Brazil’s silent abortion dilemma

September 30, 2014

Julia Carneiro – BBC News, 09/30/2014

The risks faced by Brazilian women seeking an abortion has been highlighted by the brutal death of a 27-year-old woman.

Abortion is only legal under the most exceptional circumstances in Brazil – a traditionally Catholic country.

A recent poll suggested around 79% of the population opposed legalisation but figures suggest that one in five women in the country have had an abortion by the age of 40.

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Brazil presidential candidate airs homophobic rant during TV debate

September 29, 2014

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 9/29/2014

Mark it down as a poor night for Brazilian democracy and tolerance. The penultimate televised debate before next weekend’s presidential election was overshadowed by the homophobic rant of one of the fringe candidates.

Levy Fidelix is a conservative and former journalist who has no hope of winning, with a support rate below 1%. But given almost equal airtime to the leading candidates on national television on Sunday, he let rip with a torrent of invective.

The presidential hopeful claimed homosexuals “need psychological care” and were better kept “well away from [the rest of] us”.

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Women lag behind for Brazil’s state governors and congress

September 25, 2014

CCTV America, 09/24/2014

For the first time ever, three female candidates are competing for the presidency of Brazil, Latin America’s largest country. Two of them are likely to win the election. However, women are still lagging far behind in the election for state governors and congress. CCTV America’s Lucrecia Franco reports from Rio de Janeiro.

President Dilma Rouseff with the Workers’ Party, and Marina Silva of the Brazilian Socialist party are the presidential front-runners for the October 5th general election. One more woman, Luciana Genro, of the Socialist and Freedom Party, is also in the race.

In Congress, however, women account for less than 10% of the 513 seats, a gender gap that can be seen in all other levels of elected office in Brazil – a pattern that is not likely to change soon.

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Brazil’s quilombos, founded by escaped slaves, offer a window to the past

September 22, 2014

Donna Bowater – Al Jazeera America, 9/20/2014

To listen to Conceição Maria Viana, a descendant of escaped slaves, is to hear the voice of Brazil’s once silenced past, buried deep in the forest amid the babassu palm trees.

Viana’s grandfather, Benedito Zacarias Serra, was a runaway slave who founded one of thousands of clandestine settlements known as quilombos before slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888.

Today, 126 years after slavery ended, Serra’s quilombo lives on as a testament to the resilience of Afro-Brazilian culture, with about 100 families celebrating many of the same traditions — and facing many of the same challenges — from when Santo Antônio dos Pretos was founded.

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Brazil: Schoolboys wear skirts in protest after trans girl fined for wearing female uniform

September 22, 2014

Nick Duffy – Pink News, 9/21/2014

A group of boys at a Brazil school have donned skirts, after a transgender girl was fined by teachers for wearing the “incorrect” uniform.

17-year-old Maria Muniz, who recently came out as trans at São Cristóvão do Colégio Pedro II, was disciplined by teachers and handed a fine after she wore a skirt to school, instead of the regulation boys’ trousers.

The school claimed that their Code of Ethics did not permit “male” students to wear female uniforms – but was forced to backtrack on the decision when the girl’s classmates decided to protest by all wearing skirts to school too.

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Countdown begins for Brazil elections

September 18, 2014

CCTV America, 09/17/2014

It’s down to the wire in next month’s presidential election in Brazil. Incumbent Dilma Rousseff is battling her main rival Marina Silva. For the third time, the candidates appeared in a televised debate. As CCTV America’s Paulo Cabral reports from Sao Paulo, they know the slightest misstep could make a huge difference in what’s expected to be a close election.

The third televised debate was organized by Brazil’s Catholic Church. Clergymen and journalists from religious media asked the questions. And while the questioners were different, the main issues were not. As they did in the previous debates, the candidates talked about health, poverty, the economy and political reform.

President Dilma Rousseff stayed on message,focusing on her government’s accomplishments. Her main challenger is socialist candidate Marina Silva. Polls show the two women will likely square off in second round runoff in a race that’s too close to call.

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Brazil denies blocking Africans’ entry to guard against Ebola

September 11, 2014

EFE – Fox News Latino, 09/10/2014

Brazilian immigration authorities denied Wednesday that they are blocking the entry of African immigrants due to fears that they might be carrying the Ebola virus, which has killed nearly 2,300 people in West Africa since March.

The Federal Police, who are responsible for border control, responded to press accounts that their agents are blocking the entry of immigrants from Africa in the Amazonian state of Acre, on the border with Peru and Bolivia.

“Immigration control in the state of Acre is functioning normally and there is no order to restrict the access of Africans to the national territory,” the Federal Police said in a statement. The force said that it will adopt the necessary disciplinary measures if it is verified that any of its agents have engaged in “irregularities” while handling African immigrants.

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