Note to readers: this story contains graphic and violent imagery.Brazil is home to the most successful national soccer team in history. As the only team to play in every FIFA World Cup, the Brazilians have won five titles, one ahead of Gli Azzurri from Italy.The country has fielded some of the greatest names in the sport’s storied history: from arguably the greatest player ever, Pelé, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, to the likes of Roberto Carlos and Roberto Rivelino. Today, the squad features the phenomenon that is Barcelona forward Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, as well as stars like Chelsea midfielder Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Júnior and Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva.The history is there; the talent is there. Brazil is my favorite to win the 2014 World Cup on home soil, but in what world is it acceptable to host one of the largest international affairs in a city rampant with near-warfare between police forces and drug lords?In recent years, numerous stories have come out of Brazil about gruesome murder and corruption. Some might say these issues have nothing to do with soccer, and will not affect the tournament itself.The thing is, the sport has begun to play a central part in these crimes.Back in July, 20-year-old referee Otávio Jordão da Silva stabbed Josenir dos Santos Abreu, a 30-year-old Brazilian soccer player, during a match. The player died on the way to the hospital, but the violence goes doesn’t end there. In retaliation, fans came onto the field and stoned Silva to death, before beheading him on the pitch.Two dead because of a game — no good reasons.Fast forward to Oct. 29 in Rio de Janeiro. The wife of former Brazilian soccer player João Rodrigo Silva Santos made the most horrifying discovery imaginable. Santos had not returned home from work the night before and his wife found his rucksack outside their front door. In the bag was Santos’ severed head.The first crime, the double murder on a soccer pitch, was a direct result of the sport. The death of Santos might not have any direct ties to his time as a soccer player, but the point is that the violence in Rio de Janeiro is out of hand.I never would have heard of these crimes had they not been related to a sport, but they are. In a country that is set to host the biggest event in soccer, violence runs rampant from fans, refs, players and even former players.I would love an opportunity to attend a World Cup, especially in a place which such a rich history in the sport. That said, I would not even consider an all expenses paid trip to the 2014 tournament.The risk is high, and the reward cannot compare.FIFA has made some questionable decisions in recent years, like rewarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, but there is no decision more absurd than allowing this event to take place in Rio de Janeiro.Rio de Janeiro is also set to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.While these stories are horrifying, I truly fear for the stories that will likely come out about crimes during the tournament. From locals in Rio, to those traveling in from around the world, how can one not fear for his or her life?
AN OUTBREAK OF measles has affected over 800 people in the UK.The outbreak is centred on the south Wales town of Swansea but health experts warn there is a serious risk that the virus could spread.Measles is a highly contagious virus which can cause serious complications in around one in 15 cases, leading to deafness, brain damage and even death.The HSE is advising families considering visiting Wales and the north east of England to ensure that all family members have been immunised with the MMR vaccine to protect them against measles.Waterford County Councillor Joe Conway is in agreement with the HSE and has warned that “Swansea is 115 miles from the ferry port of Rosslare – and tens of thousands traverse the Swansea area each week on their way to Ireland”.MMR injectionBetween 1996 and 2012 an average of 550 people contracted the disease each year in Britain, but this latest epidemic has already infected 808 people.It is believed that up to two million schoolchildren are unprotected due to a scare which linked the measles, mumps and rubella jab (MMR) with autism.Health officials pointed the finger at disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 report, which appeared in prestigious medical journal The Lancet, that linked the MMR with autism.Many parents decided not to have their children immunised as a result.Wakefield is barred from practising in Britain after a panel ruled that he had “failed in his duties as a responsible consultant” in his published research.The Lancet fully retracted the study and noted that some of the report had been falsified.- © AFP, 2013Read: Measles outbreak in Swansea spreads to 620 people >