APRIL 2004 CONTENTS:
 

Only Bosses Happy with Brazil's New Minimum Wage
Starting May 1st, Brazil's minimum wage will be raised from 240 to 260 reais, roughly from 80 to 87 dollars. In order to obtain the purchasing power it had in 1959, today's minimum wage would have to be US$ 208 (R$ 618). If the Gross Domestic Product growth were taken into account, the minimum should be 1,200 reais.
by Mylena Fiori

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In Brazil, They Just Blame the Media
If the Brazilian government had begun to create the promised ten million jobs, or even one percent of them, if Brazilian entrepreneurs had their tax burden reduced even a little bit, if Zero Hunger and First Job had shown some results, then certainly the government would be receiving compliments and praise.
by Carlos Chagas

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Brazil, World's Number 1 Killing Field
In Brazil, 40,000 people are killed, annually, by firearms, according to the United Nations. The country's private sector alone spends US$ 24 billion a year for protection. While having only 2.8 percent of the planet's population, Brazil is responsible for 11 percent of all the homicides committed on earth.
by Angélica Gramático

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Brazil's Lula Looks Less Re-electable
In spite of available funds, none of Brazilian President Lula's projects, announced with fanfare, have been implemented. They include Zero Hunger, water and sewer works, agrarian reform, cheap pharmaceutical products, job creation, and a government-private sector partnership for infrastructure works.
by Richard Hayes

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How Do You Say, 'Bye, Microsoft', in Brazil?
It's 'ciao, Microsoft' week for Brazilian public servants. Over 2,200 civil servants are in Brasília, Brazil's capital, for training in free software The program's intention is turn the participants into propagators of open source. The use of open source represents annual savings of US$ 1.1 billion for the Brazilian government.
by Mauricio Cardoso

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A Brazilian School of Laughs
At Circo Picolino in Salvador, Bahia, nothing is what it seems. The total number of program participants is currently around 400. This figure may grow to as many as 450 by the end of the year. About 380 are children, and most—but not all—of those come from economically distressed environments.
by Phillip Wagner

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We're in Rio, Brazil. Welcome to Gaza Strip.
While the eyes of Brazil have been focused on Rocinha and the war of local drug lords for controlling the place, the situation is far from better in other Rio favelas. In the first of two reports from the Complexo da Maré in Rio's north, Tom Phillips talks to members of two neighboring communities divided by the drugs trade.
by Tom Phillips

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Next in Brazil: Protests in the Streets
The Brazilian Left coalition, which put Lula in power, is planning on taking their grievances to the streets, demanding the changes which were promised 16 months ago. Brazil has changed since Lula took power, with hope giving way to frustration, and then indignation. The only question now is when to start the protests.
by Carlos Chagas

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A Food Pilgrimage to Bahia, Brazil
For once, forget the music and the dancing. I went to Brazil for a good meal and a strong drink to wash it all down. And I wasn't disappointed. I'm not sure how this happened, considering my low tolerance for alcohol, but every morning in Salvador I'd wake up sober. Not one hangover.
by Bondo Wyszpolski

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The Day Democracy Lost in Brazil
In the early morning hours of April 26, 1984, the constitutional amendment for direct elections, in Brazil, went to a vote. The final vote was 298 in favor, 65 against. The amendment failed by 22 votes. The defeat created an enormous feeling of disappointment, but spurred the opposition to carry on its struggle.
by Deigma Turazi

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Brazil, Legalize Drugs, Now!
This is a twelve-point proposal to legalize drugs in Brazil. Decriminalization of narcotics use and legalization of their production may be the only viable way to fight Rio's drug problem efficiently and peacefully. These issues apply not only to Rio, but also to the United States and Canada.
by Norman Madarasz

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Language and Intimacy in Brazil
Brazilian Portuguese, as it is used in Rio, is notably full of expressions of intimacy, and even the way that Cariocas use personal pronouns tends to blur personal boundaries. In the physical sphere, these points of transition are marked by touch, whether handshakes, pats, embraces, kisses.
by Tom Moore

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Brazil: 2.4% Have 1/3 of Riches
During the last 20 years, the Brazilian economy managed to double the number of wealthy Brazilians. The gap between rich and poor has increased though. While in 1980 the wealthiest Brazilians earned 10 times more than the median family income, this difference has increased to 14 times, today.
by Marc Boucher-Colbert

