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Sunday, 1 April, 2001, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
World's media plays the April Fool
Nairobi city centre
Not the best place for a mobile phone bargain?
A healthy pinch of salt was on the menu this weekend as reporters around the world entered into the spirit of All Fools' Day.


When Raheena tried to decipher 'sneziten, loof lirpa' by writing it down, she accidentally read it backwards. Now, she smiles whenever she sees her Netaholic parents

The key to an alien's language, as told by The Times of India
Tanzania's Sunday Observer reported alarm at its scoop - a sighting of Ugandan ex-dictator Idi Amin, dressed in a kilt, parading down the main street of the central Tanzanian town of Tabora.

He was accompanied, it said, by an entourage of armed warriors and 37 of his own children, in a procession led by a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family.

This gave the paper an explanation for its lack of photographic evidence:

"Unfortunately, because of the presence of the Saudi prince, nobody was allowed to photograph this unique whistle-stop visit."

Fantasy phones

In neighbouring Kenya, a mobile phone advertisement that seemed too good to be true turned out to be precisely that.

"Top military personnel, politicians and businessmen" were among more than 5,000 people who fell for a press advert purporting to come from a new mobile service provider, offering free handsets with built-in scratch cards, the Internet, a videocam and a TV screen, KTN TV reported.


Telephone jokes, absurd tasks for managers, warnings that the power, light or heat is to be cut off and other practical jokes are much more extravagant on 1st April than on other days - as a result, industrial efficiency in Russia falls

Parliamentary "bill" quoted by Radio Russia
The internet featured in a tall story in The Times of India.

The Mehtas, a family of keen Internet surfers in Delhi, have been acting strangely after admitting "a tiny being" into their home, it said.

The creature - known as an inter-terrestrial, or IT - speaks a language which only the 12-year-old daughter of the house has mastered.

"All that he says when the Mehtas shake his hand is: 'Sneziten, loof lirpa'," the paper said.

"When Raheena tried to decipher 'Sneziten, loof lirpa' by writing it down, she accidentally read it backwards. Now, she smiles whenever she sees her Netaholic parents."

Above their station

From Germany came a report of a scheme to raise money for the Berlin city coffers by selling off the names of railway stations to the highest bidder.

Russia's State Duma
Debating a Fools' Day holiday?
The daily Der Tagesspiegel claimed an exclusive for its report that the city fathers were hoping to raise up to DM5m per station by allowing prominent individuals and companies to sponsor them.

There was also talk of using the existing station at Richard Wagner Platz to raise funds retrospectively from the 19th century composer's descendants.

Media in the former Soviet Union were eager spinners of April Fool yarns.

Radio Russia reported that parliament was holding an emergency session to declare 1st April a public holiday on efficiency grounds.

"Telephone jokes, absurd tasks for managers, warnings that the power, light or heat is to be cut off and other practical jokes are much more extravagant then than on other days.

"As a result, expert analysis shows, industrial efficiency in Russia falls," it said.

Hair today

With equal plausibility, Russian Public TV reported the discovery of a spring in the Caucasus mountains said to cure male baldness.

The TV showed "before" and "after" pictures of the local man in the region of Adygeya who made the "discovery".

"According to the latest statistics, the number of bald men in Adygeya has plummeted," it added, solemnly.

The Earth was not enough for a newspaper in the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan, which reported that the president's daughter was in training for a space mission.

Dariga Nazarbayeva, the founder of the Khabar TV company, was preparing to go into space to launch a new Khabar satellite channel in person, Novoye Pokoleniye reported.

Khabar will have exclusive rights to dispatches from the flight, on which Ms Nazarbayeva will be accompanied by her baby daughter, it noted.

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.

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