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The_Lone_Wolf

International Events VI: Glorious Anarchy and Chaos!

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So nobody commented on the Pegasus scandal?

In case you missed it. Israeli Cyberarms Firm by the name NSO Group has developed a spyware that can be silently installed on smartphones. Really unnoticeable for the users. They happily sold it to several goverments around the globe. Some used it legitimately (national security/counter terrorism) measures. Other actors less so, and instead it on human rights acitvists (like lawyers), political opponents, and journalists.

Among the abusers are India, Saudi Arabia, and Hungary. Oh, also among the software users (not targets!) Mexican drug cartels.

Wikipedia link for a brief summary.

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I think the lack of reaction is fueled by the lack of surprise by everyone. 

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Posted (edited)

The Olympics are on the verge of cancellation. And rightly so. Whether or not to cancel has been a contractual game of chicken between Japan and the IOC. Up until now, the chicken has been winning. 

It's looking more and more likely that common sense will prevail. 

Edited by Spockydog

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1 hour ago, Spockydog said:

It's looking more and more likely that common sense will prevail. 

Really?  I'd be shocked.  Too much money involved.

The head of the organising committee did not rule out a last-minute cancellation but I definitely wouldn't interpret that to mean it will be cancelled.

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https://www.nbcnews.com/news/sports/norwegian-women-s-beach-handball-team-fined-not-playing-bikinis-n1274453

Quote

The Norwegian women’s beach volleyball team is refusing to wear bikini bottoms at a recent match, which could result in them facing a fine for not wearing the approved uniform.

I think it’s emblematic of an actual problems with the uniforms in sports.

That there’s an expectation of female athletes having to show as much skin as possible to pander to horny men

Even when the female athletes are literal children.

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2 hours ago, Padraig said:

Really?  I'd be shocked.  Too much money involved.

The head of the organising committee did not rule out a last-minute cancellation but I definitely wouldn't interpret that to mean it will be cancelled.

It is interesting that Toyota isn't running their exclusive Olympic advertising campaign in Japan. 

I've been writing about this here and elsewhere for at least six months. These games should have never gone ahead, or at least they could have been done in a way in which all the competitions were spread out throughout the world so you didn't create a mass gathering. But the athletes, officials and executives are already in Tokyo for the most part and the sunken cost is already so large that there's no way you're going to stop these corporations from recouping some of their loses. 

Hopefully going forward this forces us to rethink how we do major tournaments like the Olympics and the World Cup, for example. We have to stop holding these events in places where they need to build up a ton of infrastructure only for it to go to waste after the event is over. This example I've always found especially eggregious:

Quote

The Arena da Amazonia is located in Manaus, Brazil. Manaus is in the middle of the Amazon and very hard to travel to.

The stadium took 4 years to build. It's estimated to have cost the Brazilian government $220-$300 million. Three workers died during construction.

It's one of 12 stadiums Brazil built for the 2014 World Cup. The stadium was used for just 4 matches during the World Cup. It was also used for a few matches during the 2016 Olympics.

Now it sits mostly unused. Manaus is the 7th most populated city in the country. The stadium can seat over 40,000 fans. But most local matches bring in fewer than 1,000 people.

The stadium took in $180,000 in the first 4 months of 2016, while spending about $560,000 in operating costs.

It's not the first stadium to sit mostly unused after being used for just a few big events. It probably won't be the last.

https://www.businessinsider.com/300-million-world-cup-stadium-is-nearly-abandoned-2018-6

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3 hours ago, Spockydog said:

The Olympics are on the verge of cancellation. And rightly so. Whether or not to cancel has been a contractual game of chicken between Japan and the IOC. Up until now, the chicken has been winning. 

It's looking more and more likely that common sense will prevail. 

When it’s supposed to start end of the week and people have already traveled to Tokyo?  Really?

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27 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

When it’s supposed to start end of the week and people have already traveled to Tokyo?  Really?

Maybe 'on the verge' was overstating things. It depends on the rate of infection. If Covid starts running rampant in the athletes' village then they might have no choice.

Tokyo 2020 on a knife edge as rumours spread as quickly as Covid
 

Quote

 

In Tinderbox Tokyo, on the eve of the first sporting action of these troubled Olympics, everyone appears to have the jitters. Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, admits to sleepless nights. Athletes and journalists increasingly fear their Games could end with a ping on their phone and a 14-day spell in quarantine. And when Toshiro Muto, head of the Tokyo organising committee, was asked on Tuesday whether the Games could yet be cancelled, his vague reply became interpreted as a hint the Olympics could yet be in peril at the 11th hour.

Such headlines did not merely jump the gun. They also pole‑vaulted spectacularly clear of the cavalry.

When the question had been put to Muto, he merely replied: “We can’t predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases. So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases.” It sounded like a bland comment from a bland bureaucrat. Yet it was rapidly spun into a major breaking story.

By the time it had been eventually shot down by several well-placed sources and Tokyo 2020, who insisted the headlines were “extremely far” from what Muto had actually said, it was too late. The story had gone around the world. Few writing it bothered to point out that on Monday Tokyo recorded 727 new infections, the lowest figure for several days.

But the episode was entirely in keeping with these flit and flustered Games, where rumours spread as quickly as the virus. Those in charge are praying that when the sport finally kicks off the mood will shift from angst to the action, from fear to the field of play.

Could it happen? Potentially. One Japanese journalist in the media centre on Tuesday told the Guardian that she had detected a change in recent days: from outright hostility to the tens of thousands of people arriving for the Olympics to a sense of “sadness” that they would be held without spectators.

It was perhaps also notable that Bach, speaking at the IOC Session in Tokyo, tried to soften the perception of his organisation, which has been seen as ramming through these Games on an unwilling Japanese public.

