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England-United States World Cup Preview—Both Nations Looking To Recover From Tough Iraq Match

This is the third Texas Liberal World Cup preview post. This post is on the match to be played between England and the United States in Rustenburg on Saturday, June 12 at 2 PM Eastern time.

Here is my preview of the Mexico-South Africa game.

Here is a look ahead at Argentina-Nigeria.

(Above–Bristol, England. Here is information about visiting Bristol.)

As we assess this match, let’s see the basic facts for the two squads. ( It is England playing his match and not the United Kingdom. Scotland and Wales have their own teams. But for the text of this post we’ll look at the U.K. as a whole. The pictures are of England.)

For England-

Nationality: Noun–Briton(s). Adjective–British.
Population (2010 est.): 62.2 million.
Annual population growth rate (2010 est.): 0.7%.
Major ethnic groups: British, Irish, West Indian, South Asian.
Major religions: Church of England (Anglican), Roman Catholic, Church of Scotland (Presbyterian), Muslim.
Major languages: English, Welsh, Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic.
Education: Years compulsory–12. Attendance–nearly 100%. Literacy–99%.
Health: Infant mortality rate (2009 est.)–4.85/1,000. Life expectancy (2009 est.)–males 76.5 yrs.; females 81.6 yrs.; total 79.0 years.
Work force (2009, 31.25 million): Services–80.4%; industry–18.2%; agriculture–1.4%.

(Of the 62 million people in the U.K., about 49 million English.)

(Above–Chicago. Maybe the best American city of them all. Here is information about visiting Chicago.)

For the United States

  • Full name: United States of America
  • Population: 314.7 million (UN, 2009)
  • Capital: Washington DC
  • Largest city: New York City
  • Area: 9.8 million sq km (3.8 million sq miles)
  • Major language: English
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 77 years (men), 81 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 US dollar = 100 cents
  • Main exports: Computers and electrical machinery, vehicles, chemical products, food and live animals, military equipment and aircraft
  • GNI per capita: US $47,580 (World Bank, 2008)

(The U.K. facts are from the U.S. State Department. The U.S. facts are from the BBC. At both locations you can find extensive information about the nations of the world.)

(Above—English countryside in an area called Widecombe in the Moor. This picture was taken by a Dennis Redfield.)

Human Rights are an important aspect of any nation’s game.  Let’s review how Amnesty International sees the U.K.—

“Amnesty International has released a new briefing outlining its call for a full, independent and impartial inquiry into UK involvement in human rights abuses post-11 September 2001. The briefing outlines ten key questions that an inquiry should seek to answer.”

You can read the full article here. The U.K. sure got itself into a mess when it went along with George W. Bush and the invasion of Iraq.

Here is all of the Amnesty content on the U.K.

(Below—Badlands National Park in South Dakota. this picture was taken by Wing-chi Poon. Here is information about visiting this park.)

Here is what Amnesty has on the United States—

“Since June 2001, more than 334 individuals in the United States have died after being struck by police Tasers. AI is concerned that Tasers are being used as tools of routine force, rather than as weapons of last resort. Rigorous, independent, impartial study of their use and effects is urgently needed.”

Anyone who thinks the U.S. does not have a number of human rights issues is mistaken. We’ve made great progress since the days of Jim Crow, the second-class status of women, and the near-complete closeting of gay folks that existed 50 years ago. Yet one consequence of this progress is to illustrate how far we still must go. For example—Economic justice is denied to millions who work hard each day and still don’t earn a living wage and who can not afford health insurance for themselves and their families.

Here is all that Amnesty has to say about the U.S.

The bottom line is that even in countries that some in the world may associate with the advancement of human rights, that there is much more to be done.

(Above–The great warrior Tecumseh. Tecumseh lived 1768-1813. He fought to the last against the taking of his land.  Here is a timeline of American history.)

Match Summary—In this battle of mother country against former colony, let’s all root for each of these global powers to meet the hopes of the world’s people in terms of human rights and global peace. The unlawful invasion of Iraq was an “own goal” of self-inflicted harm for both these nations. Hopefully the lessons learned from Iraq will force both America and the U.K. to choose diplomacy over war in the years ahead. One way the U.S. can learn from the U.K. playbook is to continue the drive towards universal health care.  With some sense of decency and human concern returned to the White House in 2009 after 8 years of George W. Bush, progress has been made on this front. Yet there is still more to be done.

Here is the link to the British government.

Here is the link to the White House where Barack Hussein Obama serves as President of the United States.

(Below–Stonehenge. Who the hell knows why it was built? Here is a history of England.)

