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28
Jul

Flamengo and Santos dazzle in Brazilian clash

Last night’s match between Santos F.C. and Flamengo reminded Brazilians why they love football, as the two of the game’s best went head to head in a thrilling battle for the ages.

The contest was full of flash and some brilliant offensive moments – although it was somewhat light on the defense. Santos started the proceedings with three goals with 25 minutes – two from Borges, and then an amazing run and finish by international sensation Neymar.

Somewhat amazingly, despite being down 3-0 quickly, Flamengo came back and tied the game before halftime with strikes from Ronaldinho, Thiago Nieves and David. There were six goals in one half, but the match was far from over.

Neymar again put one away shortly after halftime to give the lead back to Santos, but Ronaldinho didn’t take long to equalize. The former AC Milan star then beat the youngster to a hat trick and got his third goal of the match, leading Flamengo to victory, 5-4.

Flamengo fans have plenty to celebrate after coming out on top in that clash, but its Neymar who gives the Brazilians hope for the future. The young striker may have disappointed in the recent Copa America, but all signs point to him being the top striker when the World Cup is held in Brazil for 2014. Ahead of the massive tournament, many working abroad will be using international wire transfers back home to help assist with the festivities.

28
Jul

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s haggis?

Guardian News conducted a poll back in 2003, which found that nearly one third of Americans believed haggis to be a small animal, and 23 percent traveled to Scotland with hopes of catching one. Imagine their disappointment when they discovered that it is actually a food that makes many people cringe, but plenty others love the sheep-based sausage.

Haggis, a traditional Scottish pudding, consists of sheep's lungs, liver and heart – mixed with oatmeal and spices – that are stuffed into the sheep's stomach lining or an artificial casing. The haggis is then boiled for a few hours. When it's ready, the Scottish sausage is traditionally served with neeps and tatties (mashed potatoes and pureed turnips).

Last year, rumors were circulating that the U.S. import ban on haggis was to be lifted, but this was never the case, according to National Public Radio. The U.S. Department of Agriculture made it illegal to import all food made with lungs in 1971.

Alton Brown, a Food Network chef, suggests substituting the sheep lung with tongue, so Scottish people who are living or working in the U.S. can enjoy the comforts of home. They can also wire money to Europe so their families can prepare their own haggis meal, and they can bond over the shared experience.

20
Jul

World Football Transfer Window Roundup: 7/20/2011

Transfer window news continues to heat up as August rapidly approaches and teams get serious about their offers and signings. This is always a great time for soccer fans, as sometimes it’s the speculation that’s as much fun as the actual transfers. Everybody wants to know which teams will be sending money for which players, and that always keeps things interesting, even if no blockbuster deals were struck this week.

With many of the top teams shockingly eliminated from the Copa America this week, transfer rumors have begun swirling around some of the players who were linked with clubs before the tournament but didn’t have time to negotiate during the competition.

While the deal is not official yet, the major news this week is Barcelona’s signing of Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez. The Udinese winger has been linked with the club for months, and now it appears that a deal is done. Gino Pozzo, the son of Udinese president Giampolo Pozzo, told an Italian radio station that an agreement had been reached and would be completed within the next few days. The big question here is how big of an international wire transfer Udinese will ultimately demand. Pozzo originally rated Sanchez at €50 million, but it’s possible that was simply a negotiating tactic.

With the Sanchez transfer fee likely to be significant, it could have an effect on other transfers. Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas has made no secret that he wants to move to Barcelona, but the Spanish side likely doesn’t have the funds for two mega-transfers this year. Combine that with the fact that Arsene Wenger is doing everything to keep Fabregas, and the unsettled playmaker may be a Gunner for at least a few months.

Meanwhile, rumors continue to swirl over the brilliant young striker Neymar, who appears close to signing with Real Madrid. The player recently revealed that he wants to stay with his South American club, Santos. However, the player’s agent revealed that a deal with Madrid was done, and the La Liga squad simply had to wire money – €45 million – to complete the transfer. It’s possible that Neymar could stay with Santos for the time being, play in the Club World Cup, and then move in the January transfer window.

