MAY 2004 CONTENTS:
 

Wanna Buy Cheap Land in Brazil?
The Internet has plenty of offers for those willing to buy a piece of the Brazilian jungle. The price is good: from US$ 16 to US$ 50 for a hectare of public land in the Brazilian Amazon. The problem is that government land cannot be sold directly to the public in Brazil. So the police are warning: 'caveat emptor.'
by Marcela D'Alessandro

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Brazil: Lula Beats Cardoso in 2006
In a hypothetical election against former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazilian President Lula would beat his predecessor. An opinion poll by Ibope reveals that 33 percent of Brazilians would vote for Lula and 16 percent for Cardoso in the first round. A runoff vote would be needed to choose the winner.
by Irene Lôbo

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Brazil: Lula Down, Inflation Fears Up
A new poll by the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics shows that Brazilians are afraid that high inflation will be back to the country's economy. The same survey also shows that President Lula's popularity continues to fall. Only 54 percent of the population now say that they trust their chief.
by Irene Lobo

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Saint Leonel Brizola of Brazil
In Brazil, you just need to die to become a saint. Take Leonel Brizola, for example. Claiming to be a defender of democracy, he spent his whole life worshiping dictator Getúlio Vargas. As Governor of Rio, he helped drug dealers by forbidding the police to enter the favelas. If Rio has no rule it started with Brizola.
by Janer Cristaldo

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Brazil: Minimum Wage Goes to Committee
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva wants a committee to discuss and present a new minimum wage policy for Brazil. Had Lula thought about such a commission earlier he might have avoided much headache and would have a better chance to win the coming elections for his Workers' Party.
by Carlos Chagas

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Brazil's Debt Over US$ 300 bi
Brazil's debt/GDP ratio spiked in May to 56.8 percent of GDP due to the real's devaluation against the dollar. According to the Brazilian government, however, this is good news. They point that last December the debt/GDP ratio was 58.7 percent, which means that there has been "a significant reduction."
by Gustavo Bernardes

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The Treacherous Songs of Brazil's Lustful Sirens
Brazil can be a dangerous place for foreign dreamers. We have seen a good example recently of how things can go terribly wrong. A 56-year-old Swiss language teacher was thrown from the seventh floor of his apartment in Rio. A 30-year-old manicurist who was his long-term girlfriend admitted being involved in the crime.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Brazil: Waiting for Lula... to Get Out
The Lula administration is still mired in inefficiency and inability to deliver any programs to help the lot of the people or to stimulate the economy. Meanwhile, Brazilian banks' profits continue to set record levels. This is one sector of the economy that seems to prosper regardless of what is going on politically or economically.
by Richard Hayes

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Reliving Brazil's World Cup Excitement
In the midst of all the commotion, someone yelled "pentacampeão," which means five-time champion. "We just scored the winning goal." The crowd, already loud, became ecstatic. Everyone was going crazy, and while cheering seemed to be an American thing, singing, dancing, and hollering to the beat of a drum, was purely Brazilian.
by Adam Lee

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Brazil Tells Brazilians: Piracy Is Robbery
Out of every three CDs or DVDs sold in Brazil last year, one was pirate. Brazil, however, still lacks official data on the economic damages caused by the sale of falsified products. All that exist are estimates. It is estimated, for example, that the Brazilian audiovisual sector loses US$ 120 million a year due to piracy.
by Bianca Estrella

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Brazil Scene: Letters from Prison
"It feels like I’m on the other side of the world, one which I didn’t need to get to know. I’m really frightened. The people here fight day and night. It doesn’t take anything to set off violence or a whole night of blood. It’s hell. I ask God to get me out of here. Tomorrow no longer belongs to us."
by Tom Phillips

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Brazil: Congress Wants New Economic Model
Brazilian President Lula's recent defeat in the House could be the first step to disassemble the model responsible for our national problems. It will be increasingly difficult to justify a law forcing workers to survive on a miserable minimum wage while we send US$ 61 billion abroad to pay the external and the public debts.
by Carlos Chagas

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Brazil: Lula's Popularity Is Down
What happened to Brazilian President Lula campaign promise to double the purchasing power of the Brazilian minimum wage? Lula has been involved in a fight with Congress to get a smaller not a bigger salary to workers. The government says, however, that the workers' purchasing power is the highest in 12 years.
by Cecília Jorge