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Trying to Stop Brazil's A-Bomb
Any Brazilian efforts towards building a nuclear weapon or for that matter weapons grade material for the so-called 'credible deterrent' could provoke neighboring Argentina to pursue its shelved nuclear weapon program. This might trigger a nuclear arms race in the Latin America like the one in South Asia.
by Animesh Roul

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Food Lovers' Brazil
A large and ethnically diverse country, each region of Brazil provides food lovers with a special selection of food that is tastily seasoned without being too fiery. In parts of the south, for example, there is the German influence; in São Paulo, the Italian and Japanese influence; and in Bahia, the African influence.
by Joe David

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In Brazil, It's Always Open Season on Indians
Wilson Jesus de Souza, a Pataxó from the municipality of Pau Brasil, in Bahia, Brazil, is a victim of discrimination in his state and protests the absence of justice. "In Bahia no one is arrested for murdering an Indian," he says. He recalls that, since 1982, in his community alone, 16 people have died in land disputes.
by Paula Menna Barreto

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Happy Indian Day, Brazil!
Clashes between the Cinta-Larga Indians and diamond miners have left around 30 miners dead in the Brazilian Amazon. The international human rights groups and similar bodies, which spend so much time condemning Brazilian society for its treatment of the Indians have predictably remained silent.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Razing Eyebrows in Brazil
In Brazil, at the beach, and in restaurants and parks, Band-Aids have found their way over the eyebrows and into the hearts of nearly every 18-year-old girl. These girls are sporting Band-Aids in fashion colors and prints—neon pinks and oranges. Unlike their shy, flesh-tinted counterparts, they are meant to be noticed.
by Gretchen Cuda

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Brazil: Crowd in Rio Buries Drug Lord
Over 200 people attended drug lord Lulu's funeral in Rio. Eight local buses took Lulu's friends and admirers from Rocinha to pay their final respects. There were violent scenes as journalists tried to enter the cemetery. "If you print my photo, you're dead," a girlfriend of Lulu screamed at photographers.
by Tom Phillips

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In Brazil, Lula Still Means Hope
A victory for the PT (Workers' Party) and coalition backing Lula's government in the 2004 local elections seems a real possibility, paving the political path to overcome neo-liberalism. A weak PT performance, on the other hand, will signal the breakdown of an ambitious policy initiated in the 2000 elections.
by Juarez Guimarães

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Brazil: Kids in Rio's War Crossfire
If Rio's Rocinha is, as some say, living one of its worst moments in 20 years, the upscale Escola Americana—founded in 1937 and built close to the favela—has also hit hard times. Last year it was forced to up security, bulletproofing windows, after a series of nearby shootouts. Now, parents want it to relocate.
by Tom Phillips

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Brazil's Eliane Elias Finds Her Voice
Eliane Elias is known for her distinct musical style, which blends her Brazilian roots with her impressive jazz and classical skills. Born in São Paulo, Elias' musical talents began to show at an early age. She started studying piano at age seven. At age 17, she was working with Toquinho and Vinicius de Moraes.
by David Wilson

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Income Gap Still Huge in Brazil
New numbers by Brazil's statistical bureau show that income distribution among Brazilians continues to be a serious problem. While 40 percent of Brazilian households have to get by on half a minimum wage per month (US$ 41.50) per person, the top 10 percent live on more than US$ 8,000 a month.
by Marina Domingos

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In Brazil, 82 Murders a Day, for 20 Years
New numbers released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) show that violence in Brazil grew 130 percent in 20 years. Between 1980 and 2000 there were close to 600 thousand murders. The country's precarious health care system contributed to the high number of deaths.
by Rafael Gasparotto

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How the U.S. Lost Brazil
When the new American ambassador to Brazil arrives at his post in May, he will find a Brazilian foreign policy agenda hostile to U.S. interests. Brazilian President Lula refers to the U.S. as an "empire", and says he wishes alliances with India, China and Russia to "block the imperialist's geographical advance."
by Gerald Brant

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Brazilians, Those Barbarians!
No other country, which is not in a war, has the same homicide rates as Brazil. There seems to be a correlation between the way Brazilians treat animals and fellow humans. The party of the ox, in the South, is sadistically perverse. People stick broken-glass into the animal's anus to make it buck and then beat the ox to death.
by Alan P. Marcus