Another young Brazilian player for Santos could be set to move in the near future as well. Media reports are heavily linking Paulo Henrique Ganso with a move to Italian side AC Milan. There’s been a flurry of interest in the midfielder after a strong showing in the Copa America, despite Brazil’s early exit. Russian team Aznhi Makhachkala, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and AC’s rivals Inter are all reportedly interested in the player. However, Ganso apparently has great admiration for the Brazilian midfielder Kaka, and wants to follow in his footsteps at AC Milan.

Meanwhile, Chelsea continue in their search for a holding midfielder to replace Michael Essien. Tottenham’s Luka Modric was originally tabbed as the top target, but interest has waned as the transfer fees have risen. There are rumors about Roma’s Daniele De Rossi making a move, although the Italian side seems to be doing everything to sign him. Thus much of the attention has now fallen to Bayern Leverkusen’s Arturo Vidal. Vidal was initially thought to be moving to Bayern Munich, as the Leverkusen coach from last season is now in charge at the German giant.

However, Leverkusen apparently don’t want to sell the star to their rival if they can avoid it, which is why talks began to progress quickly with Italian side Juventus. Now, it appears Chelsea has entered the fray at a late stage in order to prevent Juventus from scooping up the midfielder.

20
Jul

Genetically modified wheat may provide problems for local Australian farmers and environment

Wheat is a part of many people’s diets as it comes in the forms of bread, noodles, pastries, crackers and more. Not only do people love to eat wheat but the farming and harvesting process provides jobs for thousands of farmers across the globe, including Australia which is one of the world’s leading wheat export countries.

However, new genetically modified wheat produced by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) is threatening to disrupt Australian traditional cuisine values, as thousands of farmers may lose their jobs or be forced to grow wheat in a new fashion.

Greenpeace, an international organization designed to aid in environmental conservation, is largely against the overtaking of local Australian crops by genetically modified products. In order to assist families who are affected by these takeovers, many Australians living abroad will wire money to Australia to help out.

Canada and Europe, both worldwide wheat market competitors to Australia, have both rejected the idea of harvesting genetically modified wheat, which makes the Australian farmers and Greenpeace even more nervous.

“[Canada and Europe] were not convinced by global biotech companies that [the process] would not contaminate their natural wheat crops and threaten their billion-dollar export markets,” Greenpeace spokeswoman Laura Kelly said. “The economic implications of [genetically modified] wheat are dire.”

CSIRO is strongly against the negative publicity that Greenpeace and other Australian environment protection agencies are promoting. CropLife, a United States group that represents the plant industry, jumped into the fray to back up CSIRO’s proposed genetic methods.

“[Genetically modified] crops have demonstrated over the last 15 years that they improve the on-farm environment while reducing the pressure to convert wilderness areas to farmland,” CropLife CEO Mathew Cossey said in a public statement.

Other scientists have vowed that CSIRO crops make no difference in the long run.

“In controlled conditions in a laboratory you can get marvelous results…but when they put [the crops] in the field there is zero percent difference because …all the genes are expressing themselves and it’s complete competition,” Maarten Stapper, a former CSIRO scientist, told the Australia Associated Press on Thursday.

Though the definitive answer for whether or not genetically modified crops will take over local farms and the potential results are unknown, local farmers are likely in need of assistance from family and friends livign abroad who can send remittances.

14
Jul

Tips for saving money while traveling abroad

Whether you are living abroad for work or school, there are plenty of ways to experience foreign lands without breaking the bank. Most parks are open to the public and many times, you can catch a street performance that will not only entertain you, but it can demonstrate native cultural traditions, such as mime performances in France.

You can take public transportation instead of renting a car or hailing taxis to save money. Walking is also an excellent – and free – way to get to know your surroundings and see things you might miss if you hop in a cab and zoom from destination to destination.

If you want to visit a different town than the one in which you are currently staying, you can find out if there is a bus or train that could get you there to avoid renting a car. This way, you spend less money and you don't have to worry about learning local traffic laws or getting lost in a strange place. If you really want to rent a car to explore the country in which you are living, you can have friends or family members send money online to help you pay for the rental.

You can also save money by opting to prepare your own meals if you have a kitchen at your disposal, rather than dining out. If you do not have the ability to cook for yourself, you can always buy foods that are ready-to-eat or that only need minor preparations. Sandwiches, fruits and vegetables are good choices. Many grocers and convenience stores offer premade snacks that you can purchase and enjoy on a bench or at a local park for an impromptu picnic.

