Your Monday briefing: The world championship begins

The World Cup started yesterday. In the first game, Ecuador defeated host country Qatar.

This is usually a joyful sporting event, but concerns about corruption and human rights abuses run high. The World Cup in Qatar may have changed the face of the sport forever.

The morning newsletter spoke to my colleague Tariq Panja who is at the tournament. Here is an excerpt from her interview.

How big is the World Cup worldwide?

There is nothing bigger, not even the Olympic Games. The World Cup is the biggestseen event of the world.

These 32 teams capture fans’ imaginations beyond their borders, particularly in Asia, where historically most countries do not qualify for the World Cup.

Why was Qatar so keen to host?

Qatar is a tiny speck in the Gulf desert that wants the world to know it’s here. It is the first Arab and first Muslim nation to host a sporting event of this magnitude. Saudi Arabia and the UAE look on with envy.

In 2009, Qatar spent tens of millions of dollars trying to host the World Cup. Still, Qatar’s offer seemed like a joke. They got questions about the heat, how they would accommodate the games in a country smaller than Connecticut and if they would allow alcohol.

When the then FIFA President opened the envelope and the name Qatar came out, everything immediately turned to corruption. Subsequent investigations forced FIFA to change the way it determined a host, revealing how a country could bend the world to its will through cash raising.

How did Qatar prepare? And what are the controversies?

They essentially had to rebuild an entire country in 12 years to host this month-long event.

They gathered hundreds of thousands of foreign workers, especially workers from South Asia, to undertake this construction. Thousands of these workers have died in Qatar since 2010, the year the country gained host rights, according to human rights groups. It was a collision of some of the world’s poorest people with the ambition of some of the world’s richest people.

The country’s human rights record has come under scrutiny beyond the deaths of workers. The World Cup should be this festival open to everyone. How does that fit with a country that would put you in jail for being gay?

What do you pay attention to in the games?

Everything is politicized.

Iran is under intense scrutiny for its national protests; a player from France, Eduardo Camavinga, has received racist messages on social media; some Argentinian fans wrote a nasty racist song about another French player, Kylian Mbappé.

In terms of football, pay attention to Brazil. Then there is Argentina. This could be the last World Cup for one of the sport’s all-time greats, Lionel Messi.

And since 2002, no non-European team has won the tournament. Perhaps now is the time to end this 20-year wait.

for fun, sign up for our World Cup updates.

Nearly 200 countries agreed to set up a fund to pay poor nations for damage caused by climate change. The landmark deal concludes two-week climate talks known as COP27.

The decision to pay for global warming damage was a breakthrough: For more than 30 years, developing countries have been urging rich countries to offset the costs of extreme weather events associated with rising temperatures. On Saturday, the US – the last major holdout – agreed to a fund.

Developing countries hailed the agreement as a landmark victory. But there is no guarantee that wealthy countries will contribute money to the fund – or achieve their existing goals. The deal called for a committee with representatives from 24 countries to work out the next steps.

And some leaders said the summit did not go far enough to address the root causes of global warming. “The agreed loss-and-damage deal is a positive step, but there is a risk that it will become an ‘end of the world fund’ unless countries act faster to cut emissions,” he said an expert.

Elon Musk restored Trump’s Twitter account. However, it is not clear whether the former US President will start again. For now, his latest post is from August 1, 2021, and he told Fox News he will remain on Truth Social, his own social network.

Musk, who appears to be struggling to keep the lights on, appears to have made the decision with a simple poll. More than 15 million votes were logged, and Trump’s reinstatement won by nearly 52 percent.

How does extreme heat affect the body? The Times visited two cities affected by climate change – Kuwait City and Basra, Iraq – to document what billions of people could soon experience.

Before Russia invaded, Anton Filatov was one of Ukraine’s top film critics. “I had never touched a gun,” he told the Times. “I was against war. I ran as far away as I could.”

Now the short-sighted 34-year-old is serving on the front lines. And he still finds time to write, delving into his fear, sadness, anger, and fear with regular blog posts. In one post, he compared the underworld of a Jo Nesbo thriller, Phantom, to suspicion and betrayal in Donbass, where many residents support the Russian military.

“The settlements here are full of traitors,” he wrote. “They walk the streets like phantoms. uneasy. Invisible. Dangerous.”

Here are his top 10 movies for surviving a war.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Until next time. — Amelia

PS Steven Ginsberg becomes Editor-in-Chief of The Athletic, The Times sports website.

Start your week with this in-depth narrated read on Uruguay’s climate response. On Friday, The Daily tackled Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX.

Lauren Jackson interviewed Tariq Panja for The Morning. You can reach Amelia and the team at

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