Pregnant in Sport
Full Transcript - Episode 25
Brazilian concessions, Covid Bees, Known gnomes, Belgian rock controversy, and the Afghan troop pullout.
PLUS - Rafaela Paiva shares new developments about professional athletes and sponsorship contracts.
G: Good afternoon São Paulo!
J: Good afternoon São Paulo!
G: Welcome back to The Samba Buzz.
J: Today there was kind of a strange thing that happened. My daughter woke up to go eat some bread and she lost one of her baby teeth.
G: Oh dear. So, what’s the...what’s the going rate for a child’s tooth, these days? Does the...does the tooth fairy still come? Is that...is that a thing in Brazil, do you know?
J: Yeah, the...the tooth fairy – that’s a big deal! The last time she made a fortune. She made R$20 off of one of her teeth.
G: So, what do they call the tooth fairy in Brazil, then? Do you know?
J: A fada do dente.
G: Oh, ok. That’s fairly obvious, I guess.
J: Yeah, it’s pretty much the same thing.
G: And she made how much?
J: She made twenty on the last tooth.
G: Twenty reais?
J: Yeah, this time I think I’m only going to give her five, but...!
J: Inflation is cutting us all down, here.
G: Exactly. Very good. So, wha...wha...what we got planned for today then?
J: We have an interview with Rafaela.
G: Rafaela? Who’s Rafaela?
J: Rafaela Paiva. She’s coming in. She’s a specialist in sound engineering and sound production.
G: Sounds good.
J: We have our guru section, with things that you should know if you want to be in a relationship with somebody outside of the country.
G: Sounds like it’s going to be a long pod.
J: Yeah, and then of course, the usual stories.
G: And we’ll get started with the stories. Great. Let’s get cracking!
J: Let’s go!
J: So, my first newsworthy item. I...I thought it was actually quite interesting because this is positive news for Brazil.
G: Huzzah! We certainly do need good news. I don’t see too much in the news at the moment.
J: Well, tha...that’s interesting because I... This thing might have escaped you. Er...a couple of weeks ago, Brazil wrapped up a massive infrastructure auction for concessions to operate 22 airports, a rail line and five different ports.
J: And they have a total commitment of $620 million. Dollars, I’m talking, not...not Reais.
G: So, what does that buy you, that money?
J: Well, that buys you the rights to operate the concession.
G: Oh, ok.
J: So, then you still have to make your initial investment in...in the...er...because that...that’s just secures the bid. Then you have the rights to do it. You have to actually go out, and then hire the equipment and the people and the machinery to make what you have promised. And then you can operate the...either a toll or some kind of concession with the Government where you receive money for your...er...investment, for your work.
G: So, none of these projects actually exist yet, then? They’re all gonna be new...
J: No...no, the projects exist. They...
G: But the actual sites don’t operate yet?
J: N...no. Not as they were auctioned. Tha...tha...that’s what the concessionary is responsible for – for making that happen.
G: So, you got...you get the right to build it and then operate it, yeah?
G: Right, ok.
J: And it...it’s kind of a good way for the government, because the government often does not have – and this is true not just for Brazil but for, basically, any government – the role of government is not necessarily to build infrastructure but just to provide, let’s say, the resources so that infrastructure can be made. And then the...the...the...the private companies come in. They make it. They receive a profit, and it’s kind of a win-win because you don’t have to use the...the taxes...er...of the people for to (sic) make the projects.
G: Ok. That kind of makes sense.
J: There’s also less steal...a whole lot less theft going on and stealing.
G: Yes, bec...well, because there’s no public money going into it, then, of course, that’s what everybody wants isn’t it?
J: Exactly. Exactly. So, it’s kind of seen as...as a good way to avoid...er...to have more transparency with government.
G: So, is there a commitment then that if you win a bid, you have to use local labor and local materials, or...?
J: Now, that...that...that depends on how the contract is written. Now, the risk is, you can demand local labor but the risk is that no investor will want to do that because the local labor is just not good enough. So, th...that varies from bid to bid. And then that’s kind of the science of the government – how many restrictions do they want to put on it to make it attractive but not too, let’s say, too cheap. You know, you have to have some benefit for your...for your country.
G: Ok. Makes sense. And is there excitement about this opportunity. Are the companies interested in bidding on these projects?