June 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Argentina Vs. Nigeria World Cup Preview—Both Nations Have The Chance For Advancement

This is second installment of Texas Liberal World Cup previews. This post will look at the game to be played in Johannesburg on June 12 between Argentina and Nigeria. This game will be played at 9:30 AM Eastern U.S. time.

(Here is my preview of the Mexico-South Africa match.)

(Above–Old and new building styles in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here is information about visiting Buenos Aires.)

Let’s check out the basic facts about the two teams.

For Argentina

Nationality: Noun and adjective–Argentine(s).
Population (July 2007 est.): 40.3 million.
Annual population growth rate (2001): 1.05%.
Ethnic groups: European 97%, mostly of Spanish and Italian descent; mestizo, Amerindian, or other nonwhite groups 3%.
Religions: Roman Catholic 70%, Protestant 9%, Muslim 1.5%, Jewish 0.8%, other 2.5%.
Language: Spanish.
Education: Compulsory until age 18. Adult literacy (2001)–97%.
Health: Infant mortality rate–16.16/1,000. Life expectancy (2000 est.)–75.48 yrs.
Work force: Industry and commerce–35.8%; agriculture–9.5%; services–54.7%.

(Above–Lagos, Nigeria at sunrise. Here are some facts about Lagos.)

For Nigeria

Nationality: Noun and adjective–Nigerian(s).
Population (2008): 148 million.
Population growth rate (2007): 2.2%.
Total fertility rate (avg. number of children per woman in 2006): 5.4.
Ethnic groups (250): Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba, and Kanuri are the largest.
Religions: Muslim, Christian, indigenous African.
Languages: English (official), Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani, Kanuri, others.
Education: Attendance (secondary)–male 32%, female 27%. Literacy–39%-51%.
Health: Life expectancy (2006)–47 years.

(These links are from U.S. State Department fact sheets. There is a lot of information about these two nations and about the world at this site.)

(Above–The Cerro de los siete colores or seven-colored hill in Jujuy, Argentina. This is a picture taken by Augusto Sarita. Here is information on visiting  the region in Argentina where this hill can be found.)

Now that we’ve reviewed some of the basic demographics, let’s see what Amnesty International has to say about human rights in these important nations.

For Argentina—

“Amnesty International has welcomed the prison sentence handed to a former Argentine president responsible for crimes against humanity in the 1970s. Reynaldo Bignone, a former military general, was found guilty of torture, murder and several kidnappings that occurred while he was commander of the notorious Campo de Mayo detention centre between 1976 and 1978. The 82-year-old, who was appointed de facto president of Argentina by the military junta in 1982, has been sentenced to 25 years in jail. Five other military officers were also given long jail sentences by a court in Buenos Aires province…”

That is some good news— A Goal for Argentina.

Here is the full Amnesty report for Argentina.

(Below—The Gurara Falls in the Gurara River in Nigeria. Here are pictures of the falls and area around the falls.)

For Nigeria—

“The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is responsible for hundreds of extrajudicial executions, other unlawful killings and enforced disappearances every year. The majority of cases go uninvestigated and unpunished. The families of the victims usually have no recourse to justice or redress. Many do not even get to find out what exactly happened to their loved ones. Amnesty International’s 2009 report, “Killing At Will: Extrajudicial Executions and Other Unlawful Killings By The Police in Nigeria,” investigates the actions and human rights abuses perpetrated by the NPF. Amnesty International documented 29 cases of victims of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions who had never appeared before a judge.”

Well…not much good we can say about this.

Here is the full Amnesty report for Nigeria.

Summary—Nigeria needs to step up on human rights. Hopefully the new President, Goodluck Jonathan, will lead the way. Nigeria’s life expectancy  of 47 is also terrible. Argentina is a nation still recovering from years of dictatorship, but that has established itself as a democracy. Let’s all cheer on both nations as they progress towards  a better life for their people.

(Below–A 1930 coup in Argentina. Here is a history of Argentina.)

Here is the BBC profile of Argentina.

Here is the BBC profile of Nigeria.

Here is the web home of the government of Argentina.

Here is a link to a number of web addresses for agencies of government in Nigeria.

(Below—A horse and rider from the Nok people. These folks are first known culture of Nigeria and may go back as far as 3000 years ago. Here is a history of Nigeria.)

June 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Preview Of Mexico-South Africa World Cup Match—Who Has The Edge In Human Rights?

The first match of the World Cup will be played at 9: 30 AM U.S. Eastern Time on Friday June 11. This match will be between Mexico and host team South Africa.

