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Vatican Putting Out Feelers For How Public Would React To Another Children’s Crusade

VATICAN CITY—Saying they had been giving some thought recently to the idea of sending legions of Christian boys and girls to retake the Holy Land and wanted to gauge the level of support, Vatican officials reportedly began putting out feelers Wednesday to determine how the public might react to another Children’s Crusade, much as was attempted in the year 1212.

John Kerry Scrambles To Stop Bunker’s Self-Destruct Sequence As Russian Oligarch Taunts Him From Bank Of Monitors

BOGDARNYA, RUSSIA—Working frantically to gain access to the system’s override settings at the computer terminal controlling the impending implosion, Secretary of State John Kerry scrambled to stop the self-destruct sequence of an underground bunker located thousands of feet below the Russian countryside Tuesday while oligarch Dmitry Granovsky taunted him from the numerous banks of monitors positioned throughout the facility, sources confirmed.

Islamic Awakening Inspires Man To Defect From ISIS

MOSUL, IRAQ—Telling reporters he had renounced his role as a militant and would soon be relocating in order to seek out an environment more conducive to fully devoting himself to his newfound religious faith, 24-year-old Huzaifa Quraishi confirmed Tuesday his recent Islamic awakening had inspired him to defect from ISIS.

CIA Orchestrates Coup D’État To Replace Entire Population Of Venezuela

Agency Installs Pro-American Populace Of 30 Million Venezuelan Citizens

CARACAS, VENEZUELA—Sources are confirming that the Central Intelligence Agency has orchestrated a coup d’état in the South American nation of Venezuela, toppling the country’s 30 million residents and replacing them with an entirely new, pro-American populace.

A Primer On North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains largely unknown to Americans due mainly to the secrecy and isolationism upheld by its government. The Onion provides a primer on North Korea’s people and culture

‘People Are Inherently Good,’ World Halfheartedly Mutters

NICE, FRANCE—Following yesterday’s terrorist attack in Nice, France that left over 80 people dead and scores more injured, sources reported that a dazed and utterly dejected global populace halfheartedly muttered the phrase “People are inherently good” to themselves Friday.

Louvre Curators Hurry To Display Ugly Van Gogh Donor Gave Them Before Surprise Visit

PARIS—After retrieving the eyesore from amid a clutter of unused display cases and movable stanchions in the back of the facility’s basement where it had been stowed ever since the museum received it, curators at the Louvre hurried to display an ugly Vincent van Gogh painting before the artwork’s donor made a surprise visit to the museum Friday.
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As Of This Briefing, We Have Commenced Operation Global Penumbra

Good afternoon, gentlemen, Mei-Ling, Your Grace, Madame Secretary. Welcome to the Department for Special Acquisitions and Liquidations. May I entreat you to take your seats? I thank you all for arriving early and am sorry there was not time to brief you en route. I'm sure you'll understand our need for expediency when I tell you that 18 hours and 33 minutes ago our department, sensing the worldwide sociopolitical climate was favorable to our needs, launched DSAL Project GFG-33.1 variant 4, code referent "Penumbra" in every nation you all serve and/or represent.

Please, everyone, spare me your murmurs and grumbles. After recent events in the Italian Alps, the discovery of certain...deposits in the Adirondacks, and the unforseen but certainly fortuitous crash in the Gobi, you must have at least suspected the moment was at hand. Operatives are currently working toward the goals outlined in the briefing, a document with which I hope you are familiar but which I will review now in order to be certain we are all of the same mind.

But I forget my duty as host of this august gathering. Coffee? It's quite excellent. Feel free to have some port, or a snifter of this excellent Armagnac, if you wish.

Ah, good. Now that we are all comfortable: a brief synopsis. It goes without saying that the first-approximation disposition of our globe is one of great political and financial anxiety, mixed with a certain guarded optimism. Very carefully mixed indeed, for which I must congratulate our new asst. dept. head. Well played, Mei-Ling. The cultivation and nurturing of the correct pan-cultural anxieto-psychosexual frame of reference, or "mood," is no trifling matter, and it is vital that Penumbra be carried out in a world that is ready for its implications. That Mei-Ling was able to foster this "mood" worldwide, without the creation of new churches or television networks, is a credit to all those clever lying bastards she keeps locked up on the 11th floor.

From the metaphysical to the geophysical, we go now to the map—don't blink, now, your ocular nerves will accept the retinal projection momentarily—where we see our ambitious plan for the future of the Gulf Stream is actually ahead of schedule, with all that implies for Penumbra in Europe. Luckily, the world's mere governments will still be squabbling over the Middle East, Central Asia, and the American South during the expected period of increased volcanic activity we're projecting. I'll admit, this field of study is a new one for us, and unfamiliar, but when we found our rivals were researching in the field....

We cannot afford to play catch-up. Remember Barcelona.

In any case, climactic realignment will, through drastically altered patterns of farming and tourism, also help offset the inevitable side effects of our low-level economic proxy wars on the American continent. As a sidenote, I observe that banking is still one area where we are unopposed and unequaled, although for the nth time please remember that the money question is of little importance to Penumbra. While we will lose a few trillion out of the budget, I urge you to think of that as.... Let us term it, without being cynical, an investment in large-scale urban renewal.

And the rest of the Penumbra dossier, I'm afraid, is mostly spreadsheet after spreadsheet, which any of you can read as easily as Russian—which in turn, as you'll note on page 608, will soon be as much use to anyone as Etruscan. I urge you to pay special attention to the following sections of your briefing: Tailored petro-algae, the tentative schedule for encouraging fruitful internal tensions within the Hindu faith, and for those with a flexible sense of humor, the parts dealing with China.

Again, thank you for your attention. We are in for a very active 50 years or so. Please leave the dossiers where you found them. The aides will see you to your aircraft.

Would someone wake the archbishop? Thank you, Pierre.

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