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Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Senior Assistant Editor, The Times of India newspaper

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Euro 2004 abandoned

Euro 2004 has been abandoned on the eve of the semi-finals in Portugal.

England, Spain, Germany and France have exerted pressure on the European Championship 2004 Organizing Committee after they all failed to enter the semi-finals.

The quartet said the tournament was no longer world class with unknown football playing countries in the semi-final lineup.

Portugal play Holland and Greece play the Czech Republic in the semi-finals.

England has stated that it had to be declared winner of the championship.

Top football stars, including David Beckham of England stand to lose millions of dollars as their countries have not made it to the Euro 2004 finals.

Sky Sports said it would not telecast any further games, if the tournament went ahead. A spokesman said they were not ready for poor viewer rating.

The French have said they lost as French fries were not available at any restaurant in Portugal. ‘That affected our players’ stamina,’ a dejected supporter said from Paris over the videophone.

Beckham blamed his team’s loss on Rebecca Loos, his ‘alternative wife’ in Spain, where he plays for Real Madrid. ‘I suddenly thought of Loos at the penalty shootout against France, and my shot landed in Spain,’ Beckham joked.

The Spanish team said it was a washout as the rain in Portugal did not stay mainly in the plains.

Hollywood takes over Bollywood

Hollywood, the United States’ multi-billion dollar movie industry has taken over India’s Hindi cinema industry, popularly known as Bollywood.

The new industry will now be known as Bhollywood.

Both industries hope to gain from the multi-trillion dollar takeover as far as finance and talent are concerned.

Hollywood bigwigs are said to have long envied many Indian film stars for their acting skills and large fan following. Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan's fan following is said to be 10 times more than that of any Hollywood star's worldwide fan following.

With the takeover, there will be a sharing of talent from both sides. Hollywood’s stars, directors, producers, camera men and others will teach the Indian stars more about sex scenes and gore, while Bollywood’s stars and their secretaries, directors, producers and others will teach their US counterparts about ‘song and dance’ skills.

Bachchan, the Big B of Indian cinema, and George W Bush, the Big B of the United States of America, signed the takeover deal in Washington DC.

The entire signing ceremony, which has been videotaped, will be released as a movie on the big screen in theaters in the US and India. It will be called The Signs.

The deal implies that it will be easier for Hollywood stars to act in Hindi films and Bollywood stars to act in Hollywood films.

Joint productions are expected shortly. In fact, the first Hollywood-Bollywood production Gangs of Mumbai, starring Hollywood's Leonardo DiCaprio and India's Aishwarya Rai, is expected in a few months. Mumbai is India's film capital.

Bollywood’s stars were the first to react to news about the takeover.

Rai, a former beauty queen, and now one of India’s top actresses, said she was glad that finally she would be able to earn her living in dollars.

Rani Mukherjee said she would change her name to Queen Mukherjee. ‘Rani’ is the Hindi term for Queen. Similarly, Shah Rukh Khan will change his name to Lord Rukh Khan.

Abhishek Bachchan, the star son of Amitabh Bachchan, is said to be in Washington too, busy signing deals for movie roles in Hollywood blockbusters planned for next year.

'The Hindi cinema industry is in the dumps, with an increasing number of flops. The takeover is welcome,' the Junior Bachchan said.

Hollywood stars Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson and others are in Mumbai to sign deals with Hindi film producers and directors.

With the takeover, the signing of deals has been simplified. All the stars will have to do is put their thumb impression on the papers, as many Indians sign important documents in remote villages.

A top film scriptwriter in Mumbai heaved a sigh of relief on hearing the news of the takeover. 'At least now I will not have to lift scripts and story ideas from Hollywood flicks,' he said.

US plans to invade India

United States President George W Bush, at a late night meeting with top aides at the White House, has approved of a plan to invade India.

The President told his aides that with the handing over of power in Iraq, US troops would shortly be without any action, and the best option was to invade India.

His aides agreed with him immediately and got about working out strategy.

Colin Powell, who has visited India many times on peace-making missions, will take over as US Administrator, it has been agreed.

