The Great Debate UK
from Reuters Investigates:
Everybody knows Brazil is booming these days. But they don’t always see the dark side of that progress: some of the world’s worst traffic jams, blackouts, and trucks that sit in lines for several days at harvest time because seaports are so full.
Hoping to fix those problems, Brazil plans more than $1 trillion in infrastructure improvements in the next decade, and the scope is pretty amazing. The government wants a bullet train between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo; a huge new hydroelectric dam in the Amazon; and a railroad criss-crossing Brazil’s northeast, a region that is a bit like the American Deep South in that it has historically lagged behind the rest of the country in investment.
The news isn’t all good though. Reuters did an investigation of several high-profile projects and discovered that the plans aren’t coming together as hoped. Red tape, corruption, and a lack of leadership mean that as few as half of the projects might get completed on time.
Some of the problems could be resolved by the government, like a reform of procurement laws -- which sometimes make auctions take longer than the actual construction process! But some of them are structural, like an unemployment rate of about 6 percent, near all-time lows, which has caused a shortage of skilled labor.
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
The British media furore over two television presenters’ sexist comments over a lineswoman at a Premier League match at the weekend has thrown the spotlight on the subject of women in soccer – be it on the pitch or off.
Sky Sports duo Richard Keys and Andy Gray have apologised for saying female officials “don’t know the offside rule” when they were talking about lineswoman Sian Massey at Saturday’s match between Wolves and Liverpool when they thought their microphones were switched off.
What do an eight-legged creature in an aquarium in Germany and 74 economists have in common? The consensus view that Spain would claim the World Cup -- until the economists, as they so often do, changed their minds.
If World Cup 2010 goes down as one of the most unpredictable and exciting competitions in recent history, bringing underdogs Holland and Spain to the final showdown, what was hopelessly routine was watching so-called expert opinion converge around the safest bet. At least among financial professionals, who have done so well of late predicting the future.
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
The bloody attack on Togo's team bus in Angola is a huge tragedy for African football and like it or not, has cast a shadow over the World Cup in South Africa in five months time -- the biggest sports event ever staged on the continent.
It is highly debatable whether the attack, which killed two members of the Togolese delegation as they arrived for the African Nations Cup and forced the squad's evacuation on Sunday, really increases the risk to teams and spectators in South Africa.
-Professor Simon Chadwick, Director, Centre for the International Business of Sport, Coventry, UK. The opinions expressed are his own. -
There is a famous song, composed in the run-up to UEFA Euro 96, in which the Lightening Seeds, Frank Skinner and David Baddiel refer to England’s 30 years of hurt (the period at the time since England won its one and only World Cup).
from Rosalba O'Brien:
Argentina's cash-strapped government has just laid out a wad of crisp pesos (600 million a year - about US$155 million - to be precise) to pay for the rights to broadcast Argentine league games for nada on TV .
It's a move that is bound to go down well in the soccer mad nation, but has been roundly criticised for being populist and a waste of state funds.