Black Lives Matter in