After the Last Race at the Olympic Games

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J. K. Randle

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|  By J.K. Randle  |

THE first Olympic Games the retired partners of KPMG who are still awaiting their gratuity and pension attended was in Moscow, in 1980.  Back then, KPMG did not have an office in Moscow.  It was not even KPMG yet!!  It was then known as Peat Marwick Mitchell.

Thirty-six years later, here we are in Rio de Janerio and it was our Russian Partner, Vladimir Putin (no relation of the current President of Russia – just pure co-incidence) who was the first Russian to land on the moon and subsequently qualify as a chartered accountant, that jolted us with an observation which none of us had ever thought of, namely, before every Olympic Games the world is thrown into one crisis after another.  Moscow was no exception.  Not only did the Americans boycott the Games, they launched a massive campaign to persuade other countries to follow suit.  The Americans were so determined to wreck the Games that their President Jimmy Carter offered to persuade American oil companies (Mobil; Chevron; Conoco; Texaco) to build four new oil refineries in Nigeria which would be handed over to Nigeria [Build, Operate and Transfer] after twenty-five years.  There was only one condition – Nigeria must boycott the Moscow Olympic Games.

The President of Nigeria declined the offer and insisted on Nigeria’s participation. This was at the height of the cold war.  The background was as follows:

“Politics has been a part of Olympic history for a very long time. However, this partnership came to the forefront of public debate in late 1979. In protest for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the American President Jimmy Carter, called for the United States team to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics. He issued this ultimatum saying that if Soviet troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan by midnight February 19 1980, the American team would boycott the Olympic Games. An official announcement of the boycott was made on March 21 1980.

Other countries including Japan, West Germany, China and Canada joined in the boycott whilst others such as Great Britain and France sent a smaller number of athletes than usual. This boycott seriously affected a number of events.

Some of the participating countries – Australia, Andorra, Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Puerto Rico, San Marino, Spain and Switzerland were not represented by their national flags at the opening, closing or medal ceremonies. They competed under the Olympic flag. As a result, there were a few medal ceremonies where three Olympic flags were raised.

Remarkably, although only 81 nations took part, more world records were set in Moscow than in the 1976 games held in Montreal

In 1984, when it was the turn of the United States of America, in Los Angeles, the Russians decided to seek revenge.  It was pay back time.  Hence, they did all they could to wreck  the Olympic Games just to spite America.

The background was as follows:

“The boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles was after the U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. The boycott involved 14 Eastern Bloc countries and allies, led by the Soviet Union, which initiated the boycott on May 8, 1984. The boycott affected a large number of Olympic events that were normally dominated by the absent countries. Boycotting countries organized another major event, called the Friendship Games, in July and August 1984.

The USSR announced its intentions to boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics on May 8, 1984, citing security concerns and “chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria being whipped up in the United States.” A US official said the country had ignored suggestive comments by the Soviets in the weeks building up to the announcement and that, in spite of all the indications, the United States was “absolutely dumbfounded” when the official announcement arrived.

After the announcement, six more nations joined the boycott, including Bulgaria, East Germany (on May 10); Mongolia and Vietnam (both May 11) and Laos and Czechoslovakia (both May 13).  China formally confirmed that it would be present at the games in Los Angeles, while the Laotians and Czechoslovaks announced their decision to boycott the event.

Later, Afghanistan also decided to boycott the event, becoming the eighth country to boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics. Even later, Hungary (May 16) and Poland (May 17) became the ninth and tenth Marxist countries to join the boycott. Hungary claimed the lives of its athletes would be put in danger if they were to spend time in Los Angeles. On the other hand, Poland said that the United States was engaging in a “campaign aimed at disturbing the Games”.

On May 24, Cuba became the eleventh country to announce its participation in the boycott, making front page news in the United States because it was a “serious blow to boxing and baseball”. South Yemen was the twelfth country to remove itself from the event (May 27); the Los Angeles Times stated that this was due to their “Marxist” connections. North Korea was the thirteenth nation to boycott the 1984 Olympics. Ethiopia became the first African state to participate in the boycott, followed by Angola.

