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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 1 April, 2003, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
African April Fools spoof Iraq war
Africa's newspapers are a fruitful source of 1 April light relief, even with the news agenda dominated by the Middle East. Indeed, many of today's April Fools stories reflect current concerns by playing on an Iraqi link.

Fancy a job in Iraq?

The Kenyan Standard says "lucrative" salaries are now on offer for Kenyans willing to take up job opportunities - including ground troops and medical coroners - in the Gulf region.

The US authorities are also seeking applicants from neighbouring Sudan and Ethiopia, as residents of all three countries are said be experienced in working in desert conditions.

Suspicions about the spoof story are raised when it notes that "due to the short notice", anyone wishing to take up the opportunities must apply - by sending an SMS text message - before midday today.

An advertisement on a separate page gives details of the jobs said to be available.

These include drivers ("previous navigation experience in a desert is advantageous"), cooks ("must have ample experience in preparing Arabic and Continental cuisine") and teachers ("knowledge of Arabic not necessary but will have an added advantage").

The advert says successful applicants will need to equip themselves with a gas mask and a map of Iraq. They will be provided with a one-way ticket to Baghdad.

Saddam in Cape David, cease-fire in Iraq

Another Nairobi paper, the Kenya Times, sticks to the Iraqi theme by reporting that the war there is over.

This came after Saddam Hussein flew incognito to New York and was taken to Camp David where he agreed cease-fire terms with George Bush. Saddam and his two sons have agreed to go into exile in Jordan.

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice have tendered their resignations.

Following the conclusion of the deal, Jacques Chirac has praised President Bush as a statesman whose place in history was now guaranteed.

A Tanzanian Swahili-language daily, Nipashe, also reports that the Iraqi president has agreed to go into exile, but says he will be living in South Africa.

Fantasy football

Kenya's People newspaper reports that FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Brazilian legend Pele are arriving in Nairobi this morning on a visit seen as linked to Kenya's bid to host the African Nations Cup tournament in 2006 and the World Cup in 2010.

The Kenyan government has also appointed "French soccer wizard Michel Platini" to head a special task force to this effect. "Plans are also in the pipeline to have former French striker and long-serving Manchester United skipper Eric Cantona head the youth development programme," the People says.

Blatter, Platini and Pele will all meet Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki at his official residence today. This afternoon, parliament will debate a motion to build three "ultra-modern" stadiums in the country.

Transports of delight

Kenya's Standard reports that underground rail links are opening today between the various outlets of a Nairobi restaurant chain.

The manager of the Kengele's chain is quoted as saying that, in a "first" in the whole of Africa, patrons will be able to travel "quickly and conveniently" between the firm's six restaurants in tunnels 20 feet below ground.

South Africa's Star reports a blow to cyclists in Gauteng Province (which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria). They'll now have to take a compulsory exam, pass an eye test and pay a licence fee. Those who fail to carry their licences face a fine.

Underwater

But there's even more alarming news for residents of Cape Town.

The Cape Times reports "shock findings" by an academic institute that the world famous landmark of Table Mountain, which currently forms a stunning background to the city, will be an island within 30 years as sea levels rise with global warming.

The famous Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid activists were imprisoned) will be completely submerged and may become a centre for "world-class scuba diving".

The paper says the "secret report", which had been leaked to the Cape Times, "has been kept under wraps for fear of creating panic and causing havoc with property prices".

It quoted a spokesman for Cape Town city council as saying that discussions were underway on whether it would be better to link the new island to the mainland by a tunnel or a bridge.

But the good news is that rising sea levels will also create a change in wave patterns, resulting in Hout Bay, Bellville and Stellenbosch becoming some of the world's "premier surfing spots".

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.




SEE ALSO:
Swaziland's war reporter exposed
31 Mar 03  |  Africa
African press condemns Iraq war
28 Mar 03  |  Africa
African media on Iraq diplomacy
11 Mar 03  |  Africa


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