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by Ismael Moreira and Francine Soares
December, 29 2012
Brazil is on the edge! The country known worldwide for land of football are facing some problems to bring the Cup back.

We have seen circulating in the media a lot of publications and news about the World Cup that will happen here in 2014. It is impossible to host the Cup without compliance with requirements imposed by FIFA. As the time is passing in front of us, we are facing problems with stadium buildings, expenditure, and money management. This race against the clock is observed by the eyes of other countries that are closer and closer to what the Brazil is making to hold the status of host country of World Cup. Foreign newspapers and national, too, are the response to keep everyone informed.

Newspapers such as Alaska Dispatch– a North-American website of news – are one of the response to keep everyone informed. Recently this news website wrote an article talking about the infrastructure of stadiums and the money that has been spent until now. As we Brazilians know, and the Alaskan reinforced in its article, there are a lot of stadiums that will not be able to host games either be finished for the Cup in 2014. Concomitantly, a national news called G1 talk about the same thing: money wasted by Brazil in infrastructure construction. On May of this year only five percent of the work was done, said the G1 news. The website also made a list with all the stadiums that are being building in our country, showing the real situation of which one. Perhaps, what most Brazilians are thinking is right: Brazil is not ready to host the Cup, and maybe neither it will be.

The preparation to host the World Cup looks like a reality show, and each next step that Brazil takes will be reported for not only in national, but in all the newspapers of this world. Since the beginning, Brazilian people realized that the Cup could not have a good performance here, but everyone is optimistic with a positive course for the World Cup 2014. With the Alaska Dispatch's article and The G1's article, we can see how much other countries are looking at what Brazil is facing. It is a fact that Brazil is a very rich country, nevertheless the projects are not building up and there are many obstacles (like Brazilian bureaucracy) that do not help these things to happen. Sadly, these is whopping and the whole world can see.

 
By Larissa Longaray and Tiele Kawarlevski
December, 29th 2012. 


Brazil is the sixth economy in the world despite being the eighty-eighth in the education rank. Why is this happens? It is because a lot of facts, but we can mention that Brazilians teachers are not valued, then the students are not motivated to join in the career – just 2% of them think about following this profession.

Singapore is not only the thirtieth best economy in the world ranking, but its education is really more developed and their teachers are valued by everyone. On teacher’s day, the president receives the teachers who do special things for their schools and gives money as a way of rewarding the bests, and because of these rewards people adore these teachers.

If you think that the reason for the good education in Singapore is just because of its size – this country has just 5.1 million inhabitants – it is not. China, that is so much bigger (1.4 billion inhabitants), has an education that deserves to be recognized. There the teachers receive increases in their salaries with their professional development, even being their salaries small in the beginning.

According to those aspects, we noticed that even Brazil is in a higher position than Singapore in the economy ranking, but it invests much less on education. Our teachers get low salaries (in Singapore a teacher’s salary is equivalent to an engineer’s salary) and they have few chances to grow in the career. Because of this devaluation, we have fewer professionals in this area and it causes a big increase of job offers for those who work in this field nowadays, then they don’t have time to study and develop their education. This leaves our education to be stagnant, unable to evolve.

Of course, regarding demography, Singapore loses to Brazil, but it doesn’t justify our educational shortage. When we compare Brazil and China, for example, we lose in demography and in investments on education. China has a culture based on good treatment for the teachers and this country invests on future education for teachers. We can cite as an example the fact that people there are required to bow before the Emperor, but not teachers, because they have an extreme value to the society.

What leads Brazil to lose points in this aspect is our culture which is based on the history that certain careers are related to low salaries, like Letters, and, obviously, the low investment in education by our government. So, we have a lot to learn from these countries which invest much more than they can in education, to improve the internal work and motivate the natives to study, proving that in the end every effort will be worthwhile.
 

                                                                        Plastic Surgery 

Brazil is the second country that most performs plastic surgeries in the whole world. 


by Luana Schommer and Vanessa Almeida
December, 27th.