Iran had earlier decided to boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics because of “United States interference in the Middle East, its support for the regime occupying Jerusalem, and the crimes being committed by the U.S.A. in Latin America, especially in El Salvador”. Iran and Albania were the only countries to not attend both the 1980 Moscow and the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Libya also boycotted the Olympics after Libyan journalists were refused entry into the United States in July, along with the 1983 ban upon US exports to Libya and a renewal of bans upon travel to Libya by holders of US passports. Libya and Ethiopia were the only nations to boycott both the 1976 Montreal and 1984 Los Angeles Games.

In addition, Albania did not attend any games from 1976 to 1988, although there was no official explanation for their absence at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and 1988 Seoul Olympics. Politically, Albania allied with China after the Sino-Soviet split, remaining antagonistic towards the Soviet Union; however, it also opposed China’s rapprochement with the United States in the late 70s, resulting in the Sino-Albanian split. A similar antagonism towards both superpowers existed in Iran since 1979. This resulted in Iran and Albania boycotting both the 1980 and 1984 Olympics independently without endorsing the boycott on the opposing side.

Jimmy Carter declared that the United States would boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, with 64 other countries joining the boycott. This was the largest Olympic games boycott ever. In 1984, three months before the start of the 1984 summer games in Los Angeles, the Soviet Union declared it would “not participate” in the 1984 games, due to the commercialization of the games and lack of security for the athletes. 13 other countries joined in the boycott. Howard A. Tyner of the Chicago Tribune said “Deep down, it was undoubtedly the hurt and embarrassment of 1980 that lies behind the stunning Soviet decision Tuesday to pass up this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.”

Most of the world’s media interpreted the Soviet boycott as retaliation for the US boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games, which had been in response to the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  whereas the state-controlled Soviet media repeated the government line that the boycott was a safety measure to protect their own athletes. However, no threat to Eastern Bloc athletes was ever discovered, and the athletes from the Eastern Bloc country that did attend the 1984 games in Los Angeles—Romania—encountered no problems, and in fact were widely cheered above all other visiting nations at the Opening Ceremonies when they marched into the Coliseum. Romania ended up finishing third in overall medal count at the Games.

Among those subscribing to the “revenge hypothesis” was Peter Ueberroth, the chief organizer of the 1984 L.A. Games, who expressed his views in a press conference after the boycott was announced, on the same day that the Olympic torch relay in the United States began in New York City. U.S. President Ronald Reagan later stated his belief that the Soviets feared some of their athletes might defect as well as, President Reagan and his administration agreed to meet all of the demands of the Soviet Union in turn for the Soviet Bloc’s attendance at the 1984 Olympics, marking a stark contrast in Reagan’s “hawkish” views on Cold War foreign policy.  As more countries withdrew, the IOC announced on the deadline week that it would consider extending the deadline for entry into the Olympics. The three top medal winners from the 1980 Games (which was the subject of a boycott by sixty nations) in Moscow were among the boycotters, and media analysts noted this would weaken the field of competitors in a number of sports.

The USSR announced its intentions to boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics on May 8, 1984 citing security concerns and “chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria being whipped up in the United States.”  A US official said the country had ignored suggestive comments by the Soviets in the weeks building up to the announcement and that, in spite of all the indications, the United States was “absolutely dumbfounded” when the official announcement arrived.

China formally confirmed that it would be present at the games in Los Angeles, while the Laotians and Czechoslovaks announced their decision to boycott the event.

The Soviet Union boycotted these games. They gave their reason as concerns over the safety of their athletes in what they called an anti-communist environment. This action was regarded by many as a retaliatory move for the 1980 boycott. The Soviet allied countries also joined the boycott.

Despite the absence of the Soviets and their allies, the 1984 Games had 140 countries competing, with the American team winning over 80 gold medals.

It is ironic to note that whilst the Soviets boycotted the games, China returned to the Olympic stage in 1984 after a 32 year absence.”

After every Olympic Games, the world plunges into a frenzy of chaos, vicious anarchy and cataclysmic disasters.

Our colleague Vladimir Putin has meticulously detailed all the crises that preceded the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as follows:

Let us start with the preparations for the games.  It was totally chaotic !!

“When a new elevated bike path in Rio collapsed in April, hit by a fluke wave, the deaths of two people weren’t just seen as a tragedy. The collapse became an irresistible metaphor for the state of Olympic readiness in Brazil.

