Counting down the days until Brazil welcomes the world

first_imgBy Ronaldo Lazário de LimaONLY 100 days. It’s hard to believe it’s so close. It seems like only yesterday that Brazil was confirmed as the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ host nation. I remember the excitement I felt once I realised that my country was going to stage the most important football event on the planet.Even though I won’t be out there on the field, I’m starting to get the same butterflies in the stomach as I used to do when a big game was coming up. After all, the World Cup will be a kind of ‘final’ for Brazil, in terms of the country establishing itself on the global stage. The spotlight will be on us, and it’s a great chance to show the world just what’s so special about Brazil and the Brazilian people.With the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics taking place here in Brazil, we have the chance to prove to the world not just how much we love sport, but also how strong we are economically. Brazil is a world leader in biotechnology and one of the biggest meat, mineral and soya producers on the planet. Very soon thousands of tourists and foreign journalists will arrive on our doorstep, anxious to discover the real Brazil.Although Brazil is a country of great social contrasts, we have made significant progress in tackling this problem in recent years. We are a diverse but unified society, a land of talented, determined, creative and innovative people – characteristics that are captured perfectly by Neymar’s dizzying, magical dribbles, the music of Tom Jobim, and the scientific achievements of Miguel Nicolelis, whose exoskeleton research has given paraplegics hope that they may one day walk again.Brazil is such a colourful country, blessed with breathtaking natural beauty. Tourists that come here for the World Cup should prepare themselves for an unforgettable experience. Whether it’s from visiting the beaches of the northeast, witnessing the vastness of the Amazon River, or taking in the dazzling blend of ocean and mountains that makes Rio de Janeiro such a special place, every visitor will take home a treasured personal memory.Brazil is a place of great happiness and joy, and we will welcome World Cup visitors with open arms. But until then, we must keep working.As a 2014 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee Management Board member, I have been lucky enough to observe up close the dedication and skill of the workers who are helping to construct this unique event. In all 12 host cities I’ve witnessed the commitment of the thousands of people who are striving to create the best World Cup possible.We faced some tough tests during the preparations. Last year, we hosted the best FIFA Confederations Cup in history. That’s not just my opinion, but also that of fans, journalists, and even FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.Less than six months later, we successfully organised another challenging event: the Final Draw at the Costa do Sauípe in Bahia. And after we discovered in which cities the games would be played, the 32 national teams that will dispute the tournament discussed their operational plans with members of the LOC, FIFA, and the Brazilian government.This exchange of ideas and opinions between organisersand national teams is an ongoing process, and another key event, the National Teams Workshop at the Costão do Santinho in Florianópolis, took place last month.Subjects such as safety, transport, and how the teams are to be looked after were discussed in detail.Now we’re really on the home straight. Since the beginning of the year two new stadiums have opened: the Arena das Dunas, in Natal, and the new Estádio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre. They’re beautiful, just like the Arena Amazonas, the Arena da Baixada, the Arena Pantanal and the Arena Corinthians, which are also almost ready.By the time the World Cup begins, all the stadiums will have carried out test events. These are of vital importance so that the tournament organisers can make final adjustments to their plans.There is not much time left now until the tournament begins and the greatest players on the planet go head to head. Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Iniesta, Neymar…I can’t wait. I’ll be expecting you in Brazil. See you at the World Cup!last_img read more

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Government’s Jekyll and Hyde dichotomy