         According with a recent research, performed by "Correio do Brasil", Brazil occupies the second place in the world ranking of plastic surgery. In other words, after the USA, Brazil is the country that most performs plastic surgeries in the whole world. 

       We were very curious to know why so many plastic surgeries are being done here. “Portal Cirurgia Plástica” explains why: good price, investment in new techniques, and the quality of Brazilian surgeons are some of the appointed reasons. These three reasons bring to Brazil many foreigners who want a plastic surgery; and the surgeries that they do are part of the 645.464 plastic surgeries that were done here in 2009, according “Correio do Brasil”. 

      Not all plastic surgeries are performed for aesthetics reasons, some of them are reconstruction surgeries, but, still according to “Correio do Brasil”, nowadays the number of aesthetic surgeries is increasing.  The most wanted surgeries are liposuction and silicon implantation. Only 9% of the implantations are reconstruction surgeries. These facts suggest that most people resort to surgery rather than physical exercise and healthy habits to get the wanted body.  

      Nowadays, the demand for a perfect body is increasing.  The fact that Brazil is the second country where most plastic surgeries are done is not insignificant, it has to do with the stereotype of “Brazilian beauty”, once people often feel pressured by stereotypes. Day after day, people are looking for improvements in their appearances, and not only Brazilians, but all people are very worried trying to be shaped, and this is not a crime. If someone is dissatisfied with his/her body, plastic surgery is a solution for that. But even if it is for aesthetic reasons, it is still a surgery and any surgery has risks involved.     

    As any other type of surgery, plastic surgery has to be done with a qualified professional in a qualified clinic. Even with the good prices, Brazil has clandestine clinics that are usually very cheap, (much more than a qualified clinic) but not safe. These clinics usually do not have a doctor or appropriate gear. Complications during the surgery or as a result of surgery are not uncommon, and people dying as a result of these are not uncommon too. 

      Plastic Surgery is a useful resource when people are not satisfied with their bodies. This is something to improve self-esteem, and it is not wrong. If you have the opportunity to make your body better, why not? But the decision has to be made consciously and assuming the fact that a plastic surgery is not something so simple as most people think.   

      Being happy with our appearance is nice and important, but how far should we go to have a "perfect" body and a "perfect" face? First, perfection does not exist, it is just a convention created by people that think women are beautiful just if they are thin, have a fine nose etc., and if men have a great body, and they are brawny, etc. Problems like postsurgical infection and an unexpected result can happen. People have to think about every detail when they are thinking about doing a plastic surgery. But are the risks of surgery are compensated? This question only concerns a person who wants a surgery.

 

Fifty shades of influence in a relationship

Know how a simple book can destroy your marriage
by Filipe Vuaden

              Books have always influenced the way we think and behave. Throughout our history, many books have been published and used as one of the first tools for people to share their personal ideas and conceptions with the world. Books can deal with different subjects in different cultures, what helped them to become universally popular. The influence of a book may vary from country to country.

               For example, “The Sorrows of Young Werther”, published in 1774 by German author Johann Wolfgang Goethe, led many people to commit suicide due to the sad story it was about. “Madame Bovary”, published in 1856 by French writer Gustave Flaubert, was considered as something against the moral order of the period and originated a new literary movement. The Harry Potter series also made a big impact during the first years of the 00’s, selling over 450 million books around the world. The Harry Potter series made people of all ages take a time for themselves and spend it reading and stimulating imagination.

              Nowadays we have access to many kinds of media, such as TV, internet and music. They connect different peoples easily. Books are still read, but they are not the greatest tool for sharing information anymore. However, as information travels fast today, when a book becomes famous in a country, it usually becomes famous all around the world and then it will probably become a best seller and may sometimes be the object of funny facts as we can see with today’s best seller.

                The “Fifty Shades” trilogy is certainly the major best seller nowadays. Written by British author E. L. James, the book series has become famous due to its explicit erotic scenes between Anastasia Steele, the main character, and her partner Christian Grey. The books entered the top of weekly best sellers list, having sold more than 60 million copies around the world and been translated into 37 languages. However, its influence has also led people to react strangely to its impact.

