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Showing posts from June 24, 2014

Thai junta says curfew lifted nationwide

Thailand's military government lifted a curfew nationwide on Friday, citing the absence of any violence and the need to support the country's tourism sector. _0"> "As the situation has improved and there have been no incidents that can lead to violence ... and in order to improve tourism, the curfew will be lifted in all remaining provinces," the ruling military council said in a televised announcement. The curfew had been in place from midnight to 4 a.m. in 47 provinces including the capital Bangkok. It had lifted the curfew in 30 provinces, which include the country's main tourist hotspots, over the past week. (Reporting by Amty Sawitta Lefevre; Writing by Maertin Petty; Editing by Ron Popeski)

Ukrainian forces reclaim port city from rebels

The Ukrainian flag fluttered over the regional government headquarters in the strategic port city of Mariupol on Friday after government forces reclaimed the city from pro-Russian separatists in heavy fighting and said they had regained control of a long stretch of the border with Russia. The advances are significant victories for the pro-European leadership in a military operation to crush the rebellion, which began in east Ukraine in April, and hold the country together. Parallel peace moves are moving slowly, however, and Russia is threatening to cut gas supplies to Ukraine from Monday in a row over prices. In central Mariupol, police cordoned off several streets, where roadblocks of sandbags and concrete blocks, once manned by rebels, were riddled with bullet holes, and the burnt-out hulk of an armoured personnel carrier with rebel insignia smouldered. "At 10:34 a.m. (0734 GMT), the Ukrainian flag was raised over City Hall in Mariupol," Interior Minister Arsen Avakov

Israeli forces search for three missing Jewish teens in West Bank

Israeli forces are searching for three Jewish teenagers who went missing in the occupied West Bank late on Thursday, the military said on Friday. As media speculated that the three youths might have been abducted, large numbers of Israeli soldiers scoured the countryside around the flashpoint city of Hebron, carrying out house-to-house searches in neighboring villages and blocking roads. Local media said the three youngsters had last been seen trying to hitch-hike home from a religious seminary in the Jewish settlement of Gush Etzion, to the north of Hebron. "Forces are conducting a widespread operation to locate the individuals," the military said in a statement. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a special meeting of security ministers and said in a statement that Israel held President Mahmoud Abbas's Western-backed Palestinian Authority responsible for the safety of the three. But Adnan al-Dmairi, a spokesman for Palestinian security services in the West

Tunisia to hold parliamentary then presidential elections this year

Tunisia is set to hold separate parliamentary and presidential elections at the end of the year after political parties resolved a dispute over the election date on Friday, political sources told Reuters. _0"> Tunisia's national assembly approved a new electoral law in May to help the country move to full democracy after the 2011 uprising that inspired the "Arab Spring" revolts. Boussairi Bou Abdeli, a politician who participated in a dialogue between the parties, told Reuters they had "agreed to hold parliamentary before presidential (elections) this year". Another source confirmed the agreement. Whether the presidential and parliamentary elections should be held separately or together was the last point of disagreement between the Islamists and secularists. The agreement allows electoral authorities to set an official date for the first election since the North African state adopted a new constitution that has been praised as a model of democrati

Wisconsin's clerks warned against issuing same-sex marriage licenses

Wisconsin county clerks who issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples over the past week could face charges for breaking the state's marriage laws, the state's attorney general said on Thursday. The warning from Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican, comes six days after U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb declared Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. The ruling was followed by hundreds of same-sex couples rushing to county offices throughout the state to wed. County Clerks who issue the licenses are doing so without proper authority, said attorney general spokeswoman Dana Brueck in an email. "It is, and has been, the attorney general's position that Wisconsin's marriage law is still in full force and effect," Brueck wrote. Milwaukee County Deputy Clerk George Christenson said his office was told by its lawyers it had legal authority to issue the licenses based on Crabb's ruling. "The court has ruled. He should cal

