BEIJING — Chinese tourism officials say that despite what the world thinks about China’s air quality and pollution levels, the soot in the air actually makes for better skiing. 

“We call our special snow, enhanced carbon snow,” said Xi Huan Pang, assistant deputy to the deputy minister of the China National Tourism Administration. “You will not find enhanced carbon snow in America, in Aspen or Vail, or Swiss Alps. This is snow unique to the People’s Republic of China.”

Although the children of Chinese leaders and those of prominent scientists are forbidden to spend time on the snow, authorities say that has nothing to do with health concerns.

“And even if they did, what is the big deal about health concerns,” asked Pang.  “We have good health in China. Very healthy people. We have good sport. We have good ski mountain.”

Skeptics however feel China is not being completely forthcoming.

“If you look closely at the picture of the mountain, it actually looks like it’s a pile of dirty snow that was plowed in a supermarket parking lot or something and was Photoshopped on top of a smog-covered landscape,” said Mark Sweeney of New Jersey. “I mean, seriously, if the fake picture makes the slopes look disgusting, I can’t imagine how terrible the real slopes must look.”

Pang said he would not comment specifically on the photo provided by the Chinese government, except to say that “nothing done in China is fake.”   MF_Logo-Bxed20

LONDON — The ISIS propaganda machine earned the terror group top honors at the International PR Awards for its ability to generate global news coverage as well as for its effective use of social media.

Despite winning top honors in those areas, however, ISIS did receive poor marks for its branding.

“They’ve changed their name a few times, from AQAP to ISIS to Islamic State, and you have some people referring to the group as ISIL or daesh, so there’s a branding disconnect there,” said Nigel Brandt, executive director of the International PR Awards. “Plus, look at their flag. It’s black with a message written in Arabic script. Most people can’t read that message, so I don’t think their branding is as universal as it could be.”

In addition to awarding its top honors, the International PR Awards also recognizes public relations efforts that have not been so successful.

This year’s winners in that category (technically the losers) were a tie: The Hillary Clinton PR team for its numerous gaffes, and the public affairs team for the city of Ferguson, Mo., for obvious reasons.   MF_Logo-Bxed20


MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly furious that nobody cares about him being mocked in political cartoons for his involvement in Ukraine, and aides say he’s become increasingly envious of the Prophet Mohammed and the zealousness of his supporters.

“No one is threatening to kill the cartoonists for me. No one is blowing up these news buildings to defend my honor. I need ISIS-like supporters,” said an agitated Putin according to Kremlin sources. “What am I, chopped babka?”

Ironically, babka happens to be a Ukrainian sweet bread, and it is not clear whether the irony was lost on Putin or whether items such as babka are actually at the root of why he is so intent on taking over Ukraine.

One Kremlin source did overhear Putin say that Babka is actually Russian, despite all documented evidence to the contrary.

“What Putin is claiming may very well be true,” said veteran NBC News anchor Brian Williams. “I remember Putin used to eat a lot of babka back when we were roommates in college. He once said he wished he could have it all. I knew what he meant then. I know what he means now. Trust me. I was there.”   MF_Logo-Bxed20

BRUSSELS — What could have been a win-win-win for Europe, Russia and Ukraine fell through yesterday after Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected an offer from European leaders to give Russia the entire country of Greece in exchange for leaving Ukraine alone.

“Seriously? Greece? I’d rather have Afghanistan at this point — or even nothing,” said a surprised Putin, according to Kremlin sources. “Aside from their disastrous economy, I don’t like Greek food, all of their historic buildings are in ruins, and the Greek people are very opinionated. I don’t like people who are opinionated.”

The Greek debt crisis has caused a lot of headaches for Europe and has threatened to destabilize the euro currency and potentially bring down the entire continent. Most European leaders felt the offer to give Greece to the newly resurrecting Soviet Union — I mean Russia — was a “brilliant” plan. And, they say, Greece has a lot in common with Russia.

“Greece is in many ways a peninsula like Crimea, which we know Putin loves,” said an official in the German foreign ministry. “Plus, the weather is nice almost year round, and Greeks and Russians are known to drink heavily and tend to be hot-tempered, so they would get along quite nicely.”

Meanwhile, he added, “Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis not only looks a little like Putin, but he’s also a leftist and walks to his own beat. He and Putin would have a blast together. They almost look like long-lost brothers.”

Other similarities noted include the fact that both countries also use a distinct alphabet, which, while not similar to each other at all, at least are different from other Western alphabets.

Asked by reporters why the proposal would have been a win-win-win and not a win-win-win-win to include Greece, officials said, “Greece doesn’t deserve to win for the way it has mismanaged its finances. It deserves to be sent to Siberia. This is the closest thing to that.”   MF_Logo-Bxed20


Image Credit: Wyatt Research