The problems permeating Qatar’s World Cup

By: Jocelyn Knorr

Image taken from: Image from

**For sake of consistency and international standardization, the word “football” here refers to the sport that the United States calls “soccer.”**

The FIFA World Cup is a quadrennial football competition, in which countries fight tooth and nail to even qualify. It’s an incredible honor to win, and even more of an honor to host—not to mention it’s incredibly profitable. So, it came as a shocking surprise when Qatar, a Middle Eastern country smaller than the state of Connecticut, was awarded the 2022 competition.

Before 1971, Qatar was a nation largely built off of pearl diving and trade. Then, oil and natural gas was found in the little peninsula, rocketing it to international wealth, a coup in 1972 cementing the monarchy. It’s 2008 bid for hosting was described by the country as an attempt to humanize it—get away from oil, sharia law, and its relationship with neighboring Iran. Because of this, Qatar has been accused of sportswashing.

The bid was off to a rocky start—in 2009, a delegate from FIFA, Harold Mayne-Nicholls, visited the country to inspect its infrastructure. His report was a resounding no—Qatar was too small, and was a sweltering 120ºF during the traditional World Cup window of June-July (an issue that has been “solved” by pushing it to the middle of the traditional football season, a massive upset to the schedule that has caused injury, disruption, and lost wages for those whose salaries depend upon the game). Not only did it lack a football stadium, but hotels, highways, and an airport too. Qatar countered with plans for stadiums and hotels, and a proposition to push the tournament back six months. The council was convinced, and in 2010 Qatar was confirmed as host for the 2022 World Cup. Al-Jazeera, a Qatari media company owned by the king, had started broadcasting news of the victory six hours earlier.

All was not well within FIFA, however; before the year was out, every single official who voted on the Qatar decision would be investigated for, or convicted of, corruption. 2 members had already been banned from voting because of an attempt to sell their votes; the US Justice department accused 3 South American officials of accepting 7-figure bribes from the Qatari government. Sepp Blattman, president of FIFA at the time, has been banned from ever holding an administration position within football for the rest of his life. 

Nevertheless, the decision held, and Qatar embarked on a massive nation-building project, the likes of which the country had never before seen. To achieve all this, Qatar began recruiting foreign workers; workers from places like Uruguay and Pakistan poured in by the thousands. Qatar has a population of over 2 million, but only 15% of those people are citizens. Instead, the country depends upon foreign labor to keep the economy moving.

Conditions are awful; workers sleep in cramped conditions, passports are held by employers, and they are forbidden to leave or change jobs without the consent of their employers. Many of these migrant workers are in construction, working for over 18 hours a day to build Qatar’s stadiums and hotels; they are making barely 13 USD an hour.

More than 6,500 of these workers have died in the sweltering heat, among them a man named Mosharraf Hossen. He moved from Bangladesh to Qatar in 2014, getting a job working on a stadium to support his family. He died in 2018, collapsing when temperatures reached upwards of 115º; the Qatari government has denied this, and has put ‘cardiac arrest’ on his death certificate. The family has now been left without a way to earn money.

Qatari officials have stated that, more often than not, compensation is received in labor disputes, and the country will not take “destructive criticism” from outside observers. “The World Cup is a stage that will end in [December], but our laws are ongoing and being developed and we don’t implement them [only] for the World Cup.” said Qatar’s Assistant Undersecretary of Labor, Mohamed al-Obaidly. 

There are other human rights issues to take into account, as well; namely the treatment of women and gay men. Female citizens of Qatar need to get permission from a male guardian for just about everything, even after a divorce. Pregnant attendees have been advised to be prepared to show a marriage certificate if medical care is necessary, and there have been repeated cases of sexual assaults on women going not only unpunished, but the women being penalized for “fornication outside of marriage.”

As for homosexuality, it’s punishable by jail time—and even the death penalty for Muslims. The Qatari officials have made attempts at sweeping these laws under the rug; despite this, Khalid Salmen, a Qatari football player turned FIFA ambassador, has been quoted as saying that “homosexuality is damage in the mind.” He has been defended fiercely, with Qatar stating that these laws are part of the country’s “conservative values.”