Ban on rope swinging from Utah arch rock formations considered

Federal officials in Utah are deciding whether to outlaw the increasingly popular daredevil pastime of swinging on ropes dangled from towering sandstone arches and cliffs after one man died and another was badly hurt in the activity. The U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management also is taking into account growing complaints from hikers angry at having the solitude of Utah's deserts disturbed by the whoops and hollers of thrill-seekers swinging from the landmark arches. Corona Arch, near the Colorado River in east-central Utah, has become a particularly popular spot for the rock-swinging crowd, and also the scene of a fatal accident involving one enthusiast in 2013 and a more recent mishap that left another man with a severe head injury. In both cases, the victims jumped from the arch with ropes that had too much slack. “We're trying to determine if these activities are appropriate in these places,” Rock Smith, supervisory outdoor recreation planner at the

Texas man sues doctors for removing wrong kidney

A Texas man has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $1 million in damages from two doctors he said were responsible for removing his healthy kidney and leaving a cancerous one in his body. _0"> According to a lawsuit filed this week in Tarrant County, Glenn Hermes underwent surgery last year at a Fort Worth hospital and was informed after the procedure that doctors had removed the wrong kidney. Hermes was "greatly shocked, stunned and depressed," court documents said. He will likely need to be on dialysis or receive a kidney transplant, his lawyer said. About a month after the initial surgery, Hermes underwent surgery at a Dallas hospital to remove the cancerous growth. (Reporting by Jana J. Pruet in Fallas; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Second German tourist dies during Grand Canyon holiday

A German tourist was killed when his kayak capsized on the Colorado River in Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park, authorities said on Thursday, the second German visitor to die in the park this week. _0"> Park officials said Hans Uhl, 43, was on the first day of a commercial rafting trip on Wednesday when he was unable to right himself after his kayak overturned on a section of the river called Badger Rapids. When a rescue boat reached Uhl, he was initially responsive, officials said. But he soon lost consciousness, and efforts to resuscitate him by members of his group and park service medical personnel were unsuccessful.     The National Park Service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner are investigating the death. It was not immediately clear where in Germany Uhl came from. On Wednesday, park officials said a 64-year-old German tourist collapsed and died on Monday from unknown causes at the popular Desert View Campground in the Southern Rim part of the canyon

Florida Supreme Court rules against red light cameras in two cities

Florida drivers caught on camera running red lights before 2010 could qualify for refunds on their tickets under a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday. The court invalidated early efforts by two Florida cities to create red-light ticket ordinances. It does not affect tickets issued since a state law establishing standards for the traffic cameras took effect on July 1, 2010. Controversy is growing over the use of automated cameras to fine drivers who enter an intersection on a red light. Critics say red-light cameras are more of a revenue-generating gimmick for local governments than effective tools for public safety. The Florida Legislature this spring considered banning red-light programs, but a bill failed to pass. Local governments have been hotly debating their use. The 5-2 ruling by the Florida Supreme Court focused on two red-light programs established from 2008 to 2010, before state rules were in place, in Orlando and Aventura, located north of Miami. “The Or

Serial bank robber's 45-year sentence too harsh: appeals court

A 45-year prison sentence leveled against a serial bank robber, who once appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show as a "bank robbing pimp," was too harsh and must be reconsidered, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled on Thursday. _0"> Arthur Payton 47, had twice been sentenced to 10-year prison terms for previous bank robbery sprees in San Diego and Detroit when he was convicted in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan of robbing four banks in a third spree. Payton typically found women who were drug addicted or engaged in prostitution to rob the banks on his behalf and then split the proceeds with his accomplices, the appeals court said. Prosecutors asked a judge to sentence Payton to at least 25 years in prison, while his lawyers requested a sentence within the federal guidelines, which called for 17-1/2 to 22 years in prison based on his past and present convictions. Judge Lawrence Zatkoff, citing Payton's brazen recidivism and threat to the public, senten

Alabama Republicans say voter fraud found after offering reward

Alabama Republicans, who offered a $1,000 reward for substantiated reports of voter fraud in this month's primary elections, said on Thursday they plan to forward credible evidence of wrongdoing to state prosecutors. Republicans argue that voter fraud is a central problem in U.S. elections. Democrats say Republican complaints about voter fraud are a smokescreen for Republican efforts to put in place measures like strict voter identification laws intended to make it unduly difficult for voters who tend to vote Democratic like minorities, young people and the elderly to cast ballots. "It's not just a rumor or a wives' tale, it is actually happening," said Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead. "Anyone talking advantage and creating fraud at a polling place needs to be prosecuted." The allegations collected by Alabama Republicans include a candidate improperly offering to assist voters in filling out their ballots, a woman who was wrongly to

