Girls From Brazil’s Slums Find Escape In Ballet

August 25, 2014

AP – Fox News Latino, 8/25/2014

Past the graffiti-covered overpass and subway tracks, in a slum penned in by high-rises, 8-year-old Gabriela Aparecida fixes her curly hair into a bun as she waits for a ride to her new favorite activity: ballet. Peeling back the tarp over the doorway, the skinny girl reaches out into the dirt alleyway to hug the church volunteer arriving to take her to dance class.

Growing up amid drug dealers and addicts, Gabriela has yet to learn how to read. Yet she and other girls from a rough neighborhood known as a “cracolandia,” or crackland, are learning the graceful art courtesy of a local church group that also offers them food, counseling and Bible studies. The class is among several groups where young dancers hope to catch the eye of a respected Brazilian ballerina who recruits dozens of disadvantaged girls for an annual workshop.

Twice a week, more than 20 girls, ages 5 through 12, board a Volkswagen van for a 10-minute ride to class, where they put on pink or black tights and ballet shoes donated by a dancewear store.

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Apple Pulls Secret App in Brazil After Judge’s Request

August 25, 2014

Katie Nelson – Mashable, 8/23/2014

Days after a Brazilian judge requested in a preliminary injunction that the Secret app be removed from the Apple App Store and Google Play store, Apple has removed the virtual confession forum from the App Store in Brazil.

Secret is an app that allows users to anonymously share their most intimate confessions with other people browsing the app. Paulo Cesar de Carvalho, the presiding judge, argued that the app is an agent of online bullying and therefore detrimental to the public. He ordered that the app be removed from both Apple’s and Google’s app stores within 10 days (starting on Wednesday), with a fine of $9,000 per day tacked on if the order is ignored after that period.

Legally, any apps sold through a country-specific App Store are under the jurisdiction of that country’s government, according to the App Store guidelines. Brazilian law forbids anonymous expression in chapter 1, article 5, section 4 of its constitution.

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Brazilian national team brings in 13 new players after disastrous World Cup

August 20, 2014

Nick Schwartz – USA Today Sports, 8/19/2014

Although the host country managed to finish fourth, the World Cup was an unmitigated disaster for the Brazilian national team. After an embarrassing 7-1 loss to Germany 7-1 in the semifinal after a crucial injury to Neymar, the Brazilians bowed out with a lifeless 3-0 loss to The Netherlands in the third-place game. Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari resigned, and it was clear that changes to the squad were needed.

1994 World Cup winner Dunga took over as manager for the second time in his career — he managed Brazil from late 2006 to 2010, when he was fired after the World Cup in South Africa — and he announced a complete overhaul to the team Tuesday. Brazil will come to the United States in September for friendlies against Colombia and Ecuador, but just 10 players remain from the 23 that played in this summer’s World Cup.

Neymar, Oscar, David Luiz, Hulk, Ramires, Willian, Fernandinho, Luiz Gustavo, Maicon and Jefferson remain.

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Critique: Author creates enjoyable and useful story about the Great Depression

August 18, 2014

Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva – Folha de S. Paulo, 7/19/2014

Global Fellow Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva authors this critique on Brazilian author Ivan Sant’anna’s new book, entitled, 1929. To read the original article in Portuguese, please click here.


New Desert-Dwelling Pterosaur Unearthed in Brazil

August 15, 2014

Helen Thompson – Smithsonian, 8/14/2014

Once upon a time in southern Brazil, toothless dragons ruled the skies. A Brazilian research team has discovered fossils from a new species of pterosaur—the distant, flying reptile cousins of dinosaurs—that lived 75 to 87 million years ago in the ancient Caiuá Desert.

The huge bone bed, outside the city of Cruzeiro do Oeste, contains hundreds of specimens of the novel species, dubbed Caiuajara dobruskii. The discovery provides a window into the pterosaur world, revealing that these animals were quick to take flight after birth, and that they may have been social creatures that nested in big, bustling communities.

Geologic evidence puts the bone bed in the late Cretaceous period and suggests that pterosaurs lived near small lakes in the surrounding desert, as well as along the coast of northern Brazil. “These animals lived in rare humid regions among the dunes, like oases,” says Luiz Carlos Weinschütz, a geologist at the Universidade do Contestado’s paleontological center in Mafra, Brazil.

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Rio’s Slums to Jacob’s Pillow

August 11, 2014

Marina Harss – The New York Times, 8/9/2014

As the protests surrounding the World Cup this summer underscored, Brazil is a complex country, blessed with gorgeous beaches and breathtaking landscapes, bursting with music, but also plagued by poverty and violence. Extremes of beauty and ugliness rub shoulders; they are intertwined in the national character. This tension is precisely what the choreographer Sonia Destri Lie, founder of the contemporary hip-hop troupe Companhia Urbana de Dança, strives to capture in her work. The company will appear at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Mass., from Wednesday to Saturday.

Back in the 1970s, when Ms. Destri was growing up in the comfortable Rio suburb of Bangu, she did not yet know this would be her life’s work. She studied ballet and contemporary dance and went on to perform with the Brazilian dance-theater choreographer Suzana Braga and to choreograph for television, movies and fashion. In the ’90s, when the jobs in Rio dried up, she decamped to Düsseldorf to teach.

Just as she found herself in a creative slump, she was introduced to hip-hop by the American b-boy Marvin A. Smith, also based in Germany. In hip-hop, she recognized a language that offered the freedom she had been seeking. After a fire gutted her apartment, she returned to Rio in 1997 and began producing hip-hop events. She was invited to choreograph Rio’s fashion week and the film “Maré, Nossa História de Amor,” a love story set in Rio’s streets.

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How to save an Amazonian tribe

August 11, 2014

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 8/8/2014

Wading across an Amazonian river, naked save for loin straps and face paint, the tribesmen who recently emerged from isolation in Brazil have stirred up the world’s imagination and concern. It is the most dramatic contact with such a remote group in more than a decade, and the video of their encounter with government officials near the border with Peru went viral after it was released last week.

But after initial amazement, the focus has now turned to the difficult task of keeping the group safe and free from disease, as well as trying to understand why they were driven to cross the threshold into modern society – a step that has often proved fatal in the past.

Largely unheard of until last month and still unidentified, this community of about 50 hunter-gatherers who roam the Upper Envira river region of Acre state has now attracted global attention. The Brazilian government’s indigenous people’s authority, known as Funai, has dispatched a team of ethnologists, linguists and doctors to receive them and prepare for a possible vaccination campaign against the “white-man’s flu” that has wiped out other tribes.

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