SO MUCH FOR THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: NO MONEY, NO PHOTO, HONEY!!

Bad Santa

MEET THE BRAZILIAN CHRISTMAS GRINCH

Malls all over Brazil are teeming with eager shoppers desperate to buy their loved ones that very special gift, and of course, those with little kids don’t miss the opportunity to have them talk to Santa. After all, children love exchanging a few words with the old man while their parents take photos of such a special moment, and in most places, mom and dad can also have a professional take the pictures. But at a mall in Curitiba, in the southern part of this country, a little girl learned at a tender age how hard life can be when her parents turned down a paid photo, and to their utter surprise, Santa Claus covered their daughter’s face, and by doing so, not only did he spoil a picture but also broke a young, innocent heart.

PREFERABLY FOR AND DRIVEN BY WOMEN: New taxi service in New York getting the thumbs-up from the ladies – but not without controversy

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More often than not, female taxi drivers prefer customers of the same gender, pointing out that they talk about all subjects (not only sports), don’t tell them to drive faster, and are great tippers. As for female passengers, having ladies behind the wheel, most of them say, makes for a safer, more pleasant ride, since women tend to drive more carefully and are much better listeners than their male counterparts, usually impatient and not as understanding. So with that in mind, a cab company in New York City has been offering a phone app that allows their customers to have women pick them up. Though successful so far, this new service has ruffled some feathers among civil rights lawyers, who say they’ll be closely monitoring it so that men are not discriminated against.

DRAMA IN BRAZIL: It’s college entrance exam season

Vestibular-Enem

Every year at this time, millions of college-age students take entrance exams in Brazil, which, in most cases, is the only way to attend universities in this country, especially the public ones, tuition-free and usually far better than their expensive private counterparts. Moreover, since the number of slots available is way smaller than the massive number of applicants badly seeking higher degrees, getting into college is awfully difficult, mainly for those coming from the public school system, which — oddly enough – is terribly inefficient. So now it is much easier to understand the sheer desperation of those that for some reason arrive late at test centers and can do nothing but anxiously wait one more year to take another exam.

SPAIN: SYMBOLIC REFERENDUM IN CATALONIA. POWERFUL MESSAGE, NONETHELESS

Cata 222

Though unofficial, contested and downright controversial, today’s vote in Catalonia sends a clear message: We mean business, and we want to decide our future. And then you might be asking yourself, “Why not?” After all, it’s been recently successfully done in the United Kingdom, where the majority of the Scottish population voted no for independence, showing the world what democracy really looks like. And make no mistake, London was against the separation and yet played by the rules, allowing Scots to freely express their opinions. Conversely, Madrid fiercely opposes any kind of vote, official or otherwise, but millions of Catalans disagree with the central government and believe that no matter the outcome, it has to be decided at the ballot box.

As Germany celebrates the 25th anniversary of the momentous fall of the Berlin Wall – the North, South Korea border is still there

The North, South Korea Border

… and a little over two years after President Reagan’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987, the Berlin Wall was eventually torn down, ending almost three decades of separation and pain that left many dead and countless families destroyed, which makes one wonder whether yet another world leader will ever go to the North, South Korea border and urge leaders there to reunite a country separated since 1948. Mr. Kim Jong-un, tear down this wall!!

APPARENTLY NOT AS GREEN AS CLAIMED: HYUNDAI AND KIA TO PAY $300 MILLION IN THE US

Green 666

Hyundai and Kia make fantastic automobiles, but apparently, they’re not as good when it comes to figuring gas mileage. According to the US Department of Justice and the US Environmental Protection Agency, the automakers overstated their cars’ average fuel economy. Although denying the government allegations, the Korean car makers, owned by Hyundai Motor Group, have agreed to settle the claims once and for all, which means paying a record $100 million in penalties and returning around $200 million in greenhouse gas emission credits. Double-check those numbers on window stickers — that’s the compelling message US authorities seem to be sending to the rest of the car industry, and judging by the amount of damage, chances are it will be heard.

Wheels will be spinning fast over the weekend in Brazil as Formula One rolls into the land of Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna. Brazilian fans, however, won’t have much to celebrate

Formula One

As it does every year, Formula One is returning to Brazil. But among the many drivers on the track this coming weekend, no Brazilians will be vying for the coveted title with only two more rounds to go, which is somewhat disturbing for many here in this country, especially for those who were around to watch their countrymen come first in race after race, creating the false impression that it would never end, but it did. And since 1991, when Ayrton Senna became a three-time champion, no Brazilian driver has been good enough to join such exclusive club. So on Sunday, one more time, home fans will have to find solace in the memories of a once victorious past and look forward to a better future.

