Last Update: June 27, 2003

 

If Only I Knew a Little Portuguese!
I was starting to get really frustrated. I needed someone who spoke English. My five or six words of Spanish were getting me nowhere fast. I began to feel delirious. They swirled around me, these hordes of non-English speakers. I was a lonely ant lost in a sea of Cariocas.
by John Daniel

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Pow! Wow! The Spirit of Brazil.
Brazilian Spirit of the Amazon is very similar to modern American comics. Its content, however, is highly charged with political substance, which gives it a dimension that is unique. Also, the book offers readers a chance to be immediately involved in real-life social action by helping S.O.S. Amazônia.
by Michael Dobran

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Meeting Brazil's Female Authors
Fortunately, Fourteen Female Voices from Brazil does not push a hard feminist agenda that could alienate male readers. While the concept behind the book has much to recommend it, the execution is far from successful. Preface and introduction could have used some editing.
by Bondo Wyszpolski

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Brazil: Which Part of Poor You Didn't Understand?
The current minimum salary in Brazil is R$ 240 (US$ 80). Official unemployment is 12 percent and nobody knows the real numbers. In Rio, 30,000 people queued up for two days to apply for 1,500 positions as municipal street cleaners. To help, Lula has announced a people's bank.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Cutting Brazil to the Bone
A Brazilian senator wants to drastically reduce the number of Brazil's congressmen, both senators and representatives. He also wants to create new states and eliminate ministries and departments. The purpose is undoing the strategy of the neo-liberals, who for eight years have been trying to demoralize the state by swelling it.
by Carlos Chagas

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Brazil and Their Civilized Neighbors to the North
While geographically located in the "western" hemisphere, Brazil does not fully qualify as a western nation. The terms "west" or "westernized" have become euphemisms for "civilized", "white" and "English-speaking." It is time the world learns that America is not a country, but an entire continent.
by Alan P. Marcus

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How I Taught English in Brazil And Survived to Tell the Story: Lesson 2
More often than not, the sharp-eyed professor is forced to improvise a tailor-made solution by employing something Brazilians call jogo de cintura, which is best translated as the ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds by "thinking outside the box."
by Joe Lopes

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Sunny Sounds of Brazil's Daniela
Singing at Central Park's Summerstage in New York, Daniela Mercury kept the energy level high at all times, not letting the rain-soaked audience take a single breath. She was wildly cheered when she told Brazilians in the audience: "Brazil loves you and we want you all back."
by Ernest Barteldes

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Brazil Autoracing: Speed Is in The Blood
Decades of success in Formula One, and now, Formula Indy, supported by winning personalities, are redefining Brazil's national character through its love affair with racing. The last three years have changed the face of Brazilian racing history. In Indianapolis, Brazilians have accounted for 11 top-ten finishes in that period.
by Phillip Wagner

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Brazil and the Angolan Connection
Angola has a strong connection to Brazil and to the United States because these countries were the main places were Angolan slaves landed in the New World. Brazil was the largest recipient of these slaves. It is time for Brazil to help Angola and try to repair some of the injustices done to the Angolan people.
by Ricardo C. Amaral

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What's Eating Brazil
I have an offer from the bureaucrats in the port of Santos, Customs and Revenue Service to pay for six persons an all told sum of US$ 12,000 so that they can "release" my belongings! I am expected to pay six corrupt civil servants of the Brazilian government to come into possession of the photographs of my mother!?
by Roman Latkovic

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Brazil and US: A Pledge of Allegiance
"Reaffirming our commitment to advance common values, we will continue to work together to protect and advance democracy, human rights, tolerance, religious freedom, free speech and independent media, economic opportunity, and the rule of law."

