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Vuvuzelas damage your ears and other World Cup stories

Andrew Harding | 08:30 UK time, Friday, 23 April 2010

Introducing a weekly smorgasbord of World Cup-related stories that caught my eye or ear....

First up, shocking news that the deafening plastic trumpets traditionally honked by fans at South African football matches can damage your ears. Personally I rather like the roar of a stadium full of vuvuzelas. It makes cheering sound almost effete. But don't get within three feet of one.vuvuzela595afp.jpg

Now some less than surprising news that South Africa is having to scale down its ambitious guestimates for the number of foreign visitors coming here. Disappointing for businesses I suppose, but could it be a blessing in disguise? Fewer visitors should take the pressure of transport and other logistical soft spots. A quieter, less chaotic tournament could help South Africa to market itself to the world as the sophisticated, developed nation it sort of, kind of is.

But who should take the blame for the drop in expected visitors? A survey of international tour operators, makes very interesting reading. Turns out it has very little to do with perceptions of crime here, or the occasional blast of fear-mongering by some foreign media. Instead, step forward please, Sepp Blatter's nephew.

President Jacob Zuma does not do embarrassment. It's one of his charms. This week, instead of singing his trademark tune about machine guns, he was trying his best to dance the World Cup diski dance... watch, and practise.

The motorways around Joburg are still clogged with road works, and, in keeping with the last-minute spirit of much of the World Cup preparations here, some work won't be finished in time. But fear not, paint will be applied to key roads to solve the problem.

Lastly an old, but entertainingly combative interview with Johannesburg's mayor. I actually think much of the city centre is looking remarkably good these days. It's no longer the avoid-at-all-costs muggers' paradise that compelled so many businesses to abandon ship. But yes, there's still a long way to go. Is this a World Class African city - and what does that mean?

Coming soon - what to do, and what to avoid in South Africa during the World Cup. Your recommendations greatly appreciated.


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