Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Stop Bird Flu Like The Croatian Special Police!

Bird flu is the new binge drinking is the new hoodies. If the BBC's political sitcom of the season The Thick Of It is anything to go by, special advisers' BlackBerries up and down the land will have ben bleeping with tabloid-preempting worst-case scenarios for a fortnight. (What, no dead parrot jokes yet?)

Croatia's going in for premature panic too, after this weekend's discovery at a fish pond near NaĊĦice (Slavonia) of a handful of dead swans infected with the H5N1 strain. Slobodna Dalmacija are worried about 'a new migration of thousands of swans' into 50 habitation grounds, many of them close to urban areas, and Rijeka's daily Novi list reports that the few packs of Tamiflu which made it to the city's pharmacies have been instantly snapped up.

But the most innovative response by far came from the online edition of tabloid 24 sata, which alongside its extensive dossier on bird flu includes a stress-relieving shoot-em-up entitled Stop Bird Flu Like The Croatian Special Police!. The lack of any chequerboard-based insignia suggests to the Gazette that the game might not have started life in 24 sata's Beautiful Homeland. The backdrop of decorated fir trees and the propensity of ostensibly infected prey to turn into roast turkeys when shot suggests that it never used to have that much to do with bird flu.

Unless hrvatski specijalci are trained at Hogwarts now?

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