Terminally ill writer Clive James keeps writing books and inspiring others

Clive James

At 75, Clive James has just released a book and hopes to do so again next year, but he’s not sure. After all, leukemia may get the better of him before that, which does not stop him from doing his job as if he still had the stamina of that naughty, stubborn boy brought up by a widowed mother. No, he’s not in denial. Quite the opposite, actually. He’s fully aware of the seriousness of the situation, and yet creativity more often than not prevails over pain, so he keeps doing what he’s done most of his life – writing – first in Australia, the country of his birth, and then in the United kingdom, where he gained fame and respect for his remarkable talent.

APPLE CEO TIM COOK BEATS THE RUMOR MILL TO THE PUNCH BY COMING OUT AS GAY: “I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me”

Tim Cook 222

In an opinion piece published by Bloomberg Businessweek, Tim Cook, Apple CEO, confirmed he is gay, writing that doing something important trumps his desire for privacy. And when the head of one of the most successful companies on the planet comes out, the whole world pays attention, which does not mean he’ll only be getting messages of support and encouragement. As he pointed out in his essay, even in his home country, there are places where one can legally be fired from a job or evicted by a landlord just for being gay. That’s precisely why such powerful, bold statement goes far beyond its more obvious purpose by also being a great source of inspiration for those who fight for a fairer, more equal global society where all kinds of minorities are protected by laws, not victimized by them.

GOOD, BUT NOT IN MODERATION: A new study finds that chocolate – and lots of it – is beneficial for the memory

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If you’re not a kid anymore and your memory is not as good as it used to be, then, according to a new study, you might want to give chocolate a try. And when researchers behind this project say chocolate, they actually mean the dark kind, which, though not as popular as its milk counterpart, is rich in a compound believed to reverse memory loss in older people. But before rushing to have this powerful treat, be warned that there’s a catch: To reap the full benefits of this antioxidant, you have to eat about seven average-sized bars a day. Oh, I almost forgot. The study was partially sponsored by Mars – a chocolate company.

Once living in a landfill, Rwandan orphan makes it to Harvard

Justus UwayesuJustus Uwayesu

Life is certainly full of incredible stories of people who, against all odds, survive the iron grip of absolute poverty. This one, however, stands out and makes one wonder how an orphan who once lived in a landfill on the outskirts of Rwanda could even make it to adulthood, let alone Harvard. At nine years of age, through the help of a charity worker, he was given the opportunity to attend school for the first time in his life, life that, up to that point, had only been made possible by eating trash and taking shelter in an abandoned car. But from then on, he only excelled, and now, at 22, on a full-scholarship, he’s studying math, economics and human rights at one of the most prestigious universities on the planet.

Sistine Chapel: No more than 6 million visitors a year, says Vatican

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On any given summer day, the sheer number of visitors to the Sistine Chapel in Rome is nothing short of impressive – 20,000 – prompting Vatican officials to limit it to 6 million a year in hopes of avoiding damage to Michelangelo’s delicate frescoes. And despite a state-of-the-art climate control system that filters the air and a brand-new high-tech lighting setup, historians and restorers have welcomed the decision, which they firmly believe is the proper way to make sure that future generations won’t be kept from gazing at the magnificent work of art by the Italian architect, painter, sculptor, poet and engineer who had an impact like no other on the development of Western art.

Don’t forget to set your clocks and watches ahead one hour. Daylight Saving Time has begun in Brazil

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Yes, it’s that time of the year when 60 precious minutes of people’s lives are unapologetically yanked away from them, only to be returned a few months later. Why bother? By then, they’ll be worthless anyway. Needless to say, I dislike daylight savings, and despite not being alone, I do acknowledge that many of my fellow Brazilians love it. And I don’t blame them, there’s no better opportunity to take advantage of the sun after work, drinking a cold beer outdoors or going to the park. But if you’re going to be too tired to enjoy it all because you have to wake up before sunrise, like me, there’s no need to worry. It won’t last forever. After all, February 22 will be around in no time.

