Angolan Temp Agency Teeming With Mercenaries

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Vol 40 Issue 02

First-Generation American's Job Taken By His Father

READING, PA—Miguel Martinez, 48, who immigrated to the U.S. 30 years ago, last week lost his leather-cutting job at GST AutoLeather, Inc. to his 66-year-old father Roberto. "I came to this country in 1974 to make a better life for my family," Martinez said Monday. "But in December, they moved the factory where I've been working for 22 years down to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. I love my father, but that goddamn beaner stole my job." Martinez's $18-an-hour duties will now be performed by his father for $7 a day.

McDonald's Introduces McCrazy Burger

OAK BROOK, IL—Responding to an over-abundance of low-cost beef, McDonald's unveiled the new five-patty McCrazy Burger Tuesday. "A pound and a half of all-American beef topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and a dollop of our new peppercorn sauce," said Melanie Haas, marketing director for the fast-food giant's Northwest region. "We promise you'll go crazy from the delicious taste of 100 percent pure beef, and not from bovine spongiform encephalopathy!" Haas refused to comment on the exact geographic origin of the cattle used in the new sandwich.

Feedback Taking Too Long To Be Positive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI—Aspiring screenwriter Stephen Helfer, 26, expressed concern Monday that feedback from friend Jason Novak regarding his screenplay The Domino Affair was taking too long to be positive. "I know Jason is a busy guy, but I gave it to him three weeks ago," Helfer said. "It didn't even take me this long to write the thing." Helfer added that he had a hunch it was a mistake to include the fourth speedboat chase.

Grandmother Can't Believe They Let People With Tattoos On Price Is Right

GREAT BEND, KS—Grandmother of nine Sadie Grunfelder, 71, expressed surprise Tuesday when a tattooed contestant was allowed to play "Buy Or Sell" on the long-running game show The Price Is Right. "I can't believe that Bob Barker would let someone with a tattoo up on stage," Grunfelder said from her recliner. "I would think they'd at least make him cover up that terrible thing. What if there are children somewhere, home sick from school, watching this show?" Luckily, Grunfelder's two other means of access to the outside world—the AARP newsletter and reruns of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman—remain tattoo-free.

Iran Moves To Ban Events Of Mass Destruction

TEHRAN, IRAN—After years of refusing to provide information about the country's underground activities, Iranian president Mohammad Khatami surprised the world Monday by announcing that the nation has decided to ban events of mass destruction. "Opening the doors to seismic reform is the first step toward ensuring a safer future for the people of Iran," Khatami announced on Al-Jazeera. "We will voluntarily make moves to ban further production of devastating seismic waves like those experienced during the earthquake in Bam." Even Iranian political and religious hardliner Ayatollah Hashemi Janati lauded the decision, stating that it "will eliminate the need to stretch our hands out for the charity of our warmongering American oppressors."

Short-Distance Relationship Too Much Work

GASTONIA, NC—After four months together, sales manager Jack Petrakis, 29, and paralegal Justine Froeger, 26, reported Tuesday that dating someone who lives in the same building isn't worth the hassle.

An Entertaining New Year

Well, 2003 is over. Happy 2004! This is one exciting year for Jackie Harvey. It's a leap year and an election year all rolled into one! What better way to start off a big year than with a big 2003 year-end wrap-up?
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Angolan Temp Agency Teeming With Mercenaries

LUANDA, ANGOLA—Operators of Keliba Temporary Services of Angola announced Monday that they have been swamped with unemployed citizens seeking temporary mercenary work.

Unemployed mercenaries wait for work in the Keliba Temporary Services office.

"It's a madhouse," said Imaculada Bimbi, manager of Keliba Temps. "When we open up in the morning, there is a line of camouflage-clad men waiting at the door."

When the rebel UNITA [National Union for the Total Independence of Angola] and the Angolan government signed a cease-fire in 2002, they ended the civil war that plagued the southwest African nation for more than 25 years, but left several hundred thousand mercenaries jobless. Around 75 percent of these soldiers-for-hire eventually turned to temping.

"Some call us five or six times a day," Bimbi said. "Others sit in the waiting room cleaning their rifles and flipping through back issues of Angola Today, just waiting for jobs to come."

Bimbi said that, because Keliba Temps maintains a waiting list and keeps applicants on file for six months, there's no reason for the men to spend the day in the office.

"If the UNITA insurgents were able to locate mercenaries on the planalto, then we should be capable of finding them in their homes," Bimbi said. "But they sit here and drink pot after pot of complimentary coffee, litter banana peels and dried fish tails on the floors, and wash their bandannas in the bathroom sink."

Bimbi explained the mercenaries' reluctance to relocate to regions with more favorable employment climates.

"Many have lived in Angola all their lives, and do not want to go all the way to the Congo or Sierra Leone to find work," Bimbi said. "Now, Angola will always have a need for qualified, experienced mercenaries, and the work they do is very valuable. But we simply have too many workers and not enough jobs."

Last month, Keliba Temps was forced to hire several extra staff members to handle the influx of mercenaries. Although Bimbi considered hiring a mercenary for the front-desk position, none of the applicants had the proper qualifications.

"Working the front desk requires communication skills, a professional appearance, patience, and the ability to type," Bimbi said. "I can't tell you how many keyboards have been split apart with machetes during our standard typing test."

Bimbi said early attempts to place mercenaries among the non-mercenary workforce ended in disaster.

"My first week here, I sent a mercenary to work on the assembly line in a PVC factory," Bimbi said. "I later learned that the mercenary had, in his former job, blown up the line supervisor's vegetable stand and kidnapped his teenage daughter."

Bimbi now attempts to do more thorough background checks.

"But it's hard," Bimbi said. "Most of our clients' references turn out to be dead."

According to Bimbi, the agency has even had problems after successfully placing a mercenary within his field.

"We always have to chase them down for their paperwork," Bimbi said. "They demand payment, but they won't hand in their time sheets. They're very good at hunting stray dogs and roasting them outside the office in that garbage can, but not so good at reporting their hours."

Keliba Temporary Services is not alone. Many Angolan temp agencies have reported problems with too many unemployed mercenaries and not enough requests for beheadings, ambushes, and torchings.

"A few months ago, we had an employer who had five mercenary openings on a team that he was sending into Namibia to overtake a rice convoy," said Jonas Lukamba, manager of the Manpower Professional Servicing branch in Menongue. "But since then, there has been nothing. We held a weekend workshop to train a group of kidnappers, torturers, and renegade pilots on Excel, but the seminar ended in bloodshed."

The mercenary field is so flooded, Lukamba said, that he regularly receives phone calls from employment agencies across the country asking if his branch has openings for mercenaries.

"These calls are very irritating," Lukamba said. "Every time the phone rings, 15 heavily armed men leap to their feet and rush the counter."

"Perhaps one day soon, a corrupt warlord will rise to power in Angola and need men to hack apart villagers and urinate on the remains," Lukamba added. "Until then, all I can do is try to get these men working as telephone solicitors."

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