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How they fooled on April 1

World press hit the stands with a range of nonsense exclusives on All Fool's Day. Navneeta checks out some.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2006 12:59 IST

Another April Fool's Day has come and gone with a few notable pranks being played.

Newspapers across the world were up to their usual mischief, with a series of fake news stories presented as if they were true.

From the traditional merriment by the British media to unusual pranks in newspapers from the war-torn Iraq, this year's All Fools Day had it all leaving unwitting and gullible people exasperated and in disbelief.

Iraqi newspaper Babel announced on its front page that red meats and chicken rations were to be raised substantially. These rations have been allotted to civilians in Iraq since 1990 because of the embargo they suffer from Western countries.

On the last page they said it was a joke. Just smile, your rations will not be raised.

The UK dailies also had the last laugh.

The Sun came out with an "exclusive" saying that a "Jackass" penguin has been spotted in the Thames, and there is a perfect close-up of the creature jogging on the beach.

The paper speculated that the penguin could create the same furore as the whale was sighted in London two months ago. Or maybe not.

The tabloid pictured a penguin happily waddling about on the south bank of the Thames in central London.

"It is believed to be the first time a penguin has been spotted in the Thames - and comes weeks after tragic Wally the Whale got stranded," said Britain's biggest-selling daily.

"Experts said the penguin, normally seen at the South Pole, may have been released into UK waters by fishermen who accidentally snared him."

A handy map showed the plucky penguin's extraordinary route as well.

"Marine biologist Lil Faroop said: 'It looks like a Jackass. They feed on sprats and fly through the water at five miles per hour. They have a donkey-like bray."

Another UK paper, The Daily Mail showed workmen carrying a new red door to replace the landmark black door of 10, Downing Street. The headline read: 'Has Cherie gone too far with the redecorating this time?'

Daily Express provides perhaps the strangest offering, filling page three with a picture of workmen steamrollering digestives and custard creams into a dual carriageway.

And road workers were depicted in the paper crushing biscuits with a giant steamroller. "Years of experimental research revealed that crushed up ginger nuts are the best biscuit for a road's sub-base," the paper said.

The accompanying article states that "small amounts of the teatime snack, mixed with more traditional surfacing materials like bitumen, amazingly help to make roads 10 per cent safer and more durable."

The aptly-named Professor Emilio Garibaldi takes the biscuit with his understated comment: "This may sound ridiculous, but it works."

The Roman daily Il Messaggero reported that a new group in the city of Aquil had persuaded officials to cover up monuments in the main square by dressing the naked men and women with clothes of bronze.

Sweden's daily Dagens Nyheter scared thousands of bicyclists by claiming that Stockholm's city government would impose speed limits of 12 mph on bikes in the inner city.

The Moscow daily Moskovsky Komsomolets turned the day into a contest, offering free subscriptions to callers who identified false stories.

Its gag stories included a secret research institute where Kremlin candidates to succeed President Vladimir Putin undergo scientific testing, and plans for a parliament building where lawmakers' offices would boast a bar, a balcony and a Jacuzzi.

In India, Hindustan Times came out with a story saying Sourav Ganguly and Tony Greg have kissed and made up.

Titled "Sourav's back, Greg's happy", the story went on to say that in the absence of Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian coach and chief selector Kiran More had decided to let bygones be bygones and give Dada the green signal as the former skipper was "vital" for the team.

Many readers shook their heads in disbelief until some kindly soul pointed out that they'd been hoodwinked.

First Published: Apr 03, 2006 12:59 IST