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North Korea Successfully Detonates Nuclear Scientist

PYONGYANG—Hailing it as a significant step forward for their ballistic weapons program just hours after suffering a failed missile launch, North Korean leaders announced Monday they had successfully detonated a nuclear scientist.

Tokyo Portal Outage Delays Millions Of Japanese Warp Commuters

TOKYO—Saying the outdated system needed to be upgraded or replaced to avoid similar problems going forward, millions of inconvenienced Japanese warp commuters expressed frustration Thursday following a Tokyo portal outage that caused delays of up to eight seconds.

Earth Ranked Number One Party Planet

FRAMINGHAM, MA—Noting its high concentration of nightlife, droves of attractive singles, and atmospheric conditions allowing liquid alcohol to exist, the ‘Princeton Review’ on Monday ranked Earth the Milky Way galaxy’s top party planet for the fifth year in a row.

Nuclear Warhead Thrilled For Chance To Finally Escape North Korea

PYONGYANG—Saying its spirits were immediately buoyed upon hearing Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un’s recent statement that the military was close to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile, a North Korean nuclear warhead reported Tuesday that it was thrilled for the chance to finally escape the country.

Pope Francis Carves Roast Cherub For Vatican Christmas Dinner

VATICAN CITY—After pulling a probe thermometer from its thigh and tasting a piece of crispy golden-brown skin, Pope Francis began carving a slow-roasted 18-pound cherub for the Vatican’s annual Christmas feast, sources within the Holy See reported Sunday.
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Nation To Bring In Revenue By Offering Official United States Of America Franchise Opportunities

A United States of America is set to open in Bibala, Angola, this March.
A United States of America is set to open in Bibala, Angola, this March.

WASHINGTON—Amidst continued deadlock over how to rein in the federal deficit, government officials announced plans Tuesday to increase revenue by offering franchise opportunities to entrepreneurs who wish to start their own United States of America.

Banking on the popularity of its original location, the country hopes to make millions by partnering with franchisees around the world, to whom it would license the trademarked United States brand name as well as the nation's flag, motto, preserved landmarks, college sports programs, movie studios, and bicameral legislature.

"Now, anyone interested in starting a new nation can open an official United States," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. "America already has a brand everyone knows and responds to. Now the time has come for us to grow that asset and monetize it."

Six months after opening, franchisees will owe the U.S. government 20 percent of all apple pie sales.

"Meanwhile, it's a great deal for our franchise partners, who not only get to fly the red, white, and blue, but also have access to our unrivaled network of foreign oil suppliers." Murray continued. "With an initial capital investment of just $20,000, interested parties can begin building their own U.S.A. immediately."

According to sources, as soon as their check clears with the U.S. Treasury, new franchisees will receive an America Operations Manual and a welcome kit that includes a framed copy of the Constitution, a 1/16th-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty, two cases of Budweiser beer, one's choice of a dream catcher or Native American hand drum, and an instructional pamphlet on how to print the nation's popular currency.

U.S. headquarters in Washington will reportedly collect a standard franchise royalty of 4.5 percent on each new location's gross domestic product, as well as residual fees stemming from any performance of the national anthem, reproduction of the presidential seal, or usage of proprietary place names such as New York or Texas.

In response to claims the new program could dilute the value of the United States brand, officials have stated that strict quality-control standards will be maintained across each American franchise.

"People can expect the same quality of life at any U.S.A. location," House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters. "All will be provided with the First Amendment, free market economies, the Grand Canyon, trial by jury—everything you need to run your very own United States. We're even throwing in a few clear-eyed, apple-cheeked all-American youths to help them get started."

Proposed deals are already in motion for new United States of Americas to open in emerging markets such as China, India, and Brazil by January 2013, Boehner said, and discussions are ongoing regarding a possible high-end underwater resort location in the United Arab Emirates.

A deal to open a flagship franchise on the Champs-Élysées in Paris has reportedly been quashed by the French government.

"It's intimidating to start any new business from scratch, let alone a fully functioning nation, so the franchise model really appealed to me," said Swiss entrepreneur Adrian Holm, who hopes to open multiple European United States locations if his first venture succeeds. "It took us a while to find a big enough spot for one, but it's on a reasonably busy highway, and I feel a U.S.A. is the sort of place that people will stop and see if it's convenient enough."

Several business experts have said America's recent credit-rating downgrade, rising levels of customer dissatisfaction, and high incarceration costs might end up proving a liability for franchisees, and few investors have been bullish on the United States since its failed attempts to extend its brand by opening wholly owned outposts in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade.

"It's definitely a gamble," 28-year-old Ahmad Nimeiri of Sudan said. "But the prospect of heading up my own United States of America sure as hell beats herding goats for my uncle for the rest of my life."

Added Nimeiri: "Hopefully I won't wind up regretting my decision not to just open up a China like my brother Samir did. He's doing great."

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Tokyo Portal Outage Delays Millions Of Japanese Warp Commuters

TOKYO—Saying the outdated system needed to be upgraded or replaced to avoid similar problems going forward, millions of inconvenienced Japanese warp commuters expressed frustration Thursday following a Tokyo portal outage that caused delays of up to eight seconds.

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