CIA spies and FBI agents in India are said to have reported back to the US administration that the time was right for an invasion. The official reason to be given would be India’s latest peace efforts with Pakistan, which would be detrimental to India-US relations.

The President is said to be upset with the recent anti-America statements of the new Congress Party-led government. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in a recent nationally telecast address to the nation said, ‘If it is a choice between them and us, I will choose them.’

Political pundits were perplexed over the meaning of the terms ‘them’ and ‘us’ but Bush’s aides stated that it clearly implied the Indian government was not supporting ‘us’, the US.

A platoon of US troops is slated to walk into Parliament when the House is in session shortly, and take control of the country.

A Bush aide said the troops would stay put in Parliament till the situation there improved, in an obvious reference to repeated unruly scenes in the House.

Death dies in remote Indian village

Death died an untimely death at a remote village in India.

Death was aged more than 50 billion years old and was living a reclusive life in the village, which the Indian authorities have refused to identify for national security reasons as they feared a deadly backlash from purists.

Psychoanalysts said with Death’s death the whole world would live forever.

God and Satan have deeply mourned the ‘unfortunate death’ of Death. In a first of its kind joint press release they said the death would affect residency at Heaven and Hell.

Both said they would work out a joint project that ensures people die so that they can go to either Heaven or Hell.

They have approached the multinational Glaxo to work out a drug to kill people when the time comes for their souls to depart from Earth.

The two said if all their efforts fail, as a last resort, they would shift operations to Mars.

The Pope has welcomed the long-awaited death of Death.

He waved his hand and offered a smile when asked for his reaction.

Saisuresh Sivaswamy, a godman from India, said he was busy with other earthly matters concerning life and death, and that he would e-mail his response at a later date.

The Art of Living Foundation spokeswoman Neema Kamdar said it was a major victory for Foundation founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, all his followers and the living universe.

Pakistan President flees to Chile

Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf has fled his country and has sought asylum in Chile.

The desperate action came after Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali resigned.

United States President George W Bush has announced that American troops have landed at Karachi airport and would take control of the situation shortly, to prevent rioting and bloodshed.

Pakistan’s neighbor India said it would not intervene, but would not mind sending its troops to patrol the country, if asked to by the US.

In Chile, Musharraf said he had fled ‘my beloved country’ after a man flashed a Swiss knife at him, at a public meeting. ‘I feared for my life,’ he admitted.

On why he chose Chile, Musharraf laughed and said, ‘Everybody has the impression that it is hot in Chile, as they associate the country’s name with pungent chillies. In fact, it’s a cool place. It’s quite chilly here.’

The general said he had no intention stage a military coup in Chile.

Initial reports on www.drudgereport.com had stated that Musharraf had staged a coup in Chile.

In Washington, Bush said he would fly down to Chile to convince Musharraf to return to Pakistan, as the country needed him very badly.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports coming in said former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would be approached to be Pakistan’s new president-cum-prime minister.

Excite.com to launch 2 GB female

www.excite.com has announced plans for the delivery of a 2 GB female.
This comes close on the heels of Internet giants announcing boosts in email storage.
Gmail started off with a beta launch of 1 GB email storage, for free. Then came yahoo.com with 100 MB, for free. rediff.com followed with 1 GB, again for free. Then, hotmail.com…
Not to be left behind in the race, and to come up with something more exciting, excite.com said its 2 GB female would be unbeatable.
She has taken about nine months in the making and is due for delivery anytime now, Mr Bill, who manages the gates of a private hospital in California, said.
Doctors refused to announce the 2 GB female’s ‘mother,’ but one nurse at the hospital said the female would be really hot and strong, with a capability to fight all diseases and spam.
The female will deliver males at lightning speed, to any place in the world, excite.com announced.
A friend of the mother who will deliver the female baby, who has seen an X-ray image of the fetus in the womb, predicted that anyone would get excited on seeing the female. She will be the sexiest woman on earth, the friend said.
Feminists all over the world have welcomed the announcement.