As Rio prepared for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, which open on Friday night, the bike path is not the only disaster to serve that purpose. There were also the body parts washing up on the shore where beach volleyball games will be played, the toxically polluted bay that will host swimming and sailing events, and the skydivers who fell to their deaths trying to recreate the Olympic rings.

The concerns about Rio de Janeiro’s readiness are understandable: Brazil has the unenviable task of hosting an Olympics at the intersection of more crises than many nations see in a decade. The good news is that the Games themselves probably won’t seem like a disaster. The bad news is that they could end up worsening Brazil’s already deep problems.

Rio’s Olympics plans have run into snags

Rio is struggling even more than other host cities because its economic fortunes have changed dramatically since it won the right to host the games in 2009. Rio began planning the Olympics when Brazil was in the middle of an economic boom. But now it’s hosting them during what could be the worst recession the country has ever experienced.

Brazil spent the late 2000s on an economic hot streak. While Europe and the United States were mired in a recession and slow recovery, Brazil’s economy — by 2011, the world’s sixth largest — was expanding. The poverty rate dropped from 25 per cent in 2003 to 9 per cent in 2013. Incomes went up. Unemployment in its biggest cities fell from near 13 per cent in the early 2000s to below 5 per cent in 2014.

When the International Olympic Committee awarded the games to Rio, the choice was seen as a way to help the country continue growing and to give South America its first host city. If Brazil had continued to grow, that strategy might have worked out.

But beginning in 2011, Brazil’s growth started to slow. Prices for the country’s main exports, such as soy, oil, and sugar, fell; a massive scandal involving the state-run oil company engulfed the government and hurt consumer confidence. Wages fell. Unemployment began to rise. In the first quarter of 2016 alone, the country’s economy shrank nearly 6 per cent. Inflation has soared, and Brazilians are finding it harder and harder to pay back the household debt they took on when economic times were good.

A struggling economy made it more difficult to complete the expensive infrastructure and logistical projects needed to host the Olympics. By 2014, the International Olympic Committee was suggesting that Rio was less prepared than any host in history.

Coordination between the city, state, and federal governments was difficult. Construction projects were running behind. The state of Rio had planned to spend $4 billion to clean up the polluted Guanabara Bay, where some events will be held; in the end, it spent just $170 million.

In June, the acting governor of Rio de Janeiro state declared a state of financial disaster in order to rearrange its budget and requested nearly $900 million in federal funding.

The economic calamity has also created many other problems. Police budgets in Rio state have fallen by one-third, and crime rose 15 percent in the first four months of 2016 when compared with 2015. Striking police officers held a sign at the international airport reading, “Welcome to Hell … Whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe.”

All of this — combined with the more typical construction delays that frequently plague Olympic hosts — would be enough to make the games a challenge. But the perception that they are doomed to fail has been worsened by political and public health crises in Brazil.

Brazil is also dealing with a political crisis — and the Zika virus

The economic crisis has been intertwined with a political crisis that brought down the Brazilian government. President Dilma Rousseff is facing an impeachment trial, officially on charges of manipulating figures to make the economy seem better than it was during the 2014 election but also because she’s extraordinarily unpopular. A verdict must be reached by the end of August or early September.

Her vice president, Michel Temer, is serving as president during the trial, but it’s so far unclear if Rousseff will actually be ousted. Meanwhile, about 60 percent of Brazilian members of Congress are also under investigation for corruption. The political instability makes it even more difficult for Brazil to address its plummeting economy.

The Zika virus has layered on yet another crisis. Brazil, and Rio de Janeiro in particular, has been hit harder than anywhere else in the world by the mosquito-borne illness, which can cause serious birth defects as well as more minor symptoms. As of July 29, Brazil has had more than 165,000 Zika cases this year, nearly one-quarter of which have been in the state of Rio.

The good news is that it’s winter in Brazil, mosquito season is ending, and the number of new cases is dropping fast. It’s unlikely that many athletes or visitors to Rio will be infected with Zika, as Vox’s Julia Belluz explained.