Locals can also point you in the direction of inexpensive dining options that may not otherwise be on a foreign guest's radar. This can also help you find hidden treasures that you might not have found on your own. Plus, getting to know native people can help you learn more about their culture and see the side of a nation that you might not otherwise be exposed to as a foreign visitor.

Many cities around the world offer free or inexpensive admission to their museums. With a little bit of online research, you can plan plenty of trips to see some exquisite artwork and historical artifacts. You can visit local churches as well, which often contain beautiful artworks and may have rich histories.

If you are staying in France, and you want to see the Eiffel Tower, it can cost approximately $20 for a ticket to the top according to the Tower's website. While the view is breathtaking, you can just as easily enjoy the Tower from the ground. You may find it hard to resist hopping in an elevator and riding to the top of the 1,069-foot structure, in which case your family members can send money overseas so you can indulge in a bit of tourist-behavior.

Finding inexpensive alternatives to take in the culture and sights of a foreign country can allow you to save money that you can use to treat yourself to an exceptionally fancy dinner or a historical tour that might not have been in your budget initially. If you happen to find yourself running low on funds, you can ask your family members to send money through a wire transfer service, and you will be able to visit an agency or bank to pick up the cash while you are out exploring whatever foreign city you now call home. 

13
Jul

Canadian money to be entirely plastic by 2013

The Bank of Canada recently announced that it plans to replace the nation’s paper currency with plastic bills. The new polymer notes are designed make counterfeiting Canadian money more difficult, with translucent windows and raised ink. Each bill will have a see-through maple leaf on one side and a larger, transparent section on the other that will contain color-shifting images, CNN reports. Another nifty attribute of the polymer notes is that, while they can be folded, they will not crease and will always retain their original shape.

“The Bank is combining innovative technologies from around the world with Canadian ingenuity to create a unique series of bank notes that is more secure, economic and better for the environment,” said Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of Canada. The new bills will last more than twice as long as their paper counterparts, which makes up for the fact that they will cost about twice as much to produce.

Polymer money has been adopted in many countries and the plastic bills have proven to be more economic, hygienic and effective in reducing the rate of counterfeiting. In Australia, the notes have reduced the amount of efforts and funds that are dedicated to combating counterfeiting operations, and made the validation of currency 82 percent more efficient than with paper notes, according to PolymerNotes.org.

In 2001, Canada began to see a dramatic increase in the amount of counterfeit bills and by 2004, officials found approximately 470 counterfeit notes per million bills in circulation, which Governor Carney states is a record high. People who are living or working in Canada can have their friends and family members wire money directly to their bank accounts through a money transfer service to lower the risk of encountering fake bank notes.

“These bank notes evoke the country’s spirit of innovation, and their designs celebrate Canada’s achievements at home, around the world and in space,” said Jim Flaherty, the Minister of Finance.

The $100 bill will be released in November 2011, and the new design will feature an updated portrait of Sir Robert Borden, who served the nation as Prime Minister between 1911 and 1920. It will also include images that reflect Canadian innovations in the field of medicine, such as the invention of the pacemaker and the nation’s involvement in mapping the genetic code.

In March 2012, the Bank will issue the polymer $50 bill. This note will focus on the influence of the northern frontier of Canada’s culture, and it will have a new portrait of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, who served two terms in the mid-1900′s.

By the end of 2013, The Bank of Canada states that it will issue polymer $20, $10 and $5 bills. The $20 will be dedicated to Canadian involvement in world conflicts and feature Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen is currently the constitutional monarch of Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Bahamas and 12 other sovereign states.

Sir John A. Macdonald, the first Canadian Prime Minister, will grace the $10, along with “The Canadian,” a transcontinental train that travels on what was once the longest railway in the world.

Canada’s contributions to the international space program will be recognized on the $5, and they will share the space with Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Laurier served as Prime Minister from 1896 to 1911 and was the first French-speaking Canadian leader.

Many people will transfer money online to their friends and family in Canada so they can get their hands on the new plastic bills as they are put into circulation.

11
Jul

7/11/11 Transfer Window Roundup

Transfer window interest continues to mount, as teams send money all over the world, hoping to shore up their squads ahead of the coming season. Each week, we take a look at which big names have moved and which could be on the verge of signing a new deal.

