Mr. Bean Takes Over Spanish Prime Minister's Web Site

A picture of Mr Bean was plastered on Spain's official Web site for its EU presidency after it was briefly hacked.

The country's prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero supposedly looks like the British comedy character. And the apparent resemblance has been a running joke in Spain for several years.

The mock-up showed a smiling Mr Bean, the TV and movie character played by Rowan Atkinson, saying "Hi there." An official at Mr Zapatero's office confirmed a security breach had affected the page specifically set up to mark Spain's six-month presidency of the European Union. But the official added that no information at the site had been affected.

The government also admitted the site was bombarded by thousands of Internet users trying to confirm media reports of the spoof. A recent edition of Spanish newspaper El Pais printed a cartoon depicting Mr Zapatero as Mr Bean above an article critical of the government's handling of the economy.

Unemployment in the country has more than doubled to about 19%.