First Thing: market trouble thanks to Hungary; Mexicans preview their defeat

First Thing: market trouble thanks to Hungary; Mexicans preview their defeat

Last night: Asian shares feel Hungary heat, US storms kill, Greek basketball riot, elephant in Zurich, MTN Movie Awards. Coming up today: Poor little loser Mexicans, crushingly manly Bafana, Fifa invasion celebration, electricity plans, court cases.

First Thing is an e-mail we make sure lands in your inbox well before 7am every weekday morning. Signing up is quick, free, and easy, and you can do it right now.


Trouble with formatting? Click here to read it online. 
The Daily Maverick
Monday, 7 June 2010

If you thought the new week would bring respite from the American sell-off on Friday, think again. Stock markets in Japan were down between 3% and 4% immediately after opening, as was Australia, while the rest of the region tracked around 3% lower. Most of the worry seems to be around Hungary’s potential sovereign debt crisis.
CNN, Bloomberg

Storms and tornadoes in the US Midwest killed seven people, ripped pieces from a nuclear power plant building, and scattered cars and busses about.
UKPA, News Chronicle

Long running champions Panathinaikos were named the top Greek basketball team after a final that more closely resembled a riot. First the game was delayed when several hundred ticketless fans of the host Olympiakos invaded the arena and fought police. Then the arena was partially emptied after the bench of the Panathinaikos team came under fire from projectiles and fireworks during a timeout. The visitors again came under fire, this time from seats ripped from their mountings, at which point referees called it quits.
Reuters, USA Today

Sabu the elephant left the circus, had a dip in Lake Zurich and strolled through the city’s commercial district, before being rudely chased down by police and recaptured.
AP, 20 Minuten (German text, Elephant video)

Teen wannabe vampire series Twilight swept the MTV Movie Awards, with New Moon winning everything worth winning. Except the award for old people, which went to Sandra Bullock. But more widely reported on – and repeated on Youtube – were highlights like Tom Cuise getting smacked on the bottom by Jennifer Lopez, and Scarlett Johansson stealing a kiss from Bullock for no apparent reason.
Entertainment Weekly, E! Online



The Mexican soccer team, which will by this time next week be best remembered for having suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Bafana Bafana, will today try to explain how its puny hobbits intend to engage South Africa’s warrior-acrobats. Shaun Bartlett is doing a special guest appearance; maybe he’ll have enough tact not to tell the Mexicans to concede now. Then again, that may be the kindest thing to do.

Just to crush the spirits of the Mexicans a little more, Bafana have a public training session scheduled for this afternoon, which will produce plenty of photos and video to show what real soccer players look like in action.

The government is throwing a big party for Fifa in Midrand tonight, and President Jacob Zuma will personally be welcoming dignitaries from the organisation. Because that is what one does when a sovereign foreign power comes visiting. Or invading.

The department of energy has a big meeting on electricity in Pretoria today, part of it open to the public. It’s part of the IRP2 process, which in lay terms means it will help determine how South Africa will generate power after 2017, with the coal vs nuclear vs windmills debate still raging something fierce.

Other than that, it’s all happening in the courts today. After what seems like years (mostly because it has been years) we’re due for closing arguments in the Jackie Selebi corruption trial.

Just starting, on the other hand, is the case around former Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga‘s claim that he was unlawfully dismissed and therefore should be showered with gold – tens of millions of rands worth of it.

And to round up the groundbreaking cases, the High Court in Pretoria is due to decide whether the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority not to prosecute Jacob Zuma for corruption is reviewable, and whether the Democratic Alliance will be allowed to challenge that decision.

The 2010 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference starts in San Francisco today. The company usually keeps some big announcement up its sleeve for these events, though this year the leaks have been so bad that it’s hard to imagine there’s anything left to surprise with. Still, the entire tech media will be looking at nothing else.

Economic data: reserves numbers from the Reserve Bank.



What chances for Diaspora, the anti-Facebook social network?
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, hasn’t been doing his brand any favours of late. His privacy measures have angered users worldwide, even if the recent Facebook suicide campaign didn’t make a dent in his user-base. Could an open-source, privacy-aware social network pose a bigger threat?

@TheDMGlobalPR would never employ a silly Internet meme just to get attention
First BP spilled a whole lot of oil in the ocean, destroying marine life and damaging the offshore drilling sector. Then an anonymous tweeter created @BPGlobalPR. The oil company is still trying to clean up the mess; the Twitter account is faring rather better, having generated its very own Internet meme.

Western Cape ‘toilet wars’ escalate with more mudslinging
Helen Zille releases the truth about the “toilet wars” and is promptly labelled a racist, liar by an ANCYL – without even reading her statement.

Fifa, the real master of the universe, gets its claws into SA justice system
On Thursday the South African government handed over more power to Fifa, this time 56 special courts that will operate for the duration of the World Cup (and just happen to have cost taxpayers R45 million). What master wants, master gets, and be warned: Fifa is relishing having the police and justice system at its disposal, all in aid of making the tournament successful, of course.

Analysis: An anatomy of Cosatu, a political party
We may still be thinking about the Tripartite alliance as a structure that would last forever. But sometimes, the parties involved, and the country as a whole, could do much better on their own. In this, pre-World Cup South Africa, Cosatu could just be that party.

Heartbreak for Ivory Coast, Africa, as Drogba crashes out of World Cup
Africa’s top footballer, Didier Drogba, won’t be playing in the World Cup, due to a last-minute injury. Our heart goes out to the Ivorians: their team, and the tournament, will be the poorer for his absence.

Cracking the SA police conspiracy of silence
“We always say there are things that happened that you laugh about and talk about at a braai, but there are things that you never talk about. What happens on the shift stays on the shift; what happens in the station stays in the station. It’s got nothing to do with outside. Nothing, nothing, nothing.” – Inspector Marais.

Brooks Spector: Soccer Version 2.0: new-generation rules for new times
Soccer is boring. There, we’ve said it. But we do so because we’ve had a vision of how to take “the beautiful game” beyond mere beauty and into the fantastical realm of drop-dead gorgeous – as sexy, sassy and action-packed as 90-minutes of Charlie’s Angels-versus-Lara Croft.

Ready to subscribe?

    Please subscribe me to The Daily Maverick’s First Thing

Main photo courtesy of Elbfoto


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options