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Stories from and

An Amazon Tribe's 500-Page Traditional-Medicine Encyclopaedia

The Amazon Rainforest supports millions of plants that could be vital ingredients in still-undiscovered medications. For that reason, many pharmaceutical companies and even the US government are currently funding projects to study the indigenous plant knowledge of native shamans and healers in the area, and develop new drugs.

The Matsés people, who live in Peru and Brazil, have created a health encyclopedia more than 500 pages long cataloging their traditional medicinal practices, preserving ancestral knowledge for younger generations. The majority of the shamans are old and without apprentices. So when they die a vast knowledge also disappears.

But, in order to avoid bio-piracy, this information remains with the Matsés people; it is only accessible in the native tongue and is only distributed within the tribe’s villages. Protective measures also include: “no scientific names are used to identify local plant species, and no plants will be pictured in detail, so as not to be identifiable to outsiders.”

“The [Matsés Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia] marks the first time shamans of an Amazonian tribe have created a full and complete transcription of their medicinal knowledge written in their own language and words,” Christopher Herndon, president and co-founder of Acaté, told Mongabay in an interview.

According to Pachamama Alliance, a global community focused on creating a sustainable future, the health and wellbeing of the Western world, often comes at a high price for indigenous peoples. As pharmaceutical companies have realized that their research generates better outcomes if they co-operate with indigenous people and tap into their wisdom, rainforest tribes are at risk of losing control over their resources.

Once the pharmaceutical companies have developed the drug, they file patents claiming exclusive rights to the medical use of the plant – hence limiting or even denying access to the plants that indigenous peoples have relied upon for centuries.

That's why in 2010, the tenth Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing. It specifically addresses the issue of bioprospecting and the rights of indigenous peoples to access to forest resources, intellectual property, and adequate compensation.

Acaté, a San-Francisco-based non-profit, assisted the five shamans who compiled the encyclopaedia. In the encyclopaedia, each entry is categorized by a disease name and features explanations of how to recognise the disease according to symptoms, understand its root causes and know how to prepare medicine from specific plants to use as treatment. The entries also make readers aware of alternative therapeutic options.

The idea behind the project is to make the tribes less dependent on conventional doctors and western drugs, while maintaining their self-sufficiency.

Man's Best Friend: Dog Chases Ambulance to Be With His Owner

This happened near the city of Brasília, Brazil.

A homeless man was being transported in an ambulance after suffering a seizure. All of a sudden, the paramedics noticed something unusual: the man's dog was desperately following the ambulance. He kept going for some kilometers until he was finally allowed to enter the vehicle and join his owner.

The scene happened in March this year, but only went viral on social media this Christmas Eve. As Daily Mail Online reported, 42-year-old paramedic Caliomar Ferreira do Couto recorded the scene and said this was a first for him, after 19 years in the profession. At the hospital, the faithful dog patiently waited by the stretcher while his owner was being cared by the doctors.

Dog chases an ambulance in Taguatinga

Childhood Play Remains Technology Free by Brazil’s ‘Old Frank’ River

A girl and her doll, in Xique-Xique city, Bahia. Photo by Markileide Oliveira, published with permission.

A girl and her imaginary doll in Xique-Xique, Bahia. Image by Markileide Oliveira, published with permission.

Markileide Oliveira‘s photos portray the daily life of the population of Xique-Xique, a small town located on the banks of the São Francisco River, in the backwoods of the state of Bahia – one of the most arid regions of Brazil. The “Velho Chico” (“Old Frank”), as the river is popularly known, is one of the most important rivers of the country, running through five states and providing much of the livelihood in areas that are unsuitable for agriculture.

Markileide says she is especially fond of the local children, whose universe remains untouched by technological development:

Em meio a modernidade do século XXI e o mundo virtual que abraçam as novas gerações, existe uma infância que sobrevive aos impactos das novas tecnologias. A inocência das crianças que nascem na beira do rio causa em mim um encantamento inexplicável, percebe-se que a felicidade vive no imaginário das crianças ribeirinhas, onde é possível sentir a boneca imaginária que vive nos sonhos dessa menina que posa para fotografia.  

Simplesmente linda.
 