Neither the political crisis nor the Zika virus is likely to have a major day-to-day impact on the Olympics. But both have added to the general perception that things in Brazil are pretty bad — and it’s reasonable to wonder if a country dealing with the triple threat of a deep recession, political instability, and a widespread epidemic can really pull off hosting a major international event.”

Then the catalogue of negative stories during the Games.  The escapade of the American swimmers Ryan Lochte, Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feignen deserve the gold medal for sheer stupidity and crass irresponsibility.

You may have noticed several Olympic athletes covered in bruises, including swimmers Elaine Thompson and US gymnast Simon Biles. No, these are not minor injuries obtained during training; they look oddly circular and are located symmetrically all over the body. In fact, they are self-inflicted marks caused by an ancient form of therapy called “cupping”.

Cupping has long existed in many cultures including China, ostensibly to stimulate the flow of energy in the body. In recent months, however, there has been a flurry of renewed interest in it. It seems that cupping is having a comeback, and one does not need to be a clairvoyant to predict that, after the Olympic games, cupping will become the flavour of the month.

Essentially there are two types: dry and wet cupping. Dry cupping involves a warm cup being placed over the skin. As the air in the cup cools it creates a suction effect which draws in the skin as the cup is placed on it. The suction is usually strong enough to create a haematoma, a swelling of blood within the tissues that is much larger than a normal bruise. As the cup normally has a circular shape, the haematoma is circular as well. These are the strange marks we see on the Olympic athletes.

Here are some of the disasters that emerged immediately after the last race of the Games.

“Anyone who wants to know how the Nigerian team is travelling at the ongoing Rio Olympic Games must take a look at the medal table. As at the time of writing, more than 70 countries have received medals of different colours. Nigeria is not one of them. In comparative terms, we have not improved on our dismal record at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Essentially, we have been idle in the past four years. Nigeria has been deteriorating in sport.

Following Nigeria’s exceptionally awful performance at the London Olympic Games, everyone thought we had learnt a sad lesson and would immediately put into action a systematic and sustained training regimen to prepare our sportsmen and women to turn things around, well ahead of the start of the Rio Olympic Games. The harvest of failures at the Rio Games shows we learnt nothing and did nothing. Will we ever learn? What would it take to stir the sleeping giant of Africa to redeem its long lost image in international sport?

Look at the tale of disasters at the Rio Games. Blessing Okagbare, once the poster girl of Nigerian sports, who carried the nation’s hopes into the Games, faded out during the 100m semi-final race. With a time of 11.09 seconds in her semi-final, it was obvious she had not run fast enough to be in the top eight to compete in the finals of the women’s 100 metres competition. Yet, on the day she arrived at the Nigerian camp in Rio, the atmosphere was practically electric, as if a saviour had entered the camp. Everyone’s face lit up. Unfortunately, that redeemer was not able to save herself, her competition and Nigeria’s eagerness to win a medal.

The only team that looks like salvaging something good enough to redeem Nigeria’s tattered image at the Rio Games is, ironically, the soccer squad that is tagged “Dream Team VI”. There is a hint of irony in that name. A team that was constructed on fantasy because it had little preparation before the start of the Games seems to be the only hope we have to win a medal in Rio. Many Nigerians are hanging on a thread, hoping the “Dream Team VI” would overwhelm their German opponents when they meet today in the semi-final.

Before our dreams can turn into reality, the Dream Team would have to overcome the German soccer team. By the time you conclude reading this article today, the epic battle between “Dream Team VI” and Germany would have been fought, won, and lost. Ever since Nigeria won the first Olympic soccer gold medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, our soccer team has not come anywhere near playing in an Olympic soccer final. That makes it 20 years this year since the nation rejoiced in one moment of national unity. That is what soccer can do to unify a fractured country.

Mind you “Dream Team VI” did not get to the semi-final stage without sports ministry officials causing them pain through provocations, failed promises, unpaid allowances and benefits, and lots of adversities placed on their path. The Nigerian Bulletin – an online publication – reported last Friday that “Dream Team VI” team captain Mikel Obi shelled out over $4,000 from his personal wallet to rescue the players, who were held hostage by their hotel in Sao Paulo because the team could not pay their hotel bills. The bills, you will be shocked to learn, were accumulated by leeches who paraded themselves as sports officials. This is how Nigerian officials abuse their privileges and undermine the efforts of sportsmen and women.