first_imgRobert Louis Stevenson gave the world the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde story, which from a more philosophical standpoint, and which readily pops up from online research, can be seen as a result of man’s conflict within his inner nature and how he deals with this dichotomy premised on the soul being paired with both elements of good and evil.That basically confirms to what is generally accepted, that in each of us there are elements in pairs; good and bad, strengths and weaknesses and other traits that have become to make us who we are as fallible human beings. Circumstances may determine the manifestation of each trait, and the tendency for humans to change, whether voluntary or forcibly, adds a crucial dimension.While change is inevitable, sometimes it’s driven by the circumstance of convenience, many times for the purpose of self-preservation at the expense of others as seemingly reflected in general politics. A glaring example would be the manner in which the current government now operates as compared to how it boasted it would while in the Opposition; the growing disparity is beyond mindboggling.One can posit that Brigadier (Rtd) David Granger reached the presidency with much goodwill despite not being as politically experienced as his predecessors. That aside, he and his team made numerous promises during the run-up to the 2015 elections. While such is expected, many voters were convinced and foster belief in some of them.Foremost was the promised fight he and his government would take to crime. That resonated with many, bolstered by the presence of experienced security operatives, including former Heads of the Army and the Police. There appeared little or no reason to doubt aided by the fact that Mr Granger, a Brigadier, was part of the leadership of the Guyana Defence Force.A good life; lower VAT and the Berbice Bridge tolls; pledging to weed out corruption, nepotism and cronyism; to uphold the rule of law; for accountability and transparency in governance and a government for the people, were some other promises by Mr Granger and his team that voters were drawn to. Fast-forwarding to four years later, barring and prior to his illness, he seemed completely disconnected from governance and the people.After taking the oath of office, he named the largest Cabinet in recent history here, raising concerns over excessiveness which necessitates more financial resources as against what can be made available for social and infrastructural development. He was not bashful in his preference for former Army officials to be placed in strategic positions in Government and appointed a family member as a Minister while after he would have accused the previous Government of nepotism.A senior member of his Cabinet boasted of a preference to hire persons affiliated to the party she heads. Loyal politicians have been appointed to head branches of the State media after accusing the previous government of politicising same. Cronyism is reportedly now rife within his government. He avoided engaging the press and, similarly, is not conspicuous within communities.Under his watch, numerous allegations of corruption have been and continue to be levelled against some of his Ministers. The infamous Sussex Street Drug Bond, sole-sourcing of pharmaceuticals, the Durban Park construction, the Demerara Harbour Bridge feasibility study, the CJIA expansion, contracts awarded to friends and family members of officials, conflict of interest through ownership of companies by some officials and who received Government contracts, are just a few areas where corruption was alleged.With little or no action taken, condoning becomes an unavoidable interpretation. Crime is now rampant as confidence has been eroded in his government’s ability to ensure the safety of Guyanese and allegations of a burgeoning dictatorship have surfaced. With all the promises to ease economic burdens and the provision of a good life, the cost of living has now skyrocketed and citizens are reeling from the numerous new taxes implemented under his tenure. The economy has slowed as some businesses and industries closed causing thousands to be jobless.Ironically, Government spending on itself has vastly increased through alleged extravagance at the expense of the citizenry. Within the very short period of four years, things have drastically changed from what it actually was under the previous Administration and what he, Mr Granger, promised. That change has not been for the betterment of the people despite his campaign slogan of “It’s Time” (to change).To date, he is yet to fully address those issues despite the concerns raised in the public domain. From what is now evident, there appear two manifestations of Mr Granger and his government reminiscent of the Jekyll and Hyde scenario: one which may have intended well and one that inflicted economic hardships, seemingly oblivious of people’s plight.While all will at times grapple with duality, it may not be an option for him and his government given the impact on people and country. Sometimes, it becomes extremely difficult to assess which characteristic actually manifests in a person in the present; Jekyll or Hyde in the context of duality and not necessarily good and evil. It begs the question: has the one now evident – Mr Hyde – now taken over permanently?last_img read more

