July 30, 2014
Greg Scruggs – Next City, 7/30/2014
Like bike riders the world over, cyclists in Porto Alegre know that the last Friday of every month is Critical Mass. But in February 2011, the rolling circus protesting for the right to ride in peace turned tragic when an irate driver crashed into the crowd. Thirty people were injured, many severely, in an event that shook the cycling community to its core.
Lívia Araújo, a journalist, was riding with the group, but escaped unscathed. “I thought I would stop riding because of the shock. We thought everyone would give up, especially people just learning to ride,” she says. Instead, the opposite happened. At a solidarity Critical Mass ride four days later, nearly 2,000 people showed up in support. “So many that I had to walk my bike,” she recalls. “It was a defining event because it forced people to confront the fact that our traffic is really violent. Over 40,000 Brazilians die on the roads every year.” Indeed, the headline-grabbing incident galvanized the local cycling community and city government alike, generating a vibrant bike culture and concrete steps toward a more bike-friendly Porto Alegre.
I met with Araújo inside Vulp Bici Café, a cozy spot she calls “an extension of my living room.” Tássia Furtado, who opened Vulp with two other women in their twenties and early thirties just over a year ago, explains the rationale. “We always met up to ride and then went to a bar to drink, trading tools and parts at a sidewalk table. But it gets cold here in the winter, so we needed a place indoors to drink and work on our bikes.”
July 25, 2014
AP – Fox News, 7/25/2014
Lucas Bazan Pontoni rifled through his pockets for the 45-cent lunch fee as he stood in line at a downtown soup kitchen. When he came up short, an acquaintance sprang for the government-subsidized meal.
One of about 160,000 Argentines who flooded into Brazil for the World Cup, Pontoni hardly fits the image of deep-pocketed foreigners who dropped around $3 billion in Brazil during the monthlong tournament. The 23-year-old actor is broke, and he has no immediate plans to return home almost two weeks after Germany beat Argentina in the July 13 final.
“Brazil is amazing, and I want to stay,” said Pontoni, who had been camping out in Rio’s Sambadrome Carnival parade grounds, lunching at soup kitchens and searching for an odd job to cover bus fare to see northern Brazil. “It could be weeks or months or longer. I’m going to see where life and the road take me.”
July 25, 2014
Simon Romero – The New York Times, 7/24/2014
It occupies an entire block in this teeming megacity: a 10,000-seat rendition of Solomon’s Temple.
Towering in sharp relief against the graffiti-splattered tenements nearby, it beckons with monumental walls of stone imported from Israel and the flags of the dozens of countries where its owner, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, is nourishing an evangelical Christian empire.
A helicopter landing pad will allow Edir Macedo, the 69-year-old media magnate who founded the Universal Church in a Rio de Janeiro funeral home in 1977, to drop in for sermons. The sprawling 11-story complex features other flourishes, too, like an oasis of olive trees similar to the garden of Gethsemane near Jerusalem, and more than 30 columns soaring toward the heavens.
July 24, 2014
Angelica Mari – ZDNet, 7/23/2014
Spotify hopes to become instrumental in the fight against music piracy in Brazil, according to one of the company’s top executives.
The company, which launched its streaming services in Brazil in May, expects streaming uptake will result in the music piracy decline seen in other countries where it operates, according to Head of Spotify Labs, Gary Liu.
“People tend to do whatever is easier and cheaper. Our objective is to build a product that has the same cost of the pirated product — free — but easier and better,” Liu told delegates at YouPix, an internet and digital culture event that took place last weekend.
July 23, 2014
Jefferson Mok – Global Post, 7/23/2014
We often hear sport is a great equalizer that can level out distinctions like class and stomp out problems like racism. In fact, development agencies have long embraced sports as a means to transcend violent rivalries, especially in conflict-torn communities.
Kingsley Ighobor, information officer in the Africa Section for the United Nations, recalls the powerful ability of sports — soccer for men, kickball for women — to build trust between former combatants and civilians in post-civil war Liberia.
