March 6, 2014
Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 3/5/2014
José de Moraes leapt into the air as if possessed by the frenzied rhythm that his drummers were beating out. As master of the drum section of his Carnaval street party, or bloco, his job was to choreograph the furious samba beats that sent revelers wild.
He leapt and danced like a rubber man in the midst of the bloco, called Paraty do Amanhã (Paraty of Tomorrow), on a narrow street in this popular tourist town on the Rio de Janeiro coast that attracts more than a million visitors a year.
For Brazilians, Carnaval is a five-day national escape from the harsher realities of life. The year in Brazil only really begins after Carnaval, which wrapped up Tuesday.
March 5, 2014
Wright Thompson – ESPN, 3/4/2014
We landed in Brazil 102 days before the first game of the World Cup, and nobody cared. Well, we cared, because we’re from an American television network and paid to notice these things, but nobody else did. It was the final weekend of Carnival, and the country had basically stopped all operations except drinking and dancing. After Tuesday, which happens to be both Mardi Gras and exactly 100 days out from the start of the World Cup, Brazil can turn its attention to the business of hosting a soccer tournament. Then all the questions — about the danger of protests interrupting the games, about the nation’s infrastructure handling so many sudden visitors — can be answered.
Earlier, we went to a packed local bakery to get some sandwiches in us — lay down a Carnival base — and sitting in the back corner, I caught up with my interpreter Flavio, who’s been with me on three trips to Brazil now. He described the last few weeks here. A journalist had been killed by a protestor’s rocket during a demonstration in Rio, and in Sao Paulo, cops were using MMA-style armbars on protestors.
He told me about a law politicians are trying to push through the Brazilian senate before the World Cup. It is called the Anti-Terrorism Bill, and it would criminalize many of the actions of protestors. Anyone arrested during a demonstration could potentially be labeled a terrorist. Acts of vandalism could be seen as terrorism and punished as such. A Brazilian military document described even peaceful protestors as “opponent forces.” Tin soldiers and Nixon coming. A line is being drawn between the government and its people, because of a sporting event. Opponents might have beaten back the law, but there’s still time.
March 5, 2014
Jack Bell – The New York Times, 3/4/2014
The 2014 World Cup begins on June 12, when Brazil plays Croatia in the opening match. Reporters and editors for The Times will count down to the start of the tournament each day with a short capsule of news and interesting tidbits.
Tim Cahill is certainly among the most traveled soccer players in the world.
As he gets ready for his third trip to the World Cup finals with Australia, Cahill was back in England preparing for an international friendly on Wednesday against Ecuador at a place he knows well — Millwall’s The Den.
March 4, 2014
Tim Vickery – BBC, 3/4/2014
“We’re working in conditions where the cement is not yet dry,” said Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke as preparations for the 2014 World Cup move towards the final straight.
The strain is showing on Valcke. Fifa wanted all 12 stadiums ready by December, to give plenty of time for test events. Sao Paulo, scene of the opening game, may not be handed over until May.
Curitiba got itself so far behind that there was a real danger of the city being cut from the schedule.
At a news conference a couple of weeks ago to announce that the city had been reprieved – “We’re going to trust Curitiba while also mistrusting it,” said Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo – Valcke cut a short-tempered figure.
March 4, 2014
Global Travel Industry News, 4/4/2014
In the run up to the FIFA World Cup™ this year, and the Olympics in 2016, SITA is working with the Comissão de Implantação do Sistema de Controle do Espaço Aéreo (CISCEA) in its drive to upgrade Brazil’s air traffic management technology. CISCEA is the body responsible for developing and implementing new technologies for DECEA, the Brazilian Air Navigation Service Provider.
SITA, the world’s leading provider of air traffic management communications and IT solutions, already provides Departure Clearance (DCL) and Digital-Automatic Terminal Information Service (D-ATIS) datalink services at both Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo’s GRU Airport. These solutions will now be extended to 23 airports across Brazil.
Major Brigadier Carlos Vuyk de Aquino, President of CISCEA, said: “Brazil has the busiest airspace in South America and we are very proud to be hosting two of the world’s biggest sporting events. We want everyone flying to, from and within Brazil to have smooth and uneventful journeys. It is therefore essential that our air traffic managers have access to the very best technology available.
March 3, 2014
Simon Romero – The New York Times, 2/28/2014
IN his fits of rage, Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, has thrown a stapler at one aide. He threw an ashtray at another. He berated a councilwoman in her chambers, calling her a tramp. Stunning diners at a crowded Japanese restaurant where he was being taunted by one constituent, a singer in a rock band, he punched the man in the face.
While Mr. Paes, 44, has apologized to the targets of his wrath after each episode, he adds that he is under a lot of stress. Normally clocking 15-hour days as he tears up and rebuilds parts of Rio in the most far-reaching overhaul of the city in decades, Mr. Paes is finding that consensus over his plans is elusive.
“Don’t ever in your life do a World Cup and the Olympic Games at the same time,” Mr. Paes recently said at a debate here on Rio’s transformation, making at a stab at gallows humor over the street protests that have seized the city over the past year. “This will make your life almost impossible.”
March 3, 2014
Tales Azzoni – The Associated Press, 3/3/2014
World Cup organizers will mark 100 days to go on Tuesday with work still to be done on stadiums and infrastructure in the 12 host cities.
As national teams enter their final phase of preparations — Wednesday in the only date this year before mid-May that all players are available to national teams for exhibitions — the Brazilian government is trying to ensure the country will be prepared for the 32-nation tournament, which opens June 12. Brazil had nearly seven years to prepare after winning the bid in 2007.
There are four stadiums still under construction, and work outside many venues is far from over. Airports likely won’t have all the work completed, and many urban projects initially expected to be ready for the World Cup won’t be finished until after the event.
February 25, 2014
Adidas on Tuesday acceded to a request from Brazil’s tourism board, which said the sporting goods maker should stop selling two T-shirts it marketed ahead of this year’s World Cup because they encourage sexual tourism.
One shirt shows a bikini-clad woman with open arms on a sunny Rio de Janeiro beach under the word-play “Looking to Score.” The other has an “I love Brazil” heart resembling the upside-down buttocks of a woman wearing a thong bikini bottom.
Adidas said the shirts would not be sold anymore, adding in a statement that they were from a limited edition that was only on sale in the United States.
February 25, 2014
Joe Leahy – The Financial Times, 2/24/2014
For weeks workers at São Paulo’s Itaquerao stadium have been clearing up the damage from a deadly construction accident in November. A giant roof girder crashed through a wall of the unfinished 68,000-seat arena, killing two labourers and casting a pall over Brazil’s preparations for this year’s football World Cup.
“People working in there say it won’t be ready in time for the World Cup,” says Paulo Arminio, who sells snacks to construction workers from a van outside the venue and who witnessed the accident.
The government and Fifa, football’s global governing body, insist the stadium will be ready for the world’s most popular sporting event, which begins in June.
February 24, 2014
Rogerio Jelmayer – The Wall Street Journal, 2/23/2014
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff remains the favorite to win re-election in October with a comfortable lead over possible contenders, according to a poll published Sunday.
The Datafolha polling institute said Ms. Rousseff has recovered much of the support she had lost in the wake of mass street protests in the middle of last year.
Millions of Brazilians demonstrated in cities across the country of 200 million people. They had many complaints, but most were focused on perceived corruption and on the poor quality of public services, such as health care and education.