Queen, Blair, Beckham quit over Euro2004 defeat

The Queen, Prime Minister Tony Blair and team captain quit their posts over England’s shocking defeat by Portugal in the Euro2004.
‘How can I be the Queen of a nation that no longer rules the world,’ asked an obviously embarrassed Queen.
Blair said he could not bear to hear the news of the defeat after successive war victories in the Falklands and Iraq.
David Beckham said the English were good losers. He said he would hang up his boot s and spend more time with his family, especially his wife Posh.
It was not clear who will take their places.
The entire nation was in a state of shock after the 5-6 defeat in the penalty shootout.
A British football fan in Portugal said she would give up her British citizenship and would apply for asylum in Portugal.
As a mark of solidarity, the British press has decided to blackout further coverage of the Euro2004 football feast in Portugal.
United States President George W Bush offered his heartfelt sympathies to England following their defeat. He said he would use his good offices and convince the European Union Parliament to ensure that England were included back in the tournament.
If the request was turned down, he said, the US would along with the British quit the European Union.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Scientist develops rat to kill all cats

Indian scientist P Rajendran has developed a new species of pink rats that will be capable of killing cats.
Rajendran, who is based in New York City, said it was payback time to the cats, which he has detested since childhood. ‘One of these feline creatures scratched me when I was a kid. I pledged revenge at that very moment,’ he said.
The new breed of rats will have 18 lives.
Rajendran said he had developed the super breed after feeding a female rat a concoction of rum and cola over four years. With that, the rats will always be in the pink of health, he said.
Rajendran’s boss at his laboratory, Prem Panicker, said he was proud of him and would recommend his name for the next Nobel Prize for Science.
Panicker said that they would now try out the rum and cola combination on human beings, to see if they have 18 lives and always be in the pink of health.
Anita Bora, a lover of cats, and a former employee of the laboratory, said she was shocked by the development. ‘How could he do this? I will consult my scientist friends, who will develop a breed of cats which will have 36 lives.’
Haysi Pande-Daniel, a lover of all living creatures, has called for a truce from her holiday hideout somewhere in India. ‘We must not get into a rat race,’ she said.
Suparn Verma, a scriptwriter for many hit Hindi films, said he would launch a film ‘Rats’ to take on the Broadway musical ‘Cats’ next year.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

God sacks Pope

God has sacked Pope John Paul II. The dismissal came soon after a 10-minute telephone conversation the two had.
Sources said God was very unhappy with the way the Pole was handling the world’s problems. ‘You don’t seem to have worked out a peaceful solution to any of the world’s problems,’ God told the Pope.
‘What is your use in that chair?’ he went on to ask the leader of the Catholic Church in Vatican.
‘I you are unwell, please quit immediately,’ the Pope was told.
Sources said that God was livid after he read recent press reports that Catholic priests were involved in sex scandals.
FedEx sources said newspapers for the last few years were delivered to Heaven only recently.
God was said to have been all the more upset when the Pope replied to him in Polish, which he could not understand.
It is not clear what the Pope whispered to God over the telephone.
Time magazine’s Man of the Century was said to have spent a sleepless night after the call, sources in the Vatican said.
A decision on a new Pope, God said, will be taken in a week. Alexander Pope is said to be the frontrunner.

Al Qaeda beheads Bush

The Al Qaeda has claimed that it has beheaded United States President George W Bush.
The Al Jazeera television network said it had a video of the beheading but refused to air it.
A worldwide hunt is underway for the killers and the President’s body.
Unconfirmed reports said a headless body had been found in a rice field near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency said they were yet to confirm the identity of the body.
The terrorist organization said the US President was beheaded in retaliation against the killing and torture of hundreds of Iraqi citizens and the illegal occupation of Iraq.
The President had repeatedly vowed to break the back of the terrorist organization, which he blamed for 9/11 and subsequent attacks in various parts of the world, aimed at countries involved in the global war against terrorism.
World leaders, including French President Jacques Chirac, have condemned the killing.
‘I have lost a very close and personal friend,’ he told French television.
Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who is being held by the US authorities at an undisclosed location, told Al Jazeera that he would stake claim to return to Iraq and would also contest the coming American presidential election.
He said the Americans would elect him with an overwhelming majority. ‘I love you, America! Long live America,’ he said.
Vice President Dick Cheney has assumed all the responsibilities of the President and a state of emergency has been declared in the US.
Meanwhile, news was coming in that a senior Al Qaeda leader had trimmed many overgrown bushes in his frontyard, at a secret location.