“People that had not had a reason to smile for many, many years, suddenly, they are all rallying around their team, they are happy,” he said. “Sports can enhance social cohesion within communities.”
July 23, 2014
Samantha Shankman – Skift, 7/22/2014
Statistically speaking, the games attracted one million foreign tourists (far above its 600,000 estimate), added about $13.5 billion to Brazil’s annual GDP, and encouraged the building or renovation of 12 new stadiums.
Although critics inside and outside of the country will continue to debate the economics of the games, Brazil delivered a tourist experience better than expected for anyone who read the news about lack of preparation and riots in the weeks and months prior to the games.
Brazil’s tourism organization Embratur is already looking ahead to 2016 when the country will again host a global sporting events, but its newly instituted president Vincente Neto first talked to Skift about his perspective on the games.
July 22, 2014
Claudia Valenzuela – Public Finance International, 7/22/2014
Growth, opportunity and potential have ricocheted across Brazil and the African continent in recent years. While other more mature markets are only just beginning to click into gear after the financial crisis, the economies of Brazil and Africa have enjoyed better times as a result of rising popularity with foreign investors, and burgeoning domestic markets driven by an expanding middle class and abundant natural reserves.
Africa, in particular, is picking up the pace. It’s perceived attractiveness relative to other regions has improved dramatically over the past few years, according to EY’s recent Africa attractiveness survey, moving from the third-from-last position in 2011 to become the second most attractive investment destination in the world. Its total share of global FDI projects has also reached the highest level in a decade, with investors increasingly looking across the continent and to new sectors.
An African horizon
While separated by the vast expanse of the southern Atlantic Ocean, the fact that, millions of years ago, Africa and Brazil were joined in a single landmass, and continue to share similarities in soil and climate, serves as a far more apt geographic metaphor. The increasingly close relationship between the two began during the Presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who himself traveled to Africa 12 times in the 1990s, visiting 21 countries in the process. This pattern has continued under his successor, Dilma Rousseff, who, for example, visited Angola, Mozambique and South Africa during her first year in office.
July 21, 2014
Simone Marques – Index on Censorship, 7/21/2014
While researching Brazil’s legislation called the biographies’ law, Index on Censorship’s Brazil contibutor Simone Marques spoke to award-winning Brazilian author Luiz Ruffato, whose works include acclaimed novel They Were Many Horses.
Index: By defending the idea of controlling of literary works, such as biographies, wouldn’t some Brazilian artists be executing the role of a censor?
Ruffato: This is a paradoxical subject, because these artists live from the public image they built. People do not buy only a song or a film, people also buy the exposition of this artist. And the moment he becomes a public figure he is no longer a private figure. If this person is no longer a private figure, it is possible that he may have his own life scrutinised. I do not see any problem with that. I think anyone can manage their own life the way they feel like. Whoever wants to write a biography about me can keep calm. They will find absolutely nothing that may dishonour my image. But if they did find something, it would be okay, because I am exposing myself, I am living off that, I am somehow using my public image to make money. Therefore I think that when you move into this public world, you must be aware of that.
July 11, 2014
Robert Young – The Conversation, 7/11/2014
One of the reasons Brazil took its loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-finals so hard was because many Brazilians wrongly believe the rest of the world only looks up to them for their footballing skills. Brazil has many world leading projects, but they can be overshadowed by the beautiful game.
During the opening ceremony of the World Cup there was a moment when the Walk Again Project of Brazilian neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis was supposed to be showcased – it received less than three seconds of coverage. It is a world-leading project in which paraplegics are able use their thoughts to control an exoskeleton. But Nicolelis went to develop the project in the USbecause the right environment was lacking in Brazil for his research.
When it comes to higher education, Brazil is ranked 13th for global scientific productivity of papers published, but in terms of scientific innovation it is a very low performer.