Brazil: One of the world’s biggest and most populated megalopolises — São Paulo faces its worst drought in recent history

Dry

In a country crisscrossed by rivers, some of which so wide that not even the sharpest pair of eyes would be able to see the other side, water is plentiful and thus taken for granted as if it were some kind of a divine, never-ending resource, and yet somehow Brazil’s industrial powerhouse, home to 30 million people, is on the verge of collapsing into chaos. Located in the southeastern part of the country, São Paulo and its metropolitan area haven’t received enough rain for several months, so reservoirs are running dry. Though there seems to be no agreement on whether climate change or mismanagement – or both – is to blame, everyone is on the same page regarding the seriousness of the situation, which can very soon make water far pricier than gold and send a powerful message to the rest of the nation.

Recipe for a happy great-excuse-to-buy-gifts Day

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Its generic name is great-excuse-to-buy-gifts Day, and the following is the recipe for creating this very special occasion: First, give it different names and dates so that instead of rejoicing only one single day, many can be celebrated – and that’s done by attaching historic events, traditions, cherished values, and loved ones to them. Then, evenly spread them out along the year so that malls are not empty in May and overcrowded in June, for example. And finally, to make all those efforts worthwhile, through careful, persistent marketing, convince people that the best way to enjoy these dates is by getting presents, lots of them – it really works. Today, October 12th, millions of Brazilians happen to be observing one of these incredibly popular times of the year. Happy Children’s Day!!

Norwegian study: For a better reading performance, favor the printed page over screens

Reading

Listen up, fellow readers. This may very well be your I-told-you-so moment. Dry, burning eyes may not be the only drawback of inordinate amounts of time spent reading on computer screens. Now, a study from Norway finds that when people read from the printed page, they get more details than when they do so from their highly technological devices. Though still not known specifically why, it seems that by holding a book, turning its pages and knowing how much of it is left, readers absorb more information and then more accurately relay it. I, however, have to warn you to take my words with a grain of salt because I’ve read about the Norwegian research on my iPad, oops!!

 

SENATOR ROMÁRIO: FROM THE NOTORIOUS HILLSIDE SLUMS OF RIO TO THE SUMMIT OF VICTORY

Romario/Senator

He was born poor, very poor, in the squalor of Rio de Janeiro slums, where violence and drugs are the norm and proper education is something unheard of. Despite all that, or maybe because of it, Romário went on to become a soccer player, but not your average striker — the best of his time — which made him a star both on European pitches and on the Brazilian national team, where he led his teammates to World Cup glory. After hanging up his cleats, he was elected a member of the lower house of Brazil’s Congress, but unlike many athlete-turned-politicians in this country, he gained the respect of his peers and the entire nation by being a staunch advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, especially those with Down syndrome. Now as a newly elected senator, Romário may once again excel, and if his life journey is any indication, he very likely will.

TO VOTE, OR NOT TO VOTE, THAT IS NOT THE QUESTION: The 4th biggest democracy on the planet where one has no choice but to vote – Brazil

vote

Today, October 5th, close to 143 million Brazilians are expected to go to the polls to choose who the next President of the 4th biggest democracy on the planet will be, and chances are the overwhelming majority of them will show up, or at least, they should. After all, voting is mandatory in this country, and not doing so means fines, no passport, no government job, no salary (if you’re a civil servant), and other minor problems like being looked down by your neighbor as if you were some kind of anti-democracy villain. But wait a minute: shouldn’t democracy be the freedom to choose, or not to choose? Yes, it apparently should, but not here, where politicians firmly believe that a high turnout is paramount for the consolidation of a democratic society.

THE TRAGIC DEATH OF THE MAN ON STILTS

The Tragic Death Of The Man On Stilts

Every day thousands of Brazilians make their living at traffic lights across this huge South American country. Some are beggars; others are squeegee men; and many are street performers like Mike, who dressed in a clown costume, entertains busy drivers on his stilts, moving up and down the stage/crosswalk, and then just before the light turns green again, zigzags, hat in hand, between idling cars. Making ends meet is not an easy task for this courageous man. After all, Mike has four kids, a wife and a dog, but towering over his audience, he often ends the day with enough cash to make him want to come back the next morning. And it was on a foggy winter morning that Mike lost his balance, fell to the ground, got hit by a speeding driver, and stilts by his side, perished. Though this is a fictional story, the plight of those who brave the streets in search of whatever amount of money they can make is very, very real.

