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News in Brief

RCC/Vatican CEO John Paul II finally quits
Roman-Catholic Church Inc. and Vatican Holdings CEO "Pope" John Paul II resigned yesterday in a move that industry observers regarded as long overdue. According to an unusually candid Vatican source "Our chairman has been making noises from on high that JP2 had to go, but he just clung to the post. It was getting rather undignified". The Board is due to elect the new Chief Executive on Monday. Analysts expect that the new appointee will share John Paul's uncompromising management stye but allow the organisation to develop a more modern image that appeals to women, gays, and other demographic groups.

US State Department "undecided" about next atrocity
The US State Department announced today that it had "not yet reached a decision" as to the nature of the next atrocity to be perpetrated by the US military in Iraq, which is due this month. Political columnists on both sides of the Atlantic expect a high-impact move, to boost President Bush's flagging popularity and deflect any possible budget issues. But there's no agreement on details, with the New York Times speculating about the destruction of another city while the Guardian favours a large scale torture scandal. The State Department denied both these scenarios. An official who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed: "We had narrowed it down between hitting a non-aligned embassy or an airliner, but then in storms [Condoleezza] Rice demanding that we re-open scenarios such as massive undocumented detention, bombing a religious festival, and paramilitary killing brigades". A decision is expected this week.

New airport terminal planned for shopping mall
The British Airports Authority (BAA) announced today that the proposed second terminal for Edinburgh Airport will be built in nearby Gyle shopping centre. The BAA reasons that this is a logical move following two decades of development that saw increasingly larger, more elaborate, and more intrusive shopping centres being built in Britain's already cramped airport terminals. According to BAA director Bill Humphries: "With Gyle we start with a modern, spacious mall that can easily accommodate our new terminal. It already has a rail link to the city, several fashion outlets, and a very pleasant All Bar One". Sources say the new terminal will be located between the Pizza Hut and Toys R' Us franchises.

MPAA mistakenly sues own suppliers
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) was rushing yesterday to contain a multi-billion dollar lawsuit filed last week, apparently in error, by its legal arm against the industry group's major equipment suppliers. The suit names around 20 of the word's largest manufacturers of photographic equipment as producers of devices "designed to facilitate the unauthorised duplication of images and other copyrighted works". The suit alleges that "the products in question include no safeguards to ensure that only permitted material is photographed, and such such constitute infringement devices". The alleged producers of infringing equipment include Nikon, Kodak, Sony, and even Panavision, a company founded and owned by MPAA members that makes the majority of motion picture cameras. MPAA representative Craig Smith explained: "This suit has been in the works for over two years, as part of our drive to combat piracy. We didn't realise there was anything wrong until we got an angry call from Zeiss [a German lens manufacturer] saying they could no longer fulfil our orders. We obviously have to amend the suit," Smith continued "so that only unauthorised uses, such as weird French films, are illegal".
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