Protesters tried to block the path of the Olympic torch in a poor suburb of Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, just two days before the Olympic Games begin. Riot police used pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered to protest at the huge cost of hosting the Games, at a time when many people in Brazil are struggling with the consequences of the “worst recession in decades”. The
is around $3bn at the moment, and around 11m people are unemployed, so a lot of people are questioning whether spending money on expensive sporting venues when millions are in poverty is really the best idea.. Check out our breakdown of the pros and cons of the Games for the economy, plus here’s the BBC on whether Brazil is ready (hint: it's not.)
But it’s not all bad news in Rio: this Olympics will include the first ever refugee team
For the first time ever, a team of refugees will take part in the Games, representing the 65m displaced people around the world. Ten athletes from Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and Ethiopia, were selected from a shortlist of athletes living in refugee camps to compete, and the IOC insists they had 'no shortcuts' to qualify for participation. Thinking about the challenges they faced to train and prepare, plus the incredible effect on their lives if they were to win, highlights just how much our chances are shaped by the
we're born into. Runner Angeline Nadai Lohalith put it beautifully: “we’re representing the millions of refugees all over the world… wherever they are, at least they will now have encouragement and know we can do something.”
Fly me to the Moon (for $25m)
A company named Moon Express has been given the go ahead by the US government to become the first private firm to travel to the moon. It’s gonna cost a fair bit to get there though! The company hopes to offset this cost – predicted to be $25m - by winning the Google Lunar X-Prize, an award of $30m to the first group that puts a robot on the moon. If they win, there's a chance for big bucks to be made in the future, including the possibility of mining on the moon and of monetizing space access. Quartz explains all here.
With Pogba, the world of football transfer fees gets even crazier
The full cost of Manchester United signing Paul Pogba has been calculated at a colossal $296m! The world record deal is being held up because the agent's fee – somewhere around $32m – is still being worked out. The rest of the total is made up of the transfer fee of $147m and wages over the five-year contract. Ironically, it was four years ago to the week when a 19-year-old Pogba signed to Juventus from United for nothing. Talk about some good business for the Italian team! Check out this list of the top 10 most expensive football transfers of all time (for now).
In other news…
How much?! In preparation for our Economy Explores on food next month (shameless plug), we just had to feature this story about some of the world’s most ridiculously priced food and drink. Notable items include a $4524 (£3,445) burger, a $31,669 (£24,115) chocolate egg and a $54,284 (£41,335) bottle of water! If that’s all beyond your budget, perhaps just go for the $906 (£690) bagel.
Happy talking, talking, happy talk. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is to train 60 people to become ‘Chief Happiness and Positivity Officers’, who’ll work in federal and local government. Their job will then be to help coordinate initiatives for a happier society in order to make the UAE one of the
in the world.
Nice work if you can get it. Pop star Nicole Scherzinger earned over £1.5 million for a single gig the other day, performing at a Russian billionaire’s private party. That’s more than she earned for the last series of X-Factor. Come on Simon, cough up! Ironically, the concert took place in Greece, a country that’s experiencing serious economic difficulties recently and implemented massive austerity programs on the population.
Christmas shopping... in August!
The world-famous department store Selfridges in London has opened its Christmas shop for 2016 - in August! The massive store has transformed almost all its fourth floor into a Winter Wonderland stocked with some 50,000 decorations. Apparently it’s in response to massive demand from foreign tourists, and there’s no doubt the novelty of it will have cash registers jingling. Excuse, our cynicism, but is nothing sacred anymore!!! What’s next? Halloween in February? Valentine’s Day in October? Stop it. Just stop it! On second thoughts, does that mean we can crack open the mince pies now?