Indian actress bills Clinton for sex

An Indian actress has claimed that former United States President Bill Clinton had sex with her and has not yet paid the bill.
The Bollywood (the Indian equivalent of Hollywood) star, who refused to be identified, said she would send across her bill and all documents to the United States Supreme Court after she filed a formal complaint at an American police station, for sexual exploitation and unpaid bills.
The proof, she said, included flight tickets, hotel bookings and steamy photographs.
The star said that Clinton had sex with her during his India visit March 2000.
On why she had held back her claim for nearly four years, she said that she did not want to tarnish the former President’s image.
‘He was such a sweetheart in bed. But, that #$@!^ has not paid me! He’d better pay me, with 20 percent interest,’ she said.
The actress said she was very upset that she was not mentioned in his just-released memoirs, My Life.
‘The least he could have done, was mention that he had sex with me,’ she said.
If Clinton refuses to pay the bill, and the court refuses to settle the case in her favor, she said she would release the steamy photographs to the web site www.memoryhole.org
The actress has played major roles in many Hindi movies in the late 1990s. For many years, no good, paying role has come her way, she said, admitting that she was in desperate need of money to maintain her lifestyle.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Google to shut down Gmail

Google confirmed that it will shut down its beta Gmail email service in July.
In emails sent out to its high-end users, it stated that it could not keep up with the number of subscriptions and advised them to avoid using the entire 1 GB it was offering as storage space.
In a related and shocking development, which is being seen as a slap in the face for Google, an Indian based portal is offering 1 GB email storage space for free.
www.rediff.com is now technically the first to offer 1 GB email storage space, as Gmail is still under testing.
Gmail said that due to a bug, invites were being sent out, though the servers could not cope with the traffic.
Yahoo, which also upgraded it service to offer 100 MB has been hit twice by server problems.
Google said it would quit the email business and would search for fresh options to invest the millions of dollars it has.
A source said that many of the invites Gmail had sent out to its subscribers were lying by the waysides of cyberspace and street corners.
One Gmail user confirmed, 'I saw invites, which could easily total up to 1 GB, lying around, unused.'
Some Gmail users said they had already started moving important mail to other email accounts.
Others said they were using Google to search for other free email options.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Sachin Tendulkar to captain Pakistan team

Cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar announced in Mumbai (India) that he would captain the Pakistan team.
The shocking announcement came soon after former England Test player Bob Woolmer was named coach of the Pakistan national team following the sacking of Javed Miandad by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
It was Woolmer who convinced Tendulkar to switch sides, it is learned.
Tendulkar told close friend and cricket columnist Clayton Murzello that he would shift to Pakistan next month. ‘This is too much. I have repeated been ignored by the national selectors. They have not appointed me captain for many years. Why should I tolerate this humiliation?’ he told Murzello in an exclusive interview, excerpts of which were made available to thespoof.com.
Tendulkar said he expected to be at least appointed Sports Minister in the new government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh. ‘I voted Congress. And now they have left me in the lurch,’ he said.
He said Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf had telephoned him and welcomed his decision.
With this, Pakistan hopes to hit back at India. Both nations have fought wars and are at present involved in a cold war.

Illiteracy for all by 2007, says UN

The United Nations has announced a revolutionary plan that will turn the entire world into illiterates by 2007.
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan announced that the world body had realized after much research that literacy was bad for all-round development and peace.
‘Highly literate people are fighting wars with each other. They refuse to speak to each other, to work out a peaceful solution to any problem. That is why literacy will be wiped out,’ he said.
He admitted that literacy was evil. ‘Look at the bad influence books have on people. All problems will be solved if people cannot read and write,’ he said confidently.
All books will be dumped in oceans or burned at street corners on World Illiteracy Day, the date of which will be announced shortly.
All schools will be shut down, he said. Most world governments immediately welcomed the move and said thousands of millions of dollars would be saved, which could be used for development.
Many top scholars and writers, who all refused to be identified, welcomed the move.

