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Brazil beats Italy at Confederations Cup, but protests continue outside arena

Fred scored twice, Neymar adds stunning free kick as host Brazil beats Italy 4-2.
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Brazil's Neymar celebrates after scoring against Italy in a 4-2 victory at the Confederations Cup in Salvador, Brazil, on June 22, 2013. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

Brazil’s convincing victory over Italy at the Confederations Cup on Saturday was only a brief respite to continuing protests in that country calling for widespread reform.

Fred scored twice and Neymar added a magnificent free kick as the hosts beat Italy 4-2 in Salvador.

Yet, in the soccer-mad nation preparing to host the World Cup next year, sports and politics are mixing with increasing regularity.


Chinese fans literally crush on Beckham, seven injured

David Beckham canceled an appearance at a Shanghai university after a fan “stampede” injured at least seven people.
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People gather around a man injured in a crush as David Beckham arrives at Tongji University on June 20, 2013 in Shanghai, China. (Getty Images/Getty Images)

Beckham fever struck China on Thursday, when a fan stampede injured at least seven people, including five security personnel. 

About 1,000 people had arrived at a Shanghai Tongji University stadium, where the recently retired soccer star, on a weeklong tour in China, was set to meet the college's soccer team.  

But as soon as David Beckham stepped out of his black Bentley, a crush of fans rushed towards him. 


Vladimir Putin stole my Super Bowl ring, Robert Kraft says

New England Patriots owner shows Russian president his ring, Putin puts it in his pocket.
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Robert K. Kraft speaks during the Carnegie Hall Medal Of Excellence Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on June 13, 2013 in New York City. (D Dipasupil/AFP/Getty Images)

Talk about lost in translation.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told an audience Thursday night that Russian President Vladimir Putin stole his Super Bowl ring.

It was the good one, too, from Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005 when the Pats beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21.

It happened while Kraft and other American executives toured Russia after the team’s NFL championship season.


Lionel Messi faces determined new foe in taxman

Authorities in Spain say Lionel Messi and his father filed fraudulent tax returns from 2006 to '09.
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Lionel Messi of Barcelona receives the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2011 trophy on January 9, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Forbes says Messi earned $41 million last year, including $21M from companies like Adidas and Pepsi.

South Korean baseman calls African-American pitcher 'too black'

South Korean baseball star Kim Tae Kyun has apologized after suggesting that a pitcher's skin color made him harder to bat against.
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Kim Tae Kyun of Korea during the finals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic on March 23, 2009 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
"His face is too black, so it is hard to bat because his white teeth and the ball confuses me when he smiles on the mound."

Turban-wearing soccer players banned from Quebec fields

Quebec Soccer Federation tells boys who want to wear turbans on the field to 'play in their backyard.'
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Montreal Impact soccer fans cheer in Toronto on October 20, 2012. (Abelimages/AFP/Getty Images)
The debate has reached political levels, with federal politicians lauding the move and provincial leaders defending the ban.

French Open final fiery affair for Raphael Nadal, protesters

Same-sex marriage opponents disrupt Nadal-Ferrer final at French Open in Paris.
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A protester runs onto court with a lit flare before the start of a game in the men's final between Rafael Nadal of Spain and David Ferrer of Spain at the French Open on June 9, 2013 in Paris. (Matthew Stockman/AFP/Getty Images)
Nadal becomes first player to win the same major eight times.

Lydia Nsekera first woman elected to FIFA executive in 109 years

For the first time in FIFA's 109 years, members elected a woman, Lydia Nsekera of Burundi, to executive.
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Lydia Nsekera. president of the Burundi Football Federation, reacts October 9, 2009, in Copenhagen after she was elected as a new member of the IOC. (JENS NØRGAARD LARSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
The appointment is not without controversy, with some calling it 'pandering' to African nations.

FIFA introduces stricter anti-racism rules

The new rules were prompted by several incidents of racism at FIFA games in the past year.
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Mexico’s Francisco Fonseca dribbles between Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu during the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying match on March 27, 2005 at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico. (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS — FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, passed a set of stricter anti-racism regulations at its annual congress in Mauritius Friday. Now, a first or minor offense will be punished by a warning, fine or playing a match behind closed doors, the Guardian reported.

Dennis Rodman was North Korea’s second choice for b-ball diplomacy. Guess who was first?

Rodman’s North Korea visit got a ton of attention, but the eccentric basketball player wasn’t the first choice.
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This guy. Dennis Rodman has sung the praises of North Korea's Kim Jong Un, calling the supreme leader "awesome." (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dennis Rodman’s visit to North Korea — a gimmick conceived by “Vice” magazine’s HBO offshoot — was definitely one of the stranger moments in diplomacy’s recent history.