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12.03.2007 General News

A British prank story on President Kufuor

By The Statesman

Go to Google news search and type in Ghana and you are immediately hit by the headline: 'Visiting President Failed to Notice Flags on Route.' The lead story on the website of News Biscuit ( yesterday is shocking and seemingly very insulting of our President. It reads:

"A visiting head of state being driven to Buckingham Palace this week failed to notice the enormous trouble and expense that Britain had gone to in lining the entire length of the Mall with his country"s national flag.

“President John Agyekum Kufour of Ghana arrived in London on Wednesday and was driven straight to a royal reception. But the official driver charged with whisking him to Buckingham Palace said the President completely failed to look out of the window, despite several hints from the driver's seat. 'He was reading the instructions for the new watch he got at the airport' said Ken Smithson, the official chauffeur who drove him to meet the Queen. 'As we came through Admiralty Arch, the sun was shining down the Mall and all you could see was union flags and the red, yellow and green of Ghana. It brought a patriotic lump to my throat, to be honest, I thought we'd done him proud' said Mr Smithson. But President Kufour apparently remained transfixed by his new watch, cursing the unexpected beeps that came when he pressed various buttons.”

The report continues, “There are over a hundred flagpoles in the Mall, and for official visits, the avenue is lined with alternate flags of Britain and the visiting head of state, denoting the partnership and peace between the two nations. Staff from the Royal Parks generally take a week to ten days ensuring that all the flags look just right for the moment the visiting national leader arrives. The enormous flags also have to be washed and pressed before they are put up and the entire operation costs Britain hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

It goes on to allegedly quote the driver, 'I kept saying to him. Looks like they've laid on quite a welcome for you sir…' but he never looked up once. He just said 'How do you stop it beeping on the hour?' and 'Why are the two different times on the digital bit?'

But, in an attempt to make the story more credible, it continues, “Talks between the President and trade minister Ian McCartney went ahead as planned although progress was hampered by Mr McCartney reportedly saying 'What's that bloody beeping noise I keep hearing.'”

The Office of the President confirmed to The Statesman Saturday that the story was a complete hoax, “showing that bad journalism is an international problem.”

The President was due to fly out Sunday.

But, a further browse through the stories on the News Biscuit website gives clear indication about the credibility and philosophy of the news site. One story reads: “Three year old Timmy Frampton admitted that toddlers were not winning the War on Pigeons and a new strategy was required if the conflict was to be resolved.

It quotes the boy as saying: 'For too long our tactics have been to run at the pigeons with our arms outstretched, screaming. This has proved a miscalculation.' he said, addressing cross-legged representatives of local playgroups. 'The pigeons have a superior air force, to be sure, but we have far greater strength during a ground offensive. The pigeons often run for a few feet before taking off just before we can get hold of them. If we can stop them from flying away we will have them.'

Another story said budget airline RyanAir of Ireland will now charge their passengers according to their weights. The airline has reportedly unveiled their new 'pay as you weigh' pricing policy that will mean extra charges for customers exceeding the airline's recommended flying weight. Under their revised terms and conditions those passengers deemed to be 'fatties' will be charged an increasing scale of penalty charges for the extra fuel costs they incur the airline.

“RyanAir boss Michael O'Leary said he had done his utmost to deter fat people from flying on his airline, over-pricing the sandwiches or just having no food on sale whatsoever, but fat people simply resorted to boarding his planes with big bags of sandwiches, crisps and fizzy drinks,” News Biscuit quotes him.

Henceforth RyanAir customers will be required to give details of their height and weight at the point of booking. Those with a body mass index over 26 will be charged GBP25 for every BMI point they are over the limit. These criteria have drawn heavy criticism from air travellers claiming that they are 'big boned' and pointing out that 'muscle weighs more than fat'.

The paper further 'discloses' that an ace cartoon investigation team have been using violence to extract confessions. It reads: “The crime fighting kids made famous by the Scooby Doo TV series secured false confessions through violence and intimidation according to new papers released this week.

“The claim has been made by lawyers working for the acquittal of the so-called 'Scooby Doo 86', the large number of ageing prisoners in jail since the 1970s who all claim they were framed by the 'meddling kids and their dog'. They point to strikingly similar patterns in each account of their bizarre and convoluted crimes, and that the fact that the only stranger the kids ever met was always the person whom they fingered at the end.”

It would not have been complete without a Romeo and Juliet kind of romance. The News Biscuit reports that doctors treating “Barry Wilkins today described the failed heart transplant surgery that took place on Valentine's Day and resulted in his death as 'really quite romantic.'

“Mr Wilkins, who had a condition known as cardiac hypertrophy, had been waiting for a suitable donor for sixteen months when his girlfriend, Miranda Lewis was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident on Monday. Soon after doctors were delighted to discover that she was a genetic match.”

One apparently visibly moved nurse said, “She literally gave him her heart. I wish my boyfriend would do that for me.”