               In Brazil, according to “Folha UOL”, it has been confirmed that sex shops are increasing their sales after the boom and popularity of the Fifty Shades trilogy in our country. And, guess what, the strangest point is that the increase of sex shop sales is making many men buy items in these kinds of stores. Usually considered shy consumers, today there are many men going into sex shops to buy items to use in their relations with their partners. Some sex shops have registered an increase of 20% of men who look for items in their stores. Sellers agree that this increase is due to the influence of the Fifty Shades series books.

                 In the United Kingdom, however, a more serious problem has been found due to the influence of the books. According to a report on “Daily Mail” on November 11st 2012, a woman bought the trilogy hoping that it would make her relationship with her husband spicy. But his reaction to this idea was not very favorable. He denied his wife she requests to perform the sexual fantasies described in the book. The forty-one year woman became so furious that decided their relationship should be over. And, more than that, she contacted Amanda McAlister, one of the best known lawyers in the United Kingdom to take care of her divorce petition, saying the book made her find out that her husband is not able to accompany her in sexual adventures.          
 
Brazilian politician José Dirceu is condemned to ten years and ten months in jail
By Dêner Ramos and Fernanda Araujo

Brazilians woke up with surprising news a few days ago. José Dirceu, a reputed politician in the country, was sentenced to 10 years in jail due to the Mensalão scandal. Dirceu was condemned for criminal conspiracy and active corruption in the criminal process which has been considered a remarkable moment for the Brazilian Justice.

The Mensalão scandal is the popular name for the exchanging votes system committed by parliamentarians for money reception which occurred during the year of 2005. José Dirceu had his mandate struck down on December 1st, 2005, but was judged permanently only this year, alongside with other politicians such as Roberto Jefferson, Marcos Valério and José Genoino. This is Dirceu’s second arrest; the first was in 1968, during the dictatorship in Brazil.

Dirceu’s sentence reverberated in the most important press media of the world, once the impunity in the country has been a constant issue and public concern. The New York Times said that “In the scandal now under examination by the high court, by contrast, the breadth of the charges is stunning”; the El País journal asserted that the condemnation was surprisingly built up by politicians who have established relations with Lula, the ex-president of Brazil, who was friends with Dirceu as well.

After the announcement, the whole country manifested its relief for the decision of the Court. The main expectancy now is that trials like the one in this case become a pattern, which is truly important to solve the corruption.
 
Prisons in Brazil have a large population, they are overcrowded and in terrible conditions.
By Giovani Coppini and Thomas Bazzo
       
Brazil has the fourth biggest total prison population, with 514.000 prisoners, according to International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS), a non-governmental organization. In the first positions are the United States of America (2 millions), China (1,6 million) and Russian Federation (740.000).

The Ministry of Justice Eduardo Cardozo said he would prefer to die to be in jail for a long time, because he thinks that the Brazilian prison system is “medieval” at the moment. Prisons face overcapacity and receive low resources to make things better. Electrical problems, poor-quality food, bad plumbing, broken toilets, terrible hygiene, these are some of the main problems that prisons have, not to mention that they suffer from overcrowding.

The tense environment makes the prisoners feel really terrible. In 1992, the carnage of 111 prisoners in São Paulo's House of Detention, known as Carandiru, was decisive for the foundation of a criminal group that acts in the prison system and is called PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital, literally, First Capital Command). This group was created to face the problems in the prison system and to avoid another massacre like the one in 1992. The creation of this group showed results: in 2006 the deaths in prisons reduced. In 1992 the deaths reach 522 prisoners a year but in 2006 this number reduced to 377. This can be a good thing but we have to remember that it is a criminal group which has been causing trouble since its creation until now.   

