1
Jul

World Cup Diary: Brazil reinventing, redefining itself one step at a time

SALVADOR, Brazil —

Brazil wasn’t what I had expected. I’ve been here three weeks now, covering the United States men’s national team across this vast and diverse country, and I’m still not quite sure what to make of it.

The image was strikingly similar to that of the country where I covered the last World Cup, South Africa: A shambolic government that couldn’t get anything done by a deadline, inflicting crippling poverty lived in rambling shantytowns, in a country ruled only by lawlessness. But as it was in South Africa, most construction in Brazil has been completed, or at least looked the part, and I’ve never once felt unsafe.

Sao Paulo, where the United States and its press corps have been based, is a confusing place. There is no containing its sprawl, all of it infested with boxy apartment towers — invariably with terraces adorned with flapping Brazilian flags — pricking the blue sky. The traffic is soul-crushing. On a bad day, you can average less than five miles an hour in your cab or bus. Some days, early in our stay, the subway workers were on strike and it was worse still and you just stood there, thousands of running cars frozen in place.

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28
Feb

Laurent Koscielny donates thousands to save accordion factory

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Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny may be living in England, but he certainly hasn’t forgotten his French roots.

The 28-year-old was born and raised in Tulle, France, home to the famous accordion factory Maugein. It was established in 1919, but late last year it was threatened with closure. Koscielny wasn’t going to let this happen.

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French media has reported that the defender is part of an investment group that has put up more than $800K to help save the factory.

The company makes these gorgeous instruments from scratch, but have been undermined by competition who made cheaper accordions. Thankfully, for the sake of the art and music, Kolscielny has stepped in to keep Maugein alive.

Via The Guardian

Images courtesy of Getty, Action