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The final saw Holland playing Spain, two European colonizers on African territory. Before the game Nelson Mandela’s grandson complained that FIFA had put “extreme pressure” on the elderly hero to attend, despite the fact that he was in mourning for the loss of a great-granddaughter. “Their focus is on having this world icon in the stadium, yet not really paying attention to our customs and traditions as a people and as a family.” The miracle is that anyone ever imagined that FIFA might behave otherwise. –“FIFA’s Foul Play,” Tim Parks, NYRBlog
Stringent traffic rules prohibiting open-air performances have cut the rope-walkers’ lifeline. They used to display their skills on a high rope tied between two poles in open areas such as roads, parks or squares. This is no longer allowed. Bribing the traffic police can sometimes work, but the rope-walkers earn so little they can rarely justify an expense like that. Kishan Bharti, 26, who used to be a rope-walker now works as a tall man in the shopping malls and fairs around the city. At times, when nostalgia strikes, he will tie up his rope and put on a show inside the colony to entertain the children. –“New Delhi’s disappearing street magicians,” Sudhiti Naskar, The National
I had been briefed that he is a man of few words, who eats and sleeps very little and seems to survive on a diet of green tea. As I wait for this phenomenon to make an appearance, I study the menu. St John is favoured by the most enthusiastic of carnivores and the choice is Dickensian and sounds slightly stomach-turning: devilled kidneys, beef mince on dripping toast, smoked eels. In a dark corner, a Japanese tourist is eagerly scooping out the marrow from an ox-bone. –“Lunch with the FT: Oleg Deripaska,” Gideon Rachman, Financial Times
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”