WWF plans newspaper for animals

The World Wildlife Fund has announced plans for a special newspaper for animals.
The free newspaper will take about a year to launch but dry runs are on.
There will be special editions dogs, cats, horses, cows and even pandas.
To be published by Rupert Murdoch, it will have animal-related advertisements.
Simba, who starred in the Lion King movie series, is likely to be named the newspaper’s editor.
At a press conference deep inside an African jungle, Murdoch expressed confidence that the newspaper would be widely read. ‘We think animals are dumb creatures. They are not. They too want to read the news,’ the media baron stated.
‘As a bonus, Page 3 will feature a nude female animal everyday,’ Murdoch added.
The newspaper will use environment friendly newsprint, which can be easily digested by the animals after reading it.

Tower of Pisa to stop leaning

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has decided to stop leaning.
A spokesperson for the tower said the Torre Pendente Di Pisa was tired of leaning all these years and had decided to straighten up.
The authorities plan to invite world leaders to a special function, when the tower will officially stop leaning.
Among the world leaders expected for the function are George W Bush (US) and Tony Blair (UK).
A special invitee is Sonia Gandhi of the Congress Party that won the recent election in India. Sonia has Italian origins.
Architect Tomasso di Andrea da Pontedera had realized that the Leaning Tower could not be straightened. In 1178, the lean became obvious, when the tower had reached a height of 10.6 meters.
The Tower of Pisa was built to show the rest of the world the wealth of the city of Pisa.

Ford to gift 1 million invisible cars

Ford Motors plans to manufacture 1 million invisible cars by early next year. The limited edition vehicles will be given away on a priority basis to morons, illiterate people, gangsters, scamsters and corrupt politicians.
Others wanting to own one of the prized vehicles will have to visit a web site it has specially created and dedicated to this modern day marvel.
The web site has half a question, which has to be answered everyday, till the day of the car’s official launch. The half question will remain unchanged but to qualify to win the prize, one has to visit the site everyday, again till the car’s official launch.
The cars will be visible only to its owners.
No other details were available on the till now top secret project, which is bound to shakeup the car industry.
Rival car manufacturers refused to comment.
Secretaries to five CEOs of top car makers said their bosses were out on the road, driving, and could not take calls.
To coincide with the invisible car, Shell officially announced an invisible gas, on which the cars will run.
The web site to be visited daily is: The Ford Invisible Car

Monday, June 14, 2004

1,000 Gmail accounts for free!

Gmail account holder Anthony D'Costa announced that he was gifting away 1,000 Gmail accounts for free.
To win a free account, all that one has to do is read this report totally, D'Costa announced.
Within seconds of you finishing, an invitation will be sent to your e-mail account automatically, he said.
Gmail has gifted invites to D'Costa as he is an active blogger (weblog) on its www.blogger.com.
D'Costa, who is popularly known as Danto, said that he wanted to impress God and gain direct entry into Heaven with having done 1,000 good deeds before he dies.
D'Costa repeated clarified that there would be no charge on the Gmail account, but each person was entitled to only one account.
Gmail authorities lauded D'Costa's good deed and announced that he would shortly be given another 1,000 accounts to gift away.
D'Costa's colleagues revealed that he receives nearly 1,000 e-mails everyday.
(PS: I got many emails, pleading with me, for a free Gmail account)

Friday, June 11, 2004

Donald ducks questions at birthday party

Donald Duck ducked reporters’ questions at a post-birthday party press conference at Disneyland.
It was a big day for the world's best-known lisping waterfowl, who turned 70.
‘This is a duck with one short fuse and an amazing (if unintelligible) command of language, and when things don't go right, he goes ballistic,’ Donald's Disney history explains. But ‘Donald Duck has a good heart and always has good intentions. Well, almost always.’
Immortalised in 128 cartoons, and on merchandise, Donald refused to reveal the secret of not looking his age. He only quipped, ‘Hiya, toots.’
On whether he planned marriage, he said, ‘Aw, phooey.’
When asked whether there was truth in reports that he had plans to retire, he said, ‘Nothin' to it.’
He refused to elaborate on any of his 70 answers to 70 questions, leaving the 70 reporters flustered.
Served at the birthday party earlier, were Peking Duck, Tea Smoked Duck, Crispy Duck and Roast Duck.

