Brazilian armadillo football Word Cup symbol

This video from Brazil is about the three-banded armadillo as soccer World Cup 2014 symbol.

From the Caatinga Association, conservationists in Brazil:

After 64 years, Brazil returns to stage the biggest sporting spectacle on the planet: World Cup Soccer and any [animal] that is chosen for the event should show the “face” of Brazil and the “face” of our football.

The Caatinga Association, an institution that advocates the development and protection of our biodiversity, [has] proposed as an animal mascot [a] very special and unique [species] that only exists here in Brazil: the three-banded armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus), [with] the ability to bend upon itself to protect themselves when threatened, leaving the shape of a ball.

[It is] nocturnal, feeds on ants, termites, spiders and berries. It is the most endangered armadillo from Brazil and has already [become extinct in] many states. [It shows] peculiar behavior, which could brighten the cup, showing the world our rich nature and our commitment to biodiversity as well as sensitiz[ing] the people of Brazil for the defense and protection of our nature. This graceful animal is the main protagonist in the name of football: the ball.

Football, Greece-Germany, with Angela Merkel


This video is called EURO 2012 Greece-Russia: Greek and Russian football fans in Warsaw.

The Euro 2012 European football championship in Poland and Ukraine has reached the quarter-final stage.

From now on, it is the “knock out system”: if a team loses one match, it is out. The winners proceed to the next round.

Tomorrow, Friday evening east European time, in Gdansk in Poland, Germany will play Greece.

Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, will be there.

Earlier, there had been news that Ms Merkel’s government would boycott the football championship. As a protest against violations of the rights of Ukrainian ex-prime minister Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko; now in jail for corruption.

Not that human rights were any better when Ms Tymoshenko and her “orange” coalition still ruled the Ukraine. Ms Merkel cares about Tymoshenko, not because she cares about human rights in general. But because Tymoshenko, a pro-NATO and pro-austerity politician, is, in the Merkel administration‘s view, on the “our guys” side.

Most Ukrainians do not like the idea of joining NATO; then, rising military spending because of NATO membership would wreck the already weak Ukrainian economy. So, Tymoshenko lost the 2010 elections.

If Ms Merkel would really care about universal human rights, then she would not make plans to destroy workers’ rights all over Europe. She would not damage Greek children’s health and condemn Greek pensioners to eating from garbage cans by her vicious austerity policies. She would not limit the Greek people’s right to vote to the right to vote for pro-austerity parties (Merkel’s contempt of democracy helped her Greek sister party get a Pyrrhic victory in the recent elections, with a minority of votes for all pro-Merkel bailout parties together, but a small majority of seats because of a dubious 50 seats extra rule benefiting the biggest individual political party).

Ms Merkel despises democracy in Greece, cartoon by Gui Castro Felga

Now, the German soccer team has proceeded to the championship quarter finals. Suddenly, the Merkel government forgets, not only about the human rights of Greeks and of workers all over Europe, but about the human rights of Ms Tymoshenko as well. No more boycott. Ms Merkel will be on one of the most expensive seats in the stadium (don’t worry Angela, German taxpayers will pay). I don’t know whether Ms Merkel really likes football. I just know that many politicians know that football is more popular than they are. So they go to matches which are on TV, hoping that some of the sport’s popularity will rub off on them.

Germany-Greece: a very symbolic match, tomorrow evening. Most soccer pundits expect Germany to win. Those pundits, in an earlier stage of the championship, expected Russia to win against Greece as well. However, Greece won, and the Russian team, one of the favourites, were out.

Psychic animals’ football championship failures

From RIA Novosti in Russia:

‘Psychic’ Animals Vie for Euro 2012 Oracle Honors

MOSCOW, June 9

Following the success of Paul the ‘psychic’ Octopus, who correctly predicted the results of the 2010 World Cup, a pig, a cow and an elephant are among creatures attempting to guess the results of matches at the Euro 2012 football championships in Ukraine and Poland.

A swine named Funtik, who is a mainstay in the fan zone in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, had said co-hosts Poland would beat Greece on Friday – a prophesy which did not however come true as the tournament’s dramatic opener ended in a draw – but successfully predicted Russia’s victory over the Czech Republic later that night. Funtik divines, simply enough, by choosing between plates of corn chips, each bearing the flag of the two teams set to play.