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PART 3: MY AFRICA

first_img“Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories.”Amílcar Cabral (1924 – 1973) My Africa is a place of great delights, enough to fill the senses. There is land in abundance; not only land, but fertile land. We have a saying that: “Wherever you throw a seed, expect it to grow and produce.” Yet still we import a lot of our foodstuffs and textiles. You’ll find mangoes, plums, pineapples, nuts, and berries growing in such abundance that the fruits either rot on the trees or fall to the ground, and neglected long enough to become compost – yet we do not have factories converting these and many other fruits and vegetables into juice, or dried to be exported. Instead, they are imported from India and other countries. We have enough swamps and other wetlands to grow rice, but we depend on foreign aid to feed us.My Africa is a place of history, too much history. It is a history rich in its diversity. There are stories of revered kings and queens, empire builders, great craftsmen, mystic poets and educators, foreign invaders and settlers who orchestrated massive holocausts. There are great and majestic sceneries, from white sandy beaches along the peninsulas to breathtaking mountains, hills, savannahs, deserts, and faunas to fill the imagination. Sadly, in my Africa, tourism and its promotion is a byword for failure and inefficiency in government enclaves. Cultural heritage sites are left in ruins and stand as great reminders of our material condition.My Africa is still a place of hope; a place where we are encouraged to dream and aim high. We are shown pictures of great leaders from the past. Sometimes they even show us pictures of current leaders. But no one will mention to you that most of them were exploiters who instituted systems of governance and business practices that still have us in the lurch, wretched of the earth in an eternal debt trap to Bretton Woods institutions. Yet still we hope. This hope leads us to become a nation of traders who trade in everything imaginable, even human lives, especially the young. There are not enough jobs so from one end of the cities to the other, you see our people engaged in some sort of trade. Every house has a business on the front porch; even the backyards are not spared. Our city streets have become very small because of petty traders occupying sidewalks and other parts of the roads. So now we walk where the cars are supposed to drive. Yet we hope and dream for a brighter future, a better day and leaders who pay attention to the needs of the people. This hope is all we have. But even with this hope life is still a drag. For this reason, some wonder why dream when the reality in my Africa is so obvious…They tell us to dreamThey say a dream is the substance of lifeThey tell our children to dreamBut how can they dreamWhen they can’t sleepUp all nightWorried about how they’reGonna walk the hot streets With 100 Liberian dollars or 1000 Leones worth of market for their keepIf the children are our futureThen our future looks likeA poor and uneducated low wage earnerThey tell our young men to dreamHow can they dreamWhen they go to bed hungryBecause corrupt government officialsSteal the food out of their platesAnd after four miraculous years ofStaying in and finishing collegeThey either come home joblessOr find themselves under bossesWho are either sycophantsDespotsOld enough to retireUnqualified for the positionOr all of the aboveIf the young men are our futureThen our future looks likeAn old corrupt and despotic sycophantWho is grossly unqualified for the positionAnd is antithetical to the future of LiberiaThey tell our young women to dreamHow can theyWhen all men dream of is sleeping with themGet them pregnantBut have no plans to marry themIf the young women are our futureThen our future looks likeOur children’s futureThey tell our elders to dreamBut they don’t have time to dreamThey worked and worried all their livesFor next to nothingBut still did nothingOnly to die broke and brokenheartedAnd leave us their nightmaresAnd the mess they allowed to happen and continueIf the elders are our futureThen our future looks likeHamburger HillFriday the 13thNightmare on Elm StreetFull Metal JacketCry Freetown andBlood DiamondsOur governments dreamThey have dreams to stamp out corruptionTo improve healthcare and educationTo bring back the rule of lawTo fix all the potholes on our roadsTo have all the gutters in the country clean and runningTo attract foreign direct investmentAnd to stimulate the national economySadlySuccessive governments have slept so muchThey sleep walkNot knowing whether they’re coming or goingIf the governments are our futureThen our future looks like our past and presentI have a dreamThat our children will grow up in homesWhere they’ll be allowed to be childrenTo play, laugh, and learnAllowed to explore whateverTheir little clever minds tell them toWithout being abusedDeprived of liberty and freedomMade to work on farmsPut on the streets to workOr sacrificed to devilsFor their selfish and lazy parents to succeedI have a dreamThat our young men will soar on wings like eaglesInto a perpetual sunset of possibilitiesThat they will take a hold of the political processBe allowed to freely state their opinionsEncouraged to question the status quoAnd where the need arisesTo justly jail any and everyoneWho is a threat to life, liberty, progress, and the pursuit of happinessI have a dreamThat our young women will sit in boardroomsAs ivory pillarsThat women will vote for other womenAnd that we will have successive governmentsHeaded by qualified womenThey haveUnder the harshest of conditionsRun our homesMaybe if given the helm oftenThey’d make a success out of this rich nation yetI have a dreamThat our elders will step out of the way and retireTo some farm far away from the government and business enclavesFor the past 168 yearsAll they’ve done is run the rich country agroundWe have no need for their corrupting inputs and influencesI have a dreamThat governments will have platformsAnd not use the backs of our people as suchThat they will feed the people meat instead of bonesGive our people access into their dealingsThat they will compete at developing the countryWith successive governmentsSurpassing the successes and achievements of previous governmentsThat our people will make a living wageThat education at all levels and health emergencies of any kindBe free of chargeThat we nationalize our economies and review every deal ever made byThis or previous governmentsThat any deals that is against the progress of LiberiaOr against the hopes and wishes of our national developmentBe rendered null and voidI have a lot of dreamsI pray you have yoursAnd live your dreamsWalking them during the day “Seek ye first the political kingdom and all things shall be added unto you.”Kwame Nkrumah (1909 – 1972)Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Teenage girl charged for stealing handbag

first_imgA girl was taken before the Vreed-en-Hoop Magistrate’s Court on Friday charged with simple larceny.Stacy Skeete, 18, pleaded not guilty to the charge when Magistrate Christel Lambert read it to her.It is alleged that on August 16, 2016, at Hague, West Coast Demerara, she stole one Michael Kors handbag valued $13,000, property of Selena McIntosh.According to the McIntosh, on the day in question, she went to visit a salon with the bag she had just bought.She explained that the defendant, who was a customer at the salon, was sitting next to her when she left her bag and went to the washroom. She told the court that upon her return, she noticed that the bag was gone as well as the defendant.The matter was reported to the Leonora Police Station and the defendant was apprehended at her home. The handbag was also recovered.She was arrested and charged.According to the defendant, she did not mean to take the bag and told the Magistrate that it was an accident.She was granted $20,000 bail. The case will continue on September 9.last_img read more