J: Yes, yes they have received very strong bids for almost all of the projects. There was only one – the rail line – that received just one bid but it was still accepted. Er...but all other projects had multiple bids from multiple investors.
G: Excellent. So, five years’ time we should be seeing changes around here?
J: Yep. And the total...the government expects total investment in dollars, in the country, will be $1.75 billion – that should be invested in different kinds of things. So, that...that’s a huge investment for the country.
G: That’s a big bonus, it is.
G: That’s over a period of time though. That’s not in one year, is it?
J: Mo, that’s not in one year. That’s over multiple years.
G: Yes. What about...what else have you got for us today?
J: Ok. For my...for my next story, I would like to travel back to Belgium because...
G: Ah, the Belgians and their waffles!
J: ...because if you remember they’re full of good stories there.
G: They are. They got their pigeon racing. They’ve got their Belgian fries...
J: They’ve got their French fries. They...they...they’ve got their land disputes, now. Now, it seems they have... The Belgians – don’t ask me how – they have managed to create an international border crisis.
G: Ah, I think I read about this one, actually.
J: Yeah, yeah, with France, by the way. It’s supposed...supposedly a good neighbor, but not so good anymore!
J: It seems that now they have this international border dispute. France claims that it has shrunk by two meters in...
J: ...in the recent past. Two meters on the Belgian border.
J: And...er...the...the Belgians are kind of a little bit shy about how...how that happened...how that could happen that they stole two meters from France. But it...er...it kind of seems that it comes from a Belgian farmer.
G: Hm. And wh...what was he doing exactly?
J: Well, he’s taken it up...taken it upon himself to expand his own country by two meters because he took a international border – it was this big stone which had been there for 200 years – and what he did is he got...he came out with his tractor, or whatnot, and lifted it up and just put it back about two meters...
G: As you would!
J: And claimed it was his and then kind of promptly expanded his farm! So, you can...you can understand that the French were quite...er...quite irate at this.
G: Indignant about this, yeah?
J: Quite indignant. And, er, I actually have a quote from one of their...one of their...er...people. He says...er...they’re...they’re citizens, let’s say. He said, “If it belongs to us, it belongs to us. We don’t want to be robbed of two meters.”
J: That’s...er...I’m trying to do my best French accent. Of course, I’m not very good at that.
G: It sounded more Walloon, maybe?
J: Ok, maybe. Anyway, erm, and this was...this was in the French village of – it’s hard to pronounce these things but – Bousignies-sur-Roc.
G: I’ll let you pronounce that one.
J: Ok, that’s probably completely incorrect, but I don’t speak French. Anyway, he told RTL info this...RTL info this little message here. The Belgian mayor of Erquelinnes, which is on the...the other side of the border. His name is David Lavaux. He was a little bit more diplomatic, and he said, “The land was sold, and the person who bought it changed the borders the way he wanted. But this isn’t a private border. It’s...it’s a border between countries and you cannot just move international boundary markers.”
G: No. Absolutely not.
J: So, it sounds to me like the Belgians will concede and they will recognize the...the French claims.
G: People probably died fighting over that boundary, you know? There he is just casually tossing the rock out of the way.
J: Yes. So, wha...what do you have for us, Gee?
G: Well, I have exciting news from The Shire, actually.
G: Er...close to Wales.
J: Oh, ok.
G: It is Gloucestershire, actually.
J: Ok. Wh...what? Have the trees awakened or something, or what?
G: Well, there’s a shortage. What would you guess there’s a shortage of? Given all the problems we have in the world with the pandemic, what do you think they are worried about in The Shire in terms of an...a...a shortage?
J: Er...cheese? I dunno.
G: Um, there is a shortage of garden gnomes!
J: Garden gnomes? Oh, my god.
G: And this is very serious.
J: It’s serious that the people put them in their...their damn gardens! Oh, come on, it’s terrible!
G: Well, what happens (sic) is all garden equipment and furniture has seen a big increase in demand because of the pandemic.
G: Because people can’t go out and they want to spend time in their garden, and gnomes have become a particularly popular item.
J: But, what...
G: And you...you can’t get them.
J: But, ok, what’s the attraction of a garden gnome? That’s... I don’t get it.
G: I...I don’t get it either, actually. I...I think it’s aesthetic. It makes you... It’s a little...little guy to sit in your garden and give you company.
