Film explores military tribunal

first_imgFundamental American principles of freedom and justice are at the heart of an unsettling film that was screened at Harvard on May 4.“The Response,” a 30-minute work created by actor, producer, and lawyer Sig Libowitz, is based on transcripts from military tribunals held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, which at one point housed more than 700 people suspected of having links to terrorism. The tribunals were established to determine whether detainees had been correctly classified as “enemy combatants.”In the film, Aasif Mandvi, an actor known largely for his comic work on “The Daily Show,” gives a disturbing performance as a man held for four years because of suspected connections to the terrorist group al-Qaeda. Tight camera shots of Mandvi’s face add to the drama of a tense courtroom scene as he pleads his innocence before three military officials who repeatedly question him about evidence he is forbidden to see.The officials deliberate Mandvi’s fate in the following scene. A heated exchange between two of the three military officers, a Colonel Simms, played by Kate Mulgrew, and a Colonel Jefferson, played by Peter Riegert, highlights the film’s underlying dilemma.“Are you willing to keep him locked up based on suspect evidence he can’t even hear? If we are fighting an ideological war, shouldn’t we be holding on to an idea worth fighting for, say, like the Constitution on the rule of law?” Jefferson asks.Wary of letting a potential terrorist walk away, Simms responds, “We are compelled to make the best decision we can under the laws we were given. Obviously it’s not a perfect solution.”It is left to Libowitz, a conflicted Captain Miller, to cast the deciding vote. The film ends, and it’s left to the audience to decide which choice he makes.The screening at Boylston Hall’s Fong Auditorium and following panel discussion were sponsored by the Humanities Center at Harvard.The status of such detainees is “troublesome from the human rights perspective,” said Jacqueline Bhabha, executive director of the Harvard University Committee on Human Rights Studies and the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law, who moderated the panel.The film, said Bhabha, reveals how a complex situation can fall “prey to prejudice and emotion,” in the absence of any clear rules.At the heart of “The Response” are profound questions about the U.S. justice system in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. With its narrative, the film asks its audience to consider what course of action is fair and just during a war on terror; what kinds of restrictions to civil liberties and human rights are acceptable when it comes to national security; and if information gained during interrogations involving torture can be considered reliable.It was at the University of Maryland School of Law, where Libowitz was taking a class on homeland security and the law of counterterrorism, that he first read the military transcripts that took his breath away.“I just knew I had to learn more,” he, said, adding that as he dug into the research he also quickly realized “there was a film there.”Upon completing the film, Riegert said he understood how much he took his freedoms and the American system of law for granted.“I have come to appreciate how little I investigated what American law is and how crucial habeas corpus is to the definition” of the United States.The question of whether or not to give the detainees habeas corpus — a legal standing allowing a detainee to appear in court before a judge to determine whether he or she has been lawfully imprisoned — has become a dizzying juggling act among the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the sitting president since detainees first were sent to the camp in 2002. Ultimately, a 2008 Supreme Court ruling held that the Guantanamo Bay detainees should be granted access to the U.S. judicial system.“Stage one was no process, stage two was the sort of kangaroo proceeding that you saw [in the film], stage three is habeas corpus judicial review proceedings in Washington, D.C., before independent federal judges,” said panelist David Cole, professor of law at Georgetown University.Of the 40 or so such cases that have reached conclusion in the third stage, 75 percent of the time the judges have ruled there is “insufficient evidence to conclude that these individuals are enemy combatants and have ordered them released,” said Cole.“That’s a pretty remarkable statistic,” Cole added, arguing that the convoluted process involving the detainees has resulted in two major costs for the United States.The first, he said, as depicted in the film, is the cost of torture.“When you employ coercive tactics to get information from people, as we did at Guantanamo, you taint that information forevermore.”Cole said the second cost was the approach, taken by the Bush administration, that “going forward, the law will play no part in what you do.”He called the film “critically important” in helping the American people examine whether the last eight years reflected tough, justifiable decisions, or illegal, immoral actions.Panelist Noah Feldman said the film can’t be considered a tragedy in the classic sense because it “sets up a possibility of a structure of horror followed by resolution,” where American systems of justice (or in this case Libowitz’s character, Captain Miller) do the right thing. But the picture in the real world, he said, makes him decidedly more nervous.“My nervousness in the real world,” said Feldman, who is Harvard Law School’s Bemis Professor of International Law, “is about the question of what’s next?”Even if President Barack Obama is able to keep his campaign promise and close Guantanamo, “We are still stuck with the problem of what to do with people who allegedly … are connected to an organization or set of organizations that see themselves more or less at war with the United States,” said Feldman.For Libowitz, the film, which has screened at college campuses, the Pentagon, and the Department of Justice, asks audiences to ponder how to find a balance between national security and civil liberties.“Where we decide we are — what that balance point is — is who we are as a country. I think that is something that everyone has to answer.”last_img read more