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Safety in Rio: Don't Trust the Statistics
Rio de Janeiro is a big city with a big crime problem. How bad or not that problem is a matter of individual opinion. If you go looking for sleaze, expect to find it. And don't assume that just because things work one way in your hometown that they work the same way in a foreign city.
by Thaddeus Blanchette

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Paulistas and Caiçaras: Parallel Lives in Brazil
Violence and physical confrontation was a way-of-life for the average youngster spending time in Guarujá, São Paulo. The threat of a violent confrontation was always seemingly about to happen at any given moment. It could be triggered by anything from an unsolicited "look", a "stare" or an accidental "bump."
by Allan P. Marcus

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Brazil: Here, Vice-Presidents Count
The vice-presidency has helped shape Brazil's history. In 1992, Vice-President Itamar Franco rose to the top in place of Fernando Collor de Mello, who was forced to step down. In 1985, Vice-President José Sarney took over when President Tancredo Neves, became ill and died before being inaugurated.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Brazil's Lula: Displeasing Greeks and Trojans
Lula is clearly trying to pull off a delicate balancing act. He is adhering to IMF policies to stave off capital flight and keep economic pressures from abroad at bay while carrying out some limited reforms and staking out political and trade policies that he hopes will give Brazil more independence and stimulate economic growth in the long run.
by Roger Burbach

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No Reason to Be Bullish on Brazil
Amid talks of tax and pension reform and the measures before Congress at the moment, Lula's government has made no attempt to reduce government payrolls or make the huge bureaucracy more efficient to meet the needs of the population. On the contrary, he has created several new secretariats.
by Richard Hayes

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Brazil: We Have No Roadmap
The Lula administration still lacks an action script. The President's Workers Party should have started drafting one 12 years ago, when Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ran for President for the first time. What we hear is that we must resume growth. But we remain generic. We need a true Action Plan.
by Carlos Chagas

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Brazil: Bullying and Death in the Countryside
The police investigated the site, made their report, and even succeeded in arresting landowner Marcos Napoleão and three of his gunmen. However, they were released the next day after a judicial hearing. Part of the tragedy of this incident is that the workers lost all of their personal legal documents in the fire and now cannot enroll their kids in school.

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Out of Africa: Race in Brazil and in the US
In Portuguese, the word for "race", raça, is not surprisingly the same as the word used for "breed", and the word raça is used for both animals and humans. The subtext of the word "race" is still inherently imbued in eugenic ideology, otherwise known as "social Darwinism." There is only one human "race."
by Alan P. Marcus

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The Trouble with Lula
The government's major strategist, Duda Mendonça, is an extraordinary talent in political marketing, but he is not a communicator of administration platforms. Zero Hunger is sloshing because it was plucked from a presidential speech and turned into a finished product before the product was even made.
by Alberto Dines

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Lula's Plane Takes Off
A draft prepared by the Executive to reform the public pension system has been approved by a Brazilian House Committee. This is just the start, though. Meanwhile, the failure to get the Zero Hunger project up and running has caused Lula little loss of face because people are still giving him the benefit of the doubt.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Regards from São Paulo, Brazil
A little vanity saves a higher-up on Lula's party from being kidnapped. Capoeira without Baianos is something else. In São Paulo, driving through red lights, the wrong way up one-way streets, and parking on the pavement is the norm. Still you can taste a piece of paradise in Sampa.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Brazil: The Cruel Rite of Churrasco
The Brazilian tradition of churrasco is a lamentable example of mere human selfish gluttony. Related to it, some Brazilian rodeos are sadistically perverse, as onlookers and rodeo participants stick broken-glass into an animals' anus to make it buck more fiercely, and then beat and literally torture the oxen until they die.
by Alan P. Marcus

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Brazil and Cuba: More than Good Friends
Chief of Staff, José Dirceu, says that the generation who came to power with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is in debt with Cuba. Dirceu also reminds us that the Brazilian Left, during the years of the military regime, could always count on Cuba—on its solidarity, its "friendly hand" and its "strong arm". "I consider myself a Cuban Brazilian and a Brazilian Cuban", he says.
by Janer Cristaldo

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Dear Saudis, Play Safe, Bring Your Money to Brazil
If I were the Finance Minister of Saudi Arabia, I would be cashing in, and moving most of Saudi Arabia's assets out of the US for safekeeping. Doing otherwise would be foolishness. Confiscation of Saudi money by the US seems imminent. Brazil is a good place to put at least part of the 2 trillion dollars, which are now in American hands.
by Ricardo C. Amaral