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Brazilian Army Ready to Occupy Rio
Brazilian Justice Minister, Márcio Thomaz Bastos, admitted on Monday that the federal government might use the Armed Forces to fight violence and the drug Mafia in Rio's favelas. Since Friday, a war between drug gangs from Rocinha and Vidigal favelas left ten people dead and a population scared to death.
by Rodolfo Espinoza

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Opening Bahia, Brazil, to the US
It's a watershed pact between African-American and Brazilian interests. Essence Magazine founder, Clarence Smith, Ira Moseley, César Nascimento, and company are setting out to establish regularly scheduled direct flights, beginning in October of 2004, from selected cities in the U.S. to Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.
by Phillip Wagner

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Brazilian Stone Age
The poor Indian rolled his eyes. He started to count, but did not go beyond the number two. There was nothing in this world that would make him adopt the abstract concept of the numbers three, four, or twenty. "What is wrong with my way of counting?" he asked. "I only need two numbers to count the universe."
by Willer de Oliveira

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War of Drug Lords Over Rio's Favela
Rocinha favela has been on alert since February when a former drug lord escaped from prison. It was widely publicised that Dudu would try to seize control from Rocinha's current boss, Lulu. Dudu and his men tried to do just that. Three people ended up killed, but drug lord was not able to re-take control of the favela.
by Tom Phillips

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Brazil: PT Rebels Want Change Now
In a letter entitled "Before it is too late: Make Changes," a dissident group belonging to the same party as Brazil's President Lula, presents several grievances ranging from interest rates to inflation targets to the primary surplus. The signatories accuse the government of neglecting social programs to please the IMF.
by Iolando Lourenço

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Brazil, in the Lasting Picture Show
American audiences especially are so primed on violence, sex and sensationalism, with blond-haired siliconed Barbie dolls spreading cleavage that it is almost unreasonable to expect them to be interested in the middle class life of Brazilians. Sad to say, they are missing out on a lot of interesting material.
by Norman Madarasz

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Another Day in, Cough, Paradise Brazil
Killings and deaths are a strong component of Brazil's daily diet of news. Justice will never be done and no-one expects it. The dead will be buried and the killers will walk free. If they are unlucky they might get caught and spend some time in a grim prison, but they will either escape or be released in a short time.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Brazil, No Promised Land for Confederates
Historians of the Confederacy in Brazil are keen to stress the importance of a wide range of issues which encouraged Southerners to abandon Dixie and emigrate to Brazil. Consequently, they tend to gloss over another attraction of life in Brazil, which was similar to the one they had left behind: slavery.
by Guy Burton

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Brazil to US: Keep Your Eyes Off Our Nukes
Brazil considers inadmissible a US proposal that the Brazilian government signs an additional protocol on nuclear energy. José Luiz Santana, a nuclear scientist and professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro says that the US idea contains conditions that violate Brazilians' citizenship.
by Nádia Faggiani

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A Brazilian Buffet of Sounds
In The Pulse of Brazil CD release, a darker side of samba is represented through the critical eye of Bezerra da Silva. Way before there was gangsta rap in the US, Bezerra sang about the lives of people living in Rio's favelas, their distrust of official authority and the strange glamorization of criminal life.
by Ernest Barteldes

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Brazil's Paralamas Reinventing Themselves
By the mid-90s, Paralamas had alienated radio listeners and record buyers in Brazil. Their most ambitious album to date, Severino, was praised by critics, but the public wasn't interested. The band tried to find a new public abroad and strategy seemed to work. The Spanish-language Paralamas was a hit in Latin America.
by Ernest Barteldes

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F1 Heroes and Mad Drivers of Brazil
What about the present Brazilian crop in Formula One? The top Brazilian driver, Rubens Barrichello, is number two to Michael Schumacher in all senses of the word. There are also Christiano da Matta and Felipe Massa in thre race. All of which tells us Brazil will not be toasting a world champion any time soon.
by Guy Burton

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Brazil-64: A Coup Against the People
A week after the overthrow of the Goulart government, in 1964, the Brazilian Congress declared the presidency vacant and the military imposed Institutional Act #1. Forty-one politicians had their political rights suspended, among them three former presidents: João Goulart, Jânio Quadros and Juscelino Kubitschek.
by Deigma Turazi

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Brazil Coup: Still Enigma 40 Years Later
40 years later, the fundamentals of the 1974 military putsch in Brazil—the before, the during and the after the coup—remain diffuse and incomplete. All the infographics don't inform anything. The Brazilian media has no humility for self-analysis and no courage to raise "politically incorrect" questions.
by Alberto Dines

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