Freed war prisoner Bergdahl leaves Germany for U.S.: Pentagon

Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who spent five years as a Taliban prisoner of war before being released on May 31, left a U.S. military hospital in Germany on Thursday headed to San Antonio, where he will receive further treatment, the Pentagon said. Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said Bergdahl left Ramstein Air Base in Germany aboard a military plane on Thursday afternoon and was due to arrive early on Friday in San Antonio, where he will receive additional care at the Brooke Army Medical Center. "Our first priority is making sure that Sergeant Bergdahl continues to get the care and support he needs," Kirby said in a statement. Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. forces in Afghanistan on May 31 in exchange for the release of five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo prison in Cuba. Bergdahl's initial release sparked a wave of euphoria that was quickly replaced by a political uproar over the release of the senior Taliban members. Lawmakers criticized the Oba

Sears worker in upstate New York dies after shelves collapse

A Sears employee in northern New York has died of injuries suffered when storage racks at the store collapsed and pinned him underneath, authorities said. _0"> Josh Quintilliani, 35, was organizing the racks on Saturday in the Sears store warehouse at the St. Lawrence Center Mall in Massena when the shelves gave way, according to a statement released by the New York State Police. The racks held plywood, glass and metal materials, the police said. Quintilliani, of Waddington, New York, was air-lifted to Fletcher Allen Medical Center in Burlington, Vermont, where he died late on Wednesday, police said. "We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the Quintilliani family," Sears Holdings said in a statement on Thursday. "We take the safety of our employees very seriously and we are currently investigating this matter." Massena lies on the south shore of Lake St. Lawrence, just south of the Canadian border and about 86 miles (138 km)southwest of Montreal. (E

Lawsuit seeks details of standoff at Nevada ranch

An advocacy group for public employees sued the Bureau of Land Management on Thursday, seeking documents detailing the agency’s actions during an armed standoff with militia in a dispute over a Nevada rancher’s grazing rights. BLM agents faced off with armed supporters of the rancher, Cliven Bundy, during the altercation, which took place in April near Bunkerville, about 80 miles (130 km) northeast of Las Vegas. After more than four hours, the agents backed down, citing safety concerns, and returned hundreds of Bundy's cattle which they had rounded up because of his failure to pay for grazing. In the federal lawsuit filed in Washington, attorneys for the group - Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEEP) - want a federal judge to make the BLM release details about the events surrounding the standoff. The lawsuit also seeks information about BLM directives for handling similar situations involving armed individuals and details about actions taken to keep BLM agen

U.S. food makers sue to stop Vermont's GMO labeling law

Several industry groups representing U.S. food makers on Thursday asked a federal judge in Vermont to block that state's new law that will require labels on food products made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The legal challenge was widely expected and Vermont created a "food fight fund" in anticipation of the move because it was the first state to pass a GMO labeling law that did not require other states to go first. The fight over GMOs in the United States comes as more than 60 countries around the globe already require labeling of genetically engineered foods. GMOs have fallen out of favor with many U.S. consumers but products made with them are still abundant in the aisles of most U.S. supermarkets. Connecticut and Maine last year passed GMO labeling legislation similar to that of Vermont, but it is on hold until several other states enact such legislation. Challengers to the Vermont law, set to take effect on July 1, 2016, are the Grocery Manufactur

Court ruling allows Occupy protesters to restore tent city in Idaho

The Occupy movement, which withered after clampdowns on protest encampments in U.S. cities, may now legally erect a tent city in Idaho after a federal court order barred the state from enforcing a ban, citing free speech rights, an attorney for protesters said on Thursday.     The ruling by a U.S. judge in Boise on Wednesday caps a two-year fight between Idaho officials and Occupy Boise protesters over a tent encampment they created near the state capitol in 2012 before being evicted under a hastily crafted measure approved by lawmakers that barred camping on state property.     The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho filed a lawsuit in 2012 against Republican Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and others on behalf of Occupy Boise, contending the camping measure and another rule limiting protests to seven days were unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill last year found the camping ban violated constitutional guarantees of free speech and on Wednesday issued a permanent

