First Thing: Dunga gets the boot; civil servant strike looms

First Thing: Dunga gets the boot; civil servant strike looms

Last night: bus fire in China kills 24, stampeding horses in Iowa, Komorowski wins Poland, Dunga gets the boot, Maradona gets a warm welcome, professional eating foul. Coming up today: civil servant strike news, Zuma gives away houses, Uyghur protests, DRC mourning.

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The Daily Maverick
Monday, 5 July 2010
The World Cup day that was

4 July: German efficiency pays off for players
Gavin Hunt not happy to be second-best; Dunga gets the axe; Ghana celebrate with South African fans; German players get R1m bonus, each; Youngsters play in Football for hope.

3 July: Uruguay fail to admit what bastards they were
BaGhana BaGhana meet Mandela; Suarez mostly off the hook; Germans thump Argentines, Spain edge Paraguay. 

2 July: Paris Hilton busted for weed
Oops, Paris Hilton arrested again; Brazil crash out of World Cup; Penalty shoot-out ends Ghana’s dream; Pepsi served in Durban fan park; Animal rights activists demand freedom for octopus oracle.


While you were sleeping

24 people died and another 19 were injured in a fire on a bus carrying steel workers to a factory in Wuxi near Shanghai. Investigators have yet to release any findings, but the incident echoes another from last year in which a man deliberately set fire to a bucket of petrol on a bus, killing 27.
Xinhua, UPI

One woman died and 23 others were trampled, four of them seriously, when two horses drawing a carriage in a Fourth of July parade in Iowa got spooked and charged uncontrollably down a crowded street.
Quad-City Times, AP

With more than 95% of the vote counted, it looks like Bronislaw Komorowski won Poland’s presidential elections by a couple of percentage points, despite early returns putting Jaroslaw Kaczynski in the lead. Even though official results are only due later today, Kaczynski conceded defeat based on an exit poll published as soon as voting ended.

Brazil fired Carlos Dunga as its national soccer coach, curtly saying his tenure had ended. This despite Dunga’s belief, late this week, that there was still a possibility of an extension to his contract. Luiz Felipe Scolari has been tipped to take over, but he said his current contract with SE Palmeiras precludes him from taking the job until 2012.
Reuters, Bloomberg

Argentine immigration officials processed the returning national soccer squad on their plane, directed them into a bus and spirited them away from the tarmac without ever entering airport buildings – by way of highways that had been closed to non-essential traffic. But thousands of people still lined the road, many with signs proclaiming their continuing support for coach Diego Maradona.
Buenos Aires Herald, AFP

The man ranked as the third best professional eater in the world, Takeru Kobayashi, was arrested by New York police for trespassing after he slipped on to the stage of the Coney Island Fourth of July hot dog contest, in which he was not competing. Kobayashi refused to sign a restrictive contract with the Major League Eating organisation and was not eligible to enter the competition, but refused to leave the stage after watching arch nemesis Joey “Jaws” Chestnut win by eating a paltry 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
New York Daily News, ESPN



Unions representing the majority of civil servants will probably today announce their intention to go on strike. And we’re just guessing here, but it’s likely they’ll set a date in next week for the start of strike action, both to try to force more concessions from the government in the meanwhile, and to avoid being accused of sabotaging the World Cup. Will anyone notice if all the bureaucrats go on strike? We may get some empirical evidence to anwer that question, one way or the other.

President Jacob Zuma is handing over government houses in Sweetwaters, which will make for nice pictures of beaming recipients. And those pictures will probably increase the anger in other communities, where people have been expecting their promised government houses for a decade or more, and still live in shacks.

The World Uyghur Congress plans to have demonstrations outside Chinese foreign missions in several countries in Europe, the USA, Japan and elsewhere today. It’s in commemoration of the outbreak of violence in Urumchi in East Turkestan last year, where many Uyghurs died in what they say were outbreaks condoned, if not actively encouraged, by Chinese authorities.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo starts two days of mourning for the 232 victims of an oil tanker explosion on Saturday.



Analysis: The end of the road for Selebi
Moments after the guilty verdict came crashing down on him, Jackie Selebi walked out of court and slipped into a witness booth to escape the hungry journalists. A thunderstorm raged in his eyes, betraying a man stunned by what he must have believed – more than anything in the world – would never happen. That he was, of all things, found guilty of corruption.

Google’s Newspass, another salvo in the battle for paid-for content domination
The Web’s been in a flap over stories about Google’s new paywall initiative, Newspass, set to launch later this year. The Internet megalith believes it may just have found the answer to news companies’ prayers. Local media and Web experts are less convinced.

Reporter’s Notebook: ANC’s ‘media interaction’ forum is anything but
Every month the ANC opens its doors to embrace the media and spend some “quality time” with the hacks, supposedly chatting away about anything their inquisitive hearts desire. Yeah, right.

Sipho Hlongwane: Nobody fluffs the simple things like Fifa does
If you strip away the gauche suits, pricey haircuts and odd accents, Fifa really only has one thing to do: Organise a soccer world cup every four years. And that isn’t even such a tough ask. Fifa only has to bring three things to the table –  referees, the ball and a functional ticketing system – and they screwed up all three splendidly this year.

Xhanti Payi: Human dignity is no match for press freedom
They say a picture says a thousand words, and recently I might have been convinced that at least half that word-count tells us about the photographer.


World Cup match reports

Germany’s Young Turks (and their Poles, and Ghanaians, and Brazilians and…) pulp the Argentines, advance to semi-finals
Green Point Stadium was the scene of a gigantic massacre on Saturday. Maradona and his boys finally hit an immovable wall, and the rampaging Germans delivered them a footballing lesson that they will not forget for a long time. The match ended Germany 4, Argentina 0.

Villa gambit wins Spain the chess game against Paraguay
It was a tough, tough game to decide the fourth spot in the World Cup 2010 semi-finals. Paraguay fought Spain for control of every blade of grass at the Ellis Park pitch. And yet, the winner had to be decided on Saturday, and it simply had to be Spain. The match ended Spain 1, Paraguay 0.

The Dutch stun Brazil, banish them to World Cup exile
The Nelson Mandela Bay stadium saw a great upset on Friday, as the Dutch capitalised on Brazil’s mistakes and plunged the World Cup 2014 host country into deep mourning. An important match it might have been, but great match surely it wasn’t. It ended Netherlands 2, Brazil 1.

Uruguay come back from dead, wrest penalty lottery from Ghana
It should have been Ghana, but justice is a fickle mistress at World Cups. They played a great game, they fought bravely and, at the end, had their fate in their hands. It turned out it was not Africa’s time – this time. It ended Uruguay 5 (4), Ghana 3 (2).


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