Fordlândia, Brazil


Original furniture in the drawing room in the Fordlândia museum. Photograph: Colin McPherson/Corbis

Named, rather modestly, after its founder Henry Ford, Fordlândia was an attempt by the car-maker and industrialist to create an independent source of rubber for the tyres on his vehicles, free from the existing manufacturing monopolies. Ford bought a huge swathe of land in the Amazon and began building a strangely American-style town in the jungle, including a golf course, a library and a hospital, as well as shops and restaurants to keep his relocated employees happy. It was a grand failure and now all that remains are the derelict buildings, which can be visited by adventurous travellers.
Fordlândia is on the east bank of the Tapajós river and can be reached by boat via Itaituba and Santarém in the state of Pará

Source: TheGuardian Read and see more ghost towns and places

Born in 1888, and still going strong


Is this the oldest person in the world? Brazilian receives birth certificate showing he turned 126 last week (… and his secret may be that he doesn’t like taking baths)

  •  Jose Aguinelo dos Santos was born on July 7, 1888, in Ceara state
  •  Mr dos Santos was 52 when Brazil football legend Pele was born
  •  Even now he’s so lucid he still amuses others by cracking jokes
  •  He has lived his entire life without documents proving his age 
  •  But the old people’s home he lives in hopes to provide evidence

A Brazilian man whose parents were African slaves could be the oldest living person ever documented after receiving a birth certificate showing he turned 126 last week, it was reported today.

Jose Aguinelo dos Santos was born on July 7, 1888, just two months after slavery was abolished in Brazil – the last country in the world to outlaw the trade.

Yet the batchelor, who never married or had children, still walks without a stick, eats four meals a day and has no health problems – despite smoking a packet of cigarettes a day for the last 50 years.

126 not out: Jose Aguinelo dos Santos, who claims he was born on July 7, 1888, could be the oldest living person ever

126 not out: Jose Aguinelo dos Santos, who claims he was born on July 7, 1888, could be the oldest living person ever

Source: DailyMail Read and see more

Three people have silenced Maracanã

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Today the FIFA World Cup gets serious.

footballteamsThe eight finals, begin. Here it is win, or go home.

Now, a little bit of history.

The story of Brazil’s ‘sacred’ yellow and green jersey

When Brazil play their first knockout game of this World Cup on Saturday, a football-crazy nation will be rooting for them. But many lovers of the game elsewhere will also be hoping to see the daring, imaginative play they have come to associate with the distinctive yellow shirt.

It is an international symbol of joy. A football shirt that conjures up images of the game’s greatest players, playing the beautiful game in the most beautiful of ways.

It has become synonymous with the glamour, magic and fun of Brazilian football on the backs of players such as Pele, Jairzinho, Zico and Socrates, who took football to new heights during the second half of the 20th Century.

“For Brazilians, that yellow jersey is sacred,” says Carlos Alberto, captain of the great 1970 World Cup-winning side.

“When we wear it, of course we feel pride but it also brings responsibility, a responsibility to inspire and to excite.”

Alongside the pinstripes of baseball’s New York Yankees, it has become the most iconic kit in sport. Yellow shirt with green trim. Blue shorts with white stripe. White socks. Distinct and dynamic colours that cannot be confused or mistaken for any other team.

Walk down the street in Sao Paulo, San Diego or Slough, Fortaleza, Frankfurt or Fort William and before long, you are likely to encounter someone wearing a Brazil football shirt, most probably carrying the number 10 on the back.

But it’s unlikely that many know how Brazil came to wear yellow, or that there was ever a time when they didn’t.

As with so much in Brazilian football, the story dates back to a stunning 2-1 defeat by Uruguay on home soil in the final match of the 1950 World Cup.

This proved to be a watershed moment, a reference point for the country’s footballing aspirations. The recriminations were fierce and far-reaching, and the team colours were not immune.

Brazil humiliated


As Uruguay striker Alcides Ghiggia peeled away to celebrate, he noticed the huge new Maracana stadium had fallen silent.

“Three people have silenced the Maracana – Frank Sinatra, the Pope and me,” he recalls.

How Uruguay broke Brazilian hearts in the 1950 World Cup

The white shirts, with blue collars, white shorts and white socks that they had played in until that moment were deemed unpatriotic, not reflective of the Brazilian flag in which the green represents the vast swathes of forest, the golden yellow the country’s raw wealth and the blue globe and white stars, the Rio sky at night. It was time to start again. In 1953, a competition was launched by a newspaper, Correio da Manha, to design a new kit. The rules were set, the new strip must use the four colours of the Brazil flag: yellow, blue, green and white. The winning design would be worn at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland.

