Nigeria Chosen To Host 2008 Genocides

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Issue 4050

Dad's Marine Corps Training Evident During Christmas-Present Opening

CHARLESTON, SC—Retired Cpl. Kent Packard, 58, rarely puts his Marine Corps expertise to use, except during the yearly Christmas gift exchange, family sources reported Monday. "Every year, exactly two hours after cutting the ham, Dad makes us line up by the tree, then he distributes the presents to us in increasing order of age," his 17-year-old son Jerome said. "When he unwraps his own gifts, he lines up the pieces of cardboard and plastic packaging in a neat row, like he's field-stripping a rifle." Although family members say they admire Packard's acumen, they've warned him against waking the house with a Christmas-morning bugle rendition of "Jingle Bells."

Risk Champ Flunks Geography Test

ALBANY, NY—Alfred Wu, the 13-year-old winner of the 2004 East Coast Risk Championship, flunked his 8th-grade world-geography test, social-studies teacher Jane Laurent reported Monday. "His test paper was filled with names like Kamchatka and Yakutsk, and the Ukraine spread over half of Europe," Laurent said. "And, by his account, the U.S. is made up of only three states: Eastern United States, Western United States, and Alaska." Last week, Wu received an "F" on a paper he wrote about Napoleonic military Stratego.

Area Man Too Busy For His Buddy Phil, Eh?

JEFFERSON CITY, MO—College chum Steve Maeske is apparently too busy to give his buddy Phil a quick ring, sources reported Monday. "Phil, honestly, you know I'd love to go out to help you celebrate your birthday," said Maeske, who's been like a ghost ever since he married that Veronica woman. "It's just that, with work and the new baby, I don't have a spare minute. Come on, you can understand, can't you?" Sources close to Maeske don't see why he can't go out for one damn beer.

Sports-Related Murder Provides Perfect Local-News Segue

PHOENIX—The arrest of former Arizona State running back Darius Cantrell in connection with a homicide provided the perfect segue from local news to the sports report on KPHO CBS 5's News At Ten Monday. "Cantrell, who is charged with stabbing his ex-girlfriend 38 times, is being held without bail," anchor Diana Sullivan said. "Speaking of sports, can the Cardinals' coach bail the team out of a third-place finish in the NFC West? Our own Gary Cruz will have the verdict after the break." It was the station's most convenient transition to sports since May 1996, when an anchor moved from a piece on sex toys with the phrase, "and speaking of long double headers..."

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Housewives

We Americans are not strangers to hardship. We have endured economic woes, enmity between the states, and protracted campaigns in foreign lands. We have survived imperialist wars; we have survived unexpected attacks; we have seen countless lives wasted. Since America declared its independence, each successive generation has met a unique and unexpected challenge, but ours is the first to face the worst hardships of many generations in legion. Fellow citizens, we are living in desperate times, and desperate times call for Desperate Housewives.

Stopping Steroids

Major League Basball is under pressure to impose tougher rules against steroids. How do they plan to prevent the use of performance-enhancing drugs?

Spawn Of Santa

It's Christmastime again, and for your old pal Jean, that means one thing: limited-term seasonal employment. This year, my job is something I've done before. I'm wrapping gifts at the Northway Mall in the town where I grew up, about 30 minutes from Casa Teasdale. It pays seven bucks an hour, and there's quite a lot of sitting-around time on weekday mornings. But weekends are a whole different story! (Boy, if you ever start a business, hang a banner reading "Free Gift Wrapping Here!" People will wait in line for 25 minutes to avoid buying their own Scotch tape.)

Family Secret Turns Out To Be Boring

MINNETONKA, MN—After nearly 30 years of subterfuge, Michael Henderson's parents Doug and Pam broke down and revealed their painful family secret, which turned out to be unbelievably boring, their son reported Monday.

Lawyers Separate Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen In 17-Hour Procedure

HOLLYWOOD—Attorneys representing Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen separated the career-conjoined twins in a harrowing, 17-hour procedure Monday. "Because they lived symbiotically for so many years, the most difficult task was methodically detaching each of their shared credits," said Divorah Kessler, one of the heroic lawyers on the five-person team. "After carefully removing the ampersand between their names and replacing it with a comma, we'll attempt to construct an individual persona for each girl." Lawyers on both sides list the girls' chances for solo-career survival as "fair."