BCCI should donate Rs 5 crore for Pulwama martyrs’ families: CK Khanna

first_imgNew Delhi: Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) acting President CK Khanna on Sunday appealed Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai to contribute at least Rs 5 crore to the families of CRPF troopers who lost their lives in Pulwama terror attack.”I have written to the CoA proposing at least Rs 5 crore for the families of the Pulwama terror attack martyrs,” Khanna told IANS over phone. It should be done through appropriate government agencies, he added.Khanna also proposed to observe a two-minute silence during the series opening Twenty20 International match between India and Australia at Visakhapatnam on February 24 besides the inauguration ceremony of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL).Earlier on Saturday, Irani Cup champions Vidarbha donated the entire prize money to the families of the martyrs.Former India opener Virender Sehwag announced to take care of education of martyrs’ children at his ‘Sehwag Intrernational School’.”We are saddened and join fellow Indian citizens in condemning the Pulwama terror attack. Our heartfelt condolences to families of martyrs,” Khanna wrote in his letter.On February 14, 40 CRPF personnel were martyred after a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden SUV into the bus carrying the troopers in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir. IANSAlso Read: Sports Newslast_img read more

Seacom: new era for SA internet

first_imgStarting from France and England, the Seacom cable runs across the Mediterranean and Red Sea, around the Horn of Africa, and then down the African east coast to make its final landfall at Mtunzini in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Along the way it connects to land stations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar and Mozambique. (Image: Seacom)Wilma den Hartigh After years of anticipation, broadband internet connectivity in Africa is set to boom as the 15 000km Seacom undersea fibre-optic cable connecting the continent to Europe, the Middle East and Asia has finally come onstream.The cable, which went live on 23 July, is now the second of its kind linking South Africa to the world, and a boon for the country’s information technology infrastructure, benefiting consumers and business, and stimulating economic growth. Laid at a reported total cost of R5-billion (US$ 637-million), the Seacom cable is also the first of its kind to connect East Africa to the internet.Starting from France and England it runs across the Mediterranean and Red Sea, around the Horn of Africa, and then down the African east coast to make its final landfall at Mtunzini in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Along the way it connects to land stations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar and Mozambique. At the Horn of Africa, on the coast of Somalia, the cable also branches off to head for Mumbai in India. In April and May this year Somali pirate activity disrupted Seacom operations, delaying the launch by about a month. The cable will not only speed up internet access for South African users, it will also cut costs. Stephen Davies, chief technology officer of telecommunications service provider Connection Telecom, said this cost-saving will apply to both fixed-line and mobile internet users.“As more broadband becomes available more applications will become accessible, making the digital highway a reality,” he said. Rob Gilmour, managing director of RSA Web, agreed that these benefits would change the way South Africans interact with the internet. “Seacom is incredibly exciting for the South African internet landscape. Bandwidth prices have been monopolised in South Africa and, with only one undersea cable at present, consumers are being held by a stranglehold.” Gilmour said South Africans won’t experience real savings immediately, but consumers won’t have to wait too long before they can cheaply access media-rich applications such as audio and video. “Consumers will change from limited web browsing and checking email to enjoying more internet content,” he said. “They will spend more time on the internet and not have to be so cautious about what they do.” Money on the net Matthew Tagg, managing director of internet service provider Web Africa, predicts that the higher bandwidth provided by Seacom will encourage the increased commercialisation of the South African internet. He said a report released at the recent Internet Governance Forum indicates that South Africa has fallen way behind its African counterparts in terms of “internet adoption rates”. In 2000, the country had 2.4-million subscribers, representing 53% of internet users across the continent. In 2009, South Africa made up only 9% of Africa’s total internet subscriber base, with 5.1-million users. Tagg said South Africa would be able to reverse this trend in a deregulated market with an excess of cheap international bandwidth. Provided that the