Longe das tecnologias elas aprendem a sentir, a viver e ser criança. E brincar… 
De boneca, de casinha, de se esconder, de salva latinha, de pegar piaba com o lençol da mãe e depois soltar para vê-las nadar e ganhar o rio, brincar de lavar as louças só para [dar] comidinhas aos peixes…
 
… As nossas memórias parecem ganhar vida. 
 
 É possível reviver as lembranças de quem viveu uma infância na beira do rio.

Amidst the modernity of the 21st century and the virtual world that embraces the new generations, there is a childhood that survives the impact of new technologies. The innocence of the riverbank children brings me an inexplicable enchantment; you realize that happiness lives in the imagination of local children, where you can feel the imaginary doll who lives in the dreams of this girl posing for the photo.

Just beautiful.

Away from technology, they learn to feel, to live and be a child. And to play…
With the doll, doll's house, hide and seek, using their mother's bed sheets to grab the little fish and then let it go to see it swimming and taking on the river, pretending to be washing dishes just to give tidbits to the fish…

… Our memories seem to come alive.

  It's possible to relive the memories of those who spent their childhood by the riverbank.

Childhood Xique Xique

Portrait of Childhood, “Old Frank's Riverside Community” series. Image by Markileide Oliveira, published with permission

More photos of Xique-Xique by Markileide can be seen on her Facebook page.

A Military Police Corporal Is the First Convicted for Brazil's ‘Crimes of May’ Deaths

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Poster published by Mothers of May calling for supporters to follow the trial.

São Paulo's Military Police Corporal Alexandre Andre Pereira da Silva was sentenced to 36 years in prison for the deaths of Murilo de Moraes Ferreira, Felipe Vasti Santos de Oliveira and Marcelo Heyd Meres in 2006 during the so-called “Crimes of May.” Journalist Laura Capriglione from the media collective Ponte (Bridge) reported the news on Facebook. 

The conviction came after years of pressure from the Mothers of May Movement, which was created after the death of around 500 young people during police actions in the state of São Paulo in May 2006.

 

 

Detained Brazilian Activist Says, “I'm a Target of a Large and Dirty Political Persecution Campaign”

Carta Fábio Hideki, de dentro da Penitenciária

Letter written by Brazilian activist Fábio Hideki, published by Mídia Ninja (CC BY-SA 4.0).

This letter, published by Mídia Ninja collective, was written by Fábio student Hideki Harano, one of the two activists arrested in São Paulo after taking part of a demonstration against the World Cup in Brazil on June 26. The Freedom for Hideki campaign ensures popular pressure for his release.

03/07/2014  Fábio Hideki Haramo

Escrevendo de maneira leve e solta, sem pensar elaboradamente digo que não fiz nada de errado pois participar de manifestações de rua, usar equipamentos de proteção e resistir na defensiva, para fazer valer o direito de expressão pública, não é nem um pouco crime.

Estou sendo alvo de uma grande e suja perseguição política. Não neguei revista pois não tinha nada a esconder. Implantaram uma suposta bomba, que só fui ver no DEIC, horas depois de minha detenção.

Sou trabalhador, funcionário público e estudante da USP, gosto de ler, de mangá, de Tokusatsu (seriados japoneses de super-herois), de heavy metal, artes marciais, luta política por um mundo melhor, justo e sem desumanindade.

Sei da importância de lutar. Pratico kentô e sei que só viver de maneira individualista não leva a um mundo melhor. Assim, participo sim de sindicato, apoio determinados movimentos sociais como MTST e o MPL. Sei que lutar, sem briga, nas ruas é importante. Participo de manifestações sem partir para agressões.

Tanto é que meus pais e meus avós sabem com tranquilidade que não faço lutas erradas.

Writing freely, without too much thinking, I can say that I have done nothing wrong, considering that joining the street demonstrations, wearing protective gear and resisting defensively to assert the right of public expression is not the slightest crime.

I am target of a large and dirty political persecution. I did not avoid being searched because I had nothing to hide. They planted a supposed bomb, which I only saw at the [estate police station] DEIC hours after my arrest.

