UnNews:US teams teach Brazil how to deal with orange river

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US teams teach Brazil how to deal with orange river

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15 November 2015

Bottle of orange water

President Obama shows that discolored river water could result in a more balanced diet. He will consider including it the next time the government scraps and reinvents national dietary standards.

RIO DOCE, Brazil -- A mine collapse here has cut off drinking water and could wreck the ecosystem for years to come.

Twenty-eight people were killed or missing when two dams gave out on November 5. Five hundred others were displaced from their homes, and many have reached Berlin claiming to be war refugees in need of free dental work.

Dense orange sediment has flowed into the Rio Doce. The sheer volume is staggering, the equivalent of 25,000 Olympic swimming pools or 187 Exxon oil tankers, neither of whose contents one would dream of drinking, either; although the volume of water normally carried by the river is even more staggering. The effect on the environment is profound, as just yesterday, a reporter saw a dead fish on one of the banks of the Rio Doce, which would mean Twelve River if it were Spanish. The other eleven rivers are surely threatened as well. As the crud hardens, it could change the course of the river itself, and conceivably take earth out of orbit around the sun.

On the other hand, mine owner Samarco Mineração SA says that the mud is not toxic and could actually add a gay color to local cuisine, not unlike papa a la Huancaina or chicken tikka masala, two dishes that could not be more orange nor more delicious. But officials disagree; President Dilma Rousseff took time off from having journalists assassinated to compare it to the BP oil spill, and a cabinet minister called it an "environmental catastrophe." Once the orange water reaches the ocean, it may render that entire massive body of water undrinkable. Government officials are instructing campesinos to bury their clothes if they touch the river water. Consequently, a quarter of a million Brazilians are refusing to drink water until Samarco ships in bottles of Perrier. The mine owner had offered less-expensive domestic soda pop, but fatefully tried to move a surplus of Orange Crush and the townspeople rioted.

As with any other catastrophe, Latin eyes are turned toward the United States, which only three months ago, dealt with an orange river of its own, as the Animas River through New Mexico turned bright orange when federal crews sent to clean toxic mining waste in a holding pond instead directed the waste into the river. In that catastrophe, President Obama, from the idyllic setting of Martha's Vineyard, told Colorado governor John Fluffernutter and the Navajo Nation to "hold your horses," sent EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to Congress to invoke her right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment, while promising that subordinates will conduct an independent review and prevent a recurrence if only given additional funding to do so, and went on television to say that things would surely be "even orange-r" if then-Speaker John Boehner had been in charge.

Mr. Obama was contemplating a visit to Rio de Janeiro to help administer the catastrophe, depending on whether the Secret Service has finished a new round of coursework not to bring South American prostitutes back to the hotel where the President is staying. Secretary of State John Kerry is unavailable for a visit, as he is on his way to a separate environmental mission in Paris. He will dodge ambulances and step around triage patients on French sidewalks to give a speech that global warming is the world's principal security threat.

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