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Car bomb kills 8 at Sunni mosque

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card An Associated Press photographer saw two bystanders gunned down by the masked men, one of whom held a pistol to the head of a woman. The photographer fled, but police later said the woman was killed and two men were wounded. Also Friday, the U.S. military said two Marines were killed the day before by a roadside bomb near Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad. At least 2,269 U.S. military personnel have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The U.S. Central Command, meanwhile, said U.S. jets flew in support of U.S. and Iraqi troops “in contact with anti-Iraqi forces” Thursday near eight cities of central and northern Iraq, including Baghdad. No further details were released. No group claimed responsibility for the mosque attack, and it was unclear whether the gunmen were the ones responsible for the car bomb. Dora has been the scene of numerous attacks by Sunni insurgents against Shiite police and soldiers, and Friday’s violence could have been carried out by Shiite militants in retaliation. “Terrorists are trying to drive a wedge between Sunnis and Shiites,” said Ahmed Hassan, 36, who was praying inside the mosque when the blast occurred. BAGHDAD, Iraq – A car bomb killed at least eight people Friday outside a Sunni mosque in Baghdad and gunmen abducted a Sunni cleric, raising sectarian tensions as the election commission gave the final go-ahead for talks to begin in earnest on a new government. The blast occurred about 10 yards from the Iskan al-Shaabi mosque in the tense Dora neighborhood, shattering windows and showering glass on worshippers at the main weekly Muslim prayer service. At least 21 people were injured, according to Dr. Muhannad Jawad of Yarmouk General Hospital. Pools of blood in the street indicated that most of the dead were outside the mosque. About an hour later, several masked gunmen shouting “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” arrived in two cars and began shooting at people standing outside the mosque, witnesses said. “Some worshippers were leaving and others were praying inside when the explosion blasted glass all over us,” he said. “Smoke filled the mosque. Outside, we were shocked to see so many wounded people and cars on fire.” The mosque attack is likely to raise tensions between Shiites and Sunnis as politicians seek to form a national unity government including representatives of all communities in hopes of weakening support for the Sunni-led insurgency. On Friday, the election commission formally certified the results of the Dec. 15 balloting, which gave Shiite religious parties 128 of the 275 parliament seats. Sunni Arabs made major gains over the last election in January 2005. Two Sunni Arab blocs won a combined 55 seats, increasing their representation by more than threefold on the outgoing parliament. Formal certification means all election protests have been dismissed and paves the way for talks among the different parties to begin in earnest on a new government. Under the constitution, the new parliament will convene within two weeks, the next step in a process to choose a new president, prime minister and Cabinet. Under the law, the process should be complete by mid-May, but rising sectarian tensions could complicate the negotiations. Shiites, who control most of the parliament seats, want Sunni Arabs to take a firm stand against the insurgency. Sunnis demand an end to alleged abuses by Shiite-led security services accused of kidnapping and assassinating Sunni civilians. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Adam Johnson loses child sex conviction appeal

first_imgFormer England footballer Adam Johnson has lost a challenge against his conviction for sexual activity with a besotted 15-year-old fan.His application for permission to appeal was dismissed by three judges in London on Thursday.The Court of Appeal judges also rejected his bid for a reduction in his six-year jail sentence.The decisions in renewed applications made by 29-year-old Johnson – following earlier refusals by a single judge – were made by Lady Justice Rafferty, Mr Justice Sweeney and the Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Julian Goose.At the start of his trial at Bradford Crown Court, Johnson admitted one charge of sexual activity with a child, relating to kissing her. He also admitted a charge of meeting a child with intent following grooming her.He denied there was any further sexual activity with her in his Range Rover when he met up with her in County Durham in January 2015.But the former Sunderland and Manchester City winger was found guilty by a jury in March last year of one offence of sexual activity with a childJudge Jonathan Rose, when sentencing Johnson, said he was satisfied the girl suffered “severe psychological harm” and that he took advantage of “a young teenager’s adoration of a successful celebrity”.At the centre of Johnson’s fight against conviction was a criticism that the trial judge “misdirected” the jury on issues of his “credibility”.Eleanor Laws QC, representing Johnson at a recent hearing at the Court of Appeal, argued that this must have had “an adverse and unfair impact on the credibility of Adam Johnson in a case where credibility was the central issue, hence the conviction is unsafe”.But in the court’s written ruling, Lady Justice Rafferty said that although the trial judge was in “error” in relation to a particular direction during summing up, “the error does not imperil the safety of the conviction”.The three judges were also asked to rule on a submission that the jail sentence imposed was “too much for this offence”.His QC had submitted: “When one looks at the sentencing judge’s remarks, he was clearly highly influenced by the fact that the applicant was a famous and successful footballer and, in fact, counted that against him.”Dismissing the sentence application, Lady Justice Rafferty said the single judge wrote: “Although a sentence of six years may be stiff, even severe, I do not consider it to be arguable that it was manifestly excessive.”Lady Justice Rafferty added: “We agree.” Adam Johnson: The former England footballer’s appeal was dismissed by three judges in London on Thursday 1last_img read more