It is ridiculous that while sportsmen and women are in Rio to compete in the Olympic Games, Nigeria sent too many officials who have no business being in Rio. They seem to be preoccupied by the food and drinks they consume and the estacode allowances they will earn.

Every Olympic Games is a tale of sadness and anger. Nigerian sportsmen and women are not supported. They are not encouraged. They are not inspired. They are not rewarded. Government officials show up only when there is food to consume or estacode allowances to collect.

Many sportsmen and women participate in international competitions at their own expense and troubles. They lack basic training facilities, equipment and expertise; they are deprived of funds; they are exposed to harsh elements that are designed to make them fail. Their accommodation is usually second-rate. The food they eat is no better than what you get at a roadside mobile canteen.

On the rare occasion when a Nigerian athlete wins a medal in an international competition, we are dazed, we are taken by surprise, we express shock at the result because we didn’t expect any medals. Surely, you do not boil an empty pot and expect to produce a pot of soup filled with a variety of meat and vegetables.

Following the failure of Nigerian representatives to win a medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games, the then senate president, David Mark, attributed that to lack of funding. Former Minister of Sports, Taoheed Adedoja, criticised how senior officials were appointed to manage sports in the country. He said mismanagement in sports must be attributed to the haphazard manner of appointment of people without professional training and skills to manage sports.  In his view: “Anybody interested in sports administration should get a basic skill training that would qualify him to take charge. We should not leave sports administration in the hands of quacks.”

Perhaps it was sheer co-incidence that just before the Olympic Games, Aparecida Schunck, the mother-in-law of Bernie Ecclestone, the Chairman of Formula One racing was kidnapped.

Here is the report:

“None of the $36.5 million ransom demanded was paid

The mother-in-law of Formula 1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has been freed from her captors after being abducted in Brazil 10 days ago, police in the south eastern city of São Paulo said Sunday.

Aparecida Schunck was released unharmed after a police raid in which two of the suspected kidnappers were arrested, the BBC reports. None of the $36.5 million ransom demanded was paid.

Schunck, 67, is the mother of Ecclestone’s wife Fabiana Flosi, whom he married in 2012.

The 85-year-old British businessman and racing executive, one of global sports’ most high-profile personalities, is worth an estimated $3.1 billion.”

We also have the gory report of the fate which befell Father Jacques Hamel.

Like many people who enjoy their work, the Rev. Jacques Hamel did not want to stop. At 85, he was well past retirement age, but he kept in shape and kept on going — baptizing infants, celebrating Mass and tending to parishioners in St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray, the working-class town in Normandy where he had spent much of his life.

“He could have retired at 75 years old, but seeing how few priests were around he decided to stay and work, to continue to be of service to people, up until it all ended, tragically,” the Rev. Auguste Moanda-Phuati, the parish priest of the Église St.-Étienne, where Father Hamel worked as an auxiliary priest, said in a phone interview. “He was loved by all. He was a little like a grandfather. We were happy when he was around and worried when we hadn’t seen him in a while.”

Father Hamel was celebrating Mass on Tuesday morning when two men with knives entered the small church and slit his throat, an attack that horrified people across France and the world. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that the two assailants — who were shot dead by the police — were “soldiers” retaliating against the United States-led coalition fighting the group in Iraq and Syria.

St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray, a working-class suburb of the cathedral city of Rouen, filled with low brick buildings, was plunged into grief on Tuesday.

Speaking in front of the town hall on late Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Hubert Wulfranc trembled and had trouble getting his words out.

“A brutal act of barbarism has taken away our priest and gravely wounded a parishioner,” he said, after meeting with President François Hollande and other officials who raced to the town after the attack. “I told the president of the republic that it was absolutely necessary that this doesn’t happen again. Let us be the last to cry.”

At the end of his brief statement, the mayor broke down in tears.

Jean Baya, a plumber who knew Father Hamel well, was one of many parishioners who recalled the priest’s dedication. “He was just so helpful,” Mr. Baya said. “It really hurts me that he’s gone. He came to the house after I lost a child.”

Pope Francis condemned the attack, and the archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, rushed back home from a global gathering of Catholic youth in Krakow, Poland, to comfort his parishioners. A memorial Mass was held on Tuesday night for Father Hamel at Rouen Cathedral, a Gothic landmark consecrated nearly a millennium ago.

