FEBRUARY  2004 CONTENTS:
 

Brazilians Meet and Pray in New York
After the mass, which lasted just over an hour and ended with the distribution of ashes to those who missed the ritual on Ash Wednesday, the congregation descended to the church's main hall, where a lunch was offered. The music varied while the crowd slowly filled the dance floor after dessert had been served.
by Ernest Barteldes

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Mugged in Brazil
Bit by bit I was losing the struggle. He was taller and bigger than me. I couldn't hold onto my rucksack any longer. Soon he had it. Everything I had was in my rucksack, including and most importantly, my money belt, with my money, credit card, plane ticket and identification. I didn't know what to do.
by Guy Burton

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Brazil, Land of Carnaval and Scandal
Brazilian politics is so rife with scandals that teams of journalists could spend the next 20 years uncovering them. Brazil's most recent political scandal has shown that President Lula's Workers Party is as capable of dirty deeds and looking after its own as the other parties it used to decry during its years in opposition.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Brazil Survives Another Carnaval
While most Brazilians were already back to work throughout the country, 600 thousand baianos (those from the state of Bahia) went out to the streets on Wednesday to take part in the arrastão (trawling) led by musician Carlinhos Brown. In Salvador, the Carnaval folly was extended into Ash Wednesday's afternoon.
by Rodolfo Espinoza

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Brazil: Lula's Party Gets Ready for Battle
In an effort to dispel the bitter taste left by a scandal from a Brazilian top government's aide, the Workers' Party executive committee announced a national act of redress. Lula's party believes that the occasion calls for an offensive position and not a defensive one. The public act is to be held in Brasília and across the country.
by Émerson Luís

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Razing History in Brazil
I come back to reality. The dwelling inhabited by the famous writer Clarice Lispector is blowing in the wind. The building itself is a furniture shop nowadays. The square is a paradise of oddjobbers, homeless and social outcasts. That is part of Brazil's history. In Recife, when we enlarge streets, we can be narrowing minds.
by Carlos Jatobá

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Brazil: Threats Don't Deter Indians
Despite all the efforts to prevent the holding of the 33rd General Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the State of Roraima, 1,307 indigenous leaders got together. They complained against the increasing violence and the inexplicable delay to confirm the bounds of the Raposa/Serra do Sol that belong to the Indians.
by Cimi

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Illiteracy, Brazil's Capital Sin
Every country has the obligation to abolish illiteracy. This is even truer for a country with a text written on its flag. In Brazil, more than 15 million adult Brazilians do not recognize the motto "order and progress" written on the flag. Either Brazil changes its flag, or it teaches all Brazilians to read, no matter their age.
by Cristovam Buarque

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A Carnaval of Disillusion in Brazil
Brazilian politics is once again involved in a scandal. It was revealed that the coordinator between the office of the President and the legislative branch extorted funds from underworld figures. None of this is terribly shocking to observers except that it shows that the PT is not unlike the other Brazilian political parties.
by Richard Hayes

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Brazil: "Respect Our Minors or Else!"
Attempting to shake off Rio's and the Brazilian Northeast's reputation as a paradise for sex tourists, police have vowed to crack down on the industry during—and after—Carnaval. Despite the visible effort it is still common to see fresh-faced girls on the streets of Copacabana and other tourist neighbourhoods.
by Tom Phillips

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Brazil: Nobody Is Happy with the Prime
Even though it was expected by the majority of economists, Brazil's productive sector didn't like the Central Bank's decision to maintain its high interest rate. The president of the National Industrial Confederation called the action "frustrating" and considered that the measure will affect investment decisions.
by Alana Gandra

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From Brazil: Thanks for Iraq, Mr. Bush
For having stanched the flow of innocent blood in Iraq—with a reduced number of casualties in both sides, and with the least civil casualties of any war of the XX century—the American president, whatever mistakes he may have made, deserves the gratitude and respect of all conscious humankind.
by Olavo de Carvalho

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Brazil: For Some, Slavery Is the Only Option
It is estimated that between 25 and 40 thousand workers live under slave-like conditions in Brazil. Inspections carried out by Brazil's Ministry of Labor's discovered workers living in canvas tents, eating poorly, and drinking the same dirty water as the animals. A landowner remarked that the workers preferred it that way.
by Andréia Araujo

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Manhattan Plays Brazil's Forró
Forró is not only for Brazilians anymore. You can go to your local megastore in the U.S. and you will find CDs by popular forró bands such as Mastruz com Leite and Magníficos. And now forró has become also hip in Manhattan's East Village. There, a group of forró musicians has been crowding the Nublu Club.
by Ernest Barteldes

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Brazil: Bah, Not Another Carnaval!
Most Brazilians don't like Carnaval or so says a new poll. There are some reasons for that. Blatant commercialism is one of them. The sexual element is another. Sex may be a turn on for some people, but it is a turn off for many others. Eroticism and sensuality have long given way to vulgarity and tastelessness.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Brazil's Capoeira: Alive and Kicking in London
Some come into capoeira class, convinced they are about to learn a Brazilian version of karate or judo. They expect capoeira to only be athletic. When they are asked to sit down, play an instrument and sing, they decide that it's not for them. What self-respecting martial arts performer would be caught dead singing?
by Guy Burton