The dawn of the drone revolution: Still little-known, these highly versatile unmanned flying machines are here to stay — look up!

drones

On the verge of becoming more ubiquitous than any other flying machine, drones have the potential to revolutionize all sorts of industries, some of which are already hard at work trying to make this unmanned aircraft part of their businesses. Hollywood, for example, wants to dazzle moviegoers with scenes that, not too long ago, could only be imagined; Amazon sees a future where most packages will be flown straight into the hands of customers; Disney will very soon be flying huge screens at its parks; and Cirque du Soleil is busy training its performers to interact with airborne objects. As appealing as it all may seem, no one, not even the brightest minds, would be able to foresee the consequences of a world crowded with drones, hovering over people’s heads and forever altering their lives.

Painful end to a beautiful story: Ary Borges has seven tigers seized from his property in Brazil

Tiger

After losing a long battle in court, Ary Borges knew it was just a matter of time before authorities showed up at his doorstep to get the tigers he carefully raised surrounded by his children and grandchildren, and time has come. The man that for years kept seven felines on his property has had them taken away from his home/animal sanctuary by Brazilian wildlife enforcement agents. Tears rolling down his face, Ary stood motionless as the huge cats were, one by one, put in single cages barely big enough for their sheer size, and with the truck still in his sight, he went down on his knees, and as if not believing his eyes, shouted, “You’re family! I’ll never give up on you!”

The cattle-fication of airline passengers: Long gone are the glorious days when air travelers’ number one gripe was airline food

airplane seats

 Over the years, slowly, but relentlessly, airline passengers have had their dignity squeezed out of them to the point that otherwise law-abiding citizens are now labeled as “unruly passengers,” who more often than not get unceremoniously escorted off planes at the nearest airport. And to add insult to injury, fliers have to navigate through all sorts of distractions: Are you for or against cell phones during flights? What about the “knee defender,” would you resort to this gadget? Though such questions always bring about heated arguments, they only take people’s attention away from what really matters: space. But then again, who knows, people may someday look back on the way fliers travel today, and in sheer amazement, say, “Look at how lucky they were! There used to be seats on airplanes.”

Brazilian teacher forbids transgender student from wearing a skirt to school

trans

 When a high school teacher in Brazil forbade a transgender student from wearing a skirt to school, she never imagined that the next day, to her utter surprise, more than a dozen teenage boys would show up in class in skirts, prompting school administrators to change the rules and thus allowing all students to wear skirts, which, by the way, have been at the center of controversy before, when a male civil servant in Rio de Janeiro went to work in a skirt to protest against the unbearable heat at the office. This time, though, the issue is far more serious, and by fighting back, a bunch of school kids wound up setting a powerful example against discrimination.

So much for fastening padlocks to Parisian bridges and then throwing the keys into the River Seine as a sign of endless love

Padlock

 

So much for fastening padlocks to Parisian bridges and then throwing the keys into the River Seine as a sign of endless love. “Hey, lovers, go attach your padlocks elsewhere!” say officials in Paris. Once seen as a tourist draw, the tradition is now frowned upon — which begs the question: Hundreds of thousands of padlocks later, why only now stop people from expressing their deepest love? Well, there is only so much extra weight a bridge can take, and to make matters worse, Parisians don’t like the practice, claiming it blocks their view of the beautiful Seine, so enamored couples will have to find new ways to say, “I will forever love you.”

SCOTS TO DECIDE WHETHER TO BREAK AWAY FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM

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307 years later, Scotland may once again be an independent country. As the September 18th referendum comes closer, polls show Scots evenly divided, pushing the British Government into damage control mode. So the three major parties in parliament wasted no time and agreed to hand over all powers to Scotland, except for defense and foreign affairs, if Scots decide not to break away from the United Kingdom, which – as ironic as it may seem – was exactly what the overwhelming majority of the Scottish population wanted in the first place. Now, however, this last-minute offer may not be enough, and what just a few months ago looked like a distant dream of an independent Scotland might very likely come true.

LION STOLEN FROM ANIMAL SANCTUARY IN BRAZIL FOUND WITH PREVIOUS OWNER

Lion

Stealing a lion is no easy feat, so law-enforcement knew from the get-go they were up against pros. Little did they know the cat’s previous owner was behind the daring, Hollywood-like theft, which drew the attention of the entire country and led police on a frantic search for those who had carefully broken into the animal sanctuary, sedating the huge feline, loading it into the back of a truck and then driving away without being noticed. Right now, it’s unclear who the rightful owner is. As the story goes, back in 2009, the lion was taken to the shelter because its then-owner, who also has more than seven tigers on his property, was having a hard time feeding the enormous creature, which eats 11 pounds of meat every single day, mind you. Kitty, kitty, lunch is ready!!