J: We...well plant a flower of something!
G: Anyway, there’s a quote here from a local guy. Um, Ian Burn, he’s an assistant manager of Highfield Garden World, and he says, “We haven’t seen a gnome in six months.”
J: My goodness.
G: Unfortunately. And apparently the problem exists across the whole of Europe. There is a shortage of garden furniture.
J: In general. My goodness.
G: In general.
J: The world is coming to an end. What...what is going on in this world?
G: So, The Shire is under threat.
J: My goodness.
G: A threat of a lack of gnomes.
J: Wow, that’s...that’s some serious news there.
G: And that...that covers all...all type of gnome, actually. There’s no plastic. There’s no concrete. There’s no stone...n...gnomes. There’s not a gnome to be seen anywhere.
J: But it has to be kind of ser... I mean, it can’t be such a complicated thing to make. You would think there would be some entrepreneur that would go out there and, I don’t know, chisel together a couple of gnomes, throw some paint on them and...
G: Yes. You’d...you’d have thought there’d be an opportunity for somebody – a gnome entrepreneur somewhere, wouldn’t you?
J: Right. A gnome.
G: We’ve got known-gnomes, and we’ve got unknown-gnomes. Ah, anyway, that...that was The Shire news. A little...little snippet there.
J: I liked it. Nice.
G: What about...what else you got for us today?
J: So, my second, short international news item that I have is that Dutch researchers have trained honeybees to detect samples with Covid-19.
G: Ah. Interesting.
J: Yes. It...it seems that the honey bees have a fantastic sense of smell, and they have been able to train them, kind of using the Pavlov dog technique.
J: You know, where he receives a reward if he does a certain activity.
G: Press the bell and then the dog starts to salivate. Yes.
J: Right. Something like that. Well, that also works for bees. W...with covid-19.
G: I can’t imagine bees salivating. I guess they must.
J: They’re salivating for Covid-19 now, but ok!
G: They must salivate, yes.
J: But what they’ve done is they’ve trained them to, let’s say... They receive... If they detect the covid-19 sample, they receive a reward of sugar-water.
J: And then they...they don’t have, really, a tongue but they have what they call a probiscis, and that kind of protrudes outside of them and they lick at that honey water a little bit. And then they just go on sniffing.
G: That’s interesting isn’t it? So, how...how do they provide the...er...the reward? I mean do they have to follow the bees around as they...er...with their little bottle of nectar, or whatever they carry?
J: Well, I...I don’t know how they did it? I think it...it’s set up in some way that...I don’t know. I don’t know how they did it, actually! I have no idea.
G: You can see them at the airports now – a little beehive.
J: Yeah. A beehive, the as you go... but the...the thing is it’s incredibly cheap. It’s very effective and you get immediate results. So, you no longer have to send it to the lab.
J: So, imagine, for a pharmaceutical industry, they’re not too happy with this, because this could, let’s say, potentially affect their bottom line, cos they’re earning a lot of money with all these tests. Let’s be honest.
G: Still, how...how does the bee actually get it’s sample from the human? I mean, how does it...what does it do with its probiscis? Which part does it lick, so to speak?
J: Well, they...they didn’t get into details. I don’t know about what...what the bees actually have to lick to detect covid-19.
G: Or maybe...maybe there’s just an aroma coming off us when we’ve got covid?
J: Well, I kind of...kind of assumed that if...if they get in the vicinity, they are able to detect it. There...there sense of smell is strong enough that they can detect it, but...
G: We’re probably a bit more sweaty and gamey when we’re...er...under the covid influence, no?
J: Herm...yeah. I don’t know. I don’t know.
J: Er...anyway...er...some critics have said that it’s still too early to, let’s say, promote this technique but they think it’s quite interesting.
G: Ok. Well, it sounds fascinating, actually. I’d be very interested to know more details.
J: Yeah. There’s one little side point that I would like to say. It’s not new to use...er...bees or insects for their sense of smell.
J: In the 1990’s, the US Department of Defense were training insects for years to detect explosives and toxins. Yeah, so, I don’t know how that turned out for the insects, but it’s not the...i...it has been done before.
G: Interesting. Well, there we go.
J: There we go.
G: Covid solutions and innovation.
J: So, hit me with...with your best shot. What do you have?