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Brazil, the South American Tiger
In New York, accompanying Brazilian President Lula in a trade mission, Brazil's Minister of Finance, Antônio Palocci, said that Brazil is experiencing a new stage of sustainable growth. He told 676 American, Canadian, and Mexican businessmen that Brazil is much less vulnerable to outside shocks today.
by Ana Paula Marra

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Sending Money to Brazil? Charge It.
It is estimated that there are 2.5 million Brazilians living abroad. Last year they sent US$ 2.9 billion back to Brazil, according to the Brazilian Central Bank. Most of the remittances come from the United States, with an estimated 55 percent of them. Japan is in second place with 27 percent of the remittances.
by Nelson Motta

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Rest in Peace, Brazil's Old Warrior!
Leonel Brizola lost an election, lost another, and then modestly became the vice presidential running mate of Lula. He set aside all vanity because that was the moment for the young metal worker to replace the old engineer in leading Brazil. With the same coherence he joined the opposition to Lula in recent months.
by Cristovam Buarque

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Brazil: China Lifts Soy Ban
Brazil should resume soon its shipment of soy to China, after a two-month-long embargo. Losses from the ban are estimated at US$ 1 billion, according to the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture. Lower prices for the product have raised speculation on the ill-will of Chinese importers, who are now negotiating better terms.
by Luis Waldmann

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Official Mourning for Brizola in Brazil
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said he deeply regretted the death of Leonel Brizola, calling him a leading politician that he always respected and admired. Brizola had enthusiastically supported Lula when he became President, but grew disillusioned and turned into a fierce opponent of the government's economic policy.
by Douglas Correa

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Brazil Cries for Its Last Caudillo
Leonel Brizola's position as one of Brazil's leading political leaders over the past 50 years is undisputed. He spent 15 years in exile after the military grabbed power from his brother-in-law, João Goulart, in 1964. When an amnesty was granted in 1979 and Brizola returned to Brazil he was given a rapturous welcome.
by John Fitzpatrick

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US$ 13 bi: The Low Price to End Brazil's Poverty
With a little more than 2 percent of its revenue Brazil could put an end to its poverty. By using US$ 13 billion annually, in a few years Brazil could assure all its children good schools. Everyone would have housing and healthcare and no one would go hungry. And these projects would generate employment and revenue.
by Cristovam Buarque

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A Brazil Out of Tune
Musical instruction in the public schools is not a priority for those responsible for education in Brazil. In the first four grades, the teaching of arts, and of music as one of them, is done by the class teacher. From fifth to eighth grade, there's a teacher of artistic education who may not have specific training in music.
by Flávio Carrança

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Brazil Indians Ready to Die for Land
Despite a judicial order against Brazil's Krahô-Kanela Indians they refuse to leave Mata Alagada, in the state of Tocantins, a place they consider traditional land. They have occupied the area and say nothing will make them give up. Said one Indian, "My mother is 76 and prefers to die in her land than have to leave."
by Cimi

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Dear, IMF: a Letter from Brazil
We request the completion of the Seventh Review by the IMF. We emphasize that we will continue to treat the arrangement as precautionary. As usual, we will maintain a close policy dialogue with the Fund and stand ready to take additional measures as appropriate to ensure the achievement of the program's objectives.
by Antônio Palocci

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Brazil's Stagnant Revolution
The Left born in the São Paulo ABC assumed Brazil's presidency with a project of power but with no project to utilize it. In these 17 months, we have not seen a new vocabulary arise in Brazil. Zero Hunger is merely a goal, imported from old programs, like those of the US and the United Nations for poor countries.
by Cristovam Buarque

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Pointers for a Better Brazilian Press
I can't leave out of our "ideal agenda" the issue of a body patterned after the American Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The Brazilian government and the electronic media companies may not be interested in creating such a body, but I consider it to be our inalienable duty to instigate this discussion.
by Alberto Dines

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Brazil Is Good for Your Pocket, Says Lula
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is headed to New York where he will tell investors from the US, Mexico and Canada that Brazil is a great place in which to invest. Lula will also take part in the Global Compact Summit, organized by the United Nations. There he intends to discuss his Zero Hunger Campaign.
by Nelson Motta