The Rev. Alexandre Joly, a priest from a nearby parish, expressed horror at the killing of Father Hamel. “It’s the moment when the priest is giving this act of love, that he is killed,” Father Joly said. “It’s incomprehensible.” He described Father Hamel as “very kind” and “someone whom no one could hate.”

The Rev. Philippe Maheut, the vicar general of the archdiocese of Rouen, said the attack was “as though lightning has hit us.”

Speaking in front of the town hall, Father Maheut said of Father Hamel: “He was joyous, sometimes anxious, like those who want everything to be done well. He was a humble, gentle person. He came here to be of service. What really impressed people was that, at that age, he still had the will to serve. He was fully engaged with the community, and very much appreciated. People appreciated his humility.”

Father Maheut added, “One can’t understand these things.”

Another priest in the Rouen archdiocese, the Rev. Aimé-Rémi Mputu Amba, told the newspaper Le Figaro: “Even in his old age, he was still just as invested with the parish life. We used to joke around and tell him ‘Jacques, you’re doing too much! It’s high time you retire!’ And he would always laugh it off and say, ‘Have you ever met a retired priest? I’ll work until my last breath.’

Father Mputu Amba added: “To leave us just as he was celebrating Mass must have been some kind of blessing for him, despite the tragic circumstances.”

Tragically, only 3 days after the glorious closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro one of the most devastating earthquakes in the entire history of Italy erupted in Amatrice.

Here is the report:

“The chaos came in the middle of the night. People were screaming and dying in the darkness across Amatrice, a summer getaway in central Italy famous as the birthplace of a pasta dish made with tomatoes and pork cheeks.

It was 3:36 a.m. when the 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit, followed by a succession of strong aftershocks — including one nearly as strong an hour later — that flattened houses and buried residents in the rubble.

Amatrice was the worst hit by the quake, which also damaged surrounding towns. As of Thursday morning, the deaths totaled 241, officials said.

“Half the town no longer exists,” Mayor Sergio Pirozzi of Amatrice told reporters on Wednesday morning. He might have been too optimistic. By midday Amatrice, a quiet mountain town about 100 miles northeast of Rome, felt more like a ghost town.

Ambulances raced along windy roads clogged with traffic and rubble as rescue teams searched for survivors. Using picks, shovels and hands, they scrabbled through the dust and debris of crumbled homes. They brought in dogs to sniff for the dead and injured beneath collapsed concrete and stone.

A soft white dust was still swirling about the rubble piled waist-high in Amatrice. Stunned survivors — some with tear-streaked cheeks, others still wearing pajamas — wandered through the streets, unsure what to do.

A father, holding a small child, pushed a wobbly stroller piled with plastic bags of clothing over a rocky path. A young girl sobbed into her mobile phone.

“It’s all gone, the bar, the house, everything,” she said.

The initial quake was comparable in intensity to one in 2009 in the central Abruzzo region that killed more than 300 people.

The quake and aftershocks were felt as far away as Bologna, Rome and Naples. Camps were set up to house hundreds of homeless, and the authorities were also trying to account for an unknown number of tourists.

“The number of missing people is undefined at the moment,” Immacolata Postiglione, the head of the emergency unit at Italy’s Civil Protection Agency, said at a news conference in Rome.

With a permanent population of about 2,000, Amatrice is a place where people know one another. Many had ties to Rome in one way or another, working there in the winter, running restaurants, bars and hotels, as food has always been part of the town’s culture.

“If you closed the restaurants in Rome run by Amatriciani, you’d close half the restaurants,” said Maria Prassede Perilli, a resident who had been visiting her sister in Rome when the quake struck.

Well before the Olympic Games, the world was already struggling to come to terms with Islamic fundamentalists who had launched their jihad with beheading of both the believers and non-believers as their favourites sport (decapitation instead of the decathlon).   ISIS went on a rampage.  So also did Boko Haram.

Bashorun J.K. Randle is a former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and former Chairman of KPMG Nigeria and Africa Region.  He is currently the Chairman, JK Randle Professional Services.

Email:   jkrandleintuk@gmail.com

—  Sep 19, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT

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