20 years after his tragic death, Ayrton Senna continues to be the most extraordinary driver to ever get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car

Ayrton Senna

Ayrton Senna went far beyond being an extraordinary driver. He touched people’s hearts, placing him among those bigger-than-life personalities who keep on inspiring generations and generations to come. A few months before his death, Senna said this, “If I ever happen to have an accident that eventually costs me my life, I hope it is in one go. I would not like to be in a wheelchair. I would not like to be in a hospital suffering from whatever injury it was. If I’m going to live, I want to live fully, very intensely, because I am an intense person. It’d ruin my life if I had to live partially.” On May 1st 1994, Ayrton Senna died during a race in Italy.

DANIEL ALVES: IF LIFE GIVES YOU A BANANA, EAT IT ////////// Target of racism, Brazilian soccer player does the unexpected and receives the full support of athletes, actors, singers, TV hosts, as well as millions of fans

Daniel Alves

 He was about to take a corner kick when a banana thrown by an opposing fan landed right in front of him. Unfazed, the Barcelona player picked it up, peeled it and took a bite. If it were not for his bravery, it would’ve been just one more overlooked, shameful racist insult that’s become all too common at soccer venues all over the world. As one would expect from such outrageous footage,  it went viral, and very soon, pictures of banana-eating celebrities in support of the player flooded the internet, which in turn led to more photos of fans doing exactly the same thing. With the help of this outstanding Brazilian, Barcelona ended up winning the Spanish championship match, but on that gloomy Sunday, no one had any reason whatsoever to celebrate.

 

Luana Lopes Lara: Brazilian Bolshoi ballerina accepted to MIT, Stanford, Yale and Harvard, not to mention a top-notch university in Brazil

Luana Lopes Lara on The Talking Violin

Whenever asked what she does, the 17-year-old doesn’t hesitate in saying, “I’m a ballerina who wants to become an engineer to change the world,” and if her performance so far is any indication, she may be headed in the right direction. Recently accepted to the most prestigious universities on the planet and just back to Brazil from a Swan Lake presentation in Austria, Luana Lopes Lara is about to travel to America, where she’s going to take a tour of MIT, Stanford, Yale and Harvard before deciding which university to attend. Although no longer a dancer with the Bolshoi, the young Brazilian insists that no matter where she studies mechatronics, she’ll keep on dancing ballet.

 

Easter the Brazilian way: long four-day weekend, chaotic roads and, of course, chocolate overdose

Happy Easter

 There they are in all sizes, prices, and colors – hanging over people’s heads in supermarket aisles across this country. Much like crowded roads, Easter Eggs are impossible to be avoided at this time of year when millions of Brazilians take advantage of the long four-day weekend to travel, but not before buying tons and tons of brightly wrapped chocolate eggs, which gives a huge boost to the economy by drawing hordes of eager shoppers to malls, supermarkets, drugstores, or any other place where chocolate can be bought. Needless to say, lots of people end up overindulging in their Easter treats, and once again, there goes last year’s promise not to do so. Happy Easter, everybody!!

Brazilian doctor behind bars: A tale of a broken heart and a chopped… ((((((((( Listen )))))))))

Doctor behind bars

 It would even be funny if it were not so tragic. It all took place in a small town in the countryside of Brazil. Everything was ready for the wedding: a multi layered cake, big enough to feed an army, had been ordered; more than a thousand guests from near and far had confirmed their presence; exclusive party favors had come from the capital city; nothing had been overlooked. But only three days before the hugely anticipated event, the unexpected, the unpredictable, the unimaginable happened. Just out of the blue, the groom called it all off and broke up with the young doctor whom he had promised to marry. Devastated, the once-happy bride, with the help of her powerful father, hired two ex-cons that carried out a plan straight out of a horror movie – the man who had broken her heart had his manhood chopped off. Ouch!!

 

Nana Queiroz: Brazilian journalist brings the issue of violence against women to the forefront of discussion in a country where 26% of the population thinks provocatively dressed women deserve to be raped

Nana Queiroz - feedback 222

 

There she is topless in the capital of Brazil. Nana Queiroz singlehandedly stirred the pot in a country where 26% percent of the population thinks women who show too much skin deserve to be raped. “I don’t deserve to be raped” read the words on her arms, and when her photo was posted on the internet, this young, daring journalist found herself at the center of a controversy that’s swept the nation. In the days that followed, she was talked and written about; bombarded with messages of hate and support; and asked all sorts of questions. Then other similar pictures started popping up all over social media, and now in her most recent interview, she’s vowed to keep on fighting to end violence against women in this South American country.