Aldyr Garcia Schlee was an 18-year-old newspaper illustrator when he entered.

From his home in Pelotas, a small town in the Rio Grande do Sul, close to the Uruguay border, he sketched out 100 different combinations of the colours. He tried green and yellow hoops on the shirt, with blue shorts, he tried stripes and chevrons.

Schlee’s original illustrations for the Brazil kit

“In the end I realised the shirt just had to be yellow,” Schlee said. “That went nicely with the blue and the socks could be white, with the green around the collar.”

It was the simplicity and harmony of his design that caught the judges’ eye, among the 401 entries. The second-placed design was also simple, featuring a green shirt, white shorts and yellow socks.

Brazil played in their new colours for the first time in March 1954, when they beat Chile 1-0 at the Maracana in Rio. The country won its first World Cup four years later, beating Sweden in Stockholm to lift the trophy. The great irony for Schlee was that because Sweden wore yellow, Brazil won the World Cup wearing blue shirts.

“We didn’t have a change of colours and the Brazilian federation refused to consider wearing white again,” Carlos Alberto recalls. “So they went to Stockholm and bought 22 blue T-shirts for the players and then they put the emblems on.”

It was 1962 before Brazil first lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy in that unique shade of golden yellow.

Most media coverage remained in black and white, however, and the first opportunity for many of the world’s football fans to see a yellow shirt in action was at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico – the first to be shown in colour television.

Source: BBCNews Read more

Giving the Amazon rainforest back to the Awa tribe

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Logging in the Brazilian Amazon has had a devastating effect on the rainforest and its indigenous people. However, a new operation by the army, air force and military police is designed to save an endangered tribe – by keeping loggers off their land.

It took Pira’I two small steps to get up into the helicopter, but those steps bridged two completely different worlds.

Pira’I is a member of a 350-strong tribe called the Awa. They live in the last islands of rainforest in what is now the extreme eastern edge of the Amazon.

He grew up in a tiny nomadic tribal group, completely separate from the rest of the world.

Now, together with his friend Hamo, he was taking his first ever flight, leaving the jungle where they have lived all their lives.

They gave me a nervous smile through the window, then the engine roared and their faces vanished in a great eddy of leaves and dust as the helicopter rose up into the air.

This was a momentous trip for them, and for the entire tribe.

Pira’I was one of two taken in a helicopter to see the destruction of farmers’ homes

The Awa are one of very few hunter-gatherer communities left in the Amazon basin.

Survival International, a pressure group that campaigns for the rights of indigenous people, has described the Awa as “the most endangered tribe on the planet”.

Over the last couple of decades illegal loggers and farmers have invaded their ancestral lands, destroying the forest.

I’d asked Pira’I what it was like growing up in the forest.

“We were always on the run,” he told me. “We would find a place to sleep, then the loggers would arrive again to cut down our trees and we would go on the run again.”

Pira’I and his family – like most of the Awa – were forced to give up their traditional lifestyle and move into villages. Incredibly, though, a few dozen Awa are holding out.

They remain uncontacted, living in the last stands of jungle in this region.

“It is a miracle they are not dead,” one of the officers of Brazil’s Indigenous People’s Department, Funai, tells me.

Video: Watch a preview of Justin Rowlatt’s Newsnight film from the Brazilian Amazon

With his extravagant beard, Leonardo Lenin, lives up to his dramatic name. He has dedicated his life to fighting on behalf of the tribal people of Brazil.

“This is a story of resistance,” he says.

“For 514 years our culture has been trying to dominate their culture, but they have survived.”

And, thanks to the efforts of people like Leo Lenin and Survival International they are now much more likely to do so.

That’s because for once there is some good news from the Amazon.

I had come back to witness the Brazilian government’s unprecedented effort to drive out the invaders and to take back the tribe’s ancestral lands.

It is called Operation Awa and is on an impressive scale.

The Brazilian army, air force and military police are working alongside Brazil’s environmental protection service. The operation is co-ordinated by Funai.

Farmers who have illegally settled on the indigenous reserve that comprises the Awa’s territory, have been served notice to leave. And they seem to be doing so.

The government has offered them plots elsewhere in the state.

I watched a family load up a truck with everything they own – including the tiles from the roof of the farm they’d lived in for 18 years.

Read more and see more photos

Read more and see more photos

Brazil football: Death of a street child

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The brutal killing of a promising teenage street footballer has concentrated minds in Brazil ahead of the World Cup this summer.

“Rodrigo was nurturing the dream of being a professional footballer. He had been born with a real talent and everyone in his family and his community knew that he was really good at football.”

