Fake News: From Africa and points east

Somalis hijack North Koreans — do we care?

American officials reacted with a combination of dread and delight yesterday to the news that 28 North Koreans were the victims of the latest pirate takeover off the coast of Somalia.

“We strongly condemn the criminal actions of the hijackers and are very concerned about the welfare of the captives,” said State Department spokesperson Clark Montgomery. “At the same time, we are thrilled that the Somalis have taken such an active role in our campaign to deter the North Koreans from their aggressive ambitions.”

Montgomery characterized the ongoing peril to shipping in the Gulf of Aden as equal in importance with recent indications that nuclear arms development could be in full swing on the Korean peninsula.

“We can’t say which is the greater danger to our national security, so we’re frankly not sure what to think,” Montgomery said. “To put it simply, we’re conflicted. We’re ecstatic and distressed at the same time.”

Other officials did admit, however, that there’s a considerable upside potential to having two troublesome parties giving each other a hard time.

“This could be an ideal model in some of the other difficult scenarios we’re facing,” said one aide who spoke off the record. “For example, I can imagine the benefits we’d see if Iranian theocrats showed up at the big Wall Street banks and demanded a full accounting of executive compensation packages. Or what if Taliban insurgents from the tribal regions of Pakistan started making guest appearances on the CBS comedy ‘Two and a Half Men’? That would be so awesome.”

Maldives gets a lift

Climate changes that have contributed to rising sea levels have proven an especially difficult problem for low-lying areas of the world. Now, one country in the Indian Ocean has taken an innovative approach that could rescue its citizens from inundation.

President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives announced a program yesterday that will issue three pairs of high-heel shoes to every resident of the island nation.

“The coastal flooding that we’re projecting is a relatively small increase in water levels,” Nasheed said. “But our mean elevation of less than a meter makes us susceptible to a real calamity. Putting the entire population on stilettos will give us just enough height to make a difference.”

Nasheed dismissed the criticism of political opponents who claim the predominantly Muslim citizenry will object to the cutting-edge fashion statement made by five-inch heels, and that such shoewear will clash with traditional chadors and burqas. Some also cited safety and practicality concerns, pointing out that virtually all of the land area is covered with a fine beach sand.

“We must be innovative in our thinking if we’re to survive the effects of global warming,” Nasheed said. “And you can’t discount the appeal of the toned calf muscles we’ll see, or rather that we could see if limbs were allowed to be visible.”

Soccer match drags on — yay!

The soccer match last night between Algeria and Egypt, deciding which national team will get the last African slot in next year’s World Cup tournament, still had not been resolved early this morning, as the two sides entered the twelfth hour of play still knotted in a 0-0 tie.

“The excitement of this match, it is so incredible,” said commentator Gamal Kazen during a brief break in the action. “Something almost happened at the four-hour mark, then one of the strikers adjusted his socks about nine hours in. The spectators went absolutely berserk.”

At press time, all but three of the Algerian players had fallen asleep on the pitch while only two of the Egyptians remained awake. International football federation officials were busy making plans about how to resolve the deadlock should every last player slip into unconsciousness.

“The first tiebreak is going to be which country has the most ‘g’s’ in its name,” said Issam Salah, federation president. “After that, it’ll come down to which nation’s leader has a funnier first name — Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, or Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. Then, the final decider will be which country has more grains of sand in its desert.”

Salah said he expects a winner in the hard-fought rivalry to be declared some time in the next 500 years.

“We soccer fans are a very patient people,” Salah said. “However, we do expect widespread rioting to begin shortly throughout North Africa.”

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