2018 FIFA World Cup

The  21st FIFA World Cup started 14 June 2018 in Russia. This international football tournament is held every four years which is contested by the men’s national teams of the member associations of FIFA. The final match is on 15 July 2018, after the country was awarded the hosting rights on 2 December 2010. This is the first World Cup held in Europe since the 2006 tournament in Germany, the first ever to be held in Eastern Europe and the eleventh time that it has been held in Europe. All of the stadium venues are in European Russia to keep travel time manageable. It is expected to be the most expensive football championship in history, budgeted at US$11.8-14 billion surpassing the cost of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

IMG_6059For the first time in the history of the FIFA World Cup, all eligible nations – the 209 FIFA member associations minus automatically qualified hosts Russia – entered the qualifying process. Zimbabwe and Indonesia were later disqualified before playing their first matches, Gibraltar and Kosovo, who joined FIFA on 13 May 2016, also entered the competition. Places in the tournament were allocated to continental confederations, with the allocation unchanged from the 2014 World Cup.  The first qualification game began in Dili, Timor Leste, on 12 March 2015 as part of the AFC’s qualification and the main qualifying draw took place at the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna, Saint Petersburg on 25 July 2015

Of the thirty-two nations qualified to play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, twenty countries competed in the previous World Cup in 2014. Both Iceland and Panama qualified for the first time, with the former becoming the smallest country in terms of population to reach the World Cup. Other teams returning after absences of at least three tournaments include: Egypt, returning to the finals after a 28-year absence from their last appearance in 1990; Morocco, who last competed in 1998; Peru, returning after a 36-year absence (since 1982); and Senegal, competing for the second time after reaching the quarter-finals in 2002. It is the first time three Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland and Sweden) and four Arab nations (Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia) have qualified for the World Cup.

Notable countries that failed to qualify include four-time champions Italy (for the first time since 1958) and three-time runner-up the Netherlands (for the first time since 2002), and four reigning continental champions: 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winner Cameroon, two-time Copa América champion and 2017 Confederations Cup runner-up Chile, 2016 OFC Nations Cup winner New Zealand, and 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup champion United States (for the first time since 1986). The other notable qualifying streaks broken were for Ghana and Ivory Coast, who had both made the previous three tournaments.

Russia proposed the following host cities: Kaliningrad, Kazan, Krasnodar, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Saint Petersburg, Samara, Saransk, Sochi, Volgograd, Yaroslavl, and Yekaterinburg.[43] All the cities are in or just outside European Russia to reduce travel time for the teams in the huge country. The bid evaluation report stated: “The Russian bid proposes 13 host cities and 16 stadiums, thus exceeding FIFA’s minimum requirement. Three of the 16 stadiums would be renovated, and 13 would be newly constructed. In October 2011, Russia decreased the number of stadiums from 16 to 14. Construction of the proposed Podolsk stadium in the Moscow region was cancelled by the regional government, and also in the capital, Otkrytiye Arena was competing with Dynamo Stadium over which would be constructed first.

The final choice of host cities was announced on 29 September 2012. The number of cities was further reduced to 11 and number of stadiums to 12 as Krasnodar and Yaroslavl were dropped from the final list. Of the 12 stadiums used for the tournament, 3 (Luzhniki, Yekaterinburg and Sochi) have been extensively renovated and the other 9 stadiums to be used are brand new; $11.8 billion has been spent on hosting the tournament. In 2014 FIFA’s inspection committee and its head Chris Unger visited St Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan and both Moscow venues. In 2015, FIFA and the Local Organising Committee agreed on the official names of the stadiums used during the tournament.

Of the 12 venues used, the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and the Saint Petersburg Stadium (the two largest stadiums in Russia) will be used most, with 7 matches being played at each of these stadiums. Sochi, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod and Samara will host 6 matches including one quarter-final match apiece, and the Otkrytiye Stadium in Moscow and Rostov-on-Don will host 5 matches apiece including one round of 16 match each. Volgograd, Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg, and Saransk will host 4 matches each and none of these cities will host any knockout stage games. The final tournament will involve 32 national teams, which include 31 teams determined through qualifying competitions and the automatically qualified host team. Of the 32 teams, 20 will be making back-to-back appearances following the last tournament in 2014, including defending champions Germany, while Iceland and Panama will both be making their first appearances at a FIFA World Cup. A total of 64 matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities. The final will take place on 15 July at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The winners of the World Cup will qualify for the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup. Pre-tournament favorites to win the final were Brazil, France, Germany and Spain. FIFA awarded hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup to a joint bid from Canada, Mexico, and the United States

Maxi Jazz (Faithless)

Maxi Jazz, British rapper with the band Faithless waws born 14th June 1957. Faithless were a British electronica band consisting of Maxi Jazz, Sister Bliss and Rollo. The group is best known for their dance songs (“Insomnia”, “God Is a DJ” and “We Come 1″). Faithless recorded six albums. During their career they sold over 15 million records worldwide. The band have now officially split up after the climax of their Passing The Baton dates at Brixton Academy which was on the 7 and 8 April 2011.

The band was formed in early 1995, and their debut single “Salva Mea (Save Me)” was released in July that year. Jazz acted as a vocalist, whilst Bliss constructed most of the music herself electronically, but also played the piano, violin, saxophone and bass guitar. Rollo heads and produces the band. Lead female vocals for many of their songs are performed by Pauline Taylor, who also performed lead vocals for singles by Rollo released under his monikers Rollo Goes Mystic and Rollo Goes Spiritual. Albums released by Faithless include Reverence (which reached number 26), Sunday 8Pm, Outrospective and No Roots, with a greatest hits compilation album out in 2005. Each of the four studio albums has also been followed with a subsequent bonus disc of remixes. Their fifth album, To All New Arrivals, was released in 2006 and Their sixth album, The Dance, was released on 16 May 2010, after a four year hiaitus and they returned to the Glastonbury Festival after eight years, playing on the Pyramid Stage. They performed many of their most popular songs including “Insomnia”, “God is a DJ”, and “We Come 1”.

On 16 March 2011, Maxi Jazz announced on his website that Faithless would cease to be, commenting “But, like when writing a song, you always just know when it’s finished… this is and was the Thank YOU And Goodbye tour. They played two nights at Brixton Academy on 7 and 8 April 2011. The latter date would allegedly be the final full Faithless touring band show and was transmitted live via satellite to cinemas across Europe. On 2011 The Faithless ‘Sound System’ (consisting of Maxi Jazz, Sister Bliss and percussionist Sudha Kheterpal) performed shows on 22 July 2011 at the Tomorrowland festival in Belgium, at the Waterford Music Fest in Ireland on 30 July and in Split (Croatia) at the Riva Discothèque on 12 August. However, in February 2015 they reunited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the band and their latest aLbum, Faithless 2.0 was released in 2015 and contains even more remixes of their best tunes.

Alan White (Yes)

Alan White the drummer and songwriter with the bands Yes, Plastic Ono Band, White, and Circa, was born 14 June 1949. Yes were Formed in 1968 by Jon Anderson and Bill Bruford and went on to achieve worldwide success with their progressive music, mystical lyrics, elaborate album art, live stage sets and symphonic style of rock music. They are regarded as one of the pioneers of the progressive genre. They were Formed in 1968 by Jon Anderson and Bill Bruford and released two albums together but began to enjoy success after the release of The Yes Album and Fragile,which featured new arrivals Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. They achieved further success with the albums Close to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans. Wakeman was replaced by Patrick Moraz, who played on Relayer (1974).White released his only solo album, Ramshackled, in 1975. White only performed drums on the album and wrote none of the songs.

Wakeman returned to Yes on the albums Going for the One (1977) and Tormato (1978). However Anderson and Wakeman left the group in 1980 due to musical differences amongst the band and both went on to pursue solo careers. Their replacements, Trevor Horn and Steve Downes, featured on Drama (1980) and its supporting tour before disbanding in 1981. Howe and Downes went to form Asia.

