Briefs News

World in Brief: Al Qaeda claims fatal shooting, SuperBowl Sunday and National Emergency in Somalia

The Islamist militant group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) allegedly claimed responsibility for the fatal shooting that happened last December in Pensacola, Florida. A Second Lieutenant from the Royal Saudi Air Force undergoing training in the naval base opened fire at American soldiers before being killed, reported The Concordian. The claim was made on a leaked audio recording, but the militant group did not provide evidence, reported Reuters.

France declared it was sending more military troops to the Sahel desert amid increasing violence from jihadist groups. French military presence will increase from 4,500 to 5,100 soldiers by the end of February in the border zones of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Defence Minister Florence Parly said in a statement on Sunday that the operation was to increase “pressure against ISIS-GS,” the ISIS group of the Greater Sahara. According to an article in Al-Jazeera, there have been more than 4,000 reported deaths in 2019.

The Kansas City Chiefs were crowned champions of the 54th Super Bowl on Sunday, in Miami. The National Football League team played against five-time winner San Francisco 49ers, who were designated favourites by most oddsmakers initially. But Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter of the game and brought the team to victory, 31-20, over the 49ers. This year’s halftime show was performed by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira after other artists such as Jay-Z and Rihanna turned down the offer over NFL racism controversies.

On Sunday, Somalia declared a national emergency over a major locust infestation. The Desert locust is a grasshopper species that rapidly devastated huge amounts of crops in the region. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Unions, a locust swarm of one square kilometre can eat the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people. This puts the upsurge at an even more worrisome level, as the East African country is already experiencing an alarming level of food insecurity.


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Top seeds set to battle in Super Bowl

Super Bowl XLIX pits past and present dynasties against one another in the desert

Now that everyone has commented on Deflategate and made just the right amount of inappropriate puns involving Tom Brady’s balls, we can finally get to the game. It happens to be a pretty good one too. On Feb. 1, the world will watch as the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks showdown in Arizona on the biggest stage in sports. Here’s how each team can give themselves a shot at bringing home the Lombardi Trophy.

Seattle can win if:

After the chaotic NFC Championship game, at least Seattle knows they can play their worst possible game and still come away with a victory. It’s no secret that the quarterback is the most important player on the field, but if Russell Wilson is relying on another miracle comeback to earn him his second Super Bowl ring, better luck next year. Wilson simply needs to do a better job of contributing to his offense’s production.

The Seahawks are nearly impossible to stop when Wilson and Marshawn Lynch are both on, and Beast Mode is rarely off. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will scheme to stop, or at least slow down, the run game. That means Seattle’s success may hinge on Wilson’s ability to sit back in the pocket and read the coverage. Wilson is now 9-0 against past Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, but last week’s game against the Packers showed that he isn’t invincible. If Wilson can find his rhythm and force the Patriots defense to hesitate instead of attack, than the Seahawks can unleash their full arsenal. It will be hard enough for the Patriots to slow down Lynch, so Wilson’s performance can easily bust this Super Bowl wide open.

Seattle’s defense is the best in the business and everyone knows that defense wins championships. Because of the defense, no matter who is lined up on the other side of the ball, it gives Seattle a chance to win. Star cornerback Richard Sherman and partner-in-crime free safety Earl Thomas were both banged up in the NFC Championship game. However, the two have both been cleared for practice and vow to be ready for the dance. With them leading the secondary and Seattle’s disruptive front seven still intact, the Seahawks defense just needs to show up to become a difference-maker.

New England can win if:

Fun-fact: Tom Brady is 3-2 in Super Bowl performances but has never left the field in a Super Bowl whilst his team is trailing. Long story short, their defense has always fallen just short in previous playoff runs. However, that’s good news for Patriots fans because this year’s defense is the best unit that Belichick has had since the early 2000’s when they captured three titles in four years.

There’s no question that Seattle’s defense is still the best, but make no mistake, this is a battle between two elite defenses. Darrelle Revis regained his pro-bowl play this year and reclaimed the title of league’s best cornerback (sorry, Sherman). Along with New England’s acquisition of Brandon Browner, the Patriots secondary has adopted the Legion of Boom mentality and has dominated the opposition’s wide receivers all season. The more often the Patriots defense can get the Seahawks’ offense off the field, the more times it gets the ball back to Brady. Simple game plan, but not so simple to execute.

Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor will attempt to do the impossible this Super Bowl: stop Rob Gronkowski. No one has found a way to shut down the Patriots tight end completely and Belichick is hoping that it stays that way for at least one more game. Chancellor has a knack of blowing up other teams’ game plans but this may be a matchup that even he can’t win. If the Patriots can get Gronk the ball, he can turn the Legion of Boom into the Legion of Bust.

The Seahawks will attempt to burst through the Patriots offensive line and get in Brady’s face as quick as possible. In order to give the Patriots a chance, the offensive line needs to help Brady stay on his feet. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Belichick know this is priority number one. If they can map-out quick drop-backs for Brady and short routes for their wide receivers, it won’t matter how many times the Seahawks blitz.

Prediction: Patriots 17 – Seahawks 14

Normally there is a clear-cut favourite heading into a Super Bowl. Even last year against Peyton Manning, experts leaned towards Seattle’s defense and the weather conditions at MetLife Stadium. But this year looks like a coin toss. So when all else fails, go with your gut. There is something poetic about Brady’s Bunch returning to Arizona and finally getting that fourth ring.

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Super Bowl madness takes hold

It’s that time of year again! Super Bowl Sunday has come and gone with four hours jam packed with football, advertising, and performances.

Photo by Chschulz on Flickr

Some football fans consider the NFL championship game to be as sacred as apple pie, and others watch it for reasons besides the main game.

We can’t help but jump on the Super Bowl’s over-hyped bandwagon every year when it offers all sports and non-sports fans something to look forward to.

Yes, the Super Bowl is over-hyped and over-anticipated, but it wouldn’t be the Super Bowl otherwise. This day is about being extra loud, and eating the excessively greasy food that you’ll be feeling guilty about while running that extra 20-minutes on the treadmill the next day. It’s also about laughing at the entertaining commercials, and singing along with the halftime performers. This year was no different.

The Super Bowl commercials are usually biggest appeal, featuring a range of entertainment for everyone to enjoy. Over the years, these ads have taken on a life of their own. Many big time companies, like Pepsi and yogurt company Oikos have even released sneak previews of their eagerly-awaited commercials to add more anticipation.

The halftime shows always deliver an amusing performance. It’s one of the best parts of the night and usually gets people talking. Who can forget Prince’s performance a couple years back? Or Beyonce’s “blackout” performance, where the stadium lights unexpectedly went out?  These performers pump us up for the rest of the game and add an undeniable “flare” to the event.

As for the game: even if your favorite team isn’t playing, that doesn’t mean you can’t watch and enjoy every action-packed second. It’s easy to find a new team to root for that night, you only have two to choose from!

For those skeptics who are reading this and saying, “I don’t buy into the hype,” chances are you were looking for something to do for the Super Bowl come Sunday night. You were likely glued to the TV talking about the latest Doritos commercial, that epic touchdown pass, or Bruno Mars’ performance. In one way or another, the majority of us will have found ourselves in front of the TV screen, nachos in one hand, beer in another. We’ve all been there, and most of us continue to gather and do it every year.

Honestly, there are always going to be those who really don’t enjoy football. They won’t know the difference between a punt and a run, or what power turns are… but who cares! You are sure to find something that’ll interest you, even if it’s that sexy-looking wide receiver…I’m talking to you, Eric Decker!

Don’t fight the hype: let the flow of Super Bowl madness in, and pull you along for the ride.

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