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In Brazil, TV Is Untouchable
We had a dramatic example of the incompetence of the Brazilian State in curbing the programming abuses practiced by commercial television. It represented a victory for trashy programming and showed an unwillingness to react to pressure groups. The media asks for credit as if it were a creditor, not a relapsing debtor.
by Alberto Dines

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Brazil's Fingerprinting: Good to Catch Sex Tourists
Many U.S. citizens visit foreign lands to engage in illegal activity that would be more seriously persecuted in the United States such as soliciting of sex. Brazil's upcoming Carnaval attracts millions of tourists lured by sex and drugs, so the whole fingerprinting thing wouldn't be such a bad idea to help the Brazilian police.
by Ernest Barteldes

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Brazil: Rio's War of the Drug Lords
In anticipation of war for the favela's drug trade, Rocinha's drug-traffickers are currently recruiting soldiers. They have asked owners of vehicles with tinted windows to remove them, so they can monitor who enters and leaves the favela. They have also recommended that residents keep off the street after 10 pm.
by Gabe Ponce de León

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Brazil's Northeast: A Violated Land
The Brazilian Nordestino has long lived in a region under severe environmental stress, with harsh droughts, desertification, and hunger that ultimately provoke the "push" effect in the inter-regional migrations. The desolate land of sertão looks as if someone had claimed it, chewed it and spat it out.
by Alan P. Marcus

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Brazil: São Paulo Needs a Shrink
The proportion of people in São Paulo who visit psychiatrists is amongst the highest in the world, even higher than neurotic New York with its Woody Allens and Jerry Seinfelds. Most of São Paulo's psychiatric patients are not nervy Jews but Catholics who obviously need to talk to a stranger about their problems.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Education Should Be Job One in Brazil
Almost 40 million Brazilian children and teenagers are returning to their classrooms after their summer vacation, and more than 5 million of them will begin school for the first time. The government commemorates monetary stability, harvests, and the discovery of oil wells but does not celebrate the new school year.
by Cristovam Buarque

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My Family Helped to Bring Football to Brazil
It was the 25th birthday of a German, Johannes Minneman, which brought together the 21 people who would found Sport Club, Brazil's first football club, on 19 July 1900. Among the predominantly German names were three Englishmen, S.W. Robinson, William Ashlin and my great-great uncle, Arthur Lawson.
by Guy Burton

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Brazil: Why Hunger Is Absurd Here
How can hunger exist at all in Brazil? With one half of the country's grain production Brazil would be able to feed 225 million people. Since we have a population of 165 million, there would have leftovers. The devil is in our economic model, which favors speculative activities in detriment of production.
by Carlos Chagas

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The Price of a Slave in Brazil
Brazil is responsible for 15 percent of women trafficked in South America, a great majority being from the North and the Northeast. Most of them are young—between 12 and 18 years old—have little schooling, and are of African descent. Currently, the "market value" of a Brazilian woman is up to US$ 15,000.
by Bernardete Toneto

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Brazil: Farewell to a Cursed Poet
Although shunned for a time by publishers due to her erotic books, writer Hilda Hilst's talent was always praised by the Brazilian intelligentsia. She was labeled pornographic, provocateuse and obscene by her critics, but this didn't prevent her from receiving some of Brazil's most important literary prizes.
by Elma Lia Nascimento

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Brazil: How to Make a Lite FTAA
The latest round of negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas was a victory for Brazilian diplomacy. Still, it was not enough for those Brazilians who don't want any type of FTAA, whether it be all-encompassing or lite. This month, the content of the new FTAA Lite should be defined in Mexico.
by David Kane

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Music: Assorted Brazilian Biscuits
Given the brushoff by BMG, singer Maria Bethânia signed with Biscoito Fino and began releasing the kind of music she likes to do. Her double CD Maricotinha Ao Vivo did so well that she followed it up with a religious album that few in the industry would have thought commercial. It's excellent.
by Daniella Thompson

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In Brazil, Indians Win Land But Can't Get It
The Xavante Indians were expelled from their land in 1967. In 1998, the demarcation of the place was completed. However, five years after this demarcation was registered, 80 Xavante are still camped close to the area waiting for a judicial decision that would finally make it possible for them to enter the land.
by Cimi

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The List of the Undone in Lula's Brazil
As a reader of O Estado de S. Paulo pointed out, during the thirteen months that Lula has been in office, not one federal highway has been paved, no hospitals or penitentiaries were built, professors or policeman's salaries have not been improved, not one favela has been removed. And the list goes on and on.
by Richard Hayes

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Brazil Cabinet: The Fall of a Dreamer and a Doer
Following his resignation, Brazil's former Education Minister Cristovam Buarque, claimed he had been isolated in the Lula administration and that education was neglected. "You speak only about the economy, foreign policy and hunger. No-one speaks about social policy," he told President Lula.
by Guy Burton

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