News Stories

April Fool!

Our April Fools Day stories left some people clueless, outraged others, but gave most of you a big laugh.

Newspapers around the world take April 1st seriously, as well. Monday?s news stories included news of a floating department store, a cow-breeding finance minister and a call for bribes to be legalized.

One of the most elaborate April Fool jokes was pulled off by Mohamed Al Fayed, owner of London?s Harrods department store. Financial reporters filed last-minute news updates when he released the statement that he planned to ?float? Harrods, assuming he meant he would list the store on the stock market. They were told that a further announcement would be posted on his website on April 1st, or they could contact Loof Lirpa, a name not everyone realized was April Fool spelled backwards.

When Fayed talked more about the ?float,? he said, ?And what more appropriate place to float the world?s most famous store than on the world?s best-known river, the River Thames?? He still had to explain to some people that the whole thing was a joke: ?There are no plans to construct a floating version of Harrods to be sited along the river Thames in London.?

In Canada, Finance Minister Paul Martin was reported to be about to quit his job to take up cow and duck breeding. The April Fool report said Martin planned to pursue a ?burgeoning? interest in breeding Charolais cows and ?handsome Fawn Runner ducks.? Despite a denial from Martin?s office, some currency traders took the news seriously andthe Canadian dollar plunged to a one-month low against the U.S. dollar.

Romanian financial daily Ziarul Financiar had a front page story calling for a sliding scale of taxes based on ?commissions and supplementary insurance payments for health and a better life,? starting with a 5% tax on bribes of up to one million euros. The article also said the government was considering incentives for bribe-payers, under which they could offset 50% of their bribes against their tax bills. ?This will stimulate citizens to ask for a receipt for the amounts,? the newspaper said.

National Public Radio even got into the act, with a detailed story on ?Universal Pet Health Care,? an obvious jab at the fact that the U.S. is one of the few developed countries without universal health care for humans.

If you missed the April Fool stories on unknowncountry.com and want to read them, click here and click here.

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