World Cup demonstrates why international games leave millions behind economically

July 23, 2014

Jefferson Mok – Global Post, 7/23/2014

We often hear sport is a great equalizer that can level out distinctions like class and stomp out problems like racism. In fact, development agencies have long embraced sports as a means to transcend violent rivalries, especially in conflict-torn communities.

Kingsley Ighobor, information officer in the Africa Section for the United Nations, recalls the powerful ability of sports — soccer for men, kickball for women — to build trust between former combatants and civilians in post-civil war Liberia.

“People that had not had a reason to smile for many, many years, suddenly, they are all rallying around their team, they are happy,” he said. “Sports can enhance social cohesion within communities.”

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Interview: Brazil’s Tourism President on the World Cup Disaster That Wasn’t

July 23, 2014

Samantha Shankman – Skift, 7/22/2014

Statistically speaking, the games attracted one million foreign tourists (far above its 600,000 estimate), added about $13.5 billion to Brazil’s annual GDP, and encouraged the building or renovation of 12 new stadiums.

Although critics inside and outside of the country will continue to debate the economics of the games, Brazil delivered a tourist experience better than expected for anyone who read the news about lack of preparation and riots in the weeks and months prior to the games.

Brazil’s tourism organization Embratur is already looking ahead to 2016 when the country will again host a global sporting events, but its newly instituted president Vincente Neto first talked to Skift about his perspective on the games.

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Brazil and Africa: the southern link

July 22, 2014

Claudia Valenzuela – Public Finance International, 7/22/2014

Growth, opportunity and potential have ricocheted across Brazil and the African continent in recent years. While other more mature markets are only just beginning to click into gear after the financial crisis, the economies of Brazil and Africa have enjoyed better times as a result of rising popularity with foreign investors, and burgeoning domestic markets driven by an expanding middle class and abundant natural reserves.

Africa, in particular, is picking up the pace. It’s perceived attractiveness relative to other regions has improved dramatically over the past few years, according to EY’s recent Africa attractiveness survey, moving from the third-from-last position in 2011 to become the second most attractive investment destination in the world. Its total share of global FDI projects has also reached the highest level in a decade, with investors increasingly looking across the continent and to new sectors.

An African horizon

While separated by the vast expanse of the southern Atlantic Ocean, the fact that, millions of years ago, Africa and Brazil were joined in a single landmass, and continue to share similarities in soil and climate, serves as a far more apt geographic metaphor. The increasingly close relationship between the two began during the Presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who himself traveled to Africa 12 times in the 1990s, visiting 21 countries in the process. This pattern has continued under his successor, Dilma Rousseff, who, for example, visited Angola, Mozambique and South Africa during her first year in office.

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Brazil’s Luiz Ruffato: “We must defend freedom under any circumstance”

July 21, 2014

Simone Marques – Index on Censorship, 7/21/2014

While researching Brazil’s legislation called the biographies’ law, Index on Censorship’s Brazil contibutor Simone Marques spoke to award-winning Brazilian author Luiz Ruffato, whose works include acclaimed novel They Were Many Horses.

Index: By defending the idea of controlling of literary works, such as biographies, wouldn’t some Brazilian artists be executing the role of a censor?

Ruffato: This is a paradoxical subject, because these artists live from the public image they built. People do not buy only a song or a film, people also buy the exposition of this artist. And the moment he becomes a public figure he is no longer a private figure. If this person is no longer a private figure, it is possible that he may have his own life scrutinised. I do not see any problem with that. I think anyone can manage their own life the way they feel like. Whoever wants to write a biography about me can keep calm. They will find absolutely nothing that may dishonour my image. But if they did find something, it would be okay, because I am exposing myself, I am living off that, I am somehow using my public image to make money. Therefore I think that when you move into this public world, you must be aware of that.

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Never mind football, perhaps the scientists from Brazil can revive national pride

July 11, 2014

Robert Young – The Conversation, 7/11/2014

One of the reasons Brazil took its loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-finals so hard was because many Brazilians wrongly believe the rest of the world only looks up to them for their footballing skills. Brazil has many world leading projects, but they can be overshadowed by the beautiful game.