The teenage boy described by outreach worker Antonio Carlos da Silva could be any of Brazil’s football-mad youngsters.

But Rodrigo Kelton had not just stood out in training sessions. At only 14, he had already overcome great odds to make it to that age alive.

Rodrigo was one of the thousands of children born into hardship in the north-eastern state of Ceara, where according to official figures more than 133,000 people live on less than 70 reais ($30; £18.50) a month.

Perilous existences

Born into deep poverty and drug addiction, Rodrigo was driven by severe social problems into a perilous existence on the streets of the state capital, Fortaleza.

But according to Mr Silva, the outreach worker who first met Rodrigo living on the streets and persuaded him to move into a shelter in 2009, he was on the brink of turning his life around.

“He was hoping to turn professional, so that he could help his mother get treatment for her drug addiction and buy her a house,” Mr Silva recalls.

Part of what helped him was being part of the Brazilian team competing in the Street Child World Cup, a global tournament that puts the spotlight on issues affecting street children.

The tournament currently under way in Rio is the second such event to be held uniting teams of street children from 19 countries, four years after the inaugural competition in Durban.

Bernardo Rosemeyer is the founder of O Pequeno Nazareno, a non-governmental organisation which runs the shelter into which Rodrigo moved aged nine. He says the prospect of competing in the Street Child World Cup instilled discipline in Rodrigo’s life.

“He had stopped taking drugs and was going to school as part of the conditions to play in the tournament,” Mr Rosemeyer explains. “Being in the team was a light in his life. He was even getting on better with his mother who came to all the training sessions.”

Bitter reality

But what happened to Team Brazil’s best striker shortly before he was due to take part in the Cup reflects the bitter reality of children at the bottom of Brazil’s society.

Rodrigo left the shelter and moved back with his family in a dangerous part of Fortaleza

In February, Rodrigo decided to move back to the favela, or shanty town, where his family lived.

He liked a girl there and dismissed warnings by social workers about the risks of returning to the dangerous neighbourhood.

As he left his home on the day of his 14th birthday with his older brother Raphael, the brothers were shot at by members of a drug gang in retaliation for an alleged robbery several years before.

Rodrigo was killed and Raphael only survived because the gun had jammed.

The news hit his team mates hard.

230 former street children from 19 countries gathered at the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue

“I told the players about his death when we all met up to take the bus to the training session,” recalls Mr Silva.

“At first, they did not believe me and thought I was lying. Then they all began to cry and to think about their strategies for survival in the communities where they live.”

At Rodrigo’s funeral, it was his team mates who carried his coffin.

On the day before their first match, they gathered in a small chapel to remember the teenager who could not make the journey with them from the streets of Fortaleza to Rio to represent their country.

Goalkeeper Pedro Levi, a 15-year-old who also lived on the streets of Fortaleza before moving into a shelter, says Rodrigo has left a gaping hole in the team: “He was a great player. The best thing about him was his leadership, he would bring the whole team together.

Pedro says the team is determined to bring the trophy home “for Rodrigo”.


Before their first match against Egypt, the players observed a minute’s silence in Rodrigo’s honour. Team mate Diego Rocha, 14, held a portrait of Rodrigo as Rio’s Archbishop, Dom Orani Tempesta, and a former captain of Brazil’s national team, Gilberto Silva, watched.

Rodrigo’s team went on to beat Egypt 4-0. But their victory felt bittersweet. “We dedicate this match to the memory of Rodrigo,” Diego said.

The team is determined that Rodrigo will not be forgotten and plan to keep displaying his portrait as they progress through the tournament to Sunday’s final.

But the reality for Brazil’s 23,000 street children is anything but rosy. Gang and drug violence remain endemic in poor communities.

In Rodrigo’s home state of Ceara alone, there were 4,462 murders in 2013.

Murders of street children routinely go unpunished and there has been no investigation into Rodrigo’s death.

Team mate Vinicius Marcos, 14, knows any of the 300 children believed to live on the streets of Fortaleza could easily run the same fate as Rodrigo.

So his hope for his former team mate is a simple one: “I hope God has him in a good place.”


Maracanã – Brazil’s Flagship


‘Problems’ as Maracana stadium reopens in Rio

Venue organisers tried to show the renovated stadium in its best light, but Brazilian media said there were many problems with the venue

Rio’s world-famous Maracana stadium has reopened after nearly three years of renovations to prepare it for the World Cup finals in 2014.

Workers who helped with the renovation and their families were treated to an exhibition match between teams of stars past and present.

But leading newspapers reported problems with the new facility.