licensing costs currently under discussion are not too high, this development could radically increase internet penetration rates. “The internet will start to become a utility just like any other,” he said. According to Tagg, the market’s current complexity of product and service offers will disappear. And consumers will be able to participate in online gaming, check email or download videos more easily. “They will not need to check if their connection supports this functionality, or go through the hassle of switching to another product,” he said. “They will be automatically connected to any and all services the Internet has to offer.” Business benefits According to Gilmour, South African business would also benefit. The international community already viewed South Africa as the hub of Africa in many areas, he said, and improved internet infrastructure could only enhance the country’s status. “For a country at the bottom tip of Africa this is great news and will allow us to compete globally like never before. South Africa is more and more becoming the IT hub of Africa and cables and initiatives like this further enhance this reality.” Davies agreed that the country’s reputation for business would be enhanced. “There is now no reason why African and international businesses should not look to South Africa for business opportunities and investment ventures.” Trade Invest SA has reported that the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector – call centres and the like – had been calling for cheaper telecommunications costs for some time, as the high cost of telecoms is a deterrent to potential investors. Some operators claimed that telecommunications could be as much as 500% more expensive in South Africa than in other emerging countries in the BPO sector, making the country far less attractive. In a media report, Ajay Pandey, managing director of Neotel, the country’s second national operator, said the launch of Seacom – as well as other cables such as WACS and EASSy – could start a “new wave” of growth in the IT and BPO industries. EASSy is the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System, linking East and Southern Africa to the rest of the world. WACS, the West African Cable System, is reported to be the biggest of all the cable systems in development, and will link Southern and West African countries to Europe. Economic growth Cheaper telecoms costs will have a profound impact on the South African economy and infrastructure development. Davies pointed out that the major driving force behind global economic growth is new technologies, particularly those that provide innovation and stimulate development. A new World Bank report, Information and Communications for Development 2009: Extending Reach and Increasing Impact, confirms that broadband capacity boosts economic growth. It argues that every 10% increase in high-speed internet connections in developing countries leads to a 1.3% increase in economic growth. The report also claims that access to ICT services is vital for economic and social development of sub-Saharan Africa. The World Bank has already cited that capacity is one of the biggest constraints holding back the region’s development of broadband connectivity. Davies agreed that there is a correlation between broadband growth and economic development. With the new cables, South Africa will be in a position to take advantage of innovation and local production. This will in turn contribute to growth of the country’s GDP, help new businesses establish itself, and stimulate the infrastructure development needed for public and private initiatives. He pointed out that a lot of the continent’s current internet traffic is dependent on expensive satellite connections, due to the lack of fixed-line infrastructure. But with new undersea cables under construction or in the planning process, the continent’s predicament may well change. “Between African governments and private companies wanting to invest in the continent, billions of rands have been allocated to the various undersea cable projects to get the continent’s broadband up to par,” Davies said. There is even market speculation that once these projects are complete, Africa will have an excess of bandwidth capacity – a positive boost for business, infrastructure and ultimately the economy. But he warned that these benefits were also dependent on the regulatory environment. “The undersea cables will provide the necessary means for increased bandwidth. The deciding factor, however, will be the way in which these cables are managed and regulated.” Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at [email protected] articlesSouth Africa onlineBroadband boom brings freer speechSA web users to double by 2014Better broadband for AfricaBroadband centre launches in SAUseful linksSeacomEASSy – Eastern Africa Submarine Cable SystemConnection TelecomRSA WebWeb AfricaNeotelInternet Governance ForumWorld Bank: Information and Communications for Development 2009last_img read more

