Iranians Arrested after Celebratory World Cup Video

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Allyson Cartwright, Contributing JournalistLast Modified: 16:42 p.m. DST, 09 July 2014

Ali karimi and Nakamura Shunsuke during their the World Cup 2006 qualifying match in Tehran, Photo by  MEVA_SLS

TEHRAN, Iran — For the second time in the past few months, Iran authorities have arrested those involved in making a celebratory music video. Last month, six individuals were arrested and since released for filming a music video to the Pharrell Williams song “Happy”.

This week, three individuals have been arresting for filming a music video entitled “Gole Iran” by the London-based Ajam Band in support of Iran’s World Cup football team. VICE News reports that those arrested are two 23-year-olds, who can be seen in the video, and a 26-year-old photographer.

Like in the video that the young Iranians made to “Happy”, Iranian authorities have issue with the women in the videos being shown not wearing headscarves. The official IRNA news agency of the state released a quote from police chief Colonel Rahmatollah Taheri, who called the World Cup music video “vulgar”, according to Associated Press.

For this reason, the World Cup video was also condemned by Iranian authorities because it is illegal for women without scarves to be in—and especially dance in—public. In this World Cup video, both men and women can be seen dancing and singing in various locations in Iran, including the city where the arrests were made, Sharoud. They are shown waving Iran’s flag and playing musical instruments.

Iran has been known to censor websites in the past, but with the arrests made from the highly-viewed “Happy” video and “Gole Iran” videos it appears that Iranian authorities are making examples of viral videos to Mahsa Alimardani, an Iranian-Canadian internet researcher, specializes in human rights criticized the arrests telling Mashable, "They're trying to make a point about the world cup festivities, and this is the only way they can scare people. It's really ridiculous."

The punishment of the makers of the video echoes sentiments of the country’s hardliners who are aiming to steer the country away from what they consider Western “decadence”. However, the country’s more moderate president Hassan Rouhani has sought for more cultural and social tolerance in Iran. Despite this, internet censorship apparently still has a presence as this is the second public arrest made over a harmless YouTube video.

There are thirteen credited individuals in the making of “Gole Iran”, including the seven members of Ajam Band, who wrote the song played in “Gole Iran”. Aside from the seven-member band, there are six that were responsible for the directing, editing, filming, and graphics, according to VICE News. The roles of the individuals arrested in making the video remains unknown. In the case of the “Happy” arrests, the detained parties included the dancers and the film’s director.

The video published days before the World Cup commenced garnered 30,000 views on YouTube and now has over 300,000 views. Agence France-Press said the video aired on satellite television in Iran, which is watched illegally by many of its people. Iran was eventually knocked out of the competition June 25 after impressively holding their own against semi-finalists Argentina. Amir Jahnashai, the founder of an Iranian opposition television channel in London tweeted, “The entire Iranian nation today supports our football team. Such solidarity should be present in all fields,” as was the message of “Gole Iran”.

Follow Allyson on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Contributing Journalist: @allysoncwright

World Cup Gridlocked in São Paulo

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SÃO PAOLO, Brazil -- The demonstration that shutdown subway networks in São Paulo, Brazil has halted, if only momentarily, after having plagued the biggest city in Brazil since last Thursday, 5 June 2014 .

Organizers of the transit union walkout suspended the five-day protest this morning, 10 June, in response to escalating traffic congestion that have turned the streets of São Paulo into one giant gridlock. International soccer enthusiasts have turned to taxi services in order to travel to Arena Corinthians, a major stadium located outside of São Paulo city limits.

Both sides in the ongoing saga are looking to compromise, although the leaders of the São Paulo transit union and Governor Geraldo Alckmin are currently stuck in stalemate. 60 employees have been fired after chaos erupted during union demonstrations yesterday, 9 June 2014.

During the protest on Monday, riot police removed the demonstrators by any means necessary, scattering hundreds of union members and sympathizers with stun grenades, tear gas and pepper spray. But the hostility between police and protestors has only further divided the opposing camps.

The São Paulo transportation union is now warning that subway employees will not return to work on Thursday, 12 June, unless the 60 employees are rehired and a 12.2% wage increase is met by authorities. On Thursday, Brazil welcomes the world to São Paulo during the opening World Cup match between Brazil and Croatia.

In the months leading up to the biggest sporting event in the world, Brazil has spent billions on infrastructure and planning. The effort to accommodate masses of international spectators has angered many Brazilians, especially those living in poverty. Those most affected include the residents evicted from select slums throughout Rio de Janeiro in preparation for World Cup fervor.

Governor Alckmin will honor a 8.7% increase in worker's salary, but has firmly rejected the 12.2% demand. Also, he has notified union officials that the fired men and women will not recover their lost jobs. Unless Alckmin or the union authorities rethink their position, continued disorder is guaranteed throughout Sao Paulo in the coming days.

The subway stoppage is only one of many concerns in an ongoing saga of protests against the Brazilian government. Notably, the eviction of blacks to make way for parking lots in Rio have been called racially-biased and unjust. Prices have increased for products across the board, surpassing even high-end predictions. And the investment of billions of dollars into the tournament has upset even more throughout the country.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Brazillians widely disapprove of the direction of their country. An April poll affirmed that 72% of nationals are discontented with their government.

Follow Michael on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Contributing Editor: @MAndrewRansom

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FIFA Fans & Sex Tourism

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Jessamy Nichols, Contributing JournalistLast Modified: 17:40 p.m. DST, 09 June 2014

Brazilian Sexy Fan Girl, Photo by Fotowolf70

Eyes all over the globe are turning to Brazil, where the 2014 World Cup begins on June 12th. Hundreds of thousands of people will travel to the South American country in hopes of watching exhilarating games, tense overtime moments and emotional victories for their team of choice. For many, the tournament serves as a bonding thread that brings people of all races and nationalities together over the love of the sport and its history.

However, off the soccer field, there are illegal and horrifying trends that follow such global tournaments such as these. Sports events like World Cups and Olympics bring in an influx of tourists, construction workers, event staffers, and others, which creates a disorderly balance that host cities are commonly unprepared for.

In recent weeks, there has been international concern over men coming to Brazil to engage in sex with underage children, which is especially alarming because Brazil has long been seen as a prime getaway for men who want to engage in carefree sexual exploits.

In an article published May 24th, The Independent stated that girls as young as 11 are being targeted by human traffickers in advance of the World Cup to work as prostitutes and bring in money for pimps and gangs. To make matters worse, there is currently a "culture of silence" around the issue, where families and even law enforcement keep quiet on the growing issue.

Many human rights groups around the globe have been trying to bring awareness to this compounding issue by speaking out and producing documentaries. However, it seems like this widespread and deeply engrained problem in Brazil requires much more action and vocality before there would even be a possibility of it being resolved.

To keep these innocent children out of harm's way, there will need to be a full-fledged effort from local and international law enforcement, human rights groups, internet monitoring groups to monitor the deep parts of the web where these transactions can take place, and an aware audience. At the end of the day, is a soccer match worth sacrificing any child's innocence and sense of safety?

Follow Jessamy on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Contributing Journalist: @JessamyNichols

Pop Quiz

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1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five World Cup champions.

3. Name fifteen famous historical figures.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.

5. Name five Academy Award winners for Best Actor and Actress from the 1950's.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remembers the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They're the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Now here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. Name three teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier?

The lesson?

The people who make a difference in your life aren't the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They're the ones who care.

Editor-in-Chief: @AyannaNahmias
LinkedIn: Ayanna Nahmias