I'm a worker, a public servant and a University of São Paulo student, I like reading, manga, tokusatsu [Japanese superhero series], heavy metal, martial arts, and a political fight for a better, fair world without inhumanity.

I know the importance of fighting. I practice Kento and know that just living in an individualistic way will not lead to a better world. So, yes, I participate in the workers’ union, I support certain social movements such as the Homeless Workers Movement and the Free Fare Movement. I know that fighting in the streets, without aggression, is important. I take part in demonstrations but do not take part in violence.

So much so that my parents and grandparents know with confidence that I do not fight wrong causes.

Social Media Loves Mexican Goalkeeper ‘Memo’ Ochoa

The very much lauded performance by Mexican goalkeeper Guillerno “Memo” Ochoa during his national team's World Cup match with Brazil has made him a social media star.

The Mexican music band Tres Tristes Tigres dedicated a “corrido” to Ochoa on YouTube:

Ochoa has also received a marriage proposal from the well-known singer Thalía:

Ochoa has became a hero after his performance with Brazil, and Thalia proposed through her Instagram account.

Chilean Football Fan Got Mixed Up and Missed His Team's First Match

A Chilean football fan who wanted to cheer his national team on at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil missed his team's first game with Australia because he mixed up the cities Curitiba and Cuiabá.

During an interview with a reporter in Curitiba, the distracted fan said he was happy to be in Brazil, “a beautiful country”. The journalist told him that the match against Australia was scheduled in Cuiabá… 1,700 kilometers away from Curitiba.

Twitter users reacted almost immediately:

Chilean fan went to Curitiba instead of Cuiabá.

Chilean football fan who mixed up Cuiabá and Curitiba, 1.700 km away from his national team debut on the World Cup says he was joking the reporter.

Anyway, my life is way much better than the guy who got mixed up with Cuiabá and Curitiba, LOL! I dropped dead… LOL!!!

A Handbook for Protesters During the World Cup in Brazil

As the 2014 World Cup begins in Brazil, protests against FIFA's interventions and the Brazilian government's spending are taking place all over the country, especially in the host cities.

Concerned about excessive police reaction during protests, citizen's counselling organization Urucum, which works on human rights, communication and justice issues and is based in the city of Fortaleza, published a “Handbook for Protesters” in Portuguese (“Manual de Pessoas Manifestantes”).

The e-book gives advice about items protesters should carry inside their backpacks and offers a list of recommendations on attitude and behavior during the demonstration itself. It also shares a list of civil rights and addresses how to proceed in case a protester is stopped for a police search or detained.

The booklet is a product of the online platform Na Rua [pt] (On the street), which monitors human rights violations perpetrated by the government in Fortaleza during protests related to the World Cup.

‘The Time Has Come!’ Brazil 2014 World Cup

Mexican communication specialist Samantha Michelle Martínez [es] expresses her excitement for the kicking off of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, remembers the buzz around previous tournaments and invites readers to support the teams [es]:

Fuera de la polémica sobre el escandaloso proceso que la Selección Mexicana tuvo para poder calificar a Brasil 2014, nos permitimos olvidar un rato, queremos dejar de ser imparciales, sentir que nuestro ego se infle tantito. Qué más da, en el mundial todos lo hacen. Y es permitido, ya que esta fiesta sólo ocurre cada cuatro años y es de lo más selectiva.

Leaving aside the controversy about the boisterous process the Mexican national team went through to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, let's just forget for a while that we don't want to be unbiased, we want to feel our ego puffing up a little bit. Whatever, during the World Cup everybody does that. And we are allowed to, as this party comes only once every four years, and it's very selective.

She writes often about sports and her favorite tourist destinations. If you are interested in updates during the World Cup, follow her blog Tarjeta Azul [es] and her Twitter account.

This post was part of the sixth #LunesDeBlogsGV [Monday of blogs on GV] on June 9, 2014.

