Wimbledon and War


South Korea Proposes Rare Military Talks With North Korea: South Korea has proposed holding military talks with North Korea on July 21 at Tongilgak, a North Korean building located in the demilitarized zone between the two countries. If the talks are held, they would be the first such high-level talks since 2015 and would aim to stop “all hostile activities that raise military tension” at the border between the Koreas. South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has long signaled he supports closer engagement and more dialogue with the North. In a recent speech in Berlin, Moon said dialogue with the North was more urgent than ever and called for a peace treaty to be signed. The BBC reports that the ultimate goal of the proposed meeting would be to end the military standoff that has defined relations between the two countries for decades. North Korea has not yet responded to the South’s invitation.


On Anniversary of Failed Coup, Turkish President Says He Will “Behead Traitors”:  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to hundreds of thousands of people in Istanbul on Saturday on the one-year anniversary of a failed coup. He applauded the popular resistance that stopped the coup, promised to “decapitate traitors,” and urged vigilance against enemies of the state. “This wasn’t the first attack against our nation and it’s not going to be the last attack either. We know who is behind these terrorists. However, there’s also the fact that if you do not combat and fight against these pieces we cannot fight and overcome those who are manipulating them. Therefore, we are going to behead these traitors. If parliament passes a bill on resuming executions in Turkey. I will sign it.” If Turkey does pass such a law, it would undermine its long-term effort to join the European Union, whose member countries have abolished the death penalty.

Turkey has been in a state of emergency since the failed coup, and Erdogan has continued to consolidate his power and oversee a massive purge of those individuals he claims were involved in the attempted overthrow. Over the past year, Erdogan’s government has cracked down on civil liberties across the country, gutted public institutions and universities, and ordered mass arrests of activists, journalists, and members of the opposition.


Venezuela Holds Unofficial Referendum: Approximately seven million voters took part in an opposition-organised referendum in Venezuela on Sunday. The unofficial poll was held in improvised polling stations around the country. Voting on three questions, 98 percent of the population supported holding new elections before 2019 and strongly opposed government proposals for a new constituent assembly with the power to scrap the National Assembly and rewrite the constitution. The opposition is calling for new elections before President Nicolas Maduro’s term expires in early 2019 and say a constitutional rewrite would likely delay this year’s regional elections and next year’s presidential election. Maduro claims a constituent assembly is the only way for Venezuela to resolve its current economic and political crisis. Unsurprisingly, he described Sunday’s vote as “meaningless.”


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At 35 years of age Roger Federer set multiple records at Wimbledon yesterday by winning his 19th major and 8th Wimbledon championship. Federer cruised to victory without dropping a single set. This amazing feat left many tennis watchers with this thought: “You cannot be serious.”

Garbine Muguruza became the Wimbledon women’s champion by being the first person to ever defeat the Williams sisters en route to a Grand Slam finals. Muguruza defeated Venus Williams (a five-time Wimbledon champion) in straight sets. For decades the Williams sisters have dominated women’s tennis, together winning 30 Grand Slam titles (seven by Venus and 23 by Serena). Now that is a bewildering statistic.

This past week witnessed the mashup of Boxing and MMA when the Mayweather vs. McGregor world tour essentially devolved into a WWF entertainment melee. The mega rumble scheduled for August 26 is a reminder that sports is essentially entertainment. So as much as we enjoy the spectacle of sports, the entire Mayweather-McGregor spectacle reminds us of a George Orwell quote: “Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting.”


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