Whatever your view, most inside the Tokyo bubble accept that these Games are balanced on a perilous knife edge. In a best-case scenario, the action for fans on TV is spectacular, while a couple of early Japanese gold medals and a further drop in Covid cases leads to some fans inside stadiums in the final week. In the worst case, the spread of Covid inside the athletes’ village and elsewhere leads to chaos and recriminations.

 

 

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11 hours ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

Among the abusers are India, Saudi Arabia, and Hungary. Oh, also among the software users (not targets!) Mexican drug cartels.

They didn't make such a big deal of it here. 

Or maybe that's exactly why. Abusers 

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6 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

When it’s supposed to start end of the week and people have already traveled to Tokyo?  Really?

Last year's Australian Grand Prix was cancelled when people were already lining up for admission.

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9 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

Hopefully going forward this forces us to rethink how we do major tournaments like the Olympics and the World Cup, for example. We have to stop holding these events in places where they need to build up a ton of infrastructure only for it to go to waste after the event is over. This example I've always found especially eggregious:

Yes.  I fear there was a lot of corruption involved in Brazil's bids.  It is not like football stadiums aren't useful in Brazil but they are preferable in places that have large clubs.  Qatar is another farcical situation but I suppose they can afford it.

Previously, Tokyo would have been a very reasonable place to have a major sporting event.  Paris and LA should be similar (I remember reading that LA didn't need to build any new facilities for the Olympics).  And the North American World Cup should presumably be fine too.  But admittedly, COVID makes Tokyo a complete money burner.

3 hours ago, Loge said:

Last year's Australian Grand Prix was cancelled when people were already lining up for admission.

While a neat example, it certainly doesn't make cancelling the Olympics any more likely.

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8 minutes ago, Padraig said:

While a neat example, it certainly doesn't make cancelling the Olympics any more likely.

I don't really expect cancellation either, but people already being there isn't the reason.

In other news, Brisbane has been selected to host the 3032 games.

https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/australias-brisbane-named-host-2032-summer-games-2021-07-21/

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44 minutes ago, Spockydog said:

3032? I'm thinking they might need to move it to winter.

How could you deny the people a classic summer wasteland death race, the most popular of sports in 3032 Australia?

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1 hour ago, Padraig said:

Qatar is another farcical situation but I suppose they can afford it.

Always helps to save money when you use de facto slaves to build your stadiums....

 

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8 hours ago, The_Lone_Wolf said:

They didn't make such a big deal of it here. 

Or maybe that's exactly why. Abusers 

It is a huge political scandal all the same. I assume it's not getting the coverage it deserves because of COVID.

Anyway, the known targets of Pegassus in India:

Rahul Gandhi, Prashant Kishor and two Union Ministers.

Can't say I know too much about those people, I assume Rahul Gandhi is currently the head of the Gandhi Dynasty.

12 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

It is interesting that Toyota isn't running their exclusive Olympic advertising campaign in Japan. 

I've been writing about this here and elsewhere for at least six months. These games should have never gone ahead, or at least they could have been done in a way in which all the competitions were spread out throughout the world so you didn't create a mass gathering. But the athletes, officials and executives are already in Tokyo for the most part and the sunken cost is already so large that there's no way you're going to stop these corporations from recouping some of their loses. 

Hopefully going forward this forces us to rethink how we do major tournaments like the Olympics and the World Cup, for example. We have to stop holding these events in places where they need to build up a ton of infrastructure only for it to go to waste after the event is over. This example I've always found especially eggregious:

https://www.businessinsider.com/300-million-world-cup-stadium-is-nearly-abandoned-2018-6

That isn't really news tho. Same story with the 2010 WC stadiums in South Africa. The World Cup Arenas are simply oversized for the need of those domestic leagues in those countries. Well, in Brazil, I assume the modernized Stadiums in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are still in use and the clubs could fill those. But the Manaus Stadium in the middle of the Amazon was always going to end this way. No idea how the Russian Stadiums fair now. But the venues of the Socchi Olympics are probably about useless.

As for the German World Cup in 2006, those areas are used by the Bundesliga (and Bundesliga 2) clubs. That was basically an opportunity to get their new stadiums up. But even there were some locations that were not really smart choices. E.g. building a new ground in Leipzig with no club anywhere near Bundesliga or 2nd Bundesliga prospects (RB Leipzig was founded in '09) was there to give Eastern Germany a few games. So that one by all rights should have ended up as stadium without function, too. The German stadium that has turned into disaster for the club was the rebuilding of the Firtz Walter Stadium at Kaiserslautern. That club (Taxpayers Money FC) is playing third tier football these days (and were on the verge of relegation last seasn), they can't really afford to pay the (lowered) rent to the city for their oversized stadium. But that club is a story of its own. That location was really only picked for the sake of tradition (the bulk of the 1954 WC winners came from that club).

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Good grief, I’ve just seen a story about flooding in China’s Henan province. A year’s worth of rain in 5 days, reservoirs overflowing, dams collapsing, cars floating down roadways, the subway system flooding while trains were still running because people had no other way to go home. The trains filled with water, people gasping for breath as the space got smaller and smaller. Chinese censors have taken down videos posted by passengers desperate for rescue.

Authorities aren’t calling this a once in a 100 years storm, they’re calling it a once in a 1,000 years storm. From the storms I’ve seen here, want to bet a situation like this happens again in the next 5 years?

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, L'oiseau français said:

Good grief, I’ve just seen a story about flooding in China’s Henan province.

Yeah, some pretty devastating scenes on the news. Seen a lot of really pessimistic stories recently about the effects of climate change being much worse than the scientists' predictions. We are running out of time.

I am really glad I don't have kids. Worrying about the future for my sisters' children is bad enough. I can only imagine the fears parents of young children must be having.

 

Edited by Spockydog

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