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The Ills of Tobacco and TV in Brazil
A judge in São Paulo, Brazil, found against Souza Cruz and Philip Morris for omitting information about the dangers of smoking and the transmission of deceptive advertising. Damages were estimated at US$ 17 billion. People are asking to be reimbursed for what they willingly paid to get sick.
by Janer Cristaldo

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Brazil: Strikes Try Lula's Party
The implications of Piauí Governor's failure to navigate through an impending disaster could have wider and more profound implications for Brazil Lula's Workers' Party. If the strikes in that state spread this will be shown as yet another example of the PT being unable to introduce much-needed reforms.
by Guy Burton

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Brazil: It Ends the UNCTAD of the Discontent
For the Secretary of Environment and Development from the state of Amazonas, in Brazil, is a tremendous absurd for the whole world to say that the Brazilian forest should be preserved, because of its value in natural terms. People have to remember those who live in the forest, he said, in unacceptable poverty.
by Eduardo Mamcasz

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Brazil's Musical Polyglots
My own vote for the most absurd-sounding cover album ever committed to disc by an established Brazilian artist has got to go to Crooner by Milton Nascimento. The real "clinchers" are the American numbers, delivered by Nascimento in absolutely execrable English, particularly "Only You" and "Beat It."
by Joe Lopes

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How the Viola Got Hip in Brazil
The history of the viola in Brazil always accompanied that of the man in the field. There are more than 20 different tunings for the instrument. One of the most common in the states of São Paulo and Minas is the big onion. It's said that women cry when they hear violeiros playing in this tuning as if they were chopping onions.
by Rafaela Müller

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Mud and Chaos in Brazilian Music
Brazil's Mangue Beat musical movement shows us that the dividing line between the public and the private is broken. In an absolute way. In the conditions of poverty and misery of these great urban peripheries in Brazil, where private life is absolutely invaded by the public dimension, or rather by its absence.
by Maria Rita Kehl

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Brazil Silences Community Radios
Given the populism from which current Brazilian President Lula's campaign emerged, proponents of community radio in Brazil had hoped for more favorable treatment, but that's not the case. Transmitting radio signals without official authorization continues to be a crime punishable by jail.
by Marc Boucher-Colbert

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Brazilian Culture: A State-Funded Bordello
Brazil's culture gigolos managed to revoke the reactionary law of supply and demand and shove their made-in-Brazil movies down the throats of the movie-going public. What is left in the market is the domain of the Americans. Brazil also has state theatre, state book publishing, and state music.
by Janer Cristaldo

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Ché Is Brazilian Now
Set in Spanish, but conceived by a Brazilian, Motorcycle Diaries is a Southern Latin American film. There may be no more perfect a figure from the region to carry the theme of a Latin American continental cinema than the Argentine-born, Cuban and Latin American revolutionary, Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, a.k.a. Ché.
by Norman Madarasz

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All the Papers a Gringo Needs to Live in Brazil
Like many things in Brazil getting documents and checking accounts will depend on the mood of the manager or the official you are dealing with. It might sound weird but that's the way things work in Brazil. A nice and friendly conversation might make things much easier and it could even make the impossible possible.
by Volker Ruthner

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All Brazil You Can Eat in London
Here it is: the Guy Burton Guide to Brazil in London. I will be the first to admit that it’s far from comprehensive and bound to miss things out. This is a first step into finding out more about Brazil in London. These are the resources I use to gather information about Brazilian life in London and the UK.
by Guy Burton

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Brazilian Love Affairs
The Brazilian press is in love with Brazil's Finance Minister, Antônio Palocci. One of the reasons for this crush is the media's distrust of President Lula's chief of staff, José Dirceu, who is regaining his power after losing it. This just shows how the Brazilian media manipulates the news when it wants to.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Brazil: Lula's Empty Promises
The Brazilian people does not need Lula, nor wants him anymore. The Brazilian President didn't keep his promises and business with China, will only enrich friends. The headlines in Brazil talk about advances. They forgot the existence of 53 million indigent, 12 million unemployed and 10 million famished.
by Carlos Chagas

