20 June 2014

Palestinians in exile dream of return

In this Monday, June 16, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Shaher Alkhateeb, 73, who witnessed what the Palestinians call the "Nakba," or “catastrophe” referring to their uprooting in the war over Israel's 1948 creation, poses for a picture in front of a wall painted with a mural depicting a prisoner jailed in Israel, in Kalandia refugee camp, between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. Alkhateeb was 6 years old when he and other 7 members of his family were forced to leave their village of Al-Burj, near the central Israeli town of Ramla and took shelter with his family in the Kalandia refugee camp.
A lifetime has passed since hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced out their homes in the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation.
Today, those who were uprooted and their descendants number more than 5 million people, scattered across the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

6-fingered family roots for Brazil's 6th World Cup

A family is counting on the fingers of a single hand its hopes for Brazil to win a sixth World Cup championship.

All the members of the Silva family living in Aguas Claras, a town on the outskirts of the capital of Brasilia, were born with an extra digit on each hand as a result of a genetic condition known as polydactyly.

Silvia Santos, facing camera, embraces her daughter Ana Carolina at their home in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014. All the members of the Silva family were born with an extra digit on each hand as a result of a genetic condition known as polydactyly. Rather than recoil in the face of constant stares by curious onlookers the 14 members of the family spanning four generations seem to embrace their physical differences with pride.
Rather than recoil in the face of stares by curious onlookers, the 14 members of the family spanning four generations seem to embrace their physical difference with pride.

And that pride never shines more brightly than during the World Cup as they relish the attention of Brazilian media, which have trained cameras on the family as much of the South America nation crosses its fingers hoping the national team will add to its record five World Cup titles.

"Since the last World Cup we wanted Brazil to become hexacampeao," said Ana Carolina Santos da Silva, using the Portuguese term for "six-time champion" that would be the envy of the soccer world. "But it didn't happen, so this year we really want Brazil to achieve the sixth."

Far from a hindrance, having an extra finger seems to help the Silva family perform domestic chores and pursue musical talents.

Members of the Silva family, back row, from left, Silvia Santos, Joao de Assis, Pedro de Assis, Ana Carolina Santos and Silvana Santos, front row, Bernardo de Assis, left, and Maria Morena Santos, pose for a photo in their home to show that they each have six fingers on each of their hands, in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014. The family was born with an extra digit on each hand as a result of a genetic condition known as polydactyly.
Fourteen-year-old Joao de Assis da Silva shows off his dexterity moving up and down his guitar's fret board. 

His 8-year-old cousin, Maria Morena da Silva, has dreams of making music too. "I have never played the piano, but I want to learn, and it might be easier playing with six fingers," she says
(AP)

Suarez pushes England to edge of World Cup exit

Uruguay's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and England at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014.
Before the World Cup, Uruguay was worried about Luis Suarez's knee and Colombia was fretting over injured Radamel Falcao. Considering the wild celebrations Thursday, neither should have.

Less than a month after surgery, the incomparable Suarez came back Thursday to score two vital World Cup goals, and Colombia is through to the second round despite missing its star striker. Both South American teams won 2-1 Thursday, Uruguay pushing England to the brink of elimination, and Colombia beating Ivory Coast to advance from Group C after Greece and Japan played to a scoreless draw.

The results further underscored South America's dominance of the World Cup in Brazil. The continent's teams now have seven victories out of a possible 10.
Uruguay's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and England at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014.


Colombia continued to produce goals and victories even without Falcao. For Uruguay, Suarez reinvigorated its campaign after an opening 3-1 loss to Costa Rica. Uruguay is level with Italy and Costa Rica in Group D, and those teams meet Friday in Recife.

About 15 miles from the site of the Uruguay-England game in Sao Paulo, about 2,000 people protested against the World Cup, some smashing windows at banks and car dealerships and spray-painting anti-capitalist slogans on buildings.

It was the latest protest to hit Brazil, which has seen hundreds of demonstrations in the past year by people expressing anger about poor public services, corruption in government, the billions spent to host the World Cup and a litany of other complaints.

Colombia's Mario Yepes celebrates after the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Ivory Coast at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014. Colombia won the match 2-1.
Inside the stadium, Suarez was hoisted aloft by teammates after the game as if he had won the World Cup.

"I dreamt this. I'm enjoying this moment, because of all I suffered," Suarez said.

Earlier in the tournament, stars have been coming through for their nations: Neymar for Brazil, Robin van Persie for the Netherlands, Thomas Mueller for Germany and Lionel Messi for Argentina. Suarez got started later, but he made up for missing a game with his star performance Thursday.

After May 22 surgery on his knee left little hope for a World Cup appearance, Suarez looked completely healthy. He produced his toothy smile even before his header crossed the line to open the scoring. And after Wayne Rooney finally scored his first World Cup goal to tie the game for England, Suarez capped his return with something almost magical in Sao Paulo.

With Uruguay under intense pressure in the 85th minute, Suarez gathered a long clearance that was accidentally headed on by England's Steven Gerrard - his Liverpool teammate. His knee was in full flow as he unleashed a drive that goalie Joe Hart barely had time to see fly by. Suarez fell to the ground in disbelief before he was mobbed by delirious teammates.
England's goalkeeper Joe Hart can't stop Uruguay's Luis Suarez's header to score his side's first goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and England at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014.


"He doesn't miss" from there, England coach Roy Hodgson said. For England, its World Cup standing is slipping ever more.

After reaching the quarterfinals at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, England exited in the second round in South Africa four years ago. Now it likely looks like a return ticket in the first round.

"Our chances are unbelievably slim," added Hodgson.
England's Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and England at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014.


If Suarez produced tears of joy, there were also tears of anguish. In a moment as memorable as many of the great goals, midfielder Serey Die sobbed uncontrollably during the Ivory Coast anthem.

His thoughts went back to his father who died a decade ago, but "I also thought about my tough life - I didn't think that one day I would be here, playing."

The match provided little joy though, as the 2-1 loss of the Ivory Coast's chances to advance in doubt.

Africa has had a miserable showing at the World Cup, with just 4 points out of a possible 21.

Colombia's Juan Quintero, left, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal against Ivory Coast's goalkeeper Boubacar Barry during the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Ivory Coast at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014.
For South America, the home advantage was there for all to see by the frenzied pro-Colombian crowd inside the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia.

James Rodriguez and Juan Quintero produced second half goals before a brilliant solo effort by Gervinho made it a tight game again.

There was nothing brilliant as Japan and Greece played to a goalless draw in the late Group C game, maintaining slim hopes of advancing for both. 
(AP)
Uruguay's Luis Suarez scores his side's second goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and England at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014. Uruguay's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring 2-1 during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and England at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014.