In light of these policies, female fans are being advised by human rights groups to proceed with extreme caution, and LGBTQ fans have been advised to cancel their tickets altogether.

The Qatari government has also been rumored to be using fake fans as a surveillance tactic; allegedly, these are paid plants meant to create atmosphere and hype up the crowd artificially. If this is true, they also serve the secondary function of sniffing out and reporting anti-Qatar sentiment on social media. Qatar has responded to these rumors with a statement from the Qatar World Cup 2022 Supreme Committee; “Fans from all over the world — many of whom have made Qatar their home — have contributed to the local atmosphere recently, organizing fan walks and parades throughout the country, and welcoming the various national teams at their hotels. Numerous journalists and commentators on social media have questioned whether these are ‘real’ fans. We thoroughly reject these assertions, which are both disappointing and unsurprising.”

Taken altogether, these issues with the World Cup have left many fans upset and disquieted. Miles Robinson, a freshman at Highland, and Mary Steffy, a teacher here, have been kind enough to speak to me about their feelings on the matter. 

Miles Robinson is a freshman here—the MVP and captain of the Highland freshman football team, this sport is a large part of his life. He’s supporting the Dutch team this year, with USA and France as a close second (allez les Bleus!) Outside of World Cup season, he follows almost every league imaginable—including USA’s MLS, the English Premier League, and Germany’s Bundesliga. 

“It shouldn’t be there. Honestly, FIFA was 100% bribed for it to be there. If you look at the infrastructure that was there before 2010, it was minimal at best; they had one major stadium, and had to build nine more. Close to 7,000 workers died building those stadiums. They had so few people in the country, they had to get thousands of migrant workers to build (them). They spent over 200 billion US dollars on infrastructure— they had to build cities, build railroads. They spent way, way too much money and time preparing.

“Not to mention the fact that this World Cup had to be moved to November as opposed to the summer. If a World Cup has to be moved, should it be held in that country? The FIFA World Cup is a staple of the summers. Most professional leagues’ seasons go from August to May—holding this in the summer means that most of the teams’ best players are either going to be tired or injured. France are one of the favorites to win this year, and they have five starting players out with major injuries, because this is the middle of their season. This gives less talented teams an advantage.”

The news coming out of Qatar of human rights and climate problems has even driven some people to a boycott—people like Madame Mary Steffy, another person kind enough to speak to me about their views. She’s a French and AVID teacher here at Highland Park Senior High; not a football fan, as a rule, the one exception being the World Cup. This year, she would be supporting the French national team, famously nicknamed “les Bleus”—she’s Luxembourgish, but the country is too small to support a national team, or indeed a league at all. She found out about the human rights abuses largely via Francophone news sources. 

“Monsieur Curry and I follow a lot of online sites, and there was a lot shared—most of Paris and a lot of larger cities in France, for example, are not, on public television, showing any of the games. So we started reading all about it; I had heard some things, even, in the last couple of years about the construction going on in Qatar, and how so many young men had been dying and getting their bodies sent home with [death certificates] saying they had died of natural causes when that was not, in fact, true. The conditions were appalling—it was hot, there was no food or water, [employers] would take their passports, there were injuries; there were just a lot of human rights issues that I became aware of.

“I also became aware, in the past few months, of all the climate issues. When you host a large event like this—even the Olympics—it’s terrible for the planet in general, but Qatar had promised that this was going to be the ‘greenest’ World Cup ever. They really greenwashed it, and that has not happened.”

This is largely a France-based movement, but for Mme Steffy, it’s not a large group effort; it’s just about showing Qatar that they don’t want a World Cup that has been built by the blood of the workers. 

“I don’t want to give any of my time, money, energy or attention to a country that has such appalling abuses of people coming in—actually about 90% of their society—and their stance on the LGBTQ community, whom any association with is punishable by death, even for visitors there. I personally, refuse to give them my time, money, or attention; which is what they get when I watch.”