Government agency study: Botched number causes a huge uproar in Brazil, but correction makes matters no less outrageous

IPEA - STUDY

 

It all started when a government agency released the results of a study that, among other things, said 65% of Brazilians think scantily dressed women deserve to be raped. In no time, social media was buzzing with people outraged by what they saw as a deplorable, sexist way of thinking. A journalist then posted a naked picture of herself with words on her arms that read, “I don’t deserve to be rapped,” and in the following days, hundreds of similar pictures kept popping up all over the internet. TV talk show hosts vented their indignation. Newspapers both in Brazil and abroad talked about it. Even the president protested on her Twitter page. Finally, almost a week later, the person in charge of the study, who by the way lost his job, came in public and apologized.  There had been a mistake and the actual number was 26%.

Abílio Diniz: A regular person like the rest of us. Or is he? In better shape and more productive than most 40-year-olds, 77-year-old Brazilian billionaire shows no signs of slowing down

ABILIO DINIZ

He’s definitely not your average billionaire. At 77, the father of a 7-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son sports a ripped body, the result of a grueling exercise routine. His diet, much like the rest of his life, is carefully planned so that he can run his business empire, write best-selling books, take good care of his offspring and be a great husband to his second wife – who, at 41, is younger than the four children from his first marriage. A devout catholic, Abílio acknowledges that despite having a very strict lifestyle, he sometimes enjoys some lasagna and a barbecue, which may be the closest he’ll ever get to being a regular person like the rest of us.

Lais Souza’s long road to recovery: Paralyzed from the neck down, Brazilian skier surprises medical team by breathing on her own again, giving doctors hope that there’s more progress on the way

O longo caminho da recuperação de Lais Souza

From a physical therapy room in a Miami hospital, Lais Souza gave her first interview after getting seriously injured and losing movement from the neck down. Sounding hopeful, the Brazilian talked about her ordeal and how happy she was to be able to breathe on her own again, leading doctors to believe that she can beat the odds one more time and regain movement in her arms. When asked how she deals with moments of desperation, the skier answered that crying brings her relief and gives her the strength to keep on fighting. Though impossible to predict right now if the athlete will ever walk again, if her progress so far is any sign of how her recovery will go, we can only expect more good news to come.

OBESITY CONTROVERSY: Bruna Giorjiani de Arruda denied public teaching job in Brazil for being obese

Bruna Giorjiani de Arruda

Boy, was she happy! After all, she was about to land her dream job as a public school teacher, but after the highly-qualified 28-year-old took a physical, her world came crumbling down when she was told she wouldn’t get the tenure position for being morbidly obese, which meant she could someday develop diabetes or other obesity related diseases. Deeply humiliated, Bruna spoke out. A local newspaper ran her story, and in no time, her predicament made national news. The teacher’s situation is now up for review, and if denied employment again, she vows to take the Sao Paulo State to court, from where this young lady may very likely come out victorious, according to the Brazilian Bar Association, no less, which has deemed this decision outright unconstitutional.

PLASTIC SURGERY: Though still a fraction of more popular procedures like breast augmentation and liposuction, the number of butt implants is growing fast in Brazil

Plastic Surgeries

 Despite costing more, having a longer recovery time and being a far more invasive procedure than the hugely popular boob jobs, butt implants are on the rise, which seems to be in line with people’s fixation on this body part here in Brazil, and I’m not talking about what is commonly known in America as the Brazilian butt lift, where the patients’ own fat is used to give their buttocks more shape and volume. Implants, though more permanent, require full-blown surgeries that can only be performed by highly qualified plastic surgeons, who, by the way, have been very busy doing all sorts of cosmetic procedures in this huge South American country, second only to the US when it comes to plastic surgeries.

Cellphones on airplanes: One of the last cellphone-free zones is on the verge of disappearing. Are you on board?