International certification for SA dairy

first_img “This modern technology resulted in the exclusion of various steps in the production process, with subsequent cost savings and environmentally-friendly results.” The technology, known as OneStep, particularly allows for savings in water and energy consumption and improves production efficiencies. ISO 22000 FSSC was the first single standard to attain worldwide recognition. It was introduced in 2004 to guarantee safety systems in companies that process animal products, perishable vegetable products, products with a long shelf-life, food ingredients with additives, vitamins, bio-cultures and food packaging material manufacturing. “Since investing in the Coega IDZ, the dairy has produced exceptional results – from over delivering on environmental standards compliance, creating jobs and expanding operations – this accolade is another feather in the cap of one of our most successful investors,” said head of marketing and communications for the Coega Development Corporation, Ayanda Vilakazi. SAinfo reporter Coega Dairy is also unique in the country for its ultra-high temperature (UHT) processing plant. “We are the first dairy company to invest in a plant design that is significantly more efficient than conventional UHT milk processing solutions available in other South Africa plants,” the company said.center_img “To be the first South African dairy to receive the sought-after international ISO 22000 FSSC certification is an exceptional honour for us,” chief executive officer of Coega Dairy, Hennie Kleynhans, said in a statement. “Before certification we completed an audit for the ISO 22000 Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) accreditation, which required a paper trail and quality checks from the farmer to the household.” 3 October 2012 The Eastern Cape province’s eco-friendly Coega Dairy has become the first South African dairy to be awarded an ISO 22000 Food Safety System Certification, a sought-after international standard for food safety management, the company announced on Monday. Located in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) just outside Port Elizabeth, the dairy produces Coastal View UHT milk and butter and has the smallest carbon footprint of any dairy throughout the southern hemisphere. The Coega Dairy factory has also been certified as Kosher and Halaal.last_img read more

Good things to know about WEF Africa host Rwanda

first_img11 May 2016Kigali, Rwanda hosts the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa from 11 to 13 May 2016. The country is in the midst of an economic and social renaissance following over two decades of turmoil and uncertainty, building itself into one of Africa’s prominent emerging nations.Here is a list of things about Rwanda and its people you might not know to help you understand how the country has grown in the last twenty years.Gorillas and tourismDespite initial concerns from environmentalists, Rwanda has shown that one of its most popular tourist attractions, the mountain gorilla and other primate species are fully protected and treated with respect from locals and tourists.While prices to visit gorilla sanctuaries are considered steep, even for tourists, the majority of funds is put back into conservation projects which concentrates on increasing the numbers of endangered species. It also contributes to improving the lives of communities serving the sanctuaries. Conservation education is a high priority for the country resulting in a significant drop in gorilla poaching over the last ten years.In addition to gorillas, Rwanda boasts a rich biodiversity that includes protected rain forest and mountain areas containing a variety of primate species, plant types, mammal and reptile wildlife. It is all protected and promoted over and above global conservation standards.Bisoke Volcanoe, at the Volcanoes NP – Rwanda-, home of mountain gorillas @SavingGorillas @CASHP_GWU @GWMcFarlinLab pic.twitter.com/wGnHypT0Un— Jordi Galbany (@jordigalbany) September 30, 2015Coffee and economicsRwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa, with 80% of the population involved in agriculture, primarily subsistence farming. The country’s chief export is award-winning coffee and tea. Starbucks Coffee is one of the largest importers of Rwandan coffee products, emphasising support for smaller coffee growers.The country is heavily invested in microfinancing, economically developing small enterprise and encouraging entrepreneurship, particularly in rural areas. The focus of these cover a wide range of industries, including construction, transport, trade and services, production and processing of agricultural products.According to the World Bank, between 2001 and 2015, Rwanda posted an average annual growth of real GDP of 8%. This was driven mainly by the higher productivity in the agricultural and industrial sectors. The World Bank’s annual Doing Business 2016 survey selected Rwanda as the second easiest country in Sub-Saharan Africa to do business with.In the post-genocide period, Rwanda received 100% foreign aid. In 2011, that number decreased to 40%.According to the most recent McKinsey 7 Company’s report, Lions on the Move: The Progress and Potential of African Economies, Rwanda is ranked 6th on the continent.Three award-winning coffees from Rwanda showcase diverse flavors https://t.co/tVQLjDkeOq @SBUXRoastery @1912Pike pic.twitter.com/wHVye9Jihw— Starbucks_Eagan_Mall (@Starbucks_20688) April 22, 2016No plastic bagsLittering and dumping in Kigali is illegal so it has unofficially become one of the cleanest cities in the world. On the last Saturday of the month citizens between 18 to 65 years old gather for compulsory community service called umuganda meaning “coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome” – to clean up litter.In 2008, the country implemented a nationwide ban on plastic bags, including removing bags brought in by tourists.Rwanda banned plastic bags years ago when other countries impose taxes on plastic bags.If they can do it so can we. pic.twitter.com/lVS4Sd40rq— Faye Peters (@fayepeters) March 31, 2016Building new generations, building a futureAccording to stats from the World Health Organisation and the country’s ministry of health, Rwanda has seen a dramatic drop in infant mortality rates over the last ten years, dropping from 152 to 76 deaths per thousand.Participation in secondary schooling has doubled since 2006, and the enrolment rate in primary education has far exceeded the set Millennium Development Goal (MDC) target of 91%.Approximately 90.6% of Rwandans are enrolled in a community-based national health insurance system called Mutuelle de Sante. Begun in 1999, the system is arranged according to household allowance so people pay what they can afford. The system is installed in all hospitals and rural clinics. Life expectancy has doubled since the late 1990s to 63 years, according to the World Bank.The country has invested in world-class road infrastructure, including a safe, reliable transport system serving as a link between its cities and rural areas.Rwanda is a leading African digital nation, with free Wi-Fi available to all on public buses, in hospitals, taxi parks, commercial buildings and restaurants, and 95% of the population have 4G access.Rwanda is ranked as the fifth safest country in the world, according to the Gallup Global Law and Order 2015 Report, after Singapore, Hong Kong, Norway and Spain.The Rwandan parliament includes the highest percentage of female ministers in the world -63.8%.According to the 2015 Ibrahim index of African Governance, Rwanda has displayed consistent overall governance improvements since 2000. It is ranked number one in Africa for Gender Equality and one of the top five most improved countries since 2000.Gallup Global Report 2015 ranks #Rwanda as the safest place to walk at night in #Africa & 5th globally. #WEFAfrica pic.twitter.com/GbKZJtMG7T— Government of Rwanda (@RwandaGov) April 25, 2016Source: AFKInsiderlast_img read more

