so on. 

Chief of Security Detail Col. Sherrod Fortinbras speaking on condition of anonymity because he had no authority to discuss anything about the good lady said that “you really can’t see her.  It’s as though she wears irridescent clothing designed for pure camouflage.  She melts into the walls and the furniture.  It’s a bit like that American Goodyear Blimp, you know.  You look up expecting to see it. But, the sun always blinds you.
Or its not really there, anyway. We know she exists because we have her fingerprints. But that’s all.”  Efforts to photograph Lady Ashton have met with failure over the years.  She has been described by those rare individuals who have actually sat with her as “somewhat frumpy”, “tunes in and tunes out”, “talks like your sofa”.  Efforts to interview Lady Ashton by MNS have been rebuffed with the following note:  “She just can’t be seen right now”.  She acquired the code name “Invisible Dirigible” last year.  Elspeth Borgia-Pantaloon, London.