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Canada issues travel advice for fans heading to World Cup in Qatar

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The Government of Canada has issued travel advice for people heading to Qatar, where the World Cup will begin on Nov. 20. Their advice includes all the customs, laws, and regulations to keep in mind when visiting the country.

According to the notice posted online, public displays of affection, including holding hands and kissing, is “not well socially accepted,” and while female travellers aren’t expected to wear head covers, “revealing clothing” is considered inappropriate.

The advice cautions travellers to “dress conservatively, behave discreetly, respect religious and social traditions, and seek permission from locals before photographing them.”

The notice also warns travellers that photographing government buildings, littering or spitting in public places, and eating pork are deemed illegal activities that could land people with heavy fines or jail time.

For those driving while in Qatar, the notice says drivers in the country are generally considered “extremely aggressive.” It adds that people drive on the right and accidents causing fatalities are amongst Qatar’s leading causes of death.

In terms of crime in Qatar, the rate is considered low and violence is rare. However, credit card fraud is listed as something to be vigilant about. For entry requirements, as of Nov. 1, a Qatari travel advisory informs visitors that they are no longer required to bring a PCR or Rapid Antigen test certificate, nor pre-register on the Ehteraz health application prior to arrival.

ALCOHOL ZONES

There are other restrictions travellers should keep in mind, including the country’s policies around consuming alcohol.

In Qatar, it is illegal to drink alcohol in public as alcohol is strictly regulated in the majority-Muslim emirate. For the World Cup, the country has implemented designated public spaces where selling alcohol will be permitted and there will also be designated areas for drunk people to sober up.

Organizers said Monday that Budweiser was ordered to move beer stalls to less visible areas, just days ahead of the first match.

The country agreed to the long-established Budweiser deal with FIFA when it launched its bid to host the World Cup in 2009. However, a beer sales policy was not agreed upon by organizers in Qatar until September, which confirmed that fans would be allowed to purchase alcohol at designated areas within eight stadiums, and not at regular concession stands.

The Associated Press reported in September that while alcohol is more available in Qatar than other Middle Eastern nations, it’s usually only served in hotel bars and restaurants that have licenses.

MATCH Hospitality executive chairman Jaime Byrom told The Associated Press that “the entire bid process of the FIFA World Cup is designed to deliver the kind of World Cup experience that all fans from around the world have a reason to expect and to look forward to.”

HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS

Qatar is the first Arab country to host the world’s biggest sporting event.

There has been growing concern over the human rights standards in Qatar and worries over the way migrant workers were treated while constructing the stadiums that are set to host the tournament.

A subsidiary of French construction company Vinci was given preliminary charged Wednesday for forced labour and other rights violations towards migrants workers hired to build the World Cup infrastructure in Qatar.

As well, the country’s attitudes toward the LGBTQ2S+ communities have raised concerns including a boycott from fans hesitant to travel to a region that presents overtly discriminatory views. In Qatar, sexual acts between those of the same sex are criminalized. Khalid Salman, a Qatar World Cup ambassador, set off a firestorm on Nov. 8 when he described homosexuality as a “damage in the mind” during an interview with a TV channel in Germany.

Canada warns travellers in its advisory that visitors could be discriminated against or detained based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Convicted fans around LGBTQ2S+-related charges could face up to 10 years in prison, the Government of Canada notes.

With files from CTVNews.ca writer Olivia Bowden and The Associated Press.

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LeBron Saves Team USA in Thrilling Exhibition Against South Sudan at O2 Arena

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LONDON — In what could have been one of the most monumental upsets in international basketball history, Team USA narrowly escaped with a 101-100 victory over a spirited South Sudan team at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night. This exhibition match, serving as a tune-up for the 2024 Olympics, showcased the rapid rise of South Sudanese basketball and the indomitable spirit of the American team led by LeBron James.

The atmosphere at the O2 Arena was electric, with fans witnessing a game that turned out to be far more competitive than expected. South Sudan, a team composed largely of refugees and players from the diaspora, pushed the heavily favored Americans to their limits.

First Half Highlights:

  • South Sudan came out firing on all cylinders, building a surprising 16-point lead in the second quarter.
  • Team USA struggled with their three-point shooting, missing 12 of their first 13 attempts from beyond the arc.

Despite the odds, South Sudan’s players, many of whom have overcome significant personal and professional challenges, played with remarkable cohesion and determination. Their performance was a testament to the rapid progress the team has made under the guidance of former NBA star Luol Deng.

With the game hanging in the balance, LeBron James demonstrated why he remains one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Benched at the start of the third quarter, James returned to the floor with a determination that was palpable.