The reopening follows controversy over delays, costs and the future privatisation of the site.

The renovation was completed four months behind schedule.

Days before the test event, seats were still being installed and pavements laid near the venue.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor Eduardo Paes were among the 30,000-strong crowd watching the friendly between teams captained by Ronaldo and Bebeto.

But the Jornal do Brasil said Saturday’s visitors “needed patience to deal with the many problems” at the venue, arising from the rush to complete it.

It highlighted uneven flooring with small gaps and holes, flooding in the VIP area and a dysfunctional lift, and said some staff had tried to prevent journalists taking pictures of the affected areas.

Workers were still finishing building a stadium wall, and ticket offices, turnstiles and gates were not working, said another paper, the Folha de Sao Paulo.

International test

But in a statement quoted by the Folha de Sao Paulo, the Rio de Janeiro state government pointed out that this was a test event, using only 30% of the stadium’s full capacity, and did not represent the full reopening.

It said it was “natural” that some more work remained to be done.

“Maracana will be delivered fully ready on the date set by Fifa: 24 May,” it reportedly said.

Former Brazil star striker Ronaldo, who captained one team for the exhibition match against former teammate Bebeto, said the stadium looked “amazing”.

“I’m happy to see the stadium ready again. The Maracana is a symbol of this country,” he said, according to the Assoociated Press news agency.

Former Brazil coach and player Mario Zagallo said he had “goose-bumps” when he arrived, AP said.

The first major international test of the facility will be a friendly between Brazil and England on 2 June before the Confederations Cup begins two weeks later.

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It’s started…


Rio is winding up for carnaval.

Already, they are showing of the Globeleza girl.

This is Aline Prado from 2011. I can’t find the new clip on YouTube yet.

Brazil’ Feline Felon


Cat ‘arrested’ for break-in at Brazilian prison

Feline felon: The cat was taken to a local animal centre

A cat has been detained in the grounds of a jail in Brazil with contraband goods for prisoners strapped to its body with tape.

The white cat was apprehended crossing the main prison gate.

The incident took place at a jail in Arapiraca city, 250km (155 miles) south-west of Recife in Alagoas state.

The confiscated items included drill bits, files, a mobile phone and charger, plus earphones The cat was taken to a local animal centre.

The prison showed off the cat’s haul

The jail holds some 263 prisoners.

A prison spokesperson was quoted by local paper Estado de S. Paulo as saying: “It’s tough to find out who’s responsible for the action as the cat doesn’t speak.”

Officials said the items could be used to effect a means of escape or for communicating with criminals on the outside.

The incident took place at New Year, but the photo has only recently been released.

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Spinach Soup

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Could sewage be Brazil’s Olympic embarrassment?

20,000 litres of sewerage a second

Guanabara bay will host both rowing and sailing when the Olympics arrive in Rio in 2016. But the bay is contaminated by sewage. Brazil’s olympic yachtswomen hopefuls Isabel Swann and Martine Grael say at times the water is more like spinach soup.

They are concerned that if the bay is not cleaned up the pollution will be an embarrassment during the games.

The Terrible Price of Gold


With the world’s economic system in a shambles, the price of gold is rising making it more lucrative to exploit protected areas in the unscrupulous grab for the precious metal.

Brazil asks Venezuela to investigate village massacre claims

Brazil asks Caracas for help in determining whether gold miners killed more than 70 members of Yanomami tribe from helicopter

Members of the Yanomami tribe. The tribe says it has repeatedly warned Venezuela’s government that conflicts with miners are intensifying. Photograph: Sipa Press/REX FEATURES

Brazil is pressing Venezuela to determine whether Brazilian gold miners crossed the border and massacred a village of about 80 indigenous people from a helicopter.

The alleged assault, which a tribal group says could have killed more than 70 people in early July, came to light earlier this week when the group asked Venezuela’s government to investigate. Because of the remoteness of the region and the scattered nature of the native settlements, fellow tribe members were able to alert the government only on Monday.

Brazil’s foreign ministry said on Friday its embassy in Caracas had asked the Venezuelan government to provide it with any information that could help it determine whether the attack had happened and whether Brazilians had been involved.

Brazil’s National Indian Foundation, a government body that oversees indigenous affairs, said it would seek a joint investigation by officials from both countries at the site.

The border area between the two countries – a long, dense swath of the Amazon rainforest – has increasingly become the site of conflicts between indigenous people, gold miners, and others seeking to tap jungle resources.

The tribe that was allegedly attacked, the Yanomami, says it has given repeated, but unheeded, warnings to Venezuela’s government that the conflicts are intensifying.

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