April Fools' stories

Today is April Fools' Day. I wonder how many people were fooled by the articles in today's newspapers. Click on the headline to see the original article.

Portugal 'sells' Ronaldo to Spain in €160m deal on national debt

Weighed down by debt, and reeling from the latest downgrading of their country's credit status, Portugal's finance ministry has secured the co-operation of football's highest-paid player in an audacious bid to draw the nation back from the brink of economic collapse.

In a move which some observers claimed "will lead to the destruction of the World Cup", Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed to "act like a patriot" and be sold to neighbouring Spain for €160m.

Last week, Prime Minister José Sócrates resigned after his government's latest austerity package was rejected by parliament. His move followed the downgrading of his country's credit rating to the category above "junk". While Ronaldo's fee, though double the current record (paid by Real Madrid to Manchester United for Ronaldo's club affiliation in 2009) barely dents the €12bn Portugal owes, Mr Socrates, now caretaker premier, believes that the international bond markets will take it as a symbol of Portugal's determination to tackle the crisis, and respond accordingly.

Although no footballer has ever previously been "transferred" between countries, there is extensive precedent for changing nationality, especially in Spain. Two of the greats, Alfredo di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás, played for the Spanish national team after representing other countries and then taking Spanish citizenship. Di Stéfano – who is still involved at Real Madrid and is thought to have influenced Ronaldo's decision – had played for Argentina and Colombia. Puskás even played in the 1954 World Cup final for Hungary but went into exile after the crushing of the 1956 revolution. As recently as Spain's 2008 European Championship triumph, Marcos Senna, Brazilian by birth and parentage, was a key player.

Senna, however, had not played for Brazil. Since Puskás' day, Fifa, the world governing body, has tightened its rules. Once a player has played a competitive international for one country – at any age group – he cannot switch allegiance unless he had dual nationality at the time, and was educated in the second country. Mikael Arteta, Everton's Spanish midfielder, abandoned an attempt to play for England because he had played competitively for Spain under-21s. But Fifa's secretive executive committee is expected to meet today, in extraordinary session, to adapt its statutes to permit such moves in circumstances where both governments agree.

"It's insane," said a spokesman for the Bruges-based Keep Football Pure organisation. "Those idiot administrators have not thought it through, as usual. There's now nothing to stop Qatar buying a World XI. It'll destroy the World Cup, it will turn it into another Champions League – only worse."

Opinion is divided in Portugal. While many see Ronaldo's agreement to the move as the "ultimate patriotic gesture" others regard the transfer as a "surrender". Paolo Fril, professor of political economics at Lisbon University, told The Independent: "We were ruled by a Spanish king for 60 years [1580-1640] and had to go to war to win back our independence. This is not about Spain saving us –they are restoring the Iberian Union by the back door."

There are doubts in Spain, too. The issue is not naturalising Ronaldo, but whether he is needed. Spain are the current world and European champions, with a style of play that relies more on passing than the soloist skills for which Ronaldo is known. "If we are going to buy foreigners we should buy Lionel Messi [Barcelona's Argentinian star]," said one fan.

But if Ronaldo is unappreciated in Spain, his skills may be in demand elsewhere. Late last night, reports suggested that David Cameron was preparing a counter-offer, of £200m, to persuade Ronaldo to play for England. "The Premier League is where Ronaldo became a star," said the Prime Minister, "so it is only right and proper he should play for England." He added that Vince Cable had proposed a "Ferrari tax" to pay for it, though Ronaldo himself would be given exemption.

Source: Independent

A GORILLA prods the new toy which scientists hope will transform the way primates are kept alert and happy in zoos - an iPad.
Animal behaviour experts handed out the gadgets to five apes in an experiment.

The super-smart gorillas quickly learned to turn the screens on and off and seem fascinated by the colours and pictures.

Amazingly not a SINGLE one of the five tablets which download apps has been broken since being given out at Port Lympne wild animal park three weeks ago.

Head keeper Phil Ridges said yesterday: "We thought they would bang them on rocks but they carry them round as if they were babies."

Boffins at the University of Kent, Canterbury, are behind the trial, which is being monitored by Apple.

Phil said: "Keeping gorillas stimulated has been a challenge - but they are fascinated by these things."

The park in Hythe, Kent, cares for more than 20 endangered western lowland gorillas. Readers can adopt one for £3 a month at aspinallfoundation.org.

Source: The Sun

Your morning Metro always aims to bring you news in the best possible taste – but now it should even easier to digest. The newspaper, already the first into Space, is set to become the only national you can eat after reading.

In a move that might suggest Willy Wonka has taken over the editor’s chair, newsprint and food experts have combined to cook up a sweet-tasting paper that will soon be sugar-rolling off the Metro presses.

It may even impress leading culinary scientist Heston Blumenthal, who has described edible packaging as ‘a little obsession of mine’.

Volunteer taste testers have already sunk their teeth into the munchable Metro and given their approval.

The printing process sees ingredients such as corn starch, vegetable oil, gum arabic, water and citric acid cooked into a stodgy paste and thin sheets.

The paste is poured on to the sheets under silk meshes arranged in the form of headlines, pictures and articles.

Printing takes a few hours overnight – several seconds to print each page and slightly longer to dry. The finished products are even given a light vanilla scent. Charles Bouquet, of the Edible Paper Company, said the project would encourage recycling. He added: ‘We hope it adds flavour to the stories and presents readers with a colourful menu of current affairs.’ But as the Metro slogan says, you’ll have to be quick.

Come Monday morning, this tasty treat may well have proved to be a one-day wonder.

See more pictures of readers eating Metro by clicking here.

Source: Metro

And IKEA produced an ad for the occasion:

Read this previous post about some Bizarre Stories and click on the main title to see the penguin video.


Montse said…
Graham, all of them are really funny but for me the best is IKEA one. Why don't you believe that IKEA is able to sell something like that?
Graham said…
Did you see the one about the spaghetti growing on trees? It was from a current affairs programme which usually deals with serious matters. Many people fell for it - as it was the 1950s when pasta wasn't part of the diet.

Click on the link at the start of the post to see it.

for me the best ONE IS THE IKEA one. Why WOULDN'T you believe that IKEA is able to sell something like that?
Montse said…
Hi, Graham. The spot about spaghetti is really amusing. I think we should never lose our sense of humour.
Graham said…
Hi Montse,

I've just posted some examples of British sitcoms and comedians.
Anonymous said…
Hi Graham. It's Rocío.

I've seen the advert for dogs to eat in a special table. I think it is really creative but, who wants a dog to eat next to you? It's a bit weird, Ikea doesn't know what invent!

Also I've seen the cocacola's advert. It's so funny with the young boy smiling all the time.I like it.

See you tomorrow!

Graham said…
Hi Rocio,

The IKEA advert is an April Fool. Click on the link in red at the top of the post to find out what it is.

I've seen the advert for dogs to eat at a special table. I think it is really creative but, who wants a dog to eat next to you? It's a bit weird, Ikea doesn't know what to invent!

(I think dogs have better table manners than some people.)

I've also seen the Cocacola advert.

Anonymous said…
Hi Graham, it's Alicia.
I've seen other funny videos, but this is the one I liked the most!
I think it's a stupid idea, but it's really funny, specially the hole for the dog's tail.
See you tomorrow!
Graham said…
Hi Alicia,

Have you heard about this doggy story? And it's not an April fool's: http://madteachergraham2.blogspot.com.es/2014/07/remember-to-flush-after-your-dog.html