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It was the perfect tabloid headline: bold and funny, short and shocking. “swan bake”, yelled the front page of British daily The Sun. “Asylum seekers steal the Queen’s birds for barbecues.” Callous Eastern Europeans, the paper breathlessly reported, were capturing swans (all of which, bizarrely, belong to the Queen), killing them and, because they were foreign and heartless, eating them. You couldn’t make it up. Except, of course, they did. An urban myth, peddled by cranky internet forums and fringe right-wingers, had found its way onto the front…

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