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Brazilian Press: Lolita to the Rescue
Advertisers don't want circulation but money to ensure their survival. The middle or upper-middle classes, who buy expensive items, never stopped buying papers. Grocery stores and electronics/appliance stores know that consumers will only come back when the economy improves.
by Alberto Dines

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I Nominate Brazilian Furtado to the Nobel
It is long overdue for the Nobel Committee to award the Nobel Prize for Economics to the outstanding Brazilian intellectual and economist Celso Furtado. At times, it seems that Brazil is the only country in the world that never got a single Nobel Prize. It's time to correct this grave oversight.
by Ricardo C. Amaral

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Brazil-USA: Learning to Bridge Cultures
When Brazilian and American executives are briefed on what to expect from their counterparts in negotiations, the results can be surprising. The key is to understand the differences. Brazilians generally prefer to establish personal relationships at the start while Americans prefer less initial "small talk."
by Kim Hugget

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Vila Velha: Best-kept Secret in All Brazil
Vila Velha, with its freakish sandstone formations much like Monument Valley in Arizona, was where an ancient race kept their treasures and worshipped Tupã, the Tupi god. A select band of warriors, the apiabas, stood guard and were not allowed to touch women in case they lost their powers.
by JohnM

 

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Will Argentina Roar Again?
The fact that the IMF has gone out of its way to help Brazil, while treating Argentina harshly, reflects the difference in the regional and international importance of the two countries. Argentineans did not like this treatment but Brazil has become the de facto Latin America's main power.
by John Fitzpatrick

 

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Hungry for change in Brazil
Lula's transformation, from radical socialist to international statesman, has drawn lazy comparisons with Tony Blair. The two have little in common. Lula's "third way" involves a genuine attempt to make the private sector see that its interests lie with helping to address deep social problems.
by Richard Adams

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No One's Minding the Store Brazil
Chief of Staff José Dirceu commands the political tractor to get reforms passed. Finance Minister Antonio Palocci chains himself to the fiscal calculator. And Lula does what he loves to do—campaigning—happily this time, followed by constant applause, free from superegos, absolutely loose.
by Alberto Dines

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Lula Shining Abroad
The Brazilian Gross National Product growth was negative in the first three months of 2003 and shows few signs of reviving very soon. Contrasting with the gloomy reality of the real economy, Brazil's image and that of Lula seem to continue to glisten overseas. Domestically the honeymoon is over, however.
by Richard Hayes

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Brazil, End Illiteracy or Change Your Flag!
Some say that it is inefficient to spend money on literacy programs for adults who would have little to offer the national economy. First, the 20 million people learning to read and write would become a considerable workforce. Second, it may even be inefficient, but it is decent.
by Cristovam Buarque

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Indy: Let Brazil Shine
Not only the boys from Brazil, but from all over the world. Formula Indy should open all doors, let anyone and everyone who can compete do so and if you don't like it, go out and secure more sponsorship, build more competitive cars and train better drivers.
by Phillip Wagner

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Death Squads Won't Die in Brazil
Amnesty International in its latest report on Brazil shows that high levels of crime continues to drive underfunded, poorly trained and often corrupt police forces to the further use of repressive methods. Military and civil police are responsible for thousands of deaths and human rights defenders are dismissed as "defenders of criminals".

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Brazil: Northeasterners Get No Respect
Brazilian TV viewers may associate what is deemed as successful attributes with urban or North American lifestyles. Perceptions acquired from television, US movies and popular music, affect attitudes leading to ethnic and "racial" self-doubt pertaining to Brazil's African and Amerindian ancestry.
by Alan P. Marcus

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All Eyes on the Amazon
Scholars gathered at Dartmouth College to discuss Amazon issues such as human rights, cultural preservation, technology, bio-piracy, sustainable development, education, religion, art, and literature. Participants talked about their growing expectations toward policies forged by President Lula of Brazil.
by Dário Borim