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The Press in Custody, in Brazil
The Brazilian press was not sufficiently shocked by the recent massacre in Rio's Detention Center, nor was able to shock its readers. Much less sound the alarm to wake a federal government immersed in its dramas of conscience. Worse than lying is silence. Silence saps the energy of those who seek action, chills indignation.
by Alberto Dines

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Cowboy Ronald Reagan and Brazil's Mystique
Brazil is the last big frontier of retirement for Americans. The city of Barretos is on the road for those Americans who live and love the country lifestyle. Whether Reagan's legacy has any meaning for Brazilians in Brazil, Barretos can only gain by honoring President Reagan in a city where the cowboy is still king.
by Edgardo Quintanilla

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Driving in Brazil and Living to Tell About It
Brazilian drivers have the unfortunate habit of tailgating at highway speeds. To changes lanes you might want to wave your hand out the window and hope they don't rear end you. Another constant menace is the overloaded and underpowered truck. The exhaust from many of the diesels is amazingly sooty.
by Tom Moore

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Smoking: Brazil's Gift to the World
Tobacco smoking was the great indigenous legacy to civilization. Not every cultivated person dares to affirm that tobacco was imported from Latin America natives, to France by Jean Nicot, hence the name nicotine. Today's cancers and emphysema are in large part the heritage of the noble savage of our continent.
by Janer Cristaldo

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Brazil: Corruption Here Is a Cancer
The secret of our corruption in Brazil rests in the fact that it is beyond white hats and black hats, beyond what type of administration is in power. It goes beyond differences between branches of government because it is deeply rooted in the state apparatus. It reached this scale due to a generalized metastasis.
by Alberto Dines

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Brazil Kisses the IMF Goodbye
Brazil's secretary of the Federal Treasury reaffirmed what the Finance Minister had already announced: Brazil does not intend to renew its agreement with the International Monetary Fund when that accord expires at the end of the year. Brazilians don't need the IMF to know what fiscal responsibility is, says the secretary.
by Gabriela Guerreiro

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Brazil: The Meanness of Lula's Regime
Brazilian House members may face the possibility of being sued and convicted for crimes against the State. After all, they consciously ignored the Constitution when they approved the new minimum wage. Only from Houdini could anyone expect the possibility of a worker surviving with the approved salary.
by Carlos Chagas

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Brazil: Lula's PT Splits
The creators of the new Socialism and Liberty Party, a dissidence from the government's Workers' Party, have until September 30, 2005, to make it official. They will need to obtain 438 thousand voters' signatures so they can compete in the 2006 elections. The party's founders believe that this will be easy.
by Stênio Ribeiro

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Brazil's Playgirls
Brazil has no women's movement to speak of and is not a politically correct country. In a way this is good because we men are spared the kind of harpies who make life a misery for men in places like Switzerland and Germany. On the other hand, women still have a long way to go before being taken seriously.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Brazil: The Foolishness of Sending Troops to Haiti
If Brazil's federal government does not have the courage to take on its constitutional duties and re-establish the rule of law in a Rio de Janeiro converted into a no-man's-land, let it at least show its apprehension and its solidarity with the Brazilians of Rio, at the mercy of the pusillanimity of the governing couple, the Garotinhos.
by Alberto Dines

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Black Plague May Wipe Out Brazilian Tribes
Brazil's National Health Foundation is being accused of neglect for letting scores of Amazon Indians die from an acute syndrome caused by hepatitis. According to backwoodsman Sidney Possuelo, from the National Indian Foundation, if the same situation occurred any place else, authorities would order a quarantine.
by Beth Begonha

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The Dark Face of Brazil's Carnaval
Airplanes full of hopeful revellers descend on Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, in the days before Carnaval anticipating the best time of their lives. While posh and exclusive hotels are claustrophobically booked up, many of the poor sleep tucked away in the "safety" of alleyways, next to dumpsters, on top makeshift garbage bag mattresses.
by Rayme Samuels

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Music: Passion and Glory of Brizzi of Brazil
Composer Aldo Brizzi wrote the music for Brizzi do Brasil, an album of songs written for Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Teresa Salgueiro, Carlinhos Brown and many other illustrious Brazilian guests. Brizzi reveals how the idea for the project came into being and how, over a course of four years, it became a reality.
by Aldo Brizzi