Analyzing the Protests Before the 2014 World Cup

In digital magazine Distintas Latitudes (Different latitudes), Mexican internationalist Vanessa Rebollar analyzes [es] the elements present in the Brazilian protests caused by 2014 FIFA World Cup. She brings up some questions:

¿Cuál es el contexto dentro del cual han surgido las protestas? y ¿Quiénes son los actores y sus demandas y cómo se han logrado articular los intereses de los diversos sectores de la población?  Así, en un primer momento hablaré de las coordenadas social, política y económica que pueden explicar o dar sentido al surgimiento de las movilizaciones,

What is the context in which the protests have arisen? Who are the actors and their demands and how have they managed to articulate the interests of the various sectors of the population? So, at first I'll talk about social, political and economical coordinates that may explain or give a sense of the beginning of the demonstrations.

After noting corruption as a common element to all of the above, she addresses some features of the protest and concludes:

Brasil puede dar lecciones dentro y fuera del estadio. A raíz de las protestas, la población ha sido más conciente y crítica de la gestión del gobierno de izquierda, que si bien ha avanzado en unos aspectos, en otros aún ha quedado a deber y esto será reflejado tanto en las calles como en las urnas.

Brazil can teach lessons inside and outside the stadium. Since the protests started, the population has been more aware and critical of the leftist government, which if it has made some progress in some aspects, in others it still has much left to do and this will be reflected on the streets and in elections.

You can follow Distintas Latitudes [es] and also Vanessa on Twitter.

This post was part of the sixth #LunesDeBlogsGV [Monday of blogs on GV] on June 9, 2014.

Bicycling 2,930 Kilometers for a Selfie With Uruguay's President José Mujica

After bicycling for 35 days accompanied only by his bike, 28-year old Brazilian Carlos Eduardo Lemos de Oliveira achieved his goal: he took a selfie with Uruguay's President José Mujica.

Brazilian guys takes a ‘selfie’ with Mujica after pedaling almost 3,000 km to Uruguay.

The loneliness of the journey from the city of Alfenas, in the state of Minas Gerais — in the center of Brazil — all the way to Mujica's home, on the outskirts of Uruguayan capital Montevideo, allowed him to reflect about some aspects of daily life that we usually take for granted, as summed up by G1 website:

Viajar sozinho tem suas vantagens. Você faz seus horários, impõe seu ritmo, decide quando partir e como chegar. Eu sempre digo aos amigos que para viajar assim, sem companhia, é preciso primeiramente estar aberto a fazer novas amizades.
[…]
No começo você desconfia de que as pessoas vão te achar louco por estar falando sozinho nas rodovias. Então você começa a perceber que não existem pessoas naqueles lugares e, num estalar de dedos, você se pega cantando no mais alto tom canções que você tem pavor de ouvir quando está em casa.

Traveling alone has its advantages. You make your schedules, you set the rythm, you decide when to leave and how to arrive. I always tell my friends that for an unaccompanied trip you first need to be open to making new friends.
[…]
At first, you mistrust that people will think you are insane as you talk to yourself on the roads. Then you start to notice there is nobody in those places and just like that, you are singing songs out loud that you would never sing while being at home.

The meeting with Mujica, which was the purpose of the trip, happened on November 21. Carlos Eduardo wrote:

De um lado, uma bicicleta, de outro, um fusquinha azul encardido. Não poderia haver um encontro mais apaixonante do que este que tive com o presidente do Uruguai, José Mujica. Aliás, foi tudo muito despretensioso e quase nada programado. “Pepe”, apelido de Mujica, é um homem de muita simplicidade.

On one side, a bike, on the other, a blue, dirty beetle. There probably won't exist a more passionate encounter than the one I had with Uruguay's President José Mujica. Furthermore, it all was very simple with nothing programmed. “Pepe”, Mujica's nickname, is a man full of simplicity.

Twitter also echoed Carlos Eduardo's journey:

It's good to have dreams, projects, and being able to accomplish them!!

This is a real president.

Video: Amazon Indigenous Tribe Protests Hydroelectric Dam Construction

Indigenous people from the Munduruku ethnic group are fighting against the construction of the São Luiz do Tapajós dam in the state of Pará, Brazil. The dam will mean the flooding of 700,000 km2 in their homeland.

The Brazilian Federal Government plans to build up to five dams in the Tapajós River, where dozens of indigenous communities live. Together with São Luiz do Tapajós, the Jatobá dam was due to begin construction in 2015, but socio-environmental difficulties may have postponed that deadline to at least 2020. The two dams will cost together US$7 billion.