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Dreadful, puzzling, almost lovely Brazil
A beloved music producer is murdered in cold blood; the opposition becomes the government's ally; and dirty, dangerous São Paulo still hides some charm. Amid all of this, Chico Buarque's silence is a hit and Veja magazine puts on its own grisly act profiling a mortuary attendant accompanied by a picture of him with the tools of his trade, extracting instruments included.
by John Fitzpatric
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Food for Nukes, the Answer for Brazil
The big lesson from the Iraq fiasco to all nations around the world is: if you don't have nuclear weapons to defend your country, then you are out of luck. Brazil should learn this lesson and withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Brazilians should exchange food for North Korean nuclear weapon know-how.
by Ricardo C. Amaral

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How I Taught English in Brazil and Survived to Tell the Story - Lesson 1
If you are a clock-watcher or a nitpicker and want to be an English teacher in São Paulo, my advice would be to put away that timepiece, give yourself plenty of leeway to get to where you want to be, and go with the flow. The sheer number of vehicles in the city can have a truly mind-numbing effect on a person's sanity.
by Joe Lopes

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Trying to Gag Lula
By creating phony crises, the media is falling into the hands of those who profit from this volatility—the speculators, many of which are the big Brazilian banks. A free news media is essential in any democracy, but much of what the media produces is of little or no value.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Indy 500: Brazil All Over
Gil de Ferran, Hélio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan complete unprecedented 1-2-3 sweep, marking a third straight year of Brazilian dominance at Formula Indy's premiere competition. The three Brazilians were separated by less than one-quarter second, marking the closest ever 1-2-3 finish in Indianapolis 500 history.
by Phillip Wagner

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The Brazilian Six-Pack at Indy
There are six Brazilians in the spotlight this Sunday, May 25, competing in 87th annual Indianapolis 500. They are Hélio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Gil de Ferren, Felipe Giaffóne, Vitor Meira and Airton Dare. Can Castroneves make history becoming the first driver ever to win three consecutive Indy 500s?
by Phillip Wagner

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All the Sounds of City of God
The soundtrack of City of God is a treat. It brings a concise mini-history of the music of Rio de Janeiro and its evolution over the years chronicled in the movie's plot. In the final section of the album, the music turns a bit darker as the drug war comes to a climax.
by Ernest Barteldes

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The Making of Lula of Brazil
A new book on Lula explores the Brazilian President's private and emotional life in detail and even draws explicitly on psychoanalytic concepts to probe his unconscious mind. Lula's saga is Brazil's version of a Horatio Alger story. He channeled his anger into a struggle to do better than his father.
by Ted Goertzel

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Brazil: Next Stop, Civil War
The correct name for what we are up against in Brazil is narcoterrorism. Violence has become a federal issue and the fight against violence, with or without formal intervention, with or without the Armed Forces in the streets, must also become a federal issue.
by Alberto Dines

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Gil and Gal - What a Guy, What a Gal
Brazil's Culture Minister, Gilberto Gil, should make singer Gal Costa an arts ambassador and send her round the world. This single act would lead to Portuguese ousting English as the international language and have tourists flocking here by the million. Gal's voice is as clear as a bell with a sensual warmth that cocoons the listener in ethereal bliss.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Brazil, Still a Banker's Paradise
Banks in Brazil rank among the planet's most profitable with returns on equity that are the envy of bankers anywhere. An overdraft facility can cost the customer nearly 200 percent a year. Credit card finance and personal loans run over 100 percent a year. Most personal loans are made to pay off existing debts.
by Richard Hayes

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Erasing the National Memory in Brazil
Due to lack of funds, São Paulo's TV Cultura has been reusing old videotapes to record new shows. Entire series are disappearing, never to be seen by future generations. One of these shows is Metrópolis, which showcased Marisa Monte in 1988. News and children programs have also been erased.
by Marianna Castañeda

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How Brazil's Lula Is Fooling the World
Lula's party, the PT, covered up its historic radicalism during Brazil's presidential campaign with world-class marketing. Once in office, the PT was able to pacify Wall Street while giving itself cover to gradually re-nationalize formerly privatized assets. This strategy has worked brilliantly, so far.
by Gerald Brant

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The Rise of the Brazilian Empire
Brazil's imperialism is generally overlooked by Brazilians. The boundaries of Brazil were created mainly by force of arms and sometimes by diplomatic guile, backed up by the saying that "possession is nine-tenths of the law." More recently Brazil took over territory belonging to Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Brazil to Say 'No, Thanks' to US
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will veto a proposal being discussed in Congress that would allow the US military to use the Alcântara missile launching base located in the Amazon. According to some, with this accord, Brazilians would lose sovereignty over their territory and get very little in return.