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Blueberry Lemon Loaf recipe

By: Kaylen Fuentes

This recipe was adapted from: and

As it gets colder, and winter approaches, many people are looking for things to do with Thanksgiving, winter break and the new year. One thing I enjoy doing in my free time, and especially the colder months, is baking. So, here’s a recipe for blueberry lemon bread!

Tools you will need for the bread:

  • One big bowl
  • One medium bowl
  • A whisk or an electric mixer
  • A 9-inch loaf pan
  • Wax paper
  • Measuring glass

Ingredients you will need for the bread:

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 stick of salted butter (melted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of milk (of choice)
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 and a half cups of fresh blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon extract

Tools you will need for the frosting:

  • Two small bowls
  • Whisk or electric mixer

Ingredients you will need for the frosting: 

  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 and a half cups of powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon extract

(Before starting this process, preheat your oven to 350 degrees).

First, in a medium bowl, cream together your melted butter and sugar using an electric mixer or a whisk. I prefer to use an electric mixer because it’s easier and much faster.  

Once you have the butter and sugar mixture add both eggs, vanilla extract and milk. Mix with the electric mixer once again, but be sure not to over mix because then the loaf will not come out as fluffy and the texture will be more tender.

Then, in a big bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder, this mixture you can mix with a whisk or a spoon since it doesn’t need too much mixing.

After both the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together in their separate bowls, slowly mix in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients little by little. This part should be done with an electric mixer.

Once the dry and wet mixes are mixed together into the dough for the loaf, add a drop of lemon extract. A little bit goes a long way, so don’t add too much, especially since there will also be lemon juice and extract in the icing.

Next, prepare your pan. Add parchment paper to the bottom and around the side of the 9-inch loaf pan. Then cut off the excess paper sticking out around the top.

Then, before adding the blueberries, pour about ⅓ of the batter into the loaf pan. 

After preparing your pan, with the rest of the batter, fold in the blueberries gently, I try not to mush them because I find the bread better when they’re whole. I added about a cup, maybe a cup and half, but add as much or little as you’d like. Then pour the rest of the batter into the pan. The batter should be filled slightly under the top of the pan, because the loaf will rise.

Place the loaf pan in the oven and bake for 60 minutes. When the 60 minutes is up, the loaf will still be light in color so I baked it for about another 15 minutes for it to get golden.

While the loaf is baking, the icing can be started.

For the icing, take your small bowl and melt down 3 tablespoons of butter. 

Afterwards, add the butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon extract into a small bowl and mix with an electric mixer until smooth, and all the lumps are out.

Once the loaf is cool, ice the top of it with the icing and enjoy!

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this recipe. It was delicious and a perfect treat for Thanksgiving. Something I would like to do in the future is try this recipe with different fruits! I rate this tasty recipe 5/5 stars, and I will definitely be making it again.

Temperature fluctuations: How climate change is causing our recent record-breaking weather

By: Erin Moore

This November has had record-breaking storms and temperature swings, but why? Every possible answer can be linked back to one major factor: climate change.

In 2014, the number of geophysical events had tripled the number there were in 1980, but this isn’t too much of a shock for the general population to hear. We all know climate change is deeply impacting our animals and future, but its impact on our daily life is less apparent. We know it causes hot weather in the summer and natural disasters in other areas, but in Minnesota, it doesn’t affect us in any months other than July and August, right? Wrong. 

Hot summer days have become significantly more common than cold winter nights, as hot summer averages have doubled if not tripled their commonality, while cold winter temperatures have become a third of what they were in 1980. According to the EPA, “if the climate were completely stable, one might expect to see these highs and lows each accounting for about 50% of the records set. Since the 1970s, however, record-setting daily high temperatures have become more common than record lows across the US.” 

From 2000-2009, the record lows have been half as frequent as the record highs. However, 2022 has seen record lows in the past month, and they are expected to continue. In the areas and days where temperatures are significantly cold, their level of extremity is dangerously high. 