Woman charged with throwing shoe at Clinton in Nevada to undergo competency evaluation

A federal judge in Nevada has ordered a competency evaluation for a woman charged with throwing a shoe at former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during an April speaking appearance in Las Vegas, according to court papers released on Thursday. _0"> Alison Michelle Ernst is accused of getting past security at an event at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Hotel where Clinton was speaking and hurling a soccer shoe and several papers at Clinton from the audience. A video of the incident posted on the website of CBS News shows Clinton ducking as a shoe flies over her head. "Is that somebody throwing something at me? Is that part of Cirque de Soleil?" Clinton said. "Thank Goodness she didn't play softball like I did." The evaluation will consider whether Ernst may have been "legally insane" at the time of the incident as well as whether she is fit to stand trial, U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen said in issuing the order. The evaluation was m

Jamaica to decriminalize personal marijuana possession

The Jamaican government has decided to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, joining the trickle of countries moving to soften laws on the drug known on the Caribbean island as "ganja." Minister of Justice Mark Golding made the announcement at an afternoon news conference on Thursday saying that Jamaica's Dangerous Drugs Act would be formally amended this summer. The cabinet of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller made the decision on June 2, he said. "Cabinet approved certain changes to the law relating to ganja. These relate to possession of small quantities of ganja for personal use, the smoking of ganja in private places and the use of ganja for medical-medicinal purposes," he said. "Approval has been given also to a proposal for the decriminalization of the use of ganja for religious purposes," he said. Uruguay recently became the latest country to legalize marijuana use, joining several countries in Europe as well as

Woman charged with throwing shoe at Clinton in Nevada to undergo competency evaluation

A federal judge in Nevada has ordered a competency evaluation for a woman charged with throwing a shoe at former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during an April speaking appearance in Las Vegas, according to court papers released on Thursday. _0"> Alison Michelle Ernst is accused of getting past security at an event at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Hotel where Clinton was speaking and hurling a soccer shoe and several papers at Clinton from the audience. A video of the incident posted on the website of CBS News shows Clinton ducking as a shoe flies over her head. "Is that somebody throwing something at me? Is that part of Cirque de Soleil?" Clinton said. "Thank Goodness she didn't play softball like I did." The evaluation will consider whether Ernst may have been "legally insane" at the time of the incident as well as whether she is fit to stand trial, U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen said in issuing the order. The evaluation was m

Nextdoor CEO pleads no contest to hit and run charge

Nextdoor CEO Nirav Tolia, whose social networking website espouses neighborhood safety and community, pleaded no contest Thursday in a San Mateo court to a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of a highway accident that a driver says Tolia caused. Tolia will pay a $239 fine, spend 30 weekend days in a county program in lieu of 30 days' jail time, serve two years' probation, and will be responsible for restitution to the victim, said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Tolia originally faced felony criminal charges, but Wagstaffe said he reduced them to a misdemeanor "hit and run causing injury" because of Tolia's forthrightness in admitting his role in the accident. "I’m glad he accepted responsibility right up front and never tried to lie about what happened or avoid responsibility," he told Reuters. The work program includes activities such as picking up litter or trimming weeds along public roads and at schools, Wagstaffe said. “I

Grief, resolve marks Oregon high school graduation ceremony after fatal shooting

Two days after a teenaged gunman shot dead a classmate and took his own life, a Oregon high school held a graduation ceremony marked by grief, bewilderment and vows to move forward. Tuesday's shooting, the third outburst of gun violence to shake a U.S. high school or college campus in less than three weeks, unfolded on what was supposed to be the second-to-last day of classes at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. Instead, school officials canceled the last day of classes on Wednesday, along with final exams, and arranged for grief counselors to be made available for students. The disruption continued at a senior class commencement ceremony on Thursday evening, with nearly 500 students, as well as parents and teachers battling mixed emotions: the joy of graduation and the lasting mark of tragedy. The crowd observed a moment of silence in memory of 14-year-old Emilio Hoffman, who was killed, and later erupted in cheers and applause for Todd Rispler