A possible solution for all these problems could be a program that inserts prisoners in the society. This program already exists. It was created in 2009 and has employed 2000 ex-prisoners. But it is difficult for the ex-prisoners to be employed because most of them don't have a good qualification and haven’t completed the basic education. A lot of these people get a job in civil constructions like the ones for the world cup in 2014. The government must invest more in this program to create a better society where people have a second chance in their lives.
 
A Festival for everyone

By Renata Staudt

            If you think Brazilian people only like samba music, I am so sorry for telling you that you are wrong.

            Lollapalooza has a lot to celebrate with its first Brazilian edition. It took its first steps in April, 2012, in São Paulo (in Jockey Club) for 2 days and it gathered a crowd about 70,000 festival-goers who came out to see everything from lLocal bands to the biggest international stars.

            But it was Foo Fighters that everyone was waiting for, and they didn't disappoint. Dave Grohl and company played everyone's favorites, including "Learn to Fly," just as planes flew overhead while taking off from the nearby airport. After doing the show, Foo Fighters invited Joan Jett (The Runaways) on stage to sing with them (including "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," of course). The crowd sang every word to every song, proving Lollapalooza's Brazilian adventure a tremendous success.

            The second day of Lollapalooza Brazil proved to be more interesting in its programming, since it did not have a headliner as powerful as the Foo Fighters did, giving  the public a variety of bands.

            Friendly Fires attracted fans and curious people to their show. However, it seemed that it lacked a certain boldness in the band, and those who have been attending the gringos festival broadcasts online know that Friendly Fires performances are usually not well done.

            Even when it rained no one seemed to mind. Gogol Bordello and Foster the People were early crowd favorites, both bringing energy to the stage that kept the fans going. Foster the People was surprised for bringing on a reaction so warm in the public. It was visible the joy in Mark Foster’s face each time people sang along his successes! The show was very interesting and dynamic because of the instruments used by Mike Foster, who played the keyboard, the guitar, the percussion, the cowbell and even the maracas. With only 12 songs on the set list, the band closed its show playing the song "Pumped up Kicks", and adding a segment of electronic music, transforming the rock into a great ballad.

            Arctic Monkeys performance was focused only on the songs, not on the fans, nevertheless their songs are so great that everyone cried while Alex Turner and his band played the beautiful song ‘’505’’. If the band had kept more attention to the fans, I think the show would have had more emotion.
            Over on the aptly called "Perry "electronic stage, the music never stopped. DJ sets from the likes of Peaches and Calvin Harris turned the space into an outdoor nightclub, complete with strobe lights, a dance floor and a cozy atmosphere, due to the tent blocking out most of the night sky.

            As you have seen, Brazil has a lot of different cultures and lifestyles. Lollapalooza is an international festival known around the world and it can bring another thought of what Brazilians like listening to. This alternative concert has been reverberating abroad; consequently, it has been introducing new bands to Brazil and another Brazil to the world.

 


More than 250 policemen and civilians have lost their lives in the war against crime


by Rafaela Rocha

           Brazil’s national security has always been a topic for heated discussions among experts and lays. Once again, the issue gains the front pages of newspapers and websites around the world as the wave of violence in the biggest city of the country, São Paulo, spreads. The recent events have already accounted for more than 90 deaths of policemen; the deaths of civilians amount more than 200, and numbers are doomed to increase as government and police work together trying to solve the situation.
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THE BEGINNING
The wave of violence had its start on May 28 when a São Paulo military special force took down 6 members of a criminal organization called PCC [First Command of the Capital, in Portuguese], which aims at defending the rights of imprisoned people in Brazil. PCC leaders state that one of the men captured that night was killed after surrendering to the police. An official investigation declared the policemen innocent. The fact triggered a violent response from the organization, and such response was worsened after the military operations continued to arrest and kill other criminals – according to a piece published by the Brazilian newspaper Estadão on November 17th, the Command decreed that for every criminal killed, two policemen should die. Ever since May, armed men have been riding the city of São Paulo on motorcycles, shooting policemen; however, innocent civilians have lost their lives as well, mainly on crossfire.

