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The US Men’s Soccer Team Beat Iran on Tuesday, but Iranian Players Deserve All the Credit

Mason Peterson

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In the past, I found it easy to root against the imperialist teams, but that calculus gets complicated the more those teams change. Paris-born star Kylian Mbapp? is the son of a Cameroonian father and a mother of Algerian descent. Canada’s Alphonso Davies was born in a refugee camp in Ghana. Twelve of the 26 players on the US team are Black, as many as the 1994, 1998, and 2002 teams combined.

One of them, Sergi?o Dest, was born in the Netherlands to a white Dutch mother and an American father whose ancestry traced to Suriname. On Tuesday, in the game’s 38th minute, Dest headed the ball to Christian Pulisic, a white American regarded as the country’s best player, who knocked it into the goal to give the US a 1-0 lead.

“U-S-A!” the crowd around me chanted, exchanging high fives and yelps. I cheered too, raising my arms in triumph and pride for the country my Filipino elders immigrated to.

When the Iran-US game started, I counted that I was one of three people of color in a bar filled with close to a hundred people. Then, early in the second half, two more took the open seats next to me, Bassel Heiba Elfeky and Billy Strickland, NYU graduate students in Boston for a physics conference. I quickly realized that Elfeky was rooting for Iran. He expressed himself quietly at first, under his breath, gradually rising in tenor as the game intensified in its final minutes with the US desperately clinging to its lead. When the rest of the bar groaned over a penalty called on the US, he pumped his first. While the rest of the bar clapped for a US corner kick, he shook his head.

“Going for the US, it doesn’t feel right,” said Elfeky, who grew up in Egypt and moved to the US for college. “They have a lot of money. And the men make way more than the women, even though the women are so much better. Then you have Iran, who is a complete underdog.”

Strickland, who grew up in LA and is partly of Japanese descent, said he would support Japan’s team over the US’s if they played each other. Elfeky said he always roots against the US men’s soccer team.

“At the end of the day, they play a very boring game,” he said of their tactical style.

In the closing minutes, the US cleared out an Iranian shot that seemed bound to tie the game, and Elfeky let out a “goddamnit.” When the final whistle sounded, sealing the US’s victory, he sighed, shrugged, and said, “It was a good game.” Both teams played hard, helped each other up off the grass, and demonstrated the camaraderie that leads people to say that sports transcends politics. In an Instagram post, US player Tim Weah would call Iran’s players “an inspiration” for how they “displayed so much pride and love for their country and their people.”

Elfeky carried the disappointment familiar to any fan forced to acknowledge that justice rarely prevails in sports. While others around them took celebratory whiskey shots, he and Strickland threw on their jackets and backpacks and headed out. Soon Iran’s players would be home too, to face whatever awaits them.?

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Source: buzzfeednews.com

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Soccer Legend Pel? Has Died at Age 82

Mason Peterson

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By age 15, he was already playing professionally for Brazilian team Santos, and at 16, he joined the country’s national team. At 17, he became the youngest player to make it to the World Cup final, where he scored two goals — securing Brazil’s first title and his place as an international sports icon.

In the almost two decades of his career that followed, he averaged more than one goal per game and holds the Guinness World Record for most career goals. He’d go on to win two more World Cups and rack up other accolades, and fans relished not just the victories, but how he played. He popularized soccer’s nickname, “the Beautiful Game,” a phrase which became synonymous with his style. In 1961, he was legally named a national treasure in Brazil — a political move aimed at keeping the popular player from being transferred outside of the country. He later revealed that European football clubs did come calling, but he continued to play for Santos and Brazil.

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Original Source: buzzfeednews.com

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Pope Benedict XVI Has Died at 95

Mason Peterson

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Arguably the most incendiary issue Benedict faced upon becoming pope was the ongoing fallout from the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, as well as accusations of a cover-up effort on the part of church administration.

When Benedict became pope in 2005, the Catholic Church was in the midst of a very public reckoning with its history of sex abuse — a crisis about which he was very well informed. In 2001, John Paul II empowered the CDF to centralize all investigations into abuse allegations, removing that power from local dioceses after it became clear that they often failed to take action against predator priests. As the head of the CDF, then-cardinal Ratzinger worked to establish new procedures for reporting and punishing clergy accused of sexual abuse.

As pope, Benedict repeatedly spoke out against the church’s legacy of child sex abuse, apologized to victims, and defrocked hundreds of priests who had been found guilty. However, for many, his actions fell short, in part because he failed to make public the Vatican’s investigations into abuse accusations — a lack of transparency that enabled dioceses to keep these accusations secret from parishioners and law enforcement authorities.

“In the Church’s entire history, no one knew more but did less to protect kids than Benedict,” the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said in a statement in 2013, in response to the pope emeritus’s public claim that he did not engage in a ‘cover-up’ of clerical abuse. “As head of CDF, thousands of cases of predator priests crossed his desk. Did he choose to warn families or call police about even one of those dangerous clerics? No. That, by definition, is a cover up.”

Rumors of corruption and secret cabals in the Holy See also plagued Benedict’s tenure as pope, culminating in the “Vatileaks” scandal in 2012.

On Feb. 10, 2013, Benedict shocked the world by announcing his resignation from the papacy. “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” he said in his official statement.

His decision to retire was later dramatized in the 2019 film The Two Popes, in which Benedict was portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance.

As pope emeritus, Benedict made a conscious effort to stay out of the public eye. He apparently disliked being known by such a lofty title following his resignation and asked others to call him simply “Father Benedict.” He did, however, make public appearances at events of theological significance, such as the Canonization Mass of Pope John XIII and Pope John Paul II on April 27, 2014.

On Sept. 4, 2020, at the age of 93 years, four months, and 19 days, Benedict became the longest-living pope in history.

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Original Source: buzzfeednews.com

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People in China Are Demanding the End of Strict COVID Restrictions After 10 People Died in a Fire

Mason Peterson

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Protests are continuing in China against strict COVID lockdown restrictions after a deadly apartment fire brought some people closer to a breaking point.

Across the country, demonstrators took to the streets — a mass movement that is rare in China — and defied laws designed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Some appeared with sheets of blank white paper, in place of traditional protest signs, as a criticism of the censorship limiting citizens from speaking freely.

After the fire in Xinjiang that left at least 10 people dead, which critics say was due to the stay-at-home measures that resulted in the building’s doors being locked, protests intensified Sunday. In major cities like Shanghai, protestors gathered to demand the end of the country’s ruling party and the resignation of the president. In clips circulating social media, some demonstrators can be heard repeatedly chanting, “Communist Party step down, Xi Jinping step down.”

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Original Source: buzzfeednews.com

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