A 2018 NPR article stated, “New research suggests that global warming could cause temperature swings to get unusually extreme. Climate scientists already know that as the planet warms, there’s a bigger chance of extreme weather: bigger hurricanes, for example, or heavier rainfall. But a temperature roller coaster could be on the way as well, according to the study, which appears in the journal ‘Science Advances.’” This is due to drier soil from a warming hemisphere. Drier soil leads to temperature fluctuations and vulnerability. 

Clearly, we’re already seeing this play out not even five years after the article’s release.

On Kare 11, it was stated that this winter holds third place for temperature swings in Minnesota for the past fifty years with a 71º difference between the highest and lowest temperatures this month. This year is surpassed by only 1977 (77º) and 1978 (73º). 

Additionally, the 2nd of November was a record-breaking warm day in Minnesota. The highest temperature recorded was 79º at Theilman, and the Twin Cities reached 76º, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

November is one of the fastest-warming months in the state, gaining 4.2º yearly. However, January, December, and September respectively are all ahead of November in fastest warming months. 

Just a week after November 2nd, a powerful storm occurred. In the Twin Cities, temperatures fell 20º in a span of four hours, reaching a 40º fall after twelve hours had elapsed. Additionally, Warroad received a total of 9.1” of snow on November 10th. 

On November 29th, the Twin Cities nearly matched Warroad’s level of snowfall with 8.4” Many schools in the state were canceled, released early, or had activities canceled. Additionally, transportation for many was delayed as vehicles struggled through the rough, slippery roads.

Next time you think about extreme weather, and the switches from warm to cool within mere days, don’t forget about the part we play in causing it.

The history of daylight savings and why it will not continue next year

By: Addison Strack

Daylight savings is when the clocks are set forward one hour in the spring, and back one hour in the fall.

The idea of daylight savings was introduced to the United States in the World War l era as an effort to conserve fuel. The idea was that Americans wouldn’t have to turn their lights on early in the day, therefore saving energy.

Businesses, sports, and recreation industries were in favor of the idea. This was because it allowed an extra hour of shopping in the daylight, and later start times of games, boosting attendance. In 1966, the Uniform Time Act made it US policy to have six months of daylight savings time, and six months of standard time.

In December of 1973, during an energy crisis, President Nixon signed a law bill for year round daylight savings, in hopes of reducing energy consumption. After only a month, concerns were raised in some states, as the safety of children was compromised because of daylight savings time. Children walking to school before dawn became involved in car accidents due to the lack of light. Eventually daylight savings became known as “Daylight Disaster Time.”

More people began questioning the benefit of daylight savings time, because the Western part of the time zone was using more electricity for the extra hour of darkness in the morning. The experiment of having daylight savings year round was supposed to last two years, but ended up only lasting eight months, when the clocks were set back to standard time in the fall of 1974.

Years later, in 1986, the US began seven months of daylight savings time once again. Since 2007, daylight savings time has been expanded to eight months from March to November.

Daylight savings time has always had its flaws, but recently, these flaws have been more noticeable. The loss of sleep, even if only an hour, can disrupt sleeping patterns. This can cause irritability, mood instability, and an increased risk of accidents while driving with a lack of sleep. Changes in sleeping patterns also affect children, because the younger a child is, the more sleep they require. Changing their sleep schedule can disrupt cognitive development that takes place during sleep.

People who struggle with seasonal depression, which is a depression that happens due to the darkness of winter months, are also heavily impacted. This is because of the loss of morning sunlight that can take up to a month to increase with the arrival of spring.

It was also discovered that daylight savings time costs more money, and may require more energy depending on where you live in the US.

Due to all of the reasons listed, as well as many more, the US Senate approved a bill to end daylight savings time in 2023. It is called “The Sunshine Protection Act”, and it still has to be passed by the House of Representatives before it can be signed by President Joe Biden.

Overall, daylight savings was a complicated process that ended up having more cons than pros.

If you would like to read more about daylight savings, feel free to check out the websites listed below.