Area Man Suspicious Of Wrap

ERIE, PA—Local resident and frequent fast-food-restaurant patron Don Turnbee said Monday that he was "still a little leery" of the wrap he'd ordered from the Jefferson Street Subway sandwich shop minutes before.
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Special Coverage


Nigeria Chosen To Host 2008 Genocides

ABUJA, NIGERIA—At a celebratory press conference Monday, President Olusegun Obasanjo announced that Nigeria's troubled but oil-rich city of Warri has been chosen to host the 2008 Genocides.

Annan congratulates Obasanjo.

"Nigeria is excited for this chance to follow in the footsteps of Somalia, Rwanda, and Sudan," Obasanjo said. "Much work remains to be done, but all of the building blocks are in place. Nigeria has many contentious ethnic groups, a volatile economy, and a dependence on food imports. We are well on our way to making 2008 a genocidal year to remember in Nigeria!"

Obasanjo acknowledged that many people considered Nigeria, a relatively stable West African nation, an unlikely candidate to host the Genocides.

"With a multi-party government transitioning from military to civilian rule, Nigeria is not a shoo-in to host the Genocides," Obasanjo said. "But last week's municipal election—with ballot shortages and multiple accusations of vote tampering—showed the world that Nigeria is, indeed, geared up for the unimaginable."

Oni Radhiya, a spokesman from the 2004 Genocide Board, said September's crippling polio outbreak may have helped Nigeria beat out the competition.

"Sudan was a fantastic host this year—the 2004 Genocides have really raised the bar," Radhiya said. "For 2008, many of us on the committee had our eyes on Tajikistan. The country's ongoing ethnic and religious strife made it a strong contender. But there was some concern that the conflict was as likely to simmer down as it was to boil over."

Radhiya added that Iraq was ruled out because the country is unlikely to exist three and a half years from now.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that, after a close examination of all bids, a Nigerian genocide "began to seem almost inevitable."

"Nigeria's stability has been repeatedly threatened by fighting between fundamentalist Muslims and Christians," Annan said. "Five of Nigeria's seven political parties are extremist groups. The nation's ethnic Yoruba, Hausa, and Ibo populations of the oil-rich Niger Delta area also show genocidal promise."

A newly erected billboard in Makurdi.

Annan said he first noticed the full genocidal potential of soon-to-be embattled Nigeria in September, when the Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force threatened to shut down oil production.

"With so many poor and powerless people involved in messy, years-old conflicts, the situation is likely to be ignored long enough for things to get really ugly," Annan said. "And, of course, the slow-to-move, ineffectual UN will do everything it can to help shepherd Nigeria into a combined religious, political, and economic disaster of horrific proportions."

According to Nigerian officials, now that their country has secured the bid, the government has much work to do.

"Don't think we'll just sit on our hands and wait for a crippling drought to pit neighbor against neighbor," Nigerian Minister of State Bello Usman said. "No, the next two years will be crucial. We need to default on our $2 billion IMF loan, invest the entire treasury in the overhead-heavy petroleum business, and turn a blind eye to regional guerrilla groups. That'd be a good start. After that, food shipments must fall into rebel hands, armed forces must go unpaid, and the emerging national infrastructure must be allowed to deteriorate."

Added Usman: "There's a lot to accomplish, but I promise you this: By early 2008, ashes will blacken the sky and blood will run in the streets."

According to Red Cross programming director Ellen Schumacher, genocide, once a spectacle that drew the attention of the entire world, has received less attention in recent years, drawing an ever-diminishing Western audience.

"The most glaring problem has been a time-zone issue, since most of the proceedings take place during inconvenient, off-peak viewing times," Schumacher said. "But, as an oil-rich nation, Nigeria is much more likely to build a viewer base in the West. Perhaps the country will even be able to get one of the networks to pony up for exclusive rights."