Cellphones on airplanes

If the FCC has its way, very soon people will be yapping away on their cellphones in airplane seats near you, or worse, next to you. Okay, okay, I get it. It’s safe. But does it make it right? As if flying coach was not hard enough: fees for everything, lack of space, delays, cancellations, bad food. Come on, talking about adding insult to injury – this is simply the perfect storm. And if you think you’re fine just because you don’t live in the US, think again. When it comes to aviation, make no mistake about it, America takes the first step, and then the rest of the world follows its lead. Oh, sorry – if you’re among the 19% of people who just can’t wait for the rules to be changed, enjoy your flight, fellow passengers.

Adidas scores an own goal after attempting to sell racy soccer World Cup T-shirts on its US website and gets chastised by Brazilian authorities, who have been fiercely cracking down on sex tourism and child prostitution in Brazil

World Cup T-shirt

One of the official sponsors of the 2014 soccer World Cup, Adidas stopped selling racy World Cup T-shirts on its US website after infuriating Brazilian authorities, who’ve been fiercely cracking down on sex tourism and child prostitution in Brazil. The host country and the German sports apparel maker appear not to be on the same page when it comes to how to showcase this South American giant to the world. The former’s been working hard to change its reputation as a destination for sex tourism, while the latter was apparently promoting exactly that by trying to make an extra buck.

RACISM IN SOCCER: The latest chapter in a seemingly endless story. Brazilian player Tinga is the target of monkey chants by opposing fans during a Copa Libertadores match in Peru, and Conmebol, the governing body for soccer in South America, has yet to announce what penalties, if any, will be imposed on Real Garcilaso, the Peruvian team

Tinga - Racism in Soccer

 It was loud and clear. When the Brazilian player got onto the pitch, monkey chants could be heard all over the stadium, and every time he touched the ball, the racist chants erupted from the crowd. As unthinkable as it may seem, racism in soccer is definitely not an exception, which brings into question the effectiveness of countless efforts intended to curb such abusive behavior. On her Twitter page, the Brazilian President denounced what happened in Peru and expressed her full support to the player, who was greeted by thousands of fans upon his arrival back in Brazil, and once again, chants were aimed at him, but this time, he was bombarded with words of affection and encouragement.

 

Daylight Saving Time is almost over in Brazil: Are you happy? Sad? Furious, maybe?

DST

If you live in Brazil, by the time you wake up next Sunday morning, daylight saving time will be over. For those who hate it, life will be much better since they will get an extra hour of sleep, but if you’re among those who love to enjoy the sun after work and maybe have a bear or go to the park, don’t worry! October is just around the corner. Either way, DST has been around for a long time, and there are no signs the Brazilian government, or any other government for that matter, has any intention of scrapping it. So, ladies and gentlemen, don’t forget to turn your watches and clocks back an hour before going to bed on Saturday.

Men in skirts in the workplace: What if it catches on?

Skirt                               André Amaral

Yes, it’s hot. It’s burning hot in Brazil. In Rio temperatures can get as high as 105. Sometime ago, there was a huge push online to get bosses to let employees go to work in Bermuda shorts, and many got the message and loosened the rules, but Andre’s boss was not among them. Deeply disappointed, the 41-year-old, who works in downtown Rio in a building with no air-conditioning, resorted to something most men in this country would never even think about: he showed up at work in a skirt. A rather confused doorman didn’t know how to handle the situation, and after some back-and-forth, Andre was eventually let into the building. Hey, ladies, you’ve got company.

 

Curitiba, Brazil: Meet Oilman – an urban legend that’s actually true

Oilman

It is winter. It is getting dark. It is 32 degrees, and you come across a 6-foot-2 man, hair in a ponytail, only in sneakers and a speedo, and slathered with oil from head to toe.  There’s no need to panic, especially if you’re in Curitiba, a beautiful city in southern Brazil, where Oilman lives. For more than 15 years, he’s been roaming the streets on his bike, and after making an appearance on Brazil’s top-rated talk show, he got known all over this country. He’s become such a regular feature that now he only turns heads when he’s fully dressed, which is rare – at least in public. And don’t waste your time trying to understand why he does that. Nobody knows. There goes Oilman, the urban legend that’s actually true.

Kombi: Brazil’s Workhorse Retires

Kombi

The VW bus was first assembled in Brazil 56 years ago – and 1.5 million units later, it’s time to say goodbye. Though ubiquitous in this country, they’re no longer as relevant to the Brazilian economy as they once were. There was a time, not long ago, when they served every purpose known to man: from hauling cargo, to taking kids to school, to delivering the mail, but as competition intensifies and laws get tougher – they’re fast being replaced by more modern, safer options. December 31st marks the end of production, but they’ll certainly be seen on the streets of this South American giant for many years to come.

