News from Brazil

Brazil Weekly’s Brazil Culture & Regional News

In Brazil on October 21, 2011 at 10:30 am


Render of the new Fonta Nova soccer stadium for Salvador da Bahia, by architects Marc Duwe and Claas Schulitz (Source).


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The army’s attempts to “pacify” and secure Brazil’s favelas and crack down on their drug traffickers before the 2014 Football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games are raising concern about the accompanying violations of human rights and civil liberties in these communities, including the rights of their own journalists. News reporting by the residents of these poor neighbourhoods should enjoy the same safety guarantees and freedom from censorship as reporting by Brazil’s mainstream media (Reporters without borders).


Edifício residencial Jaraguá, in São Paulo, designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 1984. Photograph by Nelson Kon

The Brussels Center for Fine Arts, one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world, presents until January 2012 the work of the renowned Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha (Pritzker Prize 2006), known for his creativity and his constant use of technological innovations. Eight projects and six models will be displayed to show his most representative works and current projects. The exhibition is part of Europalia 2011, an European festival that will celebrate the Brazilian culture in Belgium and four other countries from October 2011 to January 2012. For more information, please visit the Europalia site.


Dozens of large-scale projects — including dams, high-speed rails, roads, electricity transmission systems, mines, and industrial farms — are planned or already in progress in the nine states that make up the “Legal Amazon” in Brazil (map). By 2020, the government aims to more than double the Amazon’s share of power generation to 23 percent of national output, up from 10 percent today. The target represents 45 percent of planned energy expansion during the period (Mongabay).

The Transpantaneira Highway, despite its grand name, is an unfinished dirt road running 90 or so miles from the Brazilian town of Poconé into the Pantanal, a vast wetlands many consider South America’s finest destination for animal viewing. But it’s not just a road: it’s a crocodilian slalom course (New York Times).


Since the sixties, hippie villages have grown all over the world. Argentina has El Bolson, Canada has Vancouver, India has Goa, Australia has Nimbin, and Brazil has the inspiring paradise of Arembepe. Of course, there are several hippie havens scattered around Brazil such as Trinidade and Paraty in Rio de Janeiro state, but none can compare to the one that Janis Joplin, Mick Jagger, and Roman Polanski favored (The Rio Times).


A 6-year-old boy has become the fourth person to die in Brasilia after becoming infected with the streptococcus pyogenes bacteria, Brazilian health officials said (Latin American Herald Tribune).


An old train station in Vila Velha (Espírito Santo, Brazil), now occupied by the Vale Museum, will house Fermata, an exhibition of new works by the celebrated artists Gustavo and Otávio Pandolfo, known by the pseudonym OSGEMEOS (meaning “the twins” in Portuguese). Between October 28 and February 12, Fermata will be marked by unprecedented interactivity with the public, presenting educational and artistic activities in parallel (Vale).


Minas Gerais’ economy grew 3.4% in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the same period last year. The data released last week are part of the publication “Boletim de Conjuntura Econômica de Minas” – 2nd quarter of 2011, produced by the Center for Statistics and Information João Pinheiro Fundation (FJP) (India-Brazil Chamber).


A conflict in Brazil’s northeast, where security forces launched an operation to quell a violent feud between criminal dynasties, is a reminder that in some rural parts of the country, state presence is as weak and crime as rampant as in urban favelas (Insight Crime).


The approach of summer in Rio de Janeiro is known to bring an increased risk of dengue fever. Early 2011 remained dangerous, with 5,500 cases reported in Zona Sul (South Zone) alone, and now the Municipal Secretary of Health and Civil Defense is stepping up preventative campaigns to battle an epidemic in 2012 (The Rio Times).

For the majority of foreigners arriving in Rio, the lively boulevards of Ipanema or the many beachside residencies overlooking praia de Copacabana are popular choices when it comes to finding a place to stay. However, those in the know and with the means also consider the luxury apartments situated along the tranquil waters of the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas to be the perfect lakeside retreat (The Rio Times).

Rio de Janeiro state authorities say one of Brazil’s most-wanted drug lords has been arrested in neighboring Paraguay. State public safety spokesman Daniel Pereira says Alexander Mendes da Silva was arrested in the Paraguayan city of Pedro Juan Caballero (Washington Post).

Blogger Julia Michaels pulls out key points of an extensive Q&A from Epoca magazine with Rio state’s top cop, particularly on the state’s police pacification program in its many favela slums (Christian Science Monitor).

Drug gangs swap pistols and murder for popcorn and movies! A pioneering cinema is transforming a once-notorious favela. Geoffrey Macnab visits Rio de Janeiro’s new star attraction (The Independent).


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Cleaning up the Tietê poses more than the usual problems. São Paulo is just 75km from the river’s source, so there is less water to dilute what it discharges. Mountain ranges block potential pipe routes to the sea. Average annual rainfall is 150cm and summer storms can bring 7cm in just a few hours. Impermeable roads and pavements aggravate flooding: this year, the river burst its banks three times (The Economist).

São Paulo is almost beyond the imagination — a drizzle-shrouded megacity of almost 20 million that sprawls like Los Angeles and boasts enough skyscrapers to vie with New York. The gritty financial engine of the new Brazil, São Paulo exerts influence over commerce, media and culture. The Brazilian writer Roberto Pompeu de Toledo calls it an “urban labyrinth that reaches toward the infinite.” It might not have the palm-fringed glamour of Rio de Janeiro, but in the view of urbane Paulistanos, Brazil has only one truly global city: theirs (New York Times).

Two doctors are in court in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on charges they removed organs for transplant from patients who were still alive. The patients later died in the hospital. Drs. Pedro Torrecillas and Rui Sacramento are each charged with four homicides in a trial that started Monday. The deaths happened between September and December 1986 in the hospital connected to the University of Taubate, in Sao Paulo state (Washington Post).


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