          The events have been reported by the media regularly, but the violence reached its peak during October and early November, and all eyes have been watching Brazil carefully. The wave of violence and deaths is certainly a matter of concern, not only for locals, but also for the world: with the upcoming major events on sports taking place in Brazil from 2013 to 2016, the international press has a lot to talk about.

SPECIAL MEASURES
          Nonetheless, government and police forces are working together in order to erase, or at least reduce, violence. Special committees have been assembled to create measures and polices that will help shrink the power of the organized crime in the country. One of the major problems that authorities face is the poor infrastructure of the prison system, which allows inmates to communicate to the outside, organize and even lead attacks not only to policemen, but also to banks, companies, and individuals. The joint intelligence centers aim at increasing surveillance on points where drugs are smuggled into Brazil, such as airports and highways. Inmates under suspicion of ordering attacks will be transferred to maximum security prisons where they are forced to stay away from their gangs and cannot communicate with the members of the group outside.

THE ROLE OF MEDIA
               In late October, the governor of São Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, stated in an interview the rise in the attacks gains force due to the participation of the media in broadcasting the acts performed by criminal groups. The governor says that the media is making “too much drama” about the events; he also adds that publicity seems to be one of the goals of PCC, and the media is reinforcing their actions by giving them prominence through the news. Alckmin is concerned that the way the news are presented may start a “campaign against São Paulo”. According to him, the amount of the deaths is proportional to the size of the state, and the media has to be careful not to inflict panic on the population.
             That may be one side of it, but the fact is that the attacks, slaughters and buses set on fire are doing enough on their own to establish panic around. Authorities affirm that the violence is a response to the prisons, transferences, and deaths of criminals; however, more and more civilians are becoming casualties in the war between the police and the gangs. It is not impossible to imagine that the families of the victims have a hard time accepting that the deaths of their loved ones are among the expected numbers in a situation like this.

INTERNATIONAL PRESS
           International newspapers highlight the events in Brazil: BBC has published several notes on the development of events and preventive actions; the Miami Herald talks about the rise of violence and mentions curfew orders in São Paulo and its metropolitan area; the International Business Times highlights the increase on the security in public spaces as well the transference of inmates; the Argentinean El Clarín talks about the cancellation of nocturnal masses in São Paulo as a way to motivate people not to leave their homes at night.

EXPERTS’ WORDS
          Experts on security alert to the extremely bad conditions inmates face inside prisons due to overcrowding, and they also point out the misuse of federal budgets destined to change the situation. Another important issue yet to be dealt with by Brazilian authorities is the lack of rehabilitation for prisoners: the national prison system nowadays is unable to reintegrate the individual to society. The lack of investment and interest is often the main cause of rebellions led by inmates. That, of course, does not justify PCC’s actions and violence, but it cannot be ignored for it is a serious problem worth looking into.
          A national security crisis has been dismissed by authorities, but the recent events in São Paulo and the metropolitan area may be a symptom of a deeper problem that can make Brazil stumble on its way to the top.
 
 Giovani Coppini and Rafaela Rocha

Stereotypes. We all have been there. Because we are tall or too short, chubby or thin; because we wear glasses or have blond hair. At least once in your life you have been labeled under some concept that does not even scratch the truth. The same goes for nationalities: Russian and their vodka, Japanese and their brains, Canadians and their hockey, Indians and their gold. Stereotypes come for good and evil. They may say something about a people and their culture, but we have to bear in mind they are not the ultimate nor the most adequate definition. As Brazilians, some of us have faced some of these generalizations ourselves and they all involve Carnaval, samba, soccer, and the Amazon forest. But we are way more than that.