DEREK & JODY OLSON SENTENCED TO PRISON IN WARNOCK MURDER CASE

first_imgThe two men charged with murder in the 2017 death of a Bancroft, Nebraska man have each been sentenced to up to 60 years in prison.A Cuming County Judge sentenced Derek Olson to 40-60 years for 2nd degree murder and 2-4 years for arson 2nd degree in the March 11th, 2017 death of 64-year-old Ernest Warnock.Warnock’s body was found in the burned rubble of his home.Investigators say Warnock had been fatally stabbed.Olson’s father, 49-year-old Jody Olson, was also sentenced to 40-60 yrs for second degree murder.Derek Olson must serve 19 years and Jody Olson 22 years before becoming eligible for parole.They were each credited with over 830 days of time served in jail to date.Photos courtesy KMEGlast_img

Case for defence presents penalties to settle A-League grand final

first_imgShare via Email Australia sport Reuse this content Topics Sydney FC Read more If there was one criticism amongst this admiration of defensive resilience it was the lack of chaos embraced by either coach. Only on rare occasions did a defender or midfielder look to break the first line while further forward attackers were so fixated on combinations the unpredictability of a speculative long-range shot or a wrecking ball dribble were declined. Five of the six players with the most possession during the match formed the central phalanx of Glory’s rearguard. Just three shots on target in 120 minutes tells its own story.While the defensive strategists and their foot soldiers deserve credit there was no shortage of highly credentialed creative talent on display. Much has been expected of Siem de Jong, for example, but the former Ajax and Newcastle schemer ended his maiden A-League campaign an expensive ghost while Tony Popovic’s decision to start Joel Chianese and test Sydney’s back four with split strikers ended tamely after 73 minutes.And so in a game where both sides were playing chicken, each waiting for the other to make a mistake, the plot overtook all protagonists and demanded an error. Glory blinked first.It is heartbreaking that Brendan Santalab’s last act in professional football was to miss one of those seven kicks. It is heartwarming that Alex Brosque’s was to lift the championship trophy.At the end of a long challenging night, at the end of a long challenging season, it all came down to seven kicks. Share on Twitter Perth Glory It’s common to bemoan the ending of a football match in such sudden death fashion, but not on Sunday night. Penalties were welcomed in Perth like Betjeman welcomed bombs in Slough. Never mind 120 minutes, these two teams could have played 120 hours without scoring or even looking like breaking the deadlock.We’ve been spoiled in recent months. Fed on a diet of absurd Champions League comebacks, a thrilling English Premier League title race, and no shortage of grandstand finishes domestically, we’ve come to expect goals, drama and controversy. Football isn’t always like that. It can be attritional. Defences can dominate. It may reduce the ongoing entertainment but it doesn’t diminish the intensity. The stakes of next goal the winner – whether it’s the first of the night or the seventh – remain exhaustingly high.The regulation 90 minutes of the grand final were played almost exclusively between the two defensive lines. In that space Chris Ikonomidis and Adam Le Fondre buzzed, Diego Castro and Joe Marston medallist Milos Ninkovic probed, but both sides executed near perfect defensive displays. Rarely was a man out of position. Runs were checked, ball carriers in the attacking third were double teamed, and turnovers in vulnerable areas were kept to a minimum. Even a flaming airborne dragon would have struggled for penetration such was the organisation and communication on display.The most nuanced passages of play involved the full-backs. For Sydney Rhyan Grant was a pest down the right flank, engaging in a running battle with Jason Davidson. The pair carried on like Bash Street Kids, occasionally tumbling over in knots of limbs a cloud of dust away from a comic strip. But it was Michael Zullo down Sydney’s left that created the clearest chance of the opening half. Or did he? Zullo was ruled offside by the assistant referee as he struck the cross that led to an own-goal, a decision VAR refused to overturn for failing to reach the margin of error threshold. In a match lacking in incident this decision will be sliced and diced like the Zapruder film.It was a similar story for Perth with Ivan Franjic’s sorties down the right posing the greatest threat. His dinked cutback to Castro forced Redmayne into one of the rare saves of the match in the second half and on 75 minutes his cross failed to find a purple shirt after his overlapping run was honoured beautifully by his skipper. That was perhaps the only precisely executed attacking set play of the night. A-League grand final: Sydney FC beat Perth Glory in penalty shootout – as it happened features A-League Share on WhatsApp Seven kicks. A championship season 140 matches long spanning seven months came down to seven kicks. Sport can be grotesquely cruel.Those seven kicks formed the A-League grand final penalty shootout after 120 minutes of combat between Perth Glory and Sydney FC ended in stalemate. A record crowd of 56,371 saw five of those seven kicks find the back of the Optus Stadium net. Crucially, they saw two of them repelled by goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne to steer the Sky Blues to a fourth championship trophy. Read more Sydney FC crowned A-League champions for fourth time after shootout win in Perth Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Share on Messengerlast_img read more