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Indy 500: Boys from Brazil Raring to Win
Mark your calendars for May 25th. Penske, Toyota position Hélio Castroneves for three-peat at Indianapolis 500. It will be a superhero face off: "Spiderman" vs. "X-man." True to the form of 2001 and 2002, Brazilians have galvanized the imagination of their fans and continue to win converts.
by Phillip Wagner

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Afrobrazilianists: Such Arrogance!
Brazilian progressive blacks are doing what they can to allow us to reach the enviable levels of racial hatred of a First World country. They have the valuable support of activists bringing degrees from American universities. We now have academic factories of racism called 'centers for black studies'.
by Janer Cristaldo

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Fast Times in Lula's Brazil
The sudden resurgence of the real has scared some people, including President Lula. In another front, by appointing three new judges to the Supreme Court, so early in his administration, the Brazilian president has an excellent chance of influencing the way Brazilian society is shaped in coming years.
by John Fitzpatrick

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How to Marry a Brazilian
For an American citizen the road to marry a Brazilian can be rugged and intimidating. In Brazil, religious wedding ceremonies are not legally recognized. You need to present among other documents your birth certificate and evidence that you are single. And remember that registering your intent to marry is different from registering the actual marriage.
by Kim Rachell Lainhart Lira

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Brazil's Favorite Nephew
Playwright Mauro Rasi will be remembered for his refined use of language in which even tragic situations were injected with humor and grace. He drew flesh-and-bone portraits of people that every Brazilian can find in his own family. He was also known for glorifying women.
by Marianna Castañeda

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Sky Is Falling over Varig
Varig will keep its name, but very little more, after its merger with TAM and a rescue package from the Brazilian government that will make the state the main shareholder of the new airline, which should be called Varig.
by Émerson Luiz

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What Brazil Taught Me
Don't try to change Brazil, let Brazil change itself. Shine a little light in the right direction, focus on the positive aspects of Brazil culture, people. Don't let the shit get you down. Draw inspiration from the good things and enjoy life with the same passion with which Brazilians enjoy life.
by John Miller

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Jazz Can't Resist Brazil
For decades, the recordings and live appearances of famous and less celebrated American singers, bandleaders, soloists and performers have featured Brazilian sidemen and session players or been influenced by Brazil's most sublime and precious commodity: her music.
by Joe Lopes

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Can God Save Rio?
Under a new restrained, conservative conception of democracy, religion has slid into the equation. Apart from Israel and the US, religion has also become the measure of accountability in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Rio's state government is experimenting with its own version of the national security state.
by Norman Madarasz

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Tough Lula To Oust Rebels
While the rest of us think President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been behaving responsibly, his own party's extreme left-wingers think he has betrayed their cause. They want the government to tax and spend. They want higher taxes on industry and commerce and high-income individuals.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Lula: "We Should Stop Blaming Others"
Lack of money is not an excuse, says Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, appealing to lawmakers to approve reforms that are expected to jumpstart the Brazilian economy. Lula thinks it's time Brazil stop blaming the rest of the world for its own problems and take matters in its own hands to deal with hunger and unemployment.
by Francesco Neves

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IMF Wants More from Brazil
Every Brazilian had to work one whole month in 2002 just to pay Brazil's interest rates on its loans. However, in spite of meeting the demands of the International Monetary Fund, Brazil did not succeed in balancing its payments and had to sign a new Letter of Intention with the IMF.