During the opening ceremony of the World Cup there was a moment when the Walk Again Project of Brazilian neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis was supposed to be showcased – it received less than three seconds of coverage. It is a world-leading project in which paraplegics are able use their thoughts to control an exoskeleton. But Nicolelis went to develop the project in the USbecause the right environment was lacking in Brazil for his research.

When it comes to higher education, Brazil is ranked 13th for global scientific productivity of papers published, but in terms of scientific innovation it is a very low performer.

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Whatever happened to Brazil’s World Cup protests?

July 11, 2014

Donna Bowater – Al Jazeera America

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – While thousands of brightly dressed middle-class fans spilled out of the glamorous Jockey Club in Rio de Janeiro after Brazil beat Chile, a small crowd of activists gathered under the cover of the winter darkness just seven and a half miles away.

It summed up the division caused by the World Cup in Brazil; on the one hand, this was the ultimate football carnival, and yet protesters were trying to maintain the momentum created last year during the biggest demonstrations in a generation.

But in the end, the World Cup was dominated by neither joy on the pitch nor rage on the streets.

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Brazil Moves From Sadness to Acceptance in Its World Cup Loss

July 11, 2014

Alex Bellos – TIME, 7/9/2014

With sadness, self-reflection and gallows humor, Brazil was today coming to terms with its most humiliating sporting defeat, a 7-1 thrashing by Germany in the World Cup semi final.

“It was really bad. No one expected to lose by that much,” said Enio Monteiro, aged 55, who was having a sandwich at a bar in Rio de Janeiro the day after the game. “But it happened, and I’m not thinking about it any more. You’ve got to move on.”

As he spoke, a customer nearby was reading local daily O Globo, whose front page screamed: “Shame. Embarrassment. Humiliation.” And on the wall above, a TV screen was showing the lunchtime news. The two presenters were giggling as they read out the funniest social media posts from the game.

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World Cup defeat an opportunity for Brazil?

July 10, 2014

Prof Roberto DaMatta, Peter Hakim, and Paulo Sotero – BBC News, 7/9/2014

Football has given us self-esteem, but we can’t reduce Brazil to this.

We need to keep in mind that a 7-1 defeat is more than just a normal defeat. It’s a clear example that we were living under an illusion.

This defeat will force us to wake up to our problems in terms of security, health and especially politics, as we will have elections in a few months.

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World Cup blog: Don’t look back in anger

July 9, 2014

Titus Chalk – DW, 7/9/2014

Brazil the football team deserved to lose in Belo Horizonte. But Brazil the nation did not. This was a bitter end to a beautiful dream, however misplaced, naive or downright counter-productive it has been at times. In that sense, there was little fun about being in the Estádio Mineirão on Tuesday.

The atmosphere before kick-off was rousing and the a cappella of the host’s national anthem was hearty enough. Germany’s first goal, zinged from the boot of Thomas Müller, was a peach. And of course, I cheered Miroslav Klose’s record-breaking strike.

But here, the joy ebbed from the occasion. Brazil’s players morphed from pumped-up Neymar-redeemers, to training-ground cones. Their anguish filled the air as they disappeared inside themselves. The lights even briefly went off in our section of the stadium as if giving up in disgust, packing up and heading home early. Germany ran rampant. And tore Brazil apart.

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World Cup: Brazil Is Going to Be Just Fine

July 9, 2014

Matthew Futterman – The Wall Street Journal, 7/9/2014

Guess what happened in Brazil today?

The sun came up. People went to work. They drove taxis, opened grocery stores, clicked on their computers to handle legal and financial matters. Doctors healed the sick. Social workers tackled the problems of the vast poverty in this country of some 200 million. Life went on.

Guess what didn’t happen? Cities didn’t burn. Mass riots didn’t erupt. As far as we can tell, no soccer fans threw themselves off buildings because their beloved Seleção was embarrassed by Germany, 7-1, in Tuesday’s World Cup semifinal.

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