It is common opinion abroad that Brazilians are very passionate, happy, and kind people. That may be our Latin blood screaming, but we certainly like to have a good time. Some of the most famous images of Brazil and its people – which have been spread by the media and also by ourselves – divide opinions when broadcast as “the truth” about us: not everyone loves Carnaval and some of us look rather ridiculous trying to samba; not everyone has a gift for soccer (honestly, a good number of us are born with two left feet); and yeah, it may be hard to remember that we are the only country in Latin America which speaks Portuguese. Brazil is such an immense, richly diverse country that it is hard to define whatever we are under one single image. It is interesting to point out, though, that due to Brazil’s recent emergency in the international scenario some of these stereotypes tend to be deconstructed as the world gets to know us a little better.

Case in point is that foreigners seem to agree that we are very gentle and helpful towards them. Our friendliness apparently impresses visitors, and most of them think that this is a natural feature of our personalities. That, added to the fact that Brazil has been thriving in times of worldwide economic crisis, attracts foreigners to live here. Interestingly enough, according to a research led by Ipsos Mori*, 41% of the Brazilian interviewees think that there are too many immigrants here. It is quite controversial, tough, that 49% of the interviewees also think that Brazil becomes a more interesting place with immigrants around.

Despite this love and hate relationship, it is the Brazilian love for new and fresh things that keeps us going. The world may be getting to know us, and soon they will learn that yes, we have Carnaval, but we also have Bumba-meu-boi, Parintins, and our own version of Oktoberfest; we have samba, but we also have forró, frevo, and chula; we may have great soccer players, but we also play peteca, footvolley, and capoeira. We are not made of only one story, and neither is anyone. It is very likely that the known stereotypes about Brazil are indeed our own fault, for several reasons, but above all is the underdog syndrome from which we suffer. We may wear a brave and laidback front, but we are dying to fit in and to be taken seriously. Maybe it is time for Brazil to leave its inferiority complex behind and focus on all the great things we have to offer the world, much beyond reductionist images and labels.

NOTES
* 1 The research is available online at Ipsos Mori official website: http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/2833/Too-Many-Immigrants.aspx

 
by Diego Lunkes, Larissa Longaray, Tiele Kawarlevski
Throughout the project of Culture and stereotypes article (what concerns to discover how Brazil is seen by foreigner eyes), with the interviews, the documentary “The Foreign Eye” and the Nigerin writer Chimamanda Adichie’s speech, we saw that our stereotype is exactly how we thought it was. When we asked foreigners about their visions about Brazil before they arrived here, they answered what we thought they would: samba, jungle, beautiful and sensual women, beaches, slums and violence. 

This is not so far from reality, but it is not just like this. They use Rio de Janeiro and Amazon as reference while Brazil has other twenty-six states. The documentary “The Foreign Eye” is concerned to show stereotypes, but it's done in an American way, like said Larry Gelbart, American television writer, playwright, screenwriter and author : “an American cake, but it had a Brazilian frosting". This happens because they are talking about different cultures and they just know how to do it if they see it through their own culture and this is how stereotypes are built. So, the stereotype ends up being a summary for reality and this summary just contemplates one vision about all stories, in other words, it is not a lie, it is just a bad summary. Like Chimamanda said in her speech:  “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.”

On the other hand, we have other parts of this story. When we interviewed the foreigners asking about their actual vision of Brazil, they answered that it has changed. They discovered that, actually, we are friendly people and receptive with the foreigners, that we are hardworking (then we are not partying all the time) and not everybody likes samba and soccer. They also discovered other cultural expressions, like it is said in the website article Real Life for English (http://migre.me/c834h): “Brazil knows how to party and how to celebrate its beautiful culture with many festivities throughout the year such as Carnaval.  The world is amazed by cultural expressions like samba and capoeira.”

We are completing the foreigners stereotyped vision about Brazil, so it is interesting to say that what is called "a whole jungle" is, in fact, our biodiversity. Our country has a really big variety of animals and vegetation, but differently from the stereotyped image, we do not domesticate wild animals in our backyards. And about our rich culture: during the colonization of Brazil, we had a lot of immigration, for example, Italian, German and Polish. So, we are a big mixture. 

Our mixture is our culture: richer than a simple stereotype. This is the cake filling.