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What People Are Talking About

Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks is back with a vengeance. The country singer made headlines recently for two reasons: one, because he held a press conference yesterday to confirm his return to music and the concert stage (the latter of which he first revealed back in December during a "Good Morning America" appearance, at left); and two, because of Ireland. Poor ol' Ireland. Back in December, Brooks announced he would play two comeback concerts at Croke Park Stadium. When the shows sold out immediately, he added three more dates and ultimately sold more than 400,000 tickets for the five-night event. But several businesses and residents near the stadium complained about the shows; as a rule, only three "special events" are supposed to take place each year at the stadium. They asked him to cancel two of his shows. In response, Brooks — citing a desire to be fair to all of his Irish fans — cancelled all five shows. Basically: it's kind of a mess. Ireland aside, however, Brooks used his press conference to confirm several things: new music by the end of July; a new album sometime around Black Friday (his first, by the way, since 2001); and when more details about his upcoming tour will be released (July 14). All in all, given that people are talking about Garth Brooks again, I'd say it's probably a pretty good week for him.

Brazil v. Germany

Earlier this week, Brazil and Germany faced off in the first of the World Cup 2014 semi-finals. Going into the game, morale among Brazilian fans was down, given that their star player, Neymar, wouldn't be able to play in the game due to an injury; still, most were expecting a close game, with Brazilian fans hoping for a win on their home turf. Unfortunately for the Brazil team, that's not exactly what happened. Within 10 minutes, Germany had made its first goal; 22 minutes in and they had their second goal; a minute later, their third. By halftime, Germany had racked up five goals to Brazil's zero. The end result? Germany with 7 goals, and Brazil with just 1. It was an especially painful loss for Brazil: it happened on their home turf; it was their worst loss ever (surpassing a 6-0 defeat by Uraguay in 1920); and it was Brazil's first loss in a competitive home game since 1974. Seriously.

Harry Potter

This week was pretty awesome for HP fans. On Tuesday, the second portion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando had its grand opening. For Harry Potter fans, that means a chance to visit the iconic Diagon Alley (including Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Ollivander's Wand Shop, and Gringotts Bank); King's Cross Station (and Platform 9 3/4); and Knockturn Alley. To coincide with the occasion, J.K. Rowling released an update about Harry Potter and friends, 16 years after the "Harry Potter" narrative wrapped. The piece, available exclusively on the Harry Potter site, Pottermore, talks about Harry, Hermione, Ron, Neville, Ginny, Luna, and their families. Written from the perspective of gossip columnist and notorious troublemaker Rita Skeeter, take the updates on Dumbledore's Army with a grain of salt.

What were you talking about this week?

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