News from Brazil

Brazil Weekly’s Brazil Regional News

In Brazil on November 4, 2011 at 11:30 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of the Diamante Azul or Blue Diamond apartment building for the Lagoa area in Rio (Skyscrapercity).

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SOCCER & WORLD CUP

In just under 33 months’ time, Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana football stadium is set to host the final match of the 2014 Fifa World Cup and crown what all Brazilians hope will be a successful tournament. The current worries recall similar fears of more than 60 years ago, when the stadium was being built in a rush to host Brazil’s first and, to date, only World Cup, in 1950. While the Maracana was able to stage a game, the stadium was not actually complete. Journalist Joao Maximo remembers the opening game when scaffolding was still on the stands to keep the roof in place (BBC).

Brazil is not yet ready to host the 2014 World Cup, football great Pele told the ESPN Soccernet website. According to Pele, chaotic organization and communication difficulties are the biggest problems facing Brazil as it prepares for the World Cup (MercoPress).

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke has strongly criticised Brazilian idol Romario and other figures unwilling to compromise national laws for the World Cup, stating that it was impossible to hold a successful tournament unless the host country and the governing body worked together (Goal).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

AMAZON

Activists in Brazil are in uproar after one of the country’s best-known indigenous leaders was sacked from his job with the indigenous protection service, allegedly because of his outspoken stance against the construction of a massive hydro-electric plant at Belo Monte (The Guardian).

Hundreds of indigenous people and environmentalists have left the site of Brazil’s $11 billion Belo Monte hydroelectric dam after occupying it to demand a stop to construction (AFP).

BRASILIA

As Brazil’s economy booms and its world influence increases, Brasília is coming of age, gaining a new museum here, a cool bridge there, top-shelf restaurants everywhere. Brasília is also safer and calmer than Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo, unless you count the stress of trying to understand its maddening address system. Adding to the charm are awe-inspiring sunsets, samba hot spots and something even the greatest urban planners in the world couldn’t have given it upon its inauguration in 1960: a half-century of tradition and history (New York Times).

In Pirenópolis, Brazil, a cute, cobblestoned colonial town 85 miles west of Brasília, moto-taxis are the public transportation system and the main way, if you’re not part of a tour group, to get to the waterfalls that dot the surrounding hills (New York Times).

RIO

A congressman in Rio de Janeiro said he flees Brazil with his family after an escalation of threats to his life. Since 2006, Marcelo Freixo’s work to expose the city’s militias has earned him a price on his head of 400,000 reais (£143,000; $230,000). It was his campaign that inspired Brazil’s biggest grossing movie to date, last year’s Tropa de Elite 2, which shows how militias – gangs formed of current and former police, firemen, soldiers and security guards – are taking over from the traditional scourge of drug dealers in the city’s slums (BBC).

Experts say that within just a couple of years, the militias have managed to infiltrate nearly all of the spheres of public power. More and more elected officials – at both the municipal and state levels – rise from their ranks. Some observers say the slow takeover by the militias is even more dangerous than the influence previously exerted by drug traffickers (Worldcrunch).

Governor Sérgio Cabral announced that a Police Pacification Unit (UPP) would be installed in the Complexo da Mangueira on November 3rd. The UPP in Mangueira will be the eighteenth unit in the state of Rio, and the final favela in the area encircling Maracanã to be pacified, closing the security perimeter in anticipation of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics (The Rio Times).

Stage of important moments in Brazil’s history, such as the coronation of D. Pedro I and D. Pedro II and the signing of Lei Áurea by Princess Isabel, abolishing slavory in the country, Paço Imperial remains impressive at Praça XV, right in the commercial center  of Rio de Janeiro. Such importance could not be ignored and restoration started in January of this year. The reopening will take place on November 17th with the special exhibition that compiles the last one hundred years of Brazilian art (Rio Official Guide).

The company running Lisbon’s trademark vintage yellow trams will help crank up one of the most charming rides in Rio de Janeiro – the tram line in the hillside colonial Santa Teresa neighborhood that has been shut for months on safety concerns (Reuters).

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SAO PAULO

In a metropolis of endless, off-white highrises – SP is also a city chock-full of important architectural landmarks from which it is almost impossible to draw-up even a shortlist. While there is not one iconic building in the city which screams ‘SP’, any paulistana can point out more than a handful of significant buildings, be that through aesthetics, cultural consequence or historical worth (The Rio Times).

SOUTH

Porto Alegre, capital of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, will host between 28 October and 15 November the 57th edition of its traditional Book Fair. Biggest open-air event of its kind in the Americas, the 2011 Porto Alegre Book Fair will gather editors and writers from all over Brazil and abroad, and expects more than 1.7 million visitors (Portal Brasil).

Stretching down Brazil’s eastern seaboard, the Serra do Mar is a picturesque mountain range which makes up part of the Mata Atlântica – a mix of lush, tropical forest, savanna, and drier woodland. The area provides an exotic, energetic feel of a jungle – and is perfect for the more adventurous hiker (The Rio Times).

Residents of Florianópolis got their first glimpse of what will be the Azorean Cultural Center, a project which has been in the works for over two years. The objective of the Center is to preserve and strengthen the Azorean cultural heritage of the island as well as those of indigenous and African origin, explained architect and project designer Joel Pacheco of the Urban Planning Institute of Florianópolis (Floripa Times).

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