Pilot killed in small plane crash north of New York City

The great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller was killed on Friday when his small plane crashed in fog and rain shortly after taking off from a suburban New York airport, a family spokesman and the Federal Aviation Administration said. Dr. Richard Rockefeller, 64, of Falmouth, Maine, was piloting the Piper PA-46 aircraft when it went down about 10 minutes after takeoff from Westchester County Airport in Purchase, 23 miles (37 km) north of New York City, family spokesman Fraser Seitel and the FAA said. He was the only person on board, according to an FAA statement. Rockefeller flew to New York on Thursday to have dinner with his father, banker and philanthropist David Rockefeller, who was celebrating his 99th birthday, and was returning home to Maine, Seitel said. Conditions at the airport on Friday morning were poor, and visibility was low, said Peter Scherrer, the airport's manager, at a news conference. "There were foggy conditions outside. You can only see abo

Bergdahl arrives in Texas: Pentagon

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who spent five years as a Taliban prisoner of war before being released on May 31, was in stable condition at a military hospital in Texas and has not yet met with his parents, military officials said on Friday. Bergdahl, who arrived in the pre-dawn hours of Friday on a military flight from Germany, was in a good enough physical condition to meet with debriefers but has not been informed of the controversy surrounding his capture, the officials said. "What we are trying to do is get him to recognize that the coping skills he used to survive this long, five-year ordeal may not be healthy and functional now," Colonel Bradley Poppen, an Army psychologist, told a news conference held near the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio where Bergdahl will receive care. No timeline has been set for his recovery, said officials who declined to give any further details about contacts between Bergdahl and his family to respect their privacy.

LinkedIn must face customer lawsuit over email addresses

A federal judge said LinkedIn Corp ( id="symbol_LNKD.N_0"> LNKD.N ) must face a lawsuit by customers who claimed it violated their privacy by accessing their external email accounts, downloading their contacts' email addresses and soliciting business from those contacts. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, found that while customers consented to LinkedIn's sending an initial "endorsement email" to recruit contacts, they did not agree to let the professional networking website operator send two reminder emails when the initial email is ignored. This practice "could injure users' reputations by allowing contacts to think that the users are the types of people who spam their contacts or are unable to take the hint that their contacts do not want to join their LinkedIn network," Koh wrote in a 39-page decision released on Thursday. "In fact," she added, "by stating a mere three screens before the disclosure

Obama warns of U.S. action as jihadists push on Baghdad

President Barack Obama on Thursday threatened U.S. military strikes in Iraq against Sunni Islamist militants who have surged out of the north to menace Baghdad and want to establish their own state in Iraq and Syria. Iraqi Kurdish forces took advantage of the chaos to take control of the oil hub of Kirkuk as the troops of the Shi'ite-led government abandoned posts, alarming Baghdad's allies both in the West and in neighboring Shi'ite regional power Iran. "I don’t rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria," Obama said at the White House when asked whether he was contemplating air strikes. Officials later stressed that ground troops would not be sent in. Obama was looking at "all options" to help Iraq's leaders, who took full control when the U.S. occupation ended in 2011. "In our consultations with the Iraqis, there will be some short-term imm

Brazil wins, comes alive for World Cup despite protests

Brazil exploded with street parties as its soccer team won the World Cup's opening game on Thursday but scattered violent protests were a reminder that many locals remain angry over the billions spent to host the tournament. Millions of fans dressed in Brazil's canary yellow, green and blue home colors, cheered throughout Brazil's victory over Croatia in Sao Paulo and continued the revelry into the night, with a heavy backdrop of police and troops to maintain order. The country briefly fell silent when Croatia took an early lead, but fireworks, horns and drum beats reached a crescendo as Brazil rallied for a 3-1 win. Despite worries over traffic and the Sao Paulo stadium, which was completed six months late and wasn't fully tested before the game, there were no reports of major logistical before or after the game. Brazil's coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, after the game praised the stadium as "incredible" and "fantastic." The smooth first gam

