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First Thing: Kyrgyzstan violence winds down, Bafana's v...



First Thing: Kyrgyzstan violence winds down, Bafana’s victory over Uruguay today

Last night: Kyrgyzstan violence winds down, Mexico drug wars continue, Obama talks tough about BP, flooding in France, abortion debate in Brazil. Coming up today: Bafana beat Uruguay, Youth Day prattle, dragon boat racing.

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The Daily Maverick
Bafana Victory Day, Take 2, 16 June 2010

Want to win some World Cup tickets? Yes, there are a couple of catches, but we don’t think they’re too bad. You need to sell your soul in order to promote First Thing or Maverick Monitor, you need to be able to make your way to Ellis Park in time for the Slovenia vs USA match this Friday, and you have to let us buy you coffee in Hyde Park on Thursday to pick up your tickets.

In return, you can win a pair of Category 1 tickets for the match (one pair via Twitter, and one pair via e-mail), in awesome seats, compliments of Emirates, our new favourite airline.

Sound good? Then click here for all the details.

15 June: Brazil turns to voodoo
Bavaria outwits Fifa in ambush marketing wars; Nehawu demands the repayment of departmental funds spent on tickets; New Zealand squeak home with a 1-1 draw against Slovakia; Ivory Coast and Portugal game ends in goal-less draw; Brazil beats plucky North Korea 2-1; Brazilian website sells voodoo soccer effigies.

While you were sleeping

Ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan seemed to subside, with no new reports of violent clashes, making for a shift in focus from peacekeeping to humanitarian aid. Four days of fighting and raging mobs have left tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands, according to some estimates) as refugees.
RIA Novosti, The Hindu

Low level warfare continued in Mexico, with 15 people dead after a firefight between soldiers and suspected drug gang hitmen in a cemetery in Taxco. That is the same town where a mass grave with 55 bodies was recently discovered. Drug violence has now claimed more than 160 lives in less than a week.

US President Barack Obama vowed to make BP pay for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and its cleanup – in so many words – during his much-anticipated American prime-time speech from the Oval Office. BP immediately issued a statement saying it hoped for “constructive discussion about how best to achieve these mutual goals” at a meeting with Obama today.
Wall Street Journal, Sky

At least six people died and hundreds were trapped on rooftops in flash floods in southern France. The water rose high enough that cars and lorries were floating through the streets of some towns and more than 175,000 homes were left without electricity.
AFP, Le Parisien (French)

Filipino businessman Charlie Reith, abducted by Muslim insurgents two months ago, was rescued by government troops as his captors were moving him to a new location. The 72-year-old was being held for ransom, but for once not by the notorious Abu Sayyaf group; authorities say they battled members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to retrieve Reith.
GMA, Mindanao Examiner

A Brazilian judge denied permission for a legal abortion to a woman whose fetus is developing without a brain, saying the circumstances do not trump the right to life enshrined in the Catholic country’s Constitution. The incident may provide the leverage President Lula da Silva needs in his (to date utterly failed) battle to decriminalise abortions in the country.



World Cup games today: Honduras vs Chile in Nelspruit (13:30); Spain vs Switzerland in Durban (16:00); Bafana vs Uruguay in Pretoria (20:30).

Today Bafana Bafana will beat Uruguay much like a gogo beats out a carpet: vigorously and comprehensively, but without malice. We now know the boys are holding back so as to not crush the spirits of our visitors prematurely, so don’t expect a scoreline too embarrassing to Uruguay.

It is Youth Day, which unfortunately means that lots of political youth organisations will be spewing the nonsense that seems to be all that political youth organisations are capable of lately. Competition to be the best example of that will today be between the ANC Youth League, which will have leader Julius Malema at the podium in Kuruman, and the sadly resilient Pan Africanist Congress, which has a rally in Johannesburg.

Other Youth Day events include a speech by President Jacob Zuma, in Bushbuckridge, and plenty of provincial and local activities. But the one we reckon will have all the foreign attending (for its visual value) is the wreath laying at Hector Pieterson Memorial.

But there’s competition, in terms of picturesqueness, from a Chinese holiday. Today is the Duanwu Festival, better known as the Dragon Boat Festival, in China and it’s rebel province of Taiwan, as well as other spots in Asia. Let’s face it, no serious political commemoration can compete with races between boats dressed up as dragons.



June 16: Youth Day in SA, Bloomsday everywhere else
While South Africa gears up to commemorate the fateful day in 1976 when Hector Pieterson was shot by apartheid police for protesting the use of Afrikaans as a teaching medium in black schools, Europe and America gets ready to celebrate James Joyce’s masterpiece novel. What, exactly, is Bloomsday?

Independent rolls out premium content model – Internet, journalism experts underwhelmed
The Star, The Daily News, Cape Times, Pretoria News, Cape Argus and most other titles in the Independent News & Media (INM) stable literally took their tabloids online as an added-value proposition for subscribers. The result is an exact page-by-page replica of the print title that is both cumbersome and unwieldy to navigate or read. Experts describe the move as “outdated”, “confused” and a “recipe for disaster”.

Obama revs up for a defining moment from the Oval Office
After two days of sweating through a visit to the oil-drenched Gulf of Mexico coast and looking solemnly at tar balls, oil-stained sand and workers toiling in the summer heat in haz-mat clothing, Barack Obama is poised to address the US from the White House’s iconic Oval Office in a speech that may well define his presidency.

Ivo Vegter: Secretly, Match blames South Africa
The contempt in which Fifa and Match hold South Africans is astounding. Still, we’re an amazing country.


World Cup match reports

Brazil, the brilliant, defeats North Korea, the proud
At the end, there was never any doubt about the final result at the freezing Ellis Park stadium on Tuesday. Brazil is such a properly dominant bunch of talented players that many a stronger team will wilt in presence of their greatness. But the North Korean players left the ground with their heads held high, even as Brazil won 2:1.

Portugal and Ivory Coast produce, wait for it, another draw
It was a match that promised to deliver, but failed to live up to its promise as Ivory Coast and Portugal played to a 0-0 draw. Portugal were expected to do better than Ivory Coast, especially considering that the iconic Ivorian captain Didier Drogba started on the bench with a broken arm. It turned out that Ivory Coast was a more than able opponent.

A country you never heard of draws against a soccer team you never knew of
On paper, New Zealand never had a chance against Slovakia: it earned its place in the Rustenburg Group F match on Tuesday by defeating such superpowers as New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuatu and Bahrain, while Slovakia breezed past Slovenia, Czech Republic, North Ireland and Poland. In reality, of course, paper predictions are not always right.

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