(Above–Toltec warrior columns in the city of Tula in the Mexican state of Hidalgo.  Here is a good history of Mexico.)

This post is the first of a series of previews I’ll be writing of World Cup matches.

Let’s begin with the some basic facts.

(Below—Mexico City. Looks like a smoggy day. Here is information about visiting Mexico City.)

For Mexico-

Nationality: Noun and adjective–Mexican(s).
Population (July 2009 est.): 111,211,789.
Annual growth rate (2009 est.): 1.13%.
Ethnic groups: Indian-Spanish (mestizo) 60%, Indian 30%, Caucasian 9%, other 1%.
Religions (2000 census): Roman Catholic 76.5%, Protestant 6%, other 0.3%, unspecified 13.8%, none 3.1%.
Language: Spanish.
Education:
Years compulsory–11 (note: preschool education was made mandatory in Dec. 2001). Literacy–91.4%.
Health (2009):
Infant mortality rate–18.42/1,000. Life expectancy–male 73.25 years; female 79 years.
Work force (2008 est., 45.5 million):
Agriculture, forestry, hunting, fishing–21.0%;services–32.2%; commerce–16.9%; manufacturing–18.7%; construction–5.6%;transportation and communication–4.5%; mining and quarrying–1.0%.

(Below–Cape Town. I hope black folks can find good paying work on those docks in the new South Africa. Here is information on visiting Cape Town.)

For South Africa

Nationality: Noun and adjective–South African(s).
Annual growth rate (2006 World Bank Group): 1.1%.
Population (2007, 47.9 million): Composition–black 79.7%; white 9.1%; colored 8.8%; Asian (Indian) 2.2%. Official figures from 2007 South African Census at
http://www.statssa.gov.za.
Languages: Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga (all official languages).
Religions: Predominantly Christian; traditional African, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish.
Education: Years compulsory–7-15 years of age for all children. The South African Schools Act, Act 84 of 1996, passed by Parliament in 1996, aims to achieve greater educational opportunities for black children, mandating a single syllabus and more equitable funding for schools.
Health: Infant mortality rate (2007)–58 per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy–52 yrs. women; 49 yrs. men. Health data from 2007 Census Report:
http://www.statssa.gov.za.

(The links here are from U.S. Department of State fact sheets. There is a lot of information to be found at these links.)

You’ve got to give the advantage to Mexico based on life expectancy.  There is a roughly 25 year edge here for our friends south of the U.S. border. That’s what you get when your leaders go on for years insisting there is no relationship between HIV and AIDS.

(Below–A picture of a Yucca forest in Mexico taken by Tomas Castelazo. Here are facts about Yucca trees.)

How does Amnesty International see the two nations? Who has the human rights advantage?

From Amnesty on Mexico—

“Human rights concerns persist, particularly at the state level where violence surrounds local elections and misuse of the judicial system is common. Federal efforts to combat violence against women in the border town of Ciudad Juárez have continued with limited success. A number of human rights defenders have been threatened and at least three journalists have been killed despite proposed legislation to strengthen human rights protection in the Constitution.”

Here is the full Amnesty report on Mexico.

(Below—The Drakensberg Mountains are the highest mountain chain in South Africa. Photo taken by pzfun. Here is information about visiting these mountains.)

Here is Amnesty on South Africa—

“A significant number of foreign nationals living in South Africa continue to report facing prejudice, discrimination and abuse on a daily basis. Both the International Organization on Migration and Human Rights Watch completed extensive research on the issue of migrants since xenophobic violence exploded in 2008. Many people were killed and more than 100,000 displace during the violence. Local South Africans complain foreign workers are taking away valuable jobs. Although unemployment numbers demonstrate a decline since 2001, the Labor Force Survey approximates 23% of South Africans are unemployed. The construction fueled by the 2010 World Cup is said to have increased the employment outlook over the next several months.”

Here is the full Amnesty report on South Africa.

Here is a profile of Mexico from the BBC.

Here is a profile of South Africa from the BBC.

Summary—This is a close call. Two great and flawed nations are in this match. South Africa has undergone a historic transformation form apartheid to a wider democracy while Mexico is a land that has contributed a great deal to North American history and culture. On the other hand, South Africa has let down the world in its response to AIDS and dominance of the ruling African National Congress threatens to diminish the quality of South African democracy, while Mexico sometimes looks like a failed state in its inability to stop drug-related violence. Let us cheer on both nations as they work towards a more complete realization of their potential.

Here is the official web site of the government of Mexico.

Here is the official web site of the government of South Africa.

(Below—Zulu warriors in 19th century South Africa. Here is a very useful history of South Africa.)

June 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments