Indians in Brazil say gov’t deceived them about dam project

September 17, 2014

EFE – Fox News Latino, 09/16/2014

Brazil’s Munduruku Indians charged Tuesday that the government deceived them and defied a requirement to consult with the tribe before approving the construction of a new hydroelectric dam in the Amazon jungle.

A statement distributed by the Missionary Indian Council, a group linked to the Catholic Church, said the indigenous people “are outraged” after the government of President Dilma Rousseff set Dec. 15 as the date to receive bids to build the São Luiz do Tapajos power plant in the northern state of Para.

Government officials met with Munduruku representatives two weeks ago to discuss the Indians’ rights to be consulted about developments in their lands, as mandated by Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization.

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Marina’s “Post-Racial” Brazil

September 10, 2014

Julia E. Sweig – The World Post, 9/10/2014

Stating the obvious can have its merits, so I’ll risk the inevitable criticism for stating the obvious: two women, one white, one black, are the top contenders for the presidency of one of the world’s largest democracies.

Maybe the NSA is blocking my access, but I spent the afternoon hunting around the Brazilian media for a discussion of gender and race in this election and found but a handful of articles. Perhaps the gender angle is easier to explain–Brazilian women have been running for president off and on for the last twenty years. The 2010 election may have been more of a breakthrough than 2014. But the muted, if absent reference to race surely owes more to the reluctance to talk about Brazil’s racial divide and the persistence of the myth of a race-blind society.

Why talk about race and gender when there is so much more that has put Brazilians in a sour mood of late? Recession, crime, household debt, inflation, poverty, international atrophy. Now, and like the protests last year, the Marina surge as the anti-Dilma, as the markets’ unlikely favorite, has energized the public debate about Brazil’s future. A certain irrational exuberance around Marina has morphed the sour to sweet.

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A Voice for Ukraine, In Southern Brazil

September 10, 2014

Marcio Pimenta – Roads & Kingdoms, 9/9/2014

The first signs of Prudentópolis, after miles of pine and Araucaria forests and wheat fields under the blue and cloudless sky, are the Byzantine domes of its churches. Then, after crossing into the city proper, the names on the storefronts—Klosowksi, Zubreski, Bohaczuk, Techy—offer final confirmation: you have reached the heart of Ukrainian Brazil.

As the notion of what it means to be Ukrainian is tested on the battlefields of Eastern Ukraine, there is little doubt in Prudentópolis. These are Ukrainian patriots: originally from the province of Galicia in what is now western Ukraine, they believe, as western Ukrainians still do, in the sovereignty and unity of that country. To that end they have raised money—$1000 recently for hospitals and refugees, more coming soon—and tried to raise awareness of the Ukrainian cause. Although, in Prudentópolis, few need reminding. Even for Brazil, a country of immigration clusters, Prudentópolis is remarkably concentrated. Around seventy percent of the population of 50,000 inhabitants are the descendants of Ukrainian immigrants who arrived in the nineteenth century.

Located in south-central state of Paraná, about 200 km from Curitiba, the city does not lack for nicknames. “The Vatican” for its vast number of chapels and churches. “Honey Capital” because, well, they make a lot of honey (same explanation goes for “Black Bean Capital”). They have recently pinned their economic hopes on a different nickname—“City of Giant Waterfalls”—because there are more than 100 waterfalls in the area, some as high as 200 feet, and they want to draw tourists in to see them. “The numbers are still modest, but the adventure tourism is developing fast in the region”, says Johan Schipper, manager of the Department of Tourism. There are in fact backpackers and pickup trucks and 4×4 jeeps roaming the streets, but one can’t help but feel that the off-road set is somehow in direct opposition to the real challenge facing this place: how to preserve the unique agricultural heritage and identity of its Ukrainian community.

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Brazil’s Independence Day Protests: Daily

September 8, 2014

Chesney Hearst – The Rio Times, 9/8/2014

Widespread protests marked Brazil’s Independence Day celebrations yesterday. The national holiday, typically celebrated with military parades in the streets of state capitals and numerous cities throughout the country, instead saw a wave of demonstrations, some of which turned violent.

Protests against various issues, including corruption and poor quality of public services, sprung up in 150 cities but the turnout was significantly smaller than the numbers seen during the massive protests that took place in June.

Security had been heightened in anticipation of the protests, notably in the country’s capital of Brasília. There, President Dilma Rousseff participated in the traditional Independence Day military parade without incident.

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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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