Yes reformed in 1982 after Squire and White were joined by the returning Jon Anderson and Tony Kaye, with the addition of guitarist Trevor Rabin. They adopted a pop rock sound and released the number one single “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and 90125 (1983), their best-selling album to date, followed by Big Generator (1987). Anderson left and co-formed the side project Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe with the named members in 1989. Following a legal battle amongst both Yes groups, they formed an eight-man band to perform on Union (1991) and its supporting tour. Rabin and Kaye featured on Talk (1994) before leaving, while Wakeman and Howe returned with Keys to Ascension (1996) and Keys to Ascension 2 (1997). Wakeman was then replaced by Igor Khoroshev, who was featured on Open Your Eyes (1997) and The Ladder (1999) along with guitarist Billy Sherwood. The release of Magnification (2001) marked the first album since 1970 to feature an orchestra. Squire also joined the short-lived supergroup XYZ, (ex-Yes, Zeppelin) which featured Squire, Yes’ Alan White, and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page.

In 2002, Wakeman returned for the band’s 35th anniversary tour. The band ceased to tour in 2004, partly due to health concerns regarding Anderson and Wakeman. Following a hiatus, Yes restarted in 2008 with keyboardist Oliver Wakeman and singer Benoît David. After the release of Fly from Here (2011), which saw Downes returning on keyboards, David was replaced by Jon Davison, lead singer of progressive rock band Glass Hammer, on vocals. Sadly though Chris Squire, died 27 June 2013 at the age of 67, following his battle with Acute Erythroid Leukemia, with which he was diagnosed in 2015. He had been a member of the band’s current line-up alongside singer Jon Davison, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, and keyboardist Geoff Downes.

In addition to his drum playing, White has played piano and written music for several Yes albums. Sadly Due to various health problems, White missed a tour with Yes in 2016, with Jay Schellen substituting for him. Schellen and White then toured together into 2017. On summer 2017 touring, White was accompanied by Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe), with Schellen returning to the role in early 2018.

Alan White Has also guested with Seattle band MerKaBa on a number of occasions and White and MerKaBa also had links with another band, Treason. In 2003, White joined sessions for a new MerKaBa album, but these evolved into a new band, called White, and an album’s worth of demo recordings under the name Loyal. As well as Alan, the band consisted of Kevin Currie (from MerKaBa; lead vocals), Karl Haug (from Treason); electric & acoustic guitars, lap steel), Steve Boyce (from MerKaBa; bass, guitar, backing vocals) and Ted Stockwell (from Treason and MerKaBa; keys, guitar). Stockwell left the band and, in April 2005, was replaced by Alan’s former colleague in Yes, keyboardist Geoff Downes. A new album, White, was recorded, partly based on the Loyal demos. The album was released in 2006, with a cover by Roger Dean.

The band has played live (with various keyboardists) in the Seattle area. They were due to join the abortive More Drama Tour, scheduled to begin in North America in August 2005, with three acts: White, The Syn, and Steve Howe, with Yes members Chris Squire, Steve Howe and Geoff Downes playing Yes material at the end of the evening (with Currie handling lead vocals). However, the tour was cancelled shortly before it was due to begin. White later joined The Syn touring band for dates in the first half of 2006. Subsequently, White has been working on projects with Billy Sherwood, notably in the initial line-up of Circa, with a third Yes alumnus, Tony Kaye. In 2010, the band White re-emerged after a hiatus with a new line-up of White, Haug and Boyce joined by two musicians from Yes tribute band Parallels, who have previously worked with Alan: vocalist Robyn Dawn and keyboardist Jonathan Sindelman. White also serves as the Grand Marshal at the Issaquah, Washington Salmon Days FestivalOn 28 October 2017, to celebrate his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, White played Roundabout in a halftime performance with the University of Washington Husky Marching Band, also featuring music from Pearl Jam, Journey, and Electric Light Orchestra.

World Blood Doner Day

World Blood Doner day takes place annually on 14 June to celebrate the birth of Austrian Biologist, physician and Scientist Karl Landsteiner who was born on 14 June in 1868. Karl Landsteiner was the first person to distinguish the main blood groups in 1900, having developed the modern system of classification of blood groups from his identification of the presence of agglutinins in the blood, and identified the Rhesus factor with Alexander S. Wiener in 1937. These discoveries enabled physicians to safely transfuse blood without endangering the patient’s life. He also discovered the polio virus in 1909 With Constantin Levaditi and Erwin Popper. Following his revolutionary discoveries He received the Aronson Prize in 1926 and In 1930, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He was posthumously awarded the Lasker Award in 1946, and has been described as the father of transfusion medicine.