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Bolton no longer under transfer embargo, reveals chairman

first_img1 Bolton chairman Ken Anderson has revealed the Sky Bet Championship club are no longer under a transfer embargo.The Trotters were restricted from making transfers in December 2015 after failing to submit their required accounts for the 2014-15 season.They have since been unable to pay fees for players until they complied with Financial Fair Play obligations but Anderson says talks with the English Football League have gone well.Anderson’s statement on the club’s website read: “I have been in discussions with the EFL about the transfer embargo.“I am delighted to be able to tell you all that we are now out of the transfer embargo.”Bolton have endured a tough couple of years off the field having also faced a winding-up order from HMRC over unpaid taxes.Anderson, who became majority owner of the club in March, added: “I would like to thank you all for the patience you have shown during this time.“The situation has taken far longer to rectify than I had imagined, largely due to the much-publicised ownership situation which has thankfully now been resolved.”Bolton are currently bottom of the Championship table having drawn two of their opening seven games following promotion from League One last term. Bolton manager Phil Parkinson last_img read more

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Sevilla boss Eduardo Berizzo has ‘successful’ surgery for prostate cancer

first_img1 Berizzo was appointed Sevilla coach in the summer Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo has successfully undergone surgery after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, the club have announced.The 48-year-old Argentinian’s illness was made public in the wake of last week’s 3-3 Champions League draw with Liverpool, when Sevilla came from 3-0 down at half-time. A club statement read on Tuesday read: “The coach of Sevilla, Eduardo Berizzo, underwent successful surgery this afternoon for his recently-diagnosed prostate cancer, the club’s medical services have said.“His recovery period will depend on his post-operative progress in the next few days.”Assistant coach Ernesto Marcucci has been put in charge of the first team in Berizzo’s absence. Sevilla play Cartagena in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, before hosting Deportivo La Coruna in LaLiga on Saturday.Berizzo was appointed Sevilla coach in the summer – replacing compatriot Jorge Sampaoli after he took over the Argentina national team job – having previously spent three years as boss of Celta Vigo.last_img read more

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Leeds wonderkid ‘rejected Premier League offer’ to join Championship club

first_img REVEALED 2 LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS RANKED huge blow MONEY ADVICE Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move Leeds have returned to the Championship summit Bogusz had attracted attention from a host of top clubs following a string of impressive performances in Poland’s second tier, and Italian giants Napoli even offered him a trial in 2018.However, the attacking midfielder eventually opted to join Championship leaders Leeds, describing it as the ‘perfect place’ to go in this stage of his career.In an interview with Poland’s Sport Express, the Polish youth international was asked whether he had an offer from Brighton.“Yes, I had. I was in both of these clubs before I signed the contract,” he said. Leeds teenager Mateusz Bogusz has revealed he turned down an offer from Premier League club Brighton to join the Whites instead.The Championship side won the race for the 17-year-old’s signature in January, signing him on a two-and-a-half year deal from Polish club Ruch Chorzow for an undisclosed fee. “Leeds came over to me, I thought it was the perfect place for me to take another step in my career.“The club, all its facilities, my development plan. Everything that Leeds offered me was convincing.“Hence a two-and-a-half-year contract with the possibility of extension. And in perspective, I hope, playing in the Premier League.” Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury REVEALED Bielsa’s Leeds signed Polish wonderkid Bogusz in January no dice Leeds regained their place at the top of the Championship following a 2-1 victory over Swansea on Wednesday night.They now have a rare ten-day break from the relentless fixture schedule, before 14 games to decide whether they will end their 15-year exile from the Premier League. Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won 2 Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card BEST OF last_img read more

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