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Finger faking

A German television host has claimed he faked a video of Greece's finance minister "sticking the finger" to Berlin in an infamous clip that has gone viral around the country.

When the footage aired on German television last Sunday, Yanis Varoufakis denied its authenticity saying:

"That video was doctored. I've never given the finger, I've never given the middle finger ever."

Jan Bohermann, host of the satirical programme 'Neo Magazin Royale' on public broadcaster ZDF, said he faked the clip in order to prove how easy it was to spread a negative image of Greece's "rock-star" finance minister.

Minnelli in rehab

Liza Minnelli, the singer and actress, has checked herself into rehab for treatment of substance abuse, a spokesman said yesterday.

The 'Cabaret' star is making "excellent progress" at an undisclosed facility, the spokesman said.

"Liza Minnelli has valiantly battled substance abuse over the years and whenever she has needed to seek treatment she has done so," Scott Gorenstein said in a statement.

In September, the legendary entertainer (69) underwent back surgery to help heal an injury that prevented her from performing most of the year or attending the funeral of Joan Rivers in New York.

Crufts death riddle

The owners of the Irish setter wrongly thought to have been poisoned at Crufts have said the "true facts" surrounding its death may never be known. In a joint statement, the co-owners of gundog Thendara Satisfaction, who had the pet name Jagger, also criticised the Kennel Club's handling of the "media circus" following the dog's death.

The Kennel Club said this week that a toxicology report had shown that the dog, which died after returning to Belgium, could not have been poisoned while competing at Crufts in Birmingham.

White House II

The US Secret Service wants €8m (£5.4 million) to build a replica White House to help train agents after an embarrassing security breach last year.

Secret Service director Joseph Clancy said the agency needs the training facility in Beltsville, Maryland, to provide agents with a more realistic training experience.

Mr Clancy made his pitch to a House Appropriations sub-committee. He said training is now done in a car park.

Irish Independent