A meerkat in Russia’s Urals town of Yekaterinburg, too, forecast his homeland’s triumph, but a deer in the northern town of Syktyvkar, not to be outdone, looked much farther ahead, saying Russia will reach the semi-finals.

Fred the Ferret

Poland’s own Citta the Elephant in the Krakow Zoo has also been credited with psychic powers, but they seemed to fail her after she picked her side to win at the National Stadium in Warsaw.

In Germany, Yvonne the cow has foretold defeat in the team’s opening match against Portugal to be played on Saturday night, a forecast countered by a psychic otter in the country’s small eastern town of Aue. Dutch elephant Nelly also indicated a win for Germany.

This music video is called Nellie The Elephant (Toy Dolls).

There is also Fred the Ferret in Kharkiv, one of Euro’s host cities in eastern Ukraine, whose prognostications are not yet known but who will surely be voted the cutest animal oracle of the tournament.

And last but not least, the successor to Paul, who sadly died of natural causes in 2010, is Paulus the Octopus, who was born in Germany but now lives – and works – in a tank in Portugal.

See also here.

Inspired by Paul the Octopus, animal owners across Germany are turning to their pets to predict the outcomes of European Championship matches. Germany’s animal protection agency says the trend is getting out of hand and singles out the use of a python and two live rats as especially tasteless: here.

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English llama, football clairvoyant

This music video is called Paul The Octopus – song by Parry Gripp.

From AFP news agency:

Many animals emulate Paul the Octopus

Saturday 19 May 2012

PARIS: Ahead of yesterday’s Champions League final and with Euro 2012 just around the corner, animals of all shapes and sizes queued up to succeed Paul the Octopus, the famous clairvoyant Cephalopoda

Cephalopod; Cephalopoda is plural

from the 2010 World Cup.

Paul, an octopus who lived at an aquarium in the German city of Oberhausen, rose to fame during the last World Cup for correctly “predicting” the outcome of eight consecutive matches at the tournament.

The tentacled soothsayer, who picked winners by selecting food from boxes decorated with teams’ national flags, passed away after the tournament, but there are now plenty of animals bidding to step into his (eight) shoes.

Ahead of yesterday’s Champions League showdown in Munich between Bayern Munich and Chelsea, a local sausage dog named Sissi and an octopus called Rosi from nearby Rosenheim have both predicted that Bayern will prevail.

Dachshund Sissi opted for a dish of food underneath a goal bearing the Bayern logo, while Rosi chose food from a box in Bayern red, apparently backing the Bavarians to beat Chelsea at Munich’s Allianz Arena.

But reports from England say Nicholas, the llama from Sussex, believes the Blues will prevail, after he chose a blue ball in his pen over a red one.

English tabloid the Daily Mirror reports that Nicholas’s prediction carries some weight as he correctly predicted Chelsea would beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final earlier this month.

The English llama was ‘more clairvoyant’ than the German animals; as Chelsea won.

Bahraini athletes tortured

This video says about itself:

4 November 2011

What if a country’s biggest athlete, a legend, a hero, a player who brought the nation some of its biggest sporting moments, was at practice one day and was suddenly taken into custody by masked men? What if he was held for months, tortured, his career ended, banned from his team and for playing for his country, all because he expressed his political views?

It’s not a storyline from a Hollywood script — that is what allegedly happened in Bahrain. Specifically, it’s what Alaa Hubail says happened to him. Hubail is the most famous soccer player in Bahrain and says similar treatment was forced on his brother, Mohammad, also a member of Bahrain‘s national soccer team; and to Anwar Al-Makki, Bahrain‘s internationally ranked table-tennis champion.

In a story largely ignored by the Western world, these athletes describe in detail the horrific torture they endured at the hands of their government — a government that is allied with the United States despite allegations of human rights abuses against pro-democracy protestors. E:60 goes to the Middle East for the first time to investigate how athletes were caught up in the clash of democracy, freedom, repression and politics. Jeremy Schaap reports.

Activists detained in Qurain Prison are prisoners of conscience and must be released immediately: here.

Bahrain: Authorities released a teenage Iraqi football player on Saturday who had been detained for seven months in the kingdom on suspicion of participating in civil rights protests: here.

Bahrain security fire tear gas at anti-government protesters: here.

Two Cosponsors Added to Bahrain Arms Sale Resolution: here.