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  Mars

Bush congratulates scientists, makes own Mars discovery

President Bush has congratulated the NASA scientists who sent a probe to Mars for their success in returning high-quality colour pictures and announced that he too has made a dramatic space-related discovery. In what will be widely interpreted as an attempt to rub the Europeans' noses in it after the failure of their mission to find lemmings on the red planet, Mr Bush praised the scientists' "outstanding" work.

"It is truly remarkable that we can beam back pictures of another planet using electromathingamists," he said. "And, given the state of this country's economy, I think the quality of the pictures justifies the amount of money spent on the project, which was basically sending a tin can up in the air albeit a very long way."

"And yes, so far we haven't found any weapons up there, but we're working on it," he replied to a journalist who was hastily removed from the press conference. "Just give us time."

"But I too have made a discovery about Mars," he revealed. At this point the journalists began to suspect that White House aides might have taught the geographically-challenged President where Mars is, but they were wrong. "I, single-handedly, on my own, without anyone else's help including yours, Donald [Rumsfeld] - have discovered once and for all that there has been life on Mars at some point in recent history."

Amid gasps from his audience, he added: "How else would they have known to call their planet after one of this country's finest chocolate bars?"

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