The Munduruku claim they have not been consulted about the project. For years, the Munduruku people from the Sawré Maybu community, which will be directly affected by the construction of São Luiz do Tapajós dam, have pressured the federal government to demarcate their lands. The demarcation would create a legal obstacle for the continuation of the dam's project.

A documentary about the issue was produced by videomaker Nayana Fernandez.

UPDATE 09/12/2014: Together with other organizations, Nayana Fernandez has launched a crowfunding campaign to help the Munduruku pressure the government to demarcate their territory, officialize two associations, build a website and translate and dub the documentary into their native language (most Mundurku people do not speak Portuguese). Supporters can contribute with a minimum of US$10. 

FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 Already Ancient History

james

Colombian James Rodríguez, highest scorer in World Cup Brazil 2014. Image by Calcio Streaming on flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Caligo, author of Spanish blog La ilógica (The ilogical) and Colombian fan, shares his final thoughts about 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. The mentions the highest points of the tournament: the German champions, the flaws on the Argentinian team, the outstanding Colombian James Rodríguez, Brazil humiliation by the German crew, among others.

Menotti dijo “El fútbol representa la cultura de un país”, esta es la Alemania campeona: simple, eficiente, optimizadora, trabajo en equipo, proyecto a largo plazo, estrategia que se ejecuta y se mide.

[…]

Más de una amiga no colombiana escribió “Amo a James”. Cómo no quererlo si tiene todas las cualidades que enamoran: alegría, compromiso, generosidad, talento, ternura, responsabilidad y entrega. […] Lo que siempre debe producir más que una sonrisa es pensar que le quedan ocho años de fútbol de primer nivel. (Goleador del Mundial con seis goles, en cinco partidos consecutivos, además de dos asistencias. Grande entre los grandes).

(Argentinian football coach César Luis) Menotti once said “Football represents the culture of a country”, this is the German champion: simple, efficient, optimizing, team working, a long term project, a strategy that gets executed and measured.

[…]

More than one non Colombian girl wrote “I love James”. How not to love him if he has all the qualitiues to fall for him: joy, commitment, generosity, talent, tenderness, responsibility and dedication. […] What will always produce more than a smile is to think that we still have eight more years of first level football (highest World Cup scorer, in five games in a row, plus two assists. A great among the great ones).

Now we'll just have to wait four years for Russia 2018. For more football passon from the Colombian perspective, you can follow Caligo on his blog and on Twitter.

This post was part of the eleventh #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on July 14, 2014.

A Brazilian Favela Is Challenging the World Cup Champion to a Match

desafioanita

Image by Techo.org, used with permission.

The favela Anita Garibaldi, located 10 kilometers from Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo, Brasil, is home to 4,000 families and its own football team. Latin American origin NGO TECHO (@untecho) is campaigning for a match between the Anita Fútbol Club and this year's World Cup champion to call attention to the poverty experienced by millions of people in Latin America.

The organization is encouraging an intense campaign on social networks and in the media with the hashtag #DesafíoAnita (Challenge Anita). So far, they have been able to engage people from all around the world in petitions to the FIFA, national football federations and individuals for the challenge, still with no confirmed date.

You can follow as an “hincha” (fan) of Anita Garibaldi on their official web (in Spanish, English and Portuguese) or with the hashtag #DesafíoAnita.

Documentary in Portuguese with Spanish subtitles: “Why does Anita Garibaldi want #DesafíoAnita?”

Video in Portuguese with English subtitles: Turtao, goalkeeper of Anita Garibaldi FC, challenges Lionel Messi

The Female Perspective on the 2014 World Cup

Dalia Gutmann reviews the football players she's had a crush on from 1990 FIFA World Cup Italy to the current one in Brazil on the website OhLaLá!. After mentioning her favorite one in each of these sporting events, she confesses:

Como notarán, la única razón por la que puedo registrar a un jugador es si está fuerte o si sale con alguna “famosa”. Es que de fútbol no sé NADA. Lo único que sé es que durante este mes las prioridades de los hombres cambian y la mayoría deja de registrarnos. Ninguno nos da pelota, así que no nos queda otra que babosearnos con estos muchachitos que corren detrás de una ídem (aunque a la mayoría -aceptémoslo- ¡¡¡ya le llevemos como una década!!!)

