WELCOME TO THE NEW ERA OF PRO SURFING: BRAZILIAN PRODIGY GABRIEL MEDINA WINS 2014 ASP WORLD TITLE

Featured

Gabriel Medina - Champion

Braving one of the most challenging waves on the planet, far away from home at the legendary Pipeline, Gabriel Medina has made history by becoming the first Brazilian surfer to win the world title, which is quite an accomplishment for a boy who had a humble upbringing in a country where soccer is almost a religion, but with the help of a doting, persistent mother and a visionary step-father, who saw in a nine-year-old kid unequaled talent, Gabriel took up surfing and never looked back, and when news came that the 20-year-old had achieved glory, euphoric fans across Brazil and around the world took to the streets in celebration, waving Brazilian flags and chanting, “Surfing’s got a new king.”

BOY WONDER FROM BRAZIL, SURFER GABRIEL MEDINA ON THE CUSP OF MAKING HISTORY

Featured

Gabriel Medina

From a beach town like many others along the huge Brazilian coast, where kids grow up riding waves big and small and dreaming of someday becoming professional surfers, comes a daring, courageous 20-year-old who’s on the verge of doing what no other surfer in this country has done before: winning the men’s world title. Gabriel Medina, however, knows pretty well that pulling it off in a sport dominated by Australians and Americans is no easy feat, especially now that his closest competitors are Mick Fanning, three-time tour winner, and surfing legend Kelly Slater, no less. So come December 8th in Hawaii, this young Brazilian will have to do even better than the very best if he wants to be crowned champion.

PLAYING WITH FIRE: BRAZILIAN TV HOST GETS BURNED ON LIVE SHOW

Luis Ricardo

CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO WATCH THE VIDEO (Luis Ricardo/Programa do Ratinho – SBT)

You may have seen it countless times on TV or maybe even live at a circus: A performer lights two torches, drinks a flammable liquid and, voilà, spits fire, which makes for a great show and people just love it. That’s where a circus performer-turned-TV show host making a guest appearance on another very popular TV show enters the story. Not having done it for over thirty years, looking dapper in a nice well-cut blazer and as if knowing what was about to happen, Luis Ricardo several times warns kids at home not to even think about doing what he was about to do, and just a few seconds later, there he was, in panic, with his face on fire before a shocked audience.

IN THE BUFF IN RIO: AFTER A 20-YEAR BATTLE, NUDISTS GET THEIR OWN BEACH – ABRICO

Nudist

It was not easy. It took them 20 long years to get the city of Rio de Janeiro to pass a law allowing nudists to have their own beach. Now, they’re part of a very exclusive club of only 8 official nudist beaches in a country that boasts a 4,600-mile coastline. The US, for example, has over 200 nude recreation areas, not to mention countless others in Europe. But wait a minute, isn’t it the country of Carnival and the string bikini? Yes, it is, and it’s also the country where going topless is against the law. So if you decide to fly to Rio for the 2016 Olympics and feel like going in the buff, head to the white sands of Abrico, about 25 miles from the famous Copacabana beach.

BROKEN GLASS AND DEPLOYED AIRBAGS: THE MOST COMMON SIDE EFFECTS OF MULTITASKING BEHIND THE WHEEL

crash 999

As more and more people pride themselves in being multitaskers, emergency room admissions do not seem to vouch for that, nor do scientists, who emphatically claim that the human brain performs far better when focused on a single task. Well, don’t we all know that? Most of us certainly do. So why do phone conversations and text messages keep getting interrupted by broken glass and deployed airbags? Though experts cannot give us a clear answer, they all agree that simply raising awareness about such dangerous behavior and punishing offending motorists are not enough. So most of them believe that the best approach would be to block cellphone signals in cars, which in turn would spare drivers the inconvenience of having their communications cut short, not to mention their lives.

ONCE DOWNRIGHT ILLEGAL, CAPOEIRA MAKES IT TO UNESCO’S ARTS PROTECTION LIST

Capoeira

The UN’s cultural arm, Unesco, has granted Capoeira protected status, which means giving a huge boost to this martial art form that dates back to slavery days here in Brazil. As the story goes, African slaves tricked their masters into thinking they were dancing when they were actually honing their deadly moves. Fast forward a few centuries, and those very same moves (once illegal) are now part of exercise routines at gyms all over the world where instructors keep alive this unique martial art form, and in the process, their followers, besides learning a great deal about Brazilian culture, enjoy ripped bodies – the result of countless jumps, kicks and spins to the sound of live music, played on percussion instruments.

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

taxi 777

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

cho 111

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

chapel 444

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

Sun 444

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

Children 333

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

Scotland 222

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.