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Earning a Living While Preserving in Brazil
The stance of defending growth for the sake of growth in Brazil has already ravaged 94% of the Atlantic Rain Forest and 18% of the Amazon Forest and decimated indigenous cultures. A new program financed by the UN is trying to change this mentality by recruiting communities to profit through sustainable development.
by Juliana Cézar Nunes

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Bringing Water and Hope to Brazil's Backlands
Brazil's Million Cisterns Project has become an important component of Brazilian President Lula's Zero Hunger campaign. MCP has inspired many other organizations to participate in the funding and/or construction of cisterns, relieving some pressure from pursuing lofty goals with severely limited resources.
by Phillip Wagner

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Meet the Inventor of Brazil
Brazilianness was commonly understood to mean that collection of qualities which defined the nation, which distinguished Brazilians from citizens of Argentina, Portugal, and the United States—to name three populations whom Brazilians felt it was important to define themselves against.
by Bryan McCann

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Brazzil Hates Brazil!
Brazil has a very small minority which is fiercely anti-American. These people are jealous of the power of the United States. They know that Brazil has the human and natural resources to be the South American equivalent of the US but is nowhere near catching up. They use the gringos as an excuse for Brazil's backwardness.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Brazil, a Nation that Doesn't Read
Brazil's publishing industry is the world's eighth in production volume. But the whole country has only 1,500 book stores while 89 percent of Brazilian municipalities do not have a single bookstore. According to a new study, 61 percent of Brazil's literate adult population has very little or no contact with books.
by Cecília Jorge

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Racial Equality in Brazil: A Goal to Shoot For
As fans around the world marvel at the skills of Brazilian soccer players, they are also witness to the cohesion and harmony with which the players, from different racial backgrounds, perform. While this perception of racial equality fits neatly into Brazil's 'racial democracy', it fails to reflect the broader Brazilian society.
by Stephen de Tarczynski

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Abu Ghraib Is Here, in Brazil
Why do we not confront the evils of child prostitution, of child labor, of degraded schools, of abandoned childhood, of street children? Because we are more indignant about the photos of the distant Iraqi prison than the photos of our own local Abu Ghraib. Child abuse degrades our children in a graver way.
by Cristovam Buarque

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Brazil Tepid on Renewable Energy
Greenpeace claims that the recent agreements concluded last month between Brazil and China for the construction of coal-fired plants and the resumption of the Brazilian nuclear program are contrary to the position adopted by the country in the past. This position represents a step backwards for Brazil, says Greenpeace.
by Nádia Faggiani

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Bossa Nova Killed Opera in Brazil
The sultry new sounds that bossa nova actively came to encompass would give an entirely fresh and original slant to the much-maligned term "modern classical music," literally transforming guitarist Bonfá, the shy piano-playing Jobim, and his partner Vinicius de Moraes, into latter-day Franz Schuberts for their songwriting skills.
by Joe Lopes

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Brazil's Blue Movie for Connoisseurs
In contrast to a modern pornographic film, the trajectory of A Film of Love (from clothed to naked to ejaculation) is glacially slow. The tedium of the scenes in the apartment is intercut with stunningly poetic views, finding poetry where one might least expect. This is one of the longest 90-minute films I have ever seen.
by Tom Moore

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Brazil Offers 'New Geography of Trade'
São Paulo is getting ready for the UN Conference on Trade and Development. The meeting is considered the most important international event to take place in Brazil since the Rio 92 UN Conference on Environment and Development. Four thousand representatives from 192 countries will be present.
by Spensy Pimentel

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Brazil: The Survival of the Poorest
They came to São Paulo, Brazil, with hopes of improving their lives, of earning good wages, and supporting their families above a mere subsistence level. But, except for a lucky few, São Paulo's poor are finding life in this megalopolis a constant struggle and many are no better off than when they first arrived.
by Frank Braun and Eduardo Gentil

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If You Are 5, You Can Work in Brazil
Despite still having some dire problems, Brazilians are commemorating the reduction in child labor in recent years. From 1995 to 2002, the number of working children and adolescents in the 5-15 age bracket in Brazil decreased 42.95 percent, which corresponds to 2,159,670 children and adolescents.
by Luciana Vasconcelos

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