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The first inkling came from reports of mysterious lights in the sky.

A gobsmacked eyewitness described strange shape-shifting "things".

For the local newspaper, there was only one possible conclusion.

"We're being invaded," screamed the main front page headline in yesterday's Northern Territory News.

Below a picture of a flying saucer, the story's first line explained: "A mass of UFO sightings has Territorians wondering if we are on the brink of an alien invasion."

It also had some readers in Australia's Top End wondering if their favourite rag, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd stable, had finally lost the plot. They are well used to the paper's unconventional news values.

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