Sochi’s Olympic Dream Is Over: Brazilian Skier Lais Souza Seriously Hurt in US Practice

Lais de Souza

She was twice at the Summer Olympics as a gymnast, but then she decided to give freestyle skiing a try, and it worked so well that she was about to secure a spot for the Winter Olympics in Russia. But on Monday, January 27th, her dreams were shattered when she got injured in practice. Now the focus has changed to her recovery from back surgery, which took place right after the accident, and doctors have yet to release information on the skier’s condition. Her family back home in Brazil is awfully worried, and the athlete’s mother is on her way to Salt Lake City to help this young woman overcome what is certainly the most difficult time of her life.

Chaos at the mall: Baffled authorities and store owners in Brazil struggle to find ways to deal with a new phenomenon – ROLEZINHO – and what does Facebook have to do with that?

Rolezinho

It is scorching hot in the southern hemisphere. Schoolkids are on vacation, and beaches all over this country are teeming with people who leave big cities to enjoy summer on the coast. What if you’re a teenager and your family can’t afford a trip anywhere outside one of the largest megalopolises on the planet? Well, you can always hang out at the mall. It’s safe, fun and air-conditioned. Hey, wait a minute, if you invite a few friends, it can get even better, and what better place to turn to than Facebook. After all, that’s where most of your friends are. Yes, you guessed it, the invitations multiplied – and there you are, 6 thousand kids showed up at the mall to socialize with their peers. Things, of course, got out of control. The police were called and chased the huge crowd away with the help of tear gas, rubber bullets and batons. Since then, more flash mobs have taken place in Sao Paulo and Rio, where mall owners have beefed up security, and gone to court to try to stop the huge gatherings from taking place. We may not have seen the end of it, though, at least not until the beginning of school in February. 

Claudia and Marcelo Repetto: Life Triumphs Over Tragedy

Claudia and Marcelo Life Triumphs Over Tragedy

These pictures show a proud daddy, a happy mom, and their triplets. They, however, don’t tell the entire story. Back in 2010, this couple decided to spend New Year’s Eve in one of the most exclusive places along the Brazilian coast. Just after midnight, on January 1st, the hotel chosen for the celebration was swallowed by a huge landslide. Miraculously, both husband and wife were rescued alive from under tons and tons of mud, but their two daughters were not as lucky and lost their lives. Despite it all, they slowly got back on their feet, and after undergoing treatment, Claudia, at 46, got pregnant for the third time. Last December, three healthy babies were born, bringing many in this country to tears, but this time – tears of joy.

Rio: Ipanema Beach Protest Against Topless Ban

Topless

Only five brave women showed up on the famous Ipanema beach in Rio to protest against an archaic law that forbids topless along the sunny, picture-perfect Brazilian seashore. What was supposed to have been a huge demonstration, turned out to be more like a press conference, with hundreds of photographers, reporters and onlookers surrounding the women, who didn’t get intimidated and went topless, making headlines far beyond their native country. Under the law, violators should be slapped with a jail term of up to a year, but what actually happens is rather awkward and may go like this: “Excuse, ma’am, could you put you top back on? Or I’ll have to take you down to the police station.” 

Gisele Bundchen: The Juggling Act of a Supermodel Mom

Gisele BundchenInstagram  

When you’re the most successful supermodel ever and you don’t hold back on your opinions, it’s no surprise whatever you make public will trigger all sorts of reactions from people, and the headlines will follow. While having her hair, makeup and nails done, Gisele nurses her daughter. At least, that’s what the picture shows, but when she posted it on Instagram, bam, all hell broke loose! After getting viciously attacked by some angry moms, she was then showered with praise and encouragement by many others. This is not the first time, though, the 33-year-old stirs controversy, and it might not be the last.

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Weidman vs. Silva: There Will Be Blood

Anderson Silva    Chris Weidman                                 vs.                            Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva – not only is he one of the greatest mixed martial arts fighters ever, he’s also a huge celebrity whose appeal goes far beyond his native Brazil. A record seven-year winning streak brought him fame and fortune, but then came the storm – which goes by the name of Chris Weidman – and there he was lying unconscious. He’d been knocked out. The time has come for the hotly anticipated rematch, and even though it is virtually impossible to predict the outcome of this fight – once those two men step in the octagon, chances are there will be blood!