Archive for the ‘Brazil’ tag
Suketu Mehta piece about the favelas — for so long dominant symbols of both Brazil and lawlessness — and the results that government “pacification” in the wake of the coming World Cup and Olympics are having is well worth a read.
Until 2008, when the pacification program started, the traficantes controlled roughly half of the favelas, and the militias the other half. Both still hold power in most favelas. The ultimate aim of the state government of Rio’s plan, called the Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP), or Police Pacification Unit, is to drive both of these groups out and replace them by the state.
John Terborgh’s piece about the moral question of “uncontacted tribes” and the history of that answer in Brazil is a great read. As someone who’d mused at the thought a little, but never done much else, I learned quite a lot.
I really liked this look at the realities of how and where exploratory geology for oil is done, and how it’s changing. Not massively exciting, but it’ll tell you things you didn’t know and might be interested to. Things like this:
According to United States Geological Survey data, the earth, as it was before oil companies started drilling, held between five trillion and six trillion barrels of oil, most of which has been discovered or remains inaccessible. In 2000, the U.S.G.S. estimated that there were around 650 billion barrels on the planet yet to be found, and most analysts say that the estimate is a pretty good one.
There are a lot of interesting aspects to consider in this piece about a man local experts believe to be the sole survivor of his tribe.
Eventually, the agents found the man. He was unclothed, appeared to be in his mid-30s (he’s now in his late 40s, give or take a few years), and always armed with a bow-and-arrow. Their encounters fell into a well-worn pattern: tense standoffs, ending in frustration or tragedy. On one occasion, the Indian delivered a clear message to one agent who pushed the attempts at contact too far: an arrow to the chest.
In “City of Men,” a televised miniseries that ran in Brazil from October 2002 until December 2005 and is now available on DVD, Meirelles and his collaborators add dimension to “City of God’s” gory view of Rio’s other half, depicting domestic life in the favelas — shantytowns cobbled together from concrete, corrugated tin and cinder blocks by their poor inhabitants. Whereas “City of God” followed its characters through the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, “City of Men” looks at contemporary life. Preserving the gritty, neorealist aspects of Meirelles’ film, the TV series offers glimpses into the homes, schools and shops where daily life in the favelas unfolds.
At least on the Peruvian side of the border, the plan is being changed to leave them alone.
Speaking of language, Portugal has given in and accepted Brazilian spellings of words. (Also, congratulations to the BBC employee that came up with the title: “Reform spells change for Portugal.” Get it?)
The agreement standardises numerous spellings and adds three letters - k, w and y - to the alphabet.
A large majority of lawmakers backed government proposals to phase in the changes during the next six years.
Just a small chart to scare the pants off of those who recently found out that the “BRIC” countries are serious about growing. And that the United States is, well, not growing as fast as them. More embarrassingly, because the recession the US is also forecast to grow slower than Japan or the Euro area.