(AFP) – Mar 31, 2011
LONDON — Portugal football star Cristiano Ronaldo is to join Spain to help ease his nation's debt crisis and Britain is to begin taxing fresh air, newspapers reported in their April Fools' Day editions.
According to the Independent broadsheet, Real Madrid winger Ronaldo has agreed to "act like a patriot" and defect to the Spanish national team, netting his debt-ravaged country 160 million euros (£141 million).
"Weighed down by debt...Portugal's finance ministry has secured the co-operation of football's highest-paid player in an audacious bid to draw the nation back from the brink of economic collapse," claimed the paper's lead.
Mirror reporter Flora Olip, coincidentally an anagram of April fool, revealed that the government was to introduced a "gasp" bill to raise taxes from fresh air.
"Olip" reported that the "Air Tariff Control" system would tax areas with fresher air while more polluted cities such as London and Manchester would be due for a rebate.
The paper "cited" a senior Environment Agency technician as saying: "Air is natural but, just like water, it is a finite resource that we have to manage sensibly".
A Labour lawmaker was apparently shocked, admitting it had "literally taken his breath away".
The Daily Express joined in the fun, reporting that a local company had developed a modified Zimmer walking frame which incorporated a skateboard for pensioners who wanted something "a little more speedy".
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