Key Moments:

  • Third Quarter: Anthony Davis’ defensive prowess helped shrink the deficit. LeBron’s return brought stability and focus back to Team USA.
  • Final Minute: With just 20 seconds left, JT Thor of South Sudan scored over LeBron, giving his team a one-point lead.
  • Game-Winning Shot: LeBron drove to the basket, scoring the decisive layup with eight seconds remaining.

South Sudan’s journey to this point has been nothing short of inspirational. The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and the basketball program, still in its infancy, has quickly become a source of national pride.

Notable Contributions:

  • Carlik Jones: Delivered a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
  • Wenyen Gabriel: LeBron’s former teammate with the Lakers, contributed 11 points.
  • Marial Shayok: Led South Sudan with 24 points.

The team’s formation and rise have been spearheaded by Luol Deng, who played a pivotal role in recruiting and funding the program. His efforts have culminated in South Sudan qualifying for the Olympics, marking a historic achievement for the young nation.

Stephen Curry: “Wild game. They played really intense. It was nice to see how we responded. LeBron with a great finish down the stretch.”

Steve Kerr: “The whole team was embarrassed at halftime. We were challenged today, and it was good for us to feel that now. This was a reminder that we need to bring our best every game.”

Luol Deng: Expressed immense pride in his team’s performance, emphasizing the significance of their journey and the obstacles they have overcome.

This exhibition game was more than just a pre-Olympic warm-up. It highlighted the potential for underdog stories in sports and underscored the global reach and impact of basketball. Team USA, despite the narrow escape, was reminded of the importance of every game and the challenges that lie ahead.

South Sudan, on the other hand, has cemented its place on the international stage, showcasing that with determination and the right support, even the newest teams can compete with the best in the world.

As both teams prepare for the Olympics, this game at the O2 Arena will be remembered not only for its thrilling finish but also for the remarkable stories of resilience and ambition that played out on the court.

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UFC Vegas 94: Amanda Lemos vs. Virna Jandiroba – Main Event Recap

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In a thrilling main event at UFC Vegas 94, strawweights Amanda Lemos and Virna Jandiroba faced off on Saturday night. After an evenly matched first round, Jandiroba secured a dramatic submission victory in the second round, just moments before the bell.

Fight Summary:

  • First Round: The opening round was highly competitive, with both fighters showcasing their skills and maintaining a close contest.
  • Second Round: In the final seconds of the second round, Jandiroba managed to secure a submission, forcing Lemos to tap out. The win marks an impressive fourth consecutive victory for Jandiroba.

Post-Fight Remarks:

  • In her post-fight interview inside the Octagon, Jandiroba confidently called out UFC President Dana White, declaring, “Dana, I’m the next one. Dana, I’m your next champion.”

Future Implications:

  • With this victory, Jandiroba has positioned herself as a strong contender for the strawweight title. Tatiana Suarez, who was the rightful next contender for Weili Zhang, has been sidelined due to an injury. Jandiroba’s current four-fight win streak and her dominant performance at UFC Vegas 94 make a compelling case for her title shot.

Stay tuned for more updates as the UFC strawweight division continues to evolve, and see if Virna Jandiroba will indeed become the next challenger for the championship belt.

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Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry: Fight Night Updates

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Jake Paul is back in the ring, and he’s promising fireworks as he takes on former UFC star Mike Perry at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The fight will be broadcast live on DAZN. Originally, Paul was set to fight Mike Tyson, but Perry stepped in after Tyson suffered an injury.

Fight Details:

Jake Paul (9-1, 6 KOs)

  • Paul is coming off a first-round TKO of Ryan Bourland in March.
  • He has promised that Perry won’t survive the second round.
  • Paul is more experienced in boxing but still relatively new to the sport.

Mike Perry (0-1)

  • Perry, known as “Platinum,” brings over a decade of fighting experience, mainly in MMA and bare-knuckle fighting.
  • He believes Paul is still green in the fight business and intends to use his experience to pull off an upset.

Main Event:
Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry

Live Updates: Follow DAZN for all the live updates, results, and highlights from the Paul vs. Perry pay-per-view main card.

Main Card Results:

Amanda Serrano def. Stevie Morgan via TKO

  • Round 2, 0:38
    • Watch the finish

Lucas Bahdi def. H20 Sylve via knockout

  • Round 6, 2:27
    • Watch the finish

Corey Marksman def. Tony Aguilar via majority decision

  • Scores: 76-76, 77-75, 78-74

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. def. Uriah Hall via unanimous decision

  • Scores: 59-55, 59-55, 58-56
    • Recap

Stay tuned for the main event updates and see if Jake Paul can deliver on his promise of another highlight reel knockout or if Mike Perry will teach him a lesson and pull off a major upset.

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