Archive | May, 2012

The World’s Deadliest Cities

29 May

A policeman stands by a body near a beach in Acapulco.

The Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, once known for  its bananas, now hold’s the unfortunate title of the world’s most dangerous city. Ciudad Juarez, which held the title for 3 years from 2008 to 2010, is one of five Mexican cities in the top 10 most dangerous cities in the world according to the Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice, a private organization and wing of COPARMEX, the Mexican Employer’s Association. These are the 5 most dangerous cities in the world;

San Pedro Sula: 1,143 reported homicides in 2011.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

The second largest city in Honduras, after the capital Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula is the world’s most dangerous metropolitan area with a homicide rate of 159 homicides per 100,000 people.

Much of the recent upsurge in violence has been attributed to the city’s location. Close to Honduras’ Atlantic coast and the border with Guatemala, the city sits on key international drug trafficking routes. Its strategic locale has led  many Mexican drug traffickers to establish closer connections with local crime bosses, known as ‘transporitas’, who are key in facilitating drug shipments between South America and Mexico.

The situation has been further exacerbated by the institutional weakness of the Honduran state. In 2009, a coup unseated the democratically elected President Manuel Zaleya, an event which lead to international condemnation and a spate of politically motivated killings.

As of 2010, Honduras has a homicide rate of 82 homicides per 100,000 people, the highest in the world.

Ciudad Juarez. 1,974 homicides in 2011.

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Situated on the US-Mexican border, Ciudad Juarez, or Juarez as it’s popularly known, was in 2008, 2009 and 2010 the world’s most dangerous metropolitan area. In 2011 the city had a reported homicide rate of 148 homicides per 100,000 people.

The home of rival drug cartels, Juarez has remained a focal point for violence in the ongoing Mexican drug war. In 2008, over 1,400 homicides were reported in the city, this grew to 2,600 in 2009, and to 3,075 in 2010, translating to a homicide rate of 229 homicides per 100,000 people, as a result many prominent local  business groups called for the imposition of UN peacekeepers.

Despite being the second most violent city in the world there has been a significant decrease in the number of homicides committed in 2011 compared to previous years.

As of 2010, Mexico has a homicide rate of 28 homicides per 100,000 people.

Maceio: 1,564 homicides in 2011.

Maceió, Brazil

The capital and the largest  city of the coastal state of Alagoas, Maceió has the unfortunate distinction of being Brazil most dangerous city and the worlds third with a homicide rate of 135 homicides per 100,000 people.

Once known for its idyllic beaches and colonial architecture, the city’s homicide rate has climbed by 185% in just 10 years. Much, if not most, of the violence is drugs related with numerous addicts murdered every week due to unpaid debts. One man, a resident of one of the city’s sprawling favelas, said that 5 of his sons had been murdered in recent years.

With over 1,500 murders in 2011, Maceió is just one of the 14 Brazilian cities in the top 50 most violent cities in the world.

Acapulco: 1,029 homicides in 2011.

Acapulco, Mexico

One of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations, the famed resort city of Acapulco, situated on the Pacific coast, had a reported homicide rate of 128 homicides per 100,000 people in 2011.

With rival drug cartels vying for important drug trafficking routes, Acapulco has played host to numerous turf wars, some of which have spilled over from the slums of the interior to the beaches of the coast, popular with international tourists, particularly Americans.

Much of the violence in Acapulco typifies the grizzly nature of the drug war in Mexico. In January 2011 Acapulco police discovered the bodies of 28 murder victims, 15 of whom were beheaded. Such beheading’s have become a common fixture of the conflict with 49 headless bodies discovered in Monterrey as recent as May 2012.

Acapulco, along with Juarez, are just two of the 12 Mexican cities in the top 50 most violent cities in the world.

Tegucigalpa/Comayaguela: 1,123 homicides in 2011.

Tegucigalpa/Comayaguela, Honduras

Teguciagalpa, the Honduran capital, and its adjacent sister city, Comayaguela, form the Distrito Central (central district), the largest metropolitan area in Honduras. It’s the worlds fifth most dangerous metropolitan area with a homicide rate of 100 homicides per 100,000 people.

With such a high homicide rate, the capitals mayor, Ricardo Alvarez, introduced a free funeral service six years ago in response to the growing number of bodies being buried in plastic garbage bags.