As you may notice, the only reason I can take note of a player is if he's hot or if he's dating some “famous” woman. It's just that I know nothing AT ALL about football. The only thing I know is that during this month, men's priorities will change and most of them will leave us behind. None of them will care for us, so there is no other option for us than drool over these boys that run after a ball (even though -let's face it- we're older than them by like a decade!!!).

Reasons to Cheer for the Ivory Coast in the World Cup

CostadeMarfil

Ivory Coast's national team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Image from Flickr user Merah Chhaya. CC BY 2.0.

On the website LaMula.pe, Juan Carlos Urtecho explains his reasons for supporting the Ivory Coast in the World Cup match with Colombia on Thursday, June 19:

Desde que les ganaron a Japón en su debut, los marfileños se han vuelto mis preferidos en este mundial. […] Uno escoge a sus engreídos de la manera más simple. Costa de Marfil, ubicado en la costa occidental de África, con un PBI de 19 mil millones de euros y un per cápita de 967 euros es el tercer país más pobre de los que están en el mundial después de Honduras y Bosnia. La economía de Japón (PBI de 5 billones de euros y 30 mil per cápita) es la segunda detrás de Estados Unidos. Costa de Marfil es un país que intenta recuperarse de una sangrienta guerra civil que dejó a decenas de miles de muertos y cientos de miles de desplazados entre el 2002 y el 2007. Japón, es… bueno, Japón.

From the moment they defeated Japan in their debut, the Ivorians became my favorite team in this World Cup. […] You choose the spoiled ones via the simplest way. Ivory Coast, located in West Africa, with a GDP of 19 million euros and a per capita of 967 euros is the third poorest country that takes part in the World Cup, after Honduras and Bosnia. Japan's economy (GDP 5 billion euros and 30 million per capita) is the second after the United States. Ivory Coast is a country struggling to recover after a bloody civil war that resulted in ten of thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced between 2002 and 2007. Japan, is… well, it's Japan.

Do #IWantToBelieve in Mexico's National Football Team?

On his blog Se hace camino al andar (We walk to make the way), Mexican Andrés Mayorquín expresses his opinion [es] about the participation of Mexican national football team in Brazil FIFA World Cup 2014 and the hashtag on Twitter to support it #Quierocreer (I want to believe):

Personalmente se me hace una campaña ridícula, tan lastimera que da pena, pero por lo menos es realista. La ha de haber hecho algún publicista recomendado por algún político encumbrado, como el que dijo “Yo sí robé, pero poquito” y que ha llegado a donde está gracias a eso, al simplismo emocional de muchos mexicanos. […] La Selección tuvo tan pésimos resultados durante la eliminatoria mundialista y hasta la fecha, que de verdad se necesita un acto de fe extraordinario para pensar algo positivo de ella.

I personally think this is a ridiculous campaign, so pitiful that is sorrowful, but at least it is realistic. Surely it was managed by a publicist recommended by some lauded politician, just as the one who said “I did steal, but a very little bit” and who is where he is thanks to that, to the emotional simpleness many Mexicans have. […] The national team did it so badly during the qualifying round and until now that a really extraordinary leap of faith is necessary to think positively about it.

He adds:

Hay muchos quejosos sobre el tema del Mundial. Que si es un distractor, que si aturde a los mexicanos, que es un complot para mantenernos embobados, etc. Seré sincero, si tengo oportunidad, veré los partidos de futbol, como hice con los partidos anteriores, pero sin muchas expectativas. Creo que le pondré más interés a tratar de entender la reforma energética, o si con el empujón del Banxico ahora sí levanta la economía, o si puedo ser Consejero Electoral. Lo haré porque no #QuieroCreer, quiero ver resultados.

