An epic search for football’s next superstars


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The epic story of scouting.

The tale opens in 2007 as Josep Colomer, the scout who nurtured Lionel Messi at Barcelona, navigates the Niger Delta escorted by armed rebels. Supported by 6,000 volunteers across Africa, he aims to assemble a squad of the continent’s most promising 13-year-olds by testing half a million of them—every year.

Mr Abbot’s book focuses on a clutch of early candidates who are plucked from Ghana and Senegal and transported to unimaginable luxury in Doha. The motives of their benefactor, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, are unclear. Ostensibly they are there to provide practice for local players in the hope of strengthening the national team, ahead of a bid to host the World Cup in 2022. Some think the real plan may be to make Qatari citizens of Africa’s finest.

The complete article

The Economist

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Mental illness is at last getting the attention, if not the money, it needs


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A much needed change.

Those pressures have become even more evident in recent days. On January 7th the Red Cross claimed there was a “humanitarian crisis” in Britain’s hospitals. The NHS’s medical director for acute care denied this but admitted that staff were under “a level of pressure we haven’t seen before”. According to leaked documents seen by the BBC, nearly a quarter of patients waited longer than four hours in accident and emergency (A&E) rooms in the first week of this year. One in five patients admitted for further treatment endured a long wait on a trolley or in a hospital corridor—twice the rate normally seen. With not enough mental-health care provided in the community, recent research has found that the number of people with mental illness coming to A&E doubled between 2011-12 and 2015-16.

The complete article

The Economist

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The desire for children


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An interesting article from The Economist. This needull discusses the growing issue of unfulfilled desire for children for a lot of couples.

Medical infertility is part of the problem, not just in rich countries, where couples put off having children until it is rather late, but also in poor countries, where health care is worse. By one global estimate, at least 48m couples have been trying for a child for the past five years but have not succeeded, up from 42m in 1990. But the main reason for the shortfall, according to our poll, is money. From Brooklyn to Beijing, the cost of housing and education is so high that many young people say they cannot afford as many children as they want.

The complete article

The Economist

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Obituary: David Bowie


When I had started working as a research analyst in a UK based firm, I was asked to start reading The Economist. My bosses believed that The Economist had the best written English. They were not wrong. My favorite section in the magazine was Obituary.

For today, I am recommending David Bowie’s obituary.

Starman Jones

The Economist

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