Like San Pedro Sula, Mexican drug cartels have gained a firm foothold in the area. With an estimated 79% of all cocaine flights from South America to the USA stopping in Honduras, the homicide rate in the small central American state has doubled in the space of only 5 years, with the National Commission for Human Rights estimating that there is a violent death every 74 minutes in Honduras.

The most dangerous cities in the world by homicide rate.


Warren Gatland’s grand slam success despite mediocre record

24 May

The following graphs illustrates the winning records for selected international head coaches, including both current and former.

The economic performance of the US and UK under Obama and Cameron

24 May

The figures date from the first quarter that Barack Obama assumed office. The figures are sourced from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (GDP) and the US Bureau of Labor (Unemployment).

Figures are from the first quarter that David Cameron assumed office. The figures are sourced from EuroStat (Unemployment) and the UK Office for National Statistics (GDP).

How important is religion in the daily life of a European.

23 May

In 2011, Gallup asked respondents ‘Is religion an important part of your daily life?’. The chart illustrates what percentage of the respondents from each of the 12 European states answered in the affirmative.

How Irish rugby has fared in the past 5 years

23 May

The percentages are based upon the number of matches won by the three provinces in the Heineken Cup and Pro 12/Celtic League. Matches played by Munster in the Challenge Cup are not included and the yet to be played 2011-2012 Pro12 final featuring Leinster has not been taken into account also.

The percentages for the Irish team are based on all games played in the past five seasons, including World Cup and World Cup warm-up games. The yet to be played series in New Zealand has not been taken into account.

The percentages for Connacht include games played in the Pro12/Celtic League and in both the Challenge Cup and Heineken Cup.

As a point of information, games drawn are included in the analysis. As such, the winning percentage may not directly correspond to a loss percentage. For example, while the Irish national teams win percentage for this season is 43%, their draw with France in this years 6 Nations means their loss percentage is 50%, rather than 57%.

Who has been in the Falklands the longest?

22 May

In the 248 years since the Falklands were first settled, 4 powers have laid claim to the Islands. With a history of settlement amounting to 190 years (1765-1776 1833-present), the British presence on the islands dwarfs that of any other, with Argentina, the only other power to currently question current British sovereignty, occupying the Falklands for a period of 13 years.

Earlier this year Cristina Kirchner, President of Argentina, reopened the debate on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, popularly known in Argentina as Las Malvinas. Argentine claims on the islands are based on a variety of factors, ranging from proximity to treaties signed in the 18th Century, before even the existence of an Argentine state.

What the Argentines can’t deny though is that British claims on the islands, based on a historical and continued presence, or rather longevity, are not without merit. As the chart above demonstrates, the British presence on the Falklands far outweighs that of any other power. The percentages are based on the total amount of years that the 4 powers (Britain, France, Spain and the United Provinces) maintained an active presence, exercising some degree of governorship, since the islands were first colonized in 1764.

A Brief history of the Falklands

The Falkland Islands, or rather East Falkland, was first colonized in 1764 by the French. Their presence on the islands were brief and by 1767 they had ceded their claims on the territory to the Spanish.

Unaware of the French presence in East Falkland, the British, under Captain John Byron, landed in West Falkland in 1765, claiming the islands in the name of King George III. Their presence lasted until 1774 or1776 (historical discrepancies exist on this), when for economic reasons they withdrew personnel from the islands, leaving the Spanish as the sole governors.

In 1806 the Spanish governor withdrew from the islands, although, like the British before them, the Spanish left behind a plaque claiming sovereignty of the islands. By 1811, the Spanish presence ceased, leaving the Falklands in a state of flux for 9 years.

In 1820 a force from the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata (the precursor to modern-day Argentina) sailed to the Falklands, claiming sovereignty over them.

With Britain still asserting its claims on the islands,  British warships forced the departure of forces and officials from the United Provinces in 1833. From then until the Falklands War in 1982, the British remained the sole possessors of the islands with the overwhelming majority of administrative officials and colonists being of British descent, a state that continued following their quick victory over Argentine forces.


While the French may have first settled the Falklands, the first official British presence occurred only a year later. Between 1764 and 1833, competing claims between the powers of Britain, Spain, France and the United Provinces meant that any significant human presence in the islands was at most, small and semi-permanent.

