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PLUM PUDDING TRIGGERS AIRPORT ALERT

Security scanners at a major British airport have been fooled by hundreds of Christmas puddings, which they cannot tell from Semtex plastic explosive.

Travelers heading off for the holidays Wednesday from Manchester airport in northern England had packed the seasonal fare in their luggage.

But the $23 million baggage security system was unable to differentiate between the explosive of choice of the international terrorist and a plum pudding, forcing security officials to examine hundreds of bags.

Airport chiefs insisted that the sophisticated security system was not malfunctioning.

"It is designed to detect organic matter, and Christmas puddings have unusual density, which alerts the system," an airport spokesman said.

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