Week in Review: 9/1/11

We’re happy to welcome back Chris Huw Williams with his own unique take on some of the lesser reported stories of the last week.

Another year, another annoying rant from me. For those of you who are yet to read one of these then you’re in for a treat, this week’s news stories has been interesting, to say the least. For those of you who are yet to have read one of these articles then you’ve been missing out, I’ve been doing this for a few months already.

So the New Year begins and, as per usual, we’ve put a lot of expectation on this year being better than the last. It’s going to be all of us turning over a new leaf and a year different to the last. Except it’s not: that’s not how it goes. For some reason the Holiday period towards the end of the year leads us to this false, magical sense that anything is possible and that change is just around the corner. Then, with a heavy head filled with regret and a hangover like no other, we wake on January 1st to realise that nothing except the last number in the date has changed. We’re all still as stupid as we always were.

I’ve started trying to spot some of the lesser reported on news stories of the week, they seem to be the most interesting and the least depressing in the news at the moment which is why this headline certainly struck a chord: “Brazil police say footballer Somalia ‘faked’ his kidnap”. From the outset it appears like a bit of a shocking headline, but when you read a little further, it gets ridiculous.

Apparently the footballer in question (confusingly named Somalia) plays for a top Brazillian team, Botafogo, and faked his own kidnap because, and yes, this will be the best excuse you’ve heard all year, he was running late for training. Now, I’ve been late for things before, but never have I thought that I should ring the police to tell them I’ve been kidnapped , that’s a line that I will just not cross. <

The club apparently threatens players with a 40% pay cut if they are late to training. The police have said that Somalia could potentially go to jail for up to six months if found guilty of faking his own kidnapping. I think a potential pay cut would probably be something I’d prefer over the potential to go to prison. We’re only 9 days into the new year and Brazil are top of the list of the most ridiculous countries of 2011.

The first is that the pair were jailed for life for taking part in an $11 robbery. They’ve been in jail for 16 years, I understand that much, but what I don’t understand is how an $11 robbery can cause anyone to end up going to prison for life. It’s possibly the largest ever example of the punishment not fitting the crime. So well done there America, this scores quite highly in your favour of being the most ridiculous countries of 2011.

Now, America, being America they stop at nothing to be ridiculous, the sisters are now being released dependent on one of them giving a kidney to the other. If you look close enough there is a certain sense of logic there: one of the sisters is on very expensive dialysis and so it makes sense for her to get the treatment she needs. However, I’m sure there are many suitable donors out there who can give her a kidney…. rather than letting them both out of jail.

They have both so far served 16 years for stealing $11, they’ve served one year for every 68cents that they’ve stolen. I think, by all accounts, they deserve to be released early, 16 years is a horrendous oversight of a sentence for what looks to me like petty theft. So it’s a good thing they’re released, I guess, but a strange reason for it. In honesty, if I was in jail I’d give my left testicle to get out. In fact, I’d give both of them to get out – a few hours of surgery with a few days of recovery sounds a lot better to me than life in prison. If this is America setting a precedent then we’re in for a good year.

I hope America have started as they mean to go on, only a week in to the New Year and they’re sending out some golden ridiculous news stories.

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