Dragons awaken and Clarkson goes green in April Fools' medley
Greece could adopt Bitcoin, global warming might awaken dragons and disgraced motoring show host Jeremy Clarkson is going green: Aprils Fools' Day jokes around Europe on Wednesday ranged from chuckle-worthy to weird.
Swedish news site Nyheter 24 said that the ice hotel in Lapland was changing its name to the Snow Star or "SS Hotel" because its name in Swedish—Ishotellet—sounded too much like IS (Islamic State).
The English football club Arsenal said it was testing a new ball for left-footers and in Italy the women's weekly Grazia said Prince William's wife Kate had given birth to a baby girl and named her "Diana".
Newspapers around the world annually let their imaginations run wild with silly stories on April 1 to catch out gullible readers—and this year was no exception.
Britain's Sun daily said music mogul Simon Cowell was to appear on a new £5 note, with football icon David Beckham tipped for the £20 note and actress Helen Mirren to replace Queen Elizabeth II on the £10 note.
Meanwhile Italy's Leaning Tower of Pisa is to be turned into a luxury hotel, said The Daily Telegraph, with tourist visits limited to two hours a day.
"They're taking the Pisa," local tour guide Mia Falova was quoted as saying by the broadsheet.
A new snore-detecting bookmark will use an alarm to stop readers from nodding off, while a chess match is being organised on the 38th parallel between North and South Korea, the paper also reported.
In Greece, where the government is locked in negotiations with its EU-IMF creditors, a news portal reported that the country could adopt Bitcoin as its official currency instead of the euro.
Greek Reporter said the plan was the personal brainchild of the country's maverick Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.
The portal said Varoufakis "surprised even his closest aides at a secret meeting when he said 'we've had enough, we'll run on Bitcoin'."
Launched in 2009 by a mysterious computer programmer, bitcoin is a form of e-money that offers a largely anonymous payment system and can be stored either virtually or on a user's hard drive.
A ministry source confirmed that the story was written in jest.
In Britain, The Guardian said that motoring presenter Clarkson, now axed from "Top Gear", the BBC's most popular programme worldwide, had done a U-turn.
The petrolhead is apparently to dedicate the rest of his career to sustainable energy, road safety and cultural tolerance, the newspaper reported.
Supermarket chain Tesco is to install trampolines in the aisles to help customers reach the top shelves, said the Daily Express.
April 1 is also a time to remember April Fools past—including a 1957 classic on British news show Panorama about a spaghetti harvest in Switzerland.
It showed footage of a family pulling pasta off spaghetti trees and putting it into baskets, ending with the line: "For those who love this dish, there's nothing like real, home-grown spaghetti."
Many in Britain believed it for years.
© 2015 AFP