Rumors continue to swirl around 19-year-old wunderkind Neymar, who plays for Santos FC in Brazil. It seems like there’s a different report everyday on what is happening with this talented young striker as he continues to impress in the Copa America. Real Madrid were once considered a lock to sign the star, but nothing has yet materialized. Now, it appears that Real’s rivals, Barcelona, have joined the hunt.

The issue centers around whether Neymar wants to stay on with Santos in the fall. The striker is said to love the team and hopes to guide them to the Club World Cup, where they will likely face off against Barcelona. President Sandro Rosell is said to have offered Neymar the opportunity to play with Santos at the Club World Cup, with the understanding that he would sign with Barcelona in January. Of course, others are saying that Barcelona doesn’t have the money and are simply trying to throw a wrench in Madrid’s plans.

The dark horse in the proceedings is Russian club FC Anzhi Makhachkala. Normally a small team like this would be a joke in transfer proceedings for a star like Neymar. However, the club was recently bought out by a Russian billionaire, who apparently has no limits when it comes to spending. The club is reportedly ready to match or beat the transfer values offered by the big clubs, and Neymar would be the centerpiece of the club’s attempt to buy their way to international respect.

Whichever team ends up signing the player, one will have to step up to the plate and use an international wire transfer to send the £45 million at which he is rumored to be valued.

Another newly-rich team is Malaga, in La Liga. They’ve also been trying to pull some coups during the transfer window, most notably matching a Manchester United offer for Inter’s Wesley Sneijder. There’s not too good of a chance that Sneijder will shun the Reds for a chance to play in La Liga, but stranger things have happened.

In London, Arsenal have completed the signing of Lille striker Gervinho, with the player joining the team for training. Arsene Wenger also told press that he believes Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri will ultimately stay with the club, despite reports linking them with moves abroad. In the same city, Chelsea are said to be looking at another bid for Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric, who seems to be the team’s desired replacement for Michael Essien.

In the premier league, Fulham have agreed to terms with Roma for left back John Arne Riise, who joins his younger brother on the team. Wolverhampton Wanderers have scored a potentially brilliant signing in Robert Johnson, a defender from Birmingham City, though they may lose their striker, Kevin Doyle, to either Juventus or Arsenal.

As for rumors, some big names could be making a switch to smaller clubs. Arsenal’s Nicklas Bendtner looks to be on his way out of town, and many are pegging his landing spot as Borussia Dortmund in Germany. Meanwhile, Chelsea forward Nicolas Anelka could be going home to Paris Saint-Germain.

Finally, it must be mentioned that Serie A team Napoli unveiled their latest signing, Gokhan Inler, by bringing him to a press conference in a tiger mask. Nobody is quite sure why.

11
Jul

"Iron Man of India" may be immortalized as the tallest statue in the world

India is actively seeking investors to help fund the $300 million building of a statue in Gujarat that, if it comes to fruition, will be the tallest statue in the world. Currently, the Spring Temple Buddha in China is the tallest statue, standing at 420 feet. People who want to make contributions to the effort can send icici money to India.

The proposed statue will be a memorial to Vallabhbhai Patel, an Indian hero of independence who was the first home minister of India and a close friend and ally of Mahatma Ghandi. Patel also served as the leader of India’s Congress Party in 1934 and was known to many as the Iron Man of India and the Sardar, which means chief in a majority of Indian dialects.

The BBC states that the statue will be nearly 600 feet tall, which would make it twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty in New York, if the base is included. It will also be much like the Statue of Liberty in that it will be accessible by boat only, according to the French Press. The construction plans for the statue include elevators that will take visitors to the top of the statue, where they can see through the Sardar’s eyes.

“It is being named Statue of Unity as it was the Sardar who had united India at its most trying times after Independence, amalgamating nearly 550 princely states within Union of India,” Narendra Modi, the current Chief Minister of Gujarat, wrote on his blog. He also said that the statue would represent 90 years of historical Indian heroes who fought for the nation’s independence and unification.

Some people oppose Modi’s plans to build the statue because they believe that the expense is more than unnecessary, as poverty and hunger are still major problems in the Asian country. Many people who live and work outside of the country will send money to India to their families and friends to ease their financial struggle.

Mahesh Pandya, the director of Friends of the Environment, an organization that focuses on improving and protecting the environment, told the French Press that Modi should use the funds to help impoverished people and improve the quality of life in Gujarat to show his respect for the former leader, rather than building a massive statue.