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The Old Boys (and Girls) from Brazil
The proportion of Brazil's elderly is increasing more rapidly than that of children. In 1980 there were 16 elderly for every 100 children. In 2000, there were 30 elderly for every 100 children. The Catholic Church in Brazil is focusing its attention on them, this year.
by Daniel F. McLaughlin

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Brazilian Wonderland
Trade figures for Brazil look quite promising. Fact unheard, gasoline prices fell and the real gained nearly 15 percent on the dollar in the last month. On top of all a surplus of over US$16 billion is predicted for this year thanks to a reversal of negative sentiment and the positive performance of Lula.
by Richard Hayes

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More Than Jobim's Alter Ego
Newton Mendonça and Tom Jobim met in 1942, when they were fifteen, and became inseparable. There have been speculations about Mendonça's songwriting abilities. Would he have measured up without Tom as his partner? What did he contribute to the songs they wrote together?
by Daniella Thompson

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Why I Couldn't Take Brazil
São Paulo was a ruthless and merciless environment for a novice job seeker. I soon learned that teachers of English were a dime a dozen in São Paulo. The continued bleak outlook for the Brazilian economy and the rising crime and unemployment rates conspired to finally force me to face reality: we were going broke.
by Joe Lopes

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Czar of Rio's Underworld
If Rio's new Public Security Secretary, Anthony Garotinho, makes an impression and reduces the city's appalling crime rate, the road will be open once again for the next presidential race. Garotinho could win this fight against crime by using his populist approach. He is a former radio host and an evangelist.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Waiting, Waiting for a Doctor in Rio
The Brazilian Institute for Social Welfare is relatively serious about what it proposes to do: provide health care for all comers, indiscriminately. So, if you have a medical emergency in Brazil don't hesitate to check into a public hospital if you have no other options on your immediate horizon.
by Thaddeus Blanchette

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For Job Seekers Brazil Is No Eldorado
Thinking of moving to Brazil? If the aim is to make a lot of money then think again. Do not assume that you will find casual work as easily as in Europe or the US. Not only is the unemployment rate high, but the pay for this kind of work is so low that almost no European or American would accept it.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Brazil on Track, Says Snow
"It will take patience. Good policies don't produce instantaneous results. But I have nothing but praise for for President Lula and Minister Palocci and Central Bank President Meirelles. I think they are all to be commended for the straightforward and intelligent approach they are taking to the big economic policy issues."

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Castroneves's Thrill Is Back
It seems appropriate that Brazilian racecar driver Hélio Castroneves, whose exuberant fence climbing after victories has infused 'the mother of all Indianapolis Racing League events' with a new level of excitement, should lead another Brazilian charge.
by Phillip Wagner

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Losing Patience with Brazil's Lula
Lula and his advisers have resurrected the old "supply-side" and "trickle-down" arguments pioneered by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. They claim that lowering taxes, particularly for businesses and the wealthy, will produce growth for Brazil's capitalist economy and eventually jobs for the poor.
by Rafael Azul

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Abranches' Sneak Preview
American audiences will soon have the chance to know the work of filmmaker Aluizio Abranches, one of the most innovative directors making movies in Brazil today. Here he talks to Brazzil about the public reaction to his work, his love of film and the state of filmmaking in Brazil.
by Felipe Castaneda

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Silencing Women with a Shot
Virtually nothing is known about females who are murdered at the hand of Brazil's insidious death squads. Part of a comprehensive investigation of the entire universe of such victims in Brazil, over the past 50 years, Female Death-Squad Victims in the States of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo looks at these women in an exploratory study.
by R.S. Rose

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Let's Hear It for Brazil's Globo
The Clone—a Brazilian soap opera showing the differences between Islam and the Western world, and tackling controversial issues such as arranged marriage, polygamy and adultery—has won for Globo TV two Latin ACE 2003 Awards in the United States.

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Brazil Warns: Respect Gays or Else
Following the lead of São Paulo and Rio, the state of Santa Catarina has just passed a law that will severely fine businesses discriminating against gays. There will be heavy fines and recidivists might lose permanently their operating license.
by Ernest Barteldes

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Gung Ho on Brazil
As long as President Lula says and does the right things and statistics do not deteriorate significantly, this current wave of confidence in Brazil may persist. He has been very clever to gain the agreement of Brazil's governors to back certain proposals to change the pension scheme for government workers.
by Richard Hayes

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Should Brazil Adopt a New Currency?
How can currency stability be achieved for the Brazilian economy? If Brazil is thinking of the future, they should think in terms of the Euro. If Brazil wants to base its future policy on the past, then it should think in terms of the U.S. Dollar or Pound Sterling.
by Ricardo C. Amaral

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