Many complain about the whole World Cup issue. That it is distracting, that numbs Mexicans, that it is a plot to keep us all besotted, etc. I'll be honest, if I have the chance, I'll watch the matches, as I did in previous matches, but not with high expectations. I think I'll be more interested in trying to understand the energy reform, or if with Banxico [Banco de México, the central bank of Mexico] the economy now gets better, or if I can become an Electoral Counsel. I will do it because I don't want to believe, I want to see results.

Follow him on Twitter.

This post was part of the sixth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on June 9, 2014.

Kazakhstan Has an Antelope That Can Predict the World Cup Winner (or Does It?)

Kazakhstan's most mischievous satirical blog, Kazaxia, is up to its old tricks again, reporting on the saiga antelope that has potentially ruined bookmakers worldwide by predicting the winner of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with its timeless steppe wisdom. As Kazaxia writes:

A shaman contacted kazaxia about the psychic saiga – it points a horn at one of two lamb bones bearing an etching of the national flags of the competing teams to select the winner. The unnamed saiga predicts that Argentina will triumph over England in the final. Brazil and Germany will be the unlucky losing semi-finalists, with the Germans grabbing third place on penalties.

For the competition’s opening match between Brazil and Croatia the long-nosed antelope refused to select a bone, suggesting the game could be a draw. For more predictions you can follow @psychicsaiga on twitter.

Saigas, which are members of the antelope family, once roamed the Eurasian steppe from the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains and the Caucasus into Mongolia and Dzungaria. Their numbers are now critically endangered with herds restricted to  areas of Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. 

Rather uncharitably, given that the satirical saiga is out to promote a good cause – saving itself from extinction – @pete_leonard chided:

 

Salam, Brazil: Muslim Football Fans and FIFA World Cup

Colombian United Arab Emirates-based Marcelino Torrecilla describes [es] the particulars of Muslim football fans in the 2014 FIFA World Cup:

se espera para el mundial la llegada de 50 mil musulmanes provenientes de países tan diversos como Irán, Nigeria, Argelia, Estados Unidos, el Reino Unido, Malasia y muchos otros de la región del Golfo Arábigo, que de seguro abarrotarán las más de ochenta mezquitas que existen a lo largo y ancho del extenso país brasilero;

For the World Cup, the arrival of 50,000 Muslims from countries as diverse as Iran, Nigeria, Algeria, United States, United Kingdom, Malaysia and many others from the Gulf is expected. For sure, they all will pack the 80 some mosques throughout the length and breadth of this huge country;

And he adds:

En seis de los 32 países en contienda en este mundial, el islam tiene una presencia significativa. Entre dichos países se encuentra a Bosnia-Herzegovina, Camerún, Irán, Costa de Marfil y Nigeria.

In six out of the 32 countries in competition, Islam has a significative presence. Among those countries we have Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cameroon, Iran, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

You can follow Marcelino on Twitter.

This post was part of the sixth #LunesDeBlogsGV [Monday of blogs on GV] on June 9, 2014.

Getting Tickets for the 2014 World Cup is a Total Nightmare

Mexican Emmasito shares [es] on his blog his misfortunes when trying to get tickets for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, which kicks off on Thursday, June 12. He notes that the problem is not the prices that range from 90 to 175 US dollars, which is affordable considering the magnitude of the sporting event, but the long waiting hours, the high demand for the tickets and problems with the net, among other barriers:

Justo a las 5 AM estábamos al pendiente […] y debido a la alta demanda a nivel mundial, FIFA te pone en una “cola” virtual y hasta que sea tu turno puedes entrar a comprar. Para no hacer la historia larga, nos dieron las 7:30 y seguíamos esperando con una desmañanada brutal. Eventualmente pudimos entrar, pero para ese tiempo ya no había boletos disponibles.

Right at 5 a.m. we were on the lookout […] and given the high worldwide demand, FIFA puts you into a virtual “line” and only when your turn comes you can go ahead and buy. To make a long story short, at 7:30 we were still waiting, totally disoriented. Eventually we were able to get in, but by then, there were no tickets available.

The author is a big fan of the most popular sport in the world and will be sharing his experiences during his visit to Brazil. Follow his blog [es] or his Twitter account if you are also a football fan.

This post was part of the sixth #LunesDeBlogsGV [Monday of blogs on GV] on June 9, 2014.

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