Womens Olympic Soccer Preview Is There A Threat To The US Reign

Canada87.42.20.5F1530447730103 Colombia77.21.61.1G19292441<1 South Africa75.71.41.1E39242641<1 USA96.33.60.4G71%23%5%98%77%56%38% Sweden89.52.60.8E2837258339155 CHANCE OF FINISHING GROUPCHANCE OF REACHING ROUND France91.52.70.4G2348218643228 China85.02.00.7E132638652161 Brazil91.02.70.6E55281394602814 Group E: Brazil, Sweden, China, South AfricaBrazil sits atop Group E, the weakest of the groups with an average WSPI of 85.3, and with home field advantage adding a boost of about 0.35 goals per game they are very likely to medal this tournament — they’ve got a 94 percent chance to make the knockout stage and a 60 percent chance of making it to the semifinals. If five-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta has any hat-trick surprises left at age 30, the Brazilians could go even further. Sweden is the next-best team in group E and has a 83 percent chance of advancing to the knockout rounds. They tied the U.S. in group play last year at the World Cup and are known to match up well against the Americans thanks to the former U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. China exited the World Cup early last year in the quarterfinals, losing to the U.S. 1-0, but they’ve got a 65 percent chance of making it back to the knockout rounds this year as one of the two third-place teams that will advance. South Africa, despite holding the U.S. to only one goal last month, has only an 11 percent chance of advancing from the group stage.Group F: Germany, Australia, Canada, ZimbabweThe second-ranked team in the world, Germany, will be the biggest challenge for the Americans at the Olympics. The U.S. defeated the Germans in the semifinals of the World Cup 2-0 and 2-1 at the SheBelieves tournament in March, but Germany remains the next most-likely team to win gold, with a 21 percent chance. Australia, despite having only a 7 percent chance of winning the Olympics, is a sleeper pick from Group F; they beat Japan, 3-1, in the Asian Qualifiers in February to eliminate the World Cup runners-up from the Olympics. Canada will likely feel snubbed by their third-place rank in Group F, but an early exit at last year’s World Cup quarterfinals and a loss to France just a few weeks ago moved them further down in our ratings. Zimbabwe upset Cameroon on aggregate goals in last year’s Confederation of African Football (CAF) qualifiers to make it to their first major national tournament, but it’s unlikely they’ll see anything past the group games.Group G: U.S., France, New Zealand, ColombiaThe group that features the American women will usually be the de facto “Group Of Death,” but this tournament’s version earns the title with the largest average WSPI of all of the groups, 87.2. France will give the U.S. its most difficult group game, especially if injuries continue to nag the U.S. midfield — the area of the field where France excels. Les Bleues have a 22 percent chance of making the final game and an 8 percent chance of winning it all. New Zealand’s scrappiness can be effective — they held Canada to a draw at the World Cup last year — and they’ve got a 44 percent chance of squeezing into the knockout rounds as the third-place team from Group G. As for Colombia, I’m still waiting for the breakout performance of Yoreli Rincón, but there’s a 61 percent chance the Colombians go out in the group stage.CORRECTON (Aug. 3, 5:23 p.m.): An earlier version of this article misidentified the French women’s national soccer team. The team’s name is Les Bleues, not Les Bleus. TEAMWSPIOFFDEFGRP.1ST2ND3RDQTR.SEMIFINALWIN We’re on the ground in Rio covering the 2016 Summer Olympics. Check out all our coverage here.RIO DE JANEIRO — The 2016 Olympic Games start Wednesday — not with Friday’s opening ceremony — with group play in the women’s soccer tournament. The reigning World Cup champions and four-time Olympic gold medalists, the U.S. women’s national team, play New Zealand in Belo Horizonte, but I’m hundreds of miles away in Rio de Janeiro, the epicenter of the Olympic Games and the city where the host nation’s team will begin its Olympic run against China this afternoon. It seemed like a good chance to catch a Brazil game among local fans. So far, I can’t even find a place to watch the game.“Rio is made of bars, but I’m not sure many people will be watching the women’s game,” Patricia “Patchy” Toledo, a former professional women’s soccer player in Brazil, told me when I asked if there are any places where Brazilian fans will be watching their team play. Cíntia Barlem, a journalist covering women’s soccer in Brazil for Globo Esporte, one of the largest sports news sites in Brazil, said she didn’t think most Brazilians would be paying attention. I told her that in the U.S., everyone will be watching the U.S. women’s national team play. “I would like it if the Brazilians do the same here, but it is not the reality.”Reality has been a trip for the U.S. women. Just over a year ago I sat in a stadium with 53,000 people and watched Carli Lloyd rocket a shot from half-field, sailing the ball over Japan’s backtracking keeper and scoring her third goal in the first 20 minutes of the Women’s World Cup final. Since then, the USWNT — which has won four of the five gold medals handed out in the history of women’s soccer at the Olympics, including three in a row since 2004 — has lost only one game in the past year. It has also added fresh, young talent — Mallory Pugh, Crystal Dunn and Lindsey Horan — to a roster of World Cup champions. All of this makes them heavily favored to win a fifth gold medal this year: They have a 38 percent chance of doing so — almost double the odds of Germany, the next-best team — according to our forecasting model. If they get the fifth gold, they’d be the first team in history to win the World Cup and Olympics in consecutive years.Our projections are based on the Women’s Soccer Power Index (WSPI) we created last year, which uses game-based offensive and defensive ratings to estimate a team’s overall skill level. The 12-team Olympic tournament is much smaller than the Women’s World Cup (which fields 24 teams) which means some of the world’s best teams, such as Japan and Norway, did not qualify while some, like England, have their own reasons not to compete in the Olympics. Instead, the field is stocked with teams like Zimbabwe, ranked 93rd in the world by FIFA and making their international tournament debut.This isn’t to say the Olympics will be inferior to the World Cup. In fact, the overall average WSPI of the teams at the Olympics is greater than it those that were at the World Cup (86 compared to 84) but the tournament is much more stratified with great teams at the top of the table — Germany, France and Brazil — and much weaker teams at the bottom like South Africa and Zimbabwe. Below, we take a closer look at the 2016 Olympic tournament, breaking down each team’s chances of advancing from the group stage to the knockout rounds. At the Olympics, the top two teams (as well as the top two third-place finishers) advance from each of the three four-team groups to the single-elimination knockout rounds: the quarterfinals, semifinals and the championship game. New Zealand83.82.00.9G52044511441 Germany94.53.20.5F58281397634121 Zimbabwe69.51.31.6F<1314111<1<1 Australia90.52.70.7F2738298844187 read more