The aim of World Blood Doner Day is to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products, and to thank blood donors for their voluntary, life-saving gifts of blood which helps save millions of lives every year. The transfusion of blood can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and perinatal care. Access to safe and sufficient blood and blood products can help reduce rates of death and disability due to severe bleeding during delivery and after childbirth. In many countries, there is not an adequate supply of safe blood, and blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety. An adequate supply can only be assured through regular donations by voluntary unpaid blood donors. The WHO’s goal is for all countries to obtain all their blood supplies from voluntary unpaid donors by 2020. It emphasizes thanking of blood donors who save lives every day through their blood donations and inspires more people all over the world to donate blood voluntarily and regularly with the slogan “Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters.” Many lives (including mine) have been saved thanks to blood transfusions.

Activities include special events, meetings, publication of relevant stories on media, scientific conferences, publication of articles on national, regional and international scientific journals, and other activities that would help in encouraging the title of this year’s World Blood Donor Day. The host country for World Blood Donor Day 2015 was China through its blood center in Shanghai, Shanghai Blood Centre, also the WHO Collaborating Center for Blood Transfusion Services. The focus of the WBDD 2014 campaign was “Safe blood for saving mothers”. The goal of the campaign was to increase awareness about why timely access to safe blood and blood products is essential for all countries, as part of a comprehensive approach to prevent maternal deaths. According to the World Health Organization, 800 women die every day from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications. Severe bleeding is the cause of 34% of maternal deaths in Africa, 31% in Asia and 21% in Latin America and the Caribbean. The global host for the WBDD 2014 event was Sri Lanka. Through its national blood transfusion service, Sri Lanka promotes voluntary unpaid donation to increase access to safe and sufficient blood and blood products.

The host country for World Blood Donor Day 2013 was France. Through its national blood service, the Etablissement Français du Sang (EFS), France has been promoting voluntary non-remunerated blood donation since the 1950s. The focus for the WBDD 2013 campaign – which marked the 10th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day – was blood donation as a gift that saves lives. The WHO encouraged all countries to highlight stories from people whose lives have been saved through blood donation, as a way of motivating regular blood donors to continue giving blood and people in good health who have never given blood, particularly young people, to begin doing so. The 2012 campaign focused on the idea that any person can become a hero by giving blood. Blood cannot yet be manufactured artificially, so voluntary blood donation remains vital for healthcare worldwide. Many anonymous blood donors save lives every day through their blood donations.

World Blood Donor Day is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with World Health Day, World Tuberculosis Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Hepatitis Day, and World AIDS Day.

Don Brown (Duran Duran, Take that, Elton John)

The guitarist and singer-songwriter Dominic “Dom” Brown was born 14 June 1972. He has worked with many popular musicians, including Duran Duran, Elton John, Lionel Richie and Take That. He has also done both studio and live recordings with Justin Timberlake, Liam Gallagher and the Sugababes, along with many others. Dom cites his influences as “Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Nirvana, Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Police, James Brown, Miles Davis, Jimmy Page, Stevie Wonder, Jeff Beck, Jeff Buckley, Dave Gilmour, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker, Meters, Eric Clapton, Duran Duran, Otis Redding, Chic, Ben Harper, AC/DC, Robert Johnson, Mick Ronson, Mozart, Frank Zappa, White Stripes, Massive Attack, Soundgarden, Cream, John Mayer, Howlin’ Wolf, Smashing Pumpkins, Ian Hunter, The Stranglers, Marvin Gaye, Steely Dan, Sly Stone, Beck, Fleetwood Mac, Roxy Music, Muddy Waters, Curtis Mayfield and more…”

He began playing guitar at the age of 14, and by 16 had put together the band Nexus, based in Twickenham. He was soon touring with his father, musician Rob Brown. He has performed solo and in his own bands around the world, as well as serving as a sessions and live backup player for numerous other performers. Brown first appeared with Duran Duran in December 2004 as a stand-in for ill guitarist Andy Taylor, and performed in Taylor’s place several more times over the following two years. After Taylor left the band in October 2006, Brown was hired to record guitar parts for their next album, Red Carpet Massacre (2007), and perform on the supporting world tour. He also played with the band at the Concert for Diana and Live Earth London at Wembley Stadium. Brown continues in his role as Duran Duran’s guitarist albeit not as a full member of the band. He co-wrote 13 of the 15 tracks on the band’s 2011 album All You Need Is Now and 4 of the 12 tracks on their 2015 album Paper Gods. Dominic’s solo albums are published by the independent UK record label Remedy Records.