Two senior Twitter executives resign as growth lags

Twitter Inc ( id="symbol_TWTR.N_0"> TWTR.N ) on Thursday announced the abrupt departure of two senior executives, including the chief operating officer who had been responsible for the social media company's efforts to revive flagging user growth. Ali Rowghani, once seen as an influential No. 2 who oversaw Twitter's product development, finances and dealmaking, departed after clashing with Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo over whether he should continue to oversee product innovation, a person familiar with the matter said. Hours later, Chloe Sladden, the vice president of media who reported to Rowghani, said in a tweet late Thursday that she had also resigned. Although Rowghani had been praised for orchestrating a series of financing deals for Twitter that culminated in a successful initial public offering in 2013, his ouster, which had the backing of Twitter's board of directors, underscores the tensions and rising pressure at Twitter to tweak its mic

Interim Thai government by August: military leader

The head of the junta that seized power in Thailand last month said on Friday that an interim government would be set up by August, the first time he has given a clear date on delegating any sort of power in the country. General Prayuth Chan-ocha, in an address to senior military officials, announced the date as part of a three-phase plan of reconciliation, formation of a government and elections to be rolled out by the ruling National Council for Peace and Order. "A government will be set up by August, or at the very latest September," Prayuth told a meeting devoted to the 2015 national budget. He did not say whether the government would be comprised of civilian or military types. The army took power on May 22 in a bloodless coup after six months of sometimes violent street protests pitting mainly rural supporters of ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra against her Bangkok-based, royalist opponents. Prayuth repeated in his address that a temporary constitution wou

Canadian cannabis producers set their sights high

By unlocking the once-obscure medical marijuana market, Canada has created a fast-growing, profitable and federally regulated industry with a distinct appeal to the more daring global investor. About a dozen producers of the drug will find themselves in the spotlight this year as they consider going public or prepare to so through share sales or reverse takeovers to capitalize on recent regulatory changes, investment bankers said. The Canadian companies are in a race to raise money to build facilities, attract patients and grab shares in a market projected to grow to C$1.3 billion ($1.20 billion) in the next 10 years. Despite facing considerable risks, they have the advantage of being in one of the few countries where medical marijuana is legal nationwide and where licensed operators can mass-produce it. In the United States, the drug remains illegal at the federal level. Some 20 U.S. states have legalized medical marijuana, but investors worry about the prospect, however remote,

Resurgent violence underscores morphing of al Qaeda threat

- In Iraq, an al Qaeda splinter group is threatening Baghdad after seizing control of two cities. In Pakistan, the Taliban attacked a major airport twice in one week. And in Nigeria, the Islamist militant group Boko Haram was blamed for another mass kidnapping. A cluster of militant attacks over the past week is a reminder of how the once-singular threat of al Qaeda has changed since the killing of Osama bin Laden, morphing or splintering into smaller, largely autonomous Islamist factions that in some cases are now overshadowing the parent group. Each movement is different, fueled by local political and sectarian dynamics. But this week’s violence is a measure of their ambition and the long-term potential danger they pose to the West. Between 2010 and 2013, the number of al Qaeda and al Qaeda-related groups rose 58 percent and the number of "Salafi jihadists" - violent proponents of an extreme form of Islam - more than doubled, according to a report by the RAND Corp thin

Mega-events may get less ambitious as Brazil counts World Cup costs

Plagued by delays and opposition at home, the World Cup in Brazil might be a turning point for sporting mega-events, forcing soccer's governing body and the International Olympic Committee to accept less ambitious bids to reduce the risk of public backlash. Described by Brazil's government as "the Cup to end all Cups," the tournament kicked off on Thursday to a backdrop of controversy and concern. The world soccer organization, FIFA, is facing corruption allegations over how Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup as well as match-fixing claims, fewer countries are keen to host big events and even some sponsors are starting to question the "halo effect" of associating with them. Ever since the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, which set the gold standard, large sporting events have been increasingly used to drive infrastructure projects and try to regenerate cities. Sports economists and sources inside FIFA say Brazil, the most expensive World