The Great Debate UK

from Reuters Investigates:

Will Brazil be ready for kick off?


SOCCER-LATAM/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 Pakistan: Now or Never?:

India-Pakistan – cricket, spooks and peace


cricket  refugee"Cricket diplomacy" has always been one of the great staples of the relationship between India and Pakistan. The two countries have tried and failed before to use their shared enthusiasm for cricket to build bridges, right back to the days of Pakistan President Zia ul-Haq, if not earlier.

So when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced last week that he was inviting Prime Minister Yusuf  Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari to watch the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup in Mohali, India, the temptation was to dismiss it as an old idea.

from MacroScope:

The octopus and the economists


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.

worldcup.jpgIf 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:

Losing team’s national stock markets at risk



Two national market indexes that may not shine on Monday are those of Spain and the Netherlands, whose soccer teams are scheduled to meet in the World Cup's championship game on Sunday.

Whichever country's team loses can expect a drag on its market index of 49 basis points, said Wharton business school professor Alex Edmans. That is the amount that national stock indexes tend to be held back on average on the day after their country is eliminated from the World Cup, according to a paper he published in 2007 with two co-authors, Diego Garcia of the University of North Carolina and Oyvind Norli of the Norwegian School of Management.

from Photographers' Blog:

How a simple tentacle became a media star


Sometimes I hold seminars about journalism – photo journalism in particular of course. Most of the time I start talking about the journalistic rule number one.

What is rule number one? Journalism works very simply. When a dog bites a man – this is not a story. Dogs bite men. Unless the man is Prince Charles or the President of the United States, nobody is interested. But the opposite case - when a man bites a dog – that's a story. The story will be even bigger if the man who bites the dog is the U.S. President and the dog belongs to Prince Charles.

Luck is the residue of design—even in football



- Isaac Getz is a professor at ESCP Europe Business School and co-author of Freedom, Inc. (Crown Business, 2009). The opinions expressed are his own. -

This Sunday will decide the World Cup champion. Yet, most nations will ask themselves again what’s needed to build a world-class national team?

Why broadcasters should pay attention to 3D TV


DSC00124[1]-Mark Grinyer is head of 3D and Sports Solutions at Sony Professional. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Experiences in our everyday lives are becoming richer, more intense, immediate and personal. We are inspired by events around us and encouraged to innovate based on economic, social and technological influences.

from Breakingviews:

Paying the penalty for World Cup fever

Spain, Portugal and Greece could all do with a good World Cup run. Economists reckon that the further a team progresses in the tournament, the greater the boost to its national economy. For all the hype, however, any benefit outside host South Africa will be short-lived. Some of the golden ball's shine may rub off on the victors. But, with 32 teams competing, there will be many more losers.

ING economist Charles Kalshoven says that the further the Dutch team advances, the better it will be for the Netherlands economy, because retailers and restaurants will earn a better return on investments they have made to capture the benefits of the tournament. Improved consumer confidence will also lead to higher spending.

What’s a goal (or five) worth?


simon_chadwick-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).