G: So, something else that caught my eye this week. Erm, is actually about Afghanistan. We haven’t had a story about Afghanistan before.
J: No. The...the US military is pulling out of Afghanistan.
G: That is the point. Not just the US but the British and the Germans and all the other allies are all leaving Afghanistan.
J: Ok. They’ve had enough.
G: They’ve had enough and for various reasons they’re leaving. And, of course, that has a lot of consequences for the people who are remaining in Afghanistan, and in particular those who have been helping the British and the Americans with things like interpreters and things like that.
J: And informers. They are going to have a short lifespan now.
G: Informers? Well, that...that is the problem because, obviously, I don’t know if...if you were aware but there were 2850 interpreters working with just the British alone.
J: That’s a lot!
G: That is a la...large number, and obviously, these guys, they...the Taliban know who they are and they’re feeling very nervous that, you know, they’re gonna get left behind.
J: Well, basically, if you speak English, you’re a target now.
G: So, um, what are they doing? They, the British an...and the Americans too, they each have...um...programs for kind of saving these guys, you know – to relocate them back to the UK, in the case of the British and, basically, to save them from the jaws of the Taliban’s wrath once they return.
J: Well but...but basically, they have to leave their...all their ho...their family and...and everything they know?
G: However...um...apparently, a lot of interpreters did not stay the course. So, about a thousand were dismissed for various different reasons, and some of them were dismissed for fairly spurious reasons like turning up late for work or smoking in their dormitory, or whatever.
G: And, these guys, because they have been fired, they are not eligible to be repatriated.
J: And so, they’re going to be mad as hell!
G: So, those guys are really scared. And there was one example in the article I read of a guy who’s tried six times to be resettled. Um, and the process takes 18 months, which doesn’t help, and basically, there’s ‘nothing doing’. They’re saying ‘because you were fired, we can’t help you.’ And so, the poor guy, he’s tried to change his appearance and he doesn’t go out of his house, and he’s kind of worried about this, actually.
J: I...but ok, then they it’s exactly a situation like this which makes me think that they never really had a good exit strategy. They...they never thought this through.
G: Well, they never had an exit strategy.
J: No. They, I mean, it’s just...it’s terrible.
G: It’s one of those places where you go in and you just don’t know how to get out because you can never achieve the things that you think you’re gonna achieve when you go there.
J: Right. It was always a lose-lose situation.
G: But some of these...some of these guys who helped the army, they were quite...um...quite involved, actually. Some of them worked with the special forces, jumping out of airplanes. A lot of them were killed in action.
J: Wow. As interpreters?
G: As interpreters. So, these guys, they were really incorporated into the army units, working side-by-side with the soldiers.
J: My goodness.
G: So, it...it seems only fair that they should be protected at the end of it, and...and not be thrown to the wolves, so to speak.
J: Yeah, because they really did risk their lives.
J: For foreign...foreigners.
G: Exactly. Ok, they were paid for it but...um...yes, I mean you are basically betraying a large group that are going to want revenge.
G: Anyway, the US have settled 89,000 and they will have another 17,000 waiting. So, both...both countries clearly have large numbers, I mean...
J: 17,000 people they are bringing back to the United States?
G: Yeah, they have already resettled 89,000 people...
J: Holy cats!
G: ...from Afghanistan.
J: That’s a lot of Afghans in the US!
G: That’s going to be a big increase – a big spike in Afghan cheese in the US, yes.
J: What do they eat...by...there, actually?
G: I don’t know. I think they have got only goats there, don’t they? And probably pulses and rice and stuff. But I’ve never been there, so I don’t know.
J: What...what about delicacies? Do they have any Afghan delicacies?
G: I imagine they do.
J: What are they?
G: I imagine there’s an equivalent of a Turkish delight – an Afghan delight or something.
J: Yeah, the Afghan goat her...goat herder’s delight. Maybe it’d be some kind of a...er...ice-cream that they could make or yoghurt.
G: Yes, so...um...watch this space. Cos, obviously if it takes 18 months to process your application, you may not be around by the time you get approved, no?
J: No. Wow, that’s...that’s terrible.
G: And that caught my eye this week. So, nobody actually died, formally in that...in that...
J: Not yet! In your story.
G: There is a risk of death.
J: Yes. A certain threat of death.
G: A certain threat.
End of Part One
(more to follow)