The British, barring the period of the Falklands War, have governed and maintained a population on the islands for the past 179 years. They also were the first to colonize West Falkland, maintaining an initial presence there for 11 years. The Spanish, although presiding in the territory for 44 years, have never exercised any modern claims of sovereignty on the islands, nor indeed have the French, the original settlers.

Argentina, or rather the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, were only the presiding power on the Falklands for 13 years, and even during that period did not appoint a governor until 1829. While the Argentines may point to the period of flux of 1811-1820, among other things, as granting a reasonable basis for their initial claim of sovereignty in 1820, it seems that any current claims of sovereignty based on a long period of previous governorship and settlement are tenuous at best.

Dimitar Berbatov: The Premier League’s most efficient goalscorer?

14 May

Van Persie may have scored more but Cisse was more efficient in front of goal

With the 2011-2012 Premier League season reaching its conclusion yesterday, Robin Van Persie, Arsenal’s talismanic forward, topped the seasons scoring chart with 30 league goals in just 37 games played. The Dutch international was closely followed by Man Utd’s Wayne Rooney with 27, while Man City’s Sergio Aguero managed to bag 23 goals in only his first season in the Premier League. Unlike recent seasons, the scoring charts were dominated by traditional forwards and strikers. As the list below demonstrates only one midfielder, Fulham’s Clint Dempsey, managed to score more than 15 league goals this season.

  • Robin Van Persie (Arsenal) 30 goals
  • Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) 27 goals
  • Sergio Aguero (Man City) 23 goals
  • Emanuel Adebayor (Tottenham) 17 goals
  • Clint Dempsey (Fulham) 17 goals
  • Yakubu (Blackburn) 17 goals
  • Demba Ba (Newcastle) 16 goals
  • Grant Holt (Norwich) 15 goals
  • Edin Dzeko (Man City) 14 goals
  • Mario Balotelli (Man City) 13 goals
  • Papiss Cisse (Newcastle) 13 goals
  • Steven Fletcher (Wolves) 12 goals
  • Danny Graham (Swansea) 12 goals
  • Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) 11 goals
  • Frank Lampard (Chelsea) 11 goals

While total goals per season are an obvious indicator of a players scoring prowess, there are other key metrics that can, in some eyes, better determine a player’s proficiency in front of goal. Primary among these is goals per minute. The following is a list of leading players in this seasons English Premier League adjusted to goals per minute.

  1. Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd) 80 minutes
  2. Papiss Cisse (Newcastle) 88 minutes
  3. Mario Balotelli (Man City) 107 minutes
  4. Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) 110 minutes
  5. Nikica Jelavic (Everton) 111 minutes
  6. Edin Dzeko (Man City) 115 minutes
  7. Sergio Aguero (Man City) 116 minutes
  8. Robin Van Persie (Arsenal) 117 minutes
  9. Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) 128 minutes
  10. Yakubu (Blackburn) 150 minutes
  11. Javier Hernandez (Man Utd) 155 minutes
  12. Grant Holt (Norwich) 159 minutes
  13. Pavel Pogrebynak (Fulham) 163 minutes
  14. Emanuel Adebayor (Tottenham) 174 minutes
  15. Demba Ba (Newcastle) 177 minutes
  16. Clint Dempsey (Fulham) 206 minutes
  17. Steven Fletcher  (Wolves) 206 minutes

Selected Others of Note;

  • Fernando Torres (Chelsea) 340 minutes
  • Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea) 212 minutes
  • Frank Lampard (Chelsea) 216 minutes
  • Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 242 minutes
  • Andy Carroll (Liverpool) 554 minutes
  • Craig Bellamy (Liverpool) 223 minutes
  • Danny Graham (Swansea) 247 minutes

As the list clearly demonstrates, players with an efficient strike rate per minute are crucial to league success. Of the top eleven players listed, six played for the top two clubs, Manchester United and Manchester City. The list also confirms the widely held assumption that Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse, a £10 million transfer from Freiburg, was one of, if not, the best buy this season. On the flip side, with just one goal every 554 minutes, Liverpool’s Andy Carroll is increasingly looking like one of the greatest flops in Premier League history.