Reagan begins ‘blog’ from Heaven

Former United States President Ronald Reagan, who died June 5 after suffering for long from Alzheimer’s disease, has begun ‘blogging’ from Heaven.
The former Hollywood star with a cowboy image was said to be bored and thus decided to start a weblog.
On arrival at Heaven’s gates, God himself welcomed him, as St Peter was said to be too low down the line to welcome a former US President.
With no horses, Hollywood or White House in Heaven, Reagan was hit by boredom within minutes of his arrival.
Zaki Ansari, an Indian who surfs the Internet literally 24 hours a day/night, discovered the ‘blog’ and confirmed that it was by the former President, with the internet provider’s address indicating Heaven.
‘Yeah, he confirmed that fact in a conversation (official Gmail term for email) with me,’ Ansari said.
‘Blogging’ is a craze that has hit the Internet world, with people posting their thoughts and providing links to interesting articles they notice.
One of Reagan’s posts speaks of the cool time he is having in God’s kingdom.
Another spoke of his meeting with former dictator and ‘my dearest buddy’ Idi Amin.
In yet another post, he thanked the world for their condolences and joked, ‘Hey guys, just come up here. It’s one helluva place!’
Reagan’s blog can be visited at ronaldreagan.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 10, 2004

CBS News 60 Minutes program off the air

60 Minutes, the CBS News magazine providing a ‘blend of hard-hitting investigative reports, interviews, feature segments and profiles of people in the news,’ has been taken off the air.
The action follows a comment by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell that the ‘most successful broadcast in television history’ had ‘violated basic norms in broadcasting and had cheated on its viewers.’
Asked by journalists to explain the crackdown on the CBS program, Powell said it was noticed repeatedly that 60 Minutes went much beyond its stipulated 60 minutes schedule.
The revelation came after a nearly one-month investigation, when Commission members actually timed the program, along with the advertisements.
Commission sources said very often the program was 60 minutes and 2 seconds long.
A CBS News spokesman denied the program was off the air. ‘It will be back in 60 minutes,’ he insisted.
60 Minutes was created in 1968 by Don Hewitt.
The FCC has meanwhile reached a nearly $2 million settlement with Clear Channel Communications to resolve a number of indecency complaints that include shock jock Howard Stern.

All-white, all-black newspapers soon

Media tycoons in the United Kingdom and South Africa have planned an all-white newspaper and all-black newspaper respectively.
Though the tycoons' names have not been released, details of the top secret newspaper projects have started filtering out.
First to be launched will be the all-white newspaper. The newspaper will be printed on white paper with white ink, sources said.
The tabloid, to be published from London, will be circulated around the world, only to Whites.
It will have an all-White staff: from publisher, down to editor, sub-editors and office staff, including distributors.
The newspaper boys who will deliver the tabloid will also be only White.
Subscribers will informed over the telephone on how they can read the newspaper.
Sources close to the project allayed potential readers’ fears about how they would be able to read a newspaper with white paper and white ink, and said there was technology to handle that problem but refused to reveal details.
Not to be outdone, Blacks in South Africa have planned a similar project, except that all things white will be replaced by black.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch while denying a role in any of the two projects, welcomed them. 'Now, at least, people will be able to read the news in black and white,' he said in a statement.
Pop star Michael Jackson, contacted at a secret location, condemned the projects as racist and said, 'It Don't Matter If You're Black Or White.'
The newspapers have tentatively been named The White News and The Black News.

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