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POSTED September 28, 2012 9:34 p.m.

IRANIAN NEWS AGENCY PICKS UP ONION ARTICLE AS FACT: CHICAGO (AP) — A joke by the satirical newspaper The Onion appears to have gotten lost in translation.

An Iranian news agency picked up — as fact — a story from the paper about a supposed survey showing an overwhelming majority of rural white Americans would rather vote for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than President Barack Obama. But it was made up, like everything in the just-for-laughs newspaper, which is headquartered in Chicago.

The English-language service of Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency republished the story Friday, several days after it appeared in The Onion.

The Iranian version copied the original word-for-word, even including a made-up quote from a fictional West Virginia resident who says he'd rather go to a baseball game with Ahmadinejad because "he takes national defense seriously, and he'd never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does."

Homosexual acts are punishable by death in Iran, and Ahmadinejad famously said during a 2007 appearance at Columbia University that "in Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country."

The Iranian version of the article leaves out only The Onion's description of Ahmadinejad as "a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed."

The article was featured prominently on the Fars website alongside its usual fare of stories about advances in Iranian military technology, condemnation of Israel and Iran's nuclear program. The story appeared to have been taken down by about mid-day, Chicago time.

Calls to Fars representatives were not answered Friday.

The Onion reveled in the fact that it had been taken seriously.

THAI SAILORS GO "GANGNAM STYLE" ON YOUTUBE VIDEO: BANGKOK (AP) — The "Gangnam Style" craze has reached Thailand's navy, which is among the latest to mimic the globally popular dance video.

In a video posted to YouTube, a few dozen smiling sailors from the Third Naval Area Command perform the rodeo-style dance and other hip-shaking moves at their base on the popular tourist island of Phuket.

Lt. Cmdr. Patiroop Khemtis said Friday officers took three days to film and edit the video, instructing participants to mimic the moves in the original video by South Korean singer PSY. It was shown at the base's annual party Wednesday and posted to YouTube the next day.

The video shows white-uniformed sailors in sunglasses galloping through their offices and officers in scuba gear shimmying up the beach.

The original "Gangnam Style" video had close to 300 million YouTube views as of Friday.

IN SWEDEN, MAN DOES TIME FOR CONVICT FRIEND: STOCKHOLM (AP) — A man convicted of smuggling in Sweden outwitted his jailers by sneaking in a friend to serve most of his yearlong sentence, prison officials said Friday.

The identity of the false convict was discovered only when he'd been released on probation after serving about two-thirds of his friend's sentence "sometime in 2008 or 2009," Elisabeth Lager of Sweden's Prison and Probation Service said.

Lager said the in-lieu convict came to serve the sentence with a false ID — a driving license in the name of the smuggler friend but with his photograph. She declined to name either man or give more details about the switch.

An international arrest warrant was issued for the real convict earlier this year, Lager said, but declined to comment on why it took police more than three years after the switch was discovered to issue the warrant. It was not clear if the smuggler's friend would be punished for misleading prison authorities and assuming a false identity.

The convict, who never served his term, was sentenced for a series of smuggling offences in southwestern Sweden in 2008. Several media reports said he had fled to Asia and had paid his friend for his "prison-sitting" service.

 

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