Duran Duran were formed in Birmingham in 1978. They were a successful band of the 1980s and a leading band in the MTV-driven “Second British Invasion” of the US. Since the 1980s, they have placed 14 singles in the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart and 21 in the Billboard Hot 100, and have sold over 70 million records. While they were generally considered part of the New Romantic scene, along with bands such as Spandau Ballet, when they first emerged, the band later shed this image. The band worked with fashion designers to build a sharp and elegant image. The band has won a number of awards throughout their career: two Brit Awards including the 2004 award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, two Grammy Awards, and an MTV Video Music Award for Lifetime Achievement. They were also awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The band’s controversial videos, which included partial nudity and suggestions of sexuality, became popular in the early 1980s on the then-new music video channel, MTV. Duran Duran were among the first bands to have their videos shot by professional directors with 35 mm film movie cameras, which gave their videos a much more polished look than was standard at the time. In 1984, the band were early innovators with video technology in their live stadium shows.

The group was formed by keyboardist Nick Rhodes and bassist John Taylor, with the later addition of drummer Roger Taylor, and after numerous personnel changes, guitarist Andy Taylor and lead singer Simon Le Bon. These five members featured in their most commercially successful line-up. The group has never disbanded, but after separation of Andy Taylor in 1986, the line-up has changed to include former Missing Persons American guitarist Warren Cuccurullo from 1989 to 2001 and American drummer Sterling Campbell from 1989 to 1991. The reunion of the original five members in the early 2000s created a stir among the band’s fans and music media. Andy Taylor left the band once again in mid-2006, and guitarist Dom Brown has since been working with the band as a session player and touring member. Duran Duran’s latest album Paper Gods was released 2015 and includes the song “Pressure off” featuring Janelle Monae and Nile Rogers.

Jim Lea/Noddy Holder (Slade)

Noddy Holder, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor with glam rock band Slade was born 15 June 1946, in addition Jim Lea, the singer-songwriter, bass guitarist / keyboard player / violinist / guitarist and producer also with Slade was born 14 June 1949. He joined Slade after meeting Fellow members Dave Hill and Don Powell playing in a band called The Vendors, who changed the name Of the band to The N’ Betweens. After Jim Lea auditioned, Drummer Don Powell then spotted Noddy Holder playing with Steve Brett & The Mavericks and he and Hill got Holder to join the N’Betweens. They regrouped as Ambrose Slade, and changed the name to Slade comprising of Noddy Holder, Jim Lea, Dave Hill and Don Powell.

Slade rose to prominence during the glam rock era of the early 1970s with 17 consecutive top 20 hits and six number ones including Come on feel the noise, Goodbye to Jane and Merry Xmas Everybody. The British Hit Singles & Albums names them as the most successful British group of the 1970s based on sales of singles. They were the first act to achieve three singlesenter at number one; all six of the band’s chart-toppers were penned by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea. Total UK sales stand at 6,520,171, and their best selling single, “Merry Xmas Everybody”, has sold in excess of one million copies. Following an unsuccessful move to the United States in 1975, Slade’s popularity waned but was unexpectedly revived in 1980 when they were last minute replacements for Ozzy Osbourne at the Reading Rock Festival. The band later acknowledged this to have been one of the highlights of their career.

The original Slade line up split in 1992 but the band reformed the following year as Slade II. The band has continued, with a number of line-up changes, to the present day. They have now shortened the group name back to Slade. A number of diverse artists have cited Slade as an influence, including grunge icons Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins, punk pioneers the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, the Undertones, the Runaways and the Clash, glam followers Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister ,Quiet Riot, Poison and Def Leppard, pop-rock stalwarts the Replacements, Cheap Trick and Oasis. Over the years Slade have become known for Holder’s powerful vocals, guitarist Dave Hill’s equally arresting dress sense and the deliberate misspelling of their song titles. Their song Merry Christmas is also repeated annually during every Christmas Season. Since Slade split Noddy Holder has also acted in a couple of television series such as Max and Paddy’s road to nowhere and adverts like Nobby’s Nuts.