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  War on Terror
Bush blames Saddam Hussein for solar storm
Earth is under attack from a massive solar storm, scientists say. They predict major disruption to satellites, power systems, mobile phones, hairdryers, cappuccino-makers and, as ever, the British rail network. The storm comes from an eruption of super-hot gas from one of the largest groups of sunspots seen for years.

Speaking to reporters at a hastily-convened White House press conference before heading to the safety of a deep underground bunker at his Camp David retreat, US President "Boy" George W. Bush said that the Pentagon had conclusive proof that the solar storm had been triggered by failed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein™, with the help of al Qaeda, the Taliban, and possibly the Democrat contenders in the 2004 US presidential election.

"We know it's the work of these evil-doers", he said. "We have the proof. Don [Rumsfeld, Secretary of Offence] told me about it. We know that Saddam has been in contact with Dr Evil. We know that he had weapons of mass destruction. We know that he can deploy these storms in only 45 minutes. We know that he wants to destroy freedom-loving people everywhere."

Asked about the alleged Pentagon proof and what the CIA thought of it, particularly given that the Agency does not even know where Mr Saddam is, Mr Bush seemed to become confused and agitated, and, sweating profusely, replied "I haven't seen it myself but Don says he has... 9/11... if you're not with us you're against us... Donny!" before being cut off by a Pentagon official who said it was time to leave before the storm hit.

Mr Rumsfeld announced later from a secure, undisclosed location, that on the basis of the Pentagon's proof, the President had agreed to earmark an additional $200bn to the Pentagon for the war against terrorists.

Speaking to gathered reporters by phone on a line with a great deal of static, presumably caused by the storm, Mr Rumsfeld asked, "Are we going to allow the terrorists to threaten us like this?" "No," he quickly replied. "The new funding will go directly towards helping the Pentagon lead the fight against terror. OK, so we're probably going to have to cut funding for healthcare and education, but I know that every patriotic American will support us."

At that point the static on the line became much louder, but several reporters said that they thought they had heard what seemed to be a "maniacal laugh", as one put it, followed by the words "stick that where the sun don't shine, Condi".

Asked to explain the President's mention of "Dr Evil", White House spokesperson Mildred K. Ramsbottom said that Mr Bush greatly enjoyed the Austin Powers films. "We find it's generally easier to give him one of them to watch instead of giving him an actual briefing on events concerning terrorists," she said. "The general principle is there - good versus evil - so he's getting the message, but in a way he can better understand. Unfortunately he sometimes gets a bit confused, mixing them with reality."

Reports that Mr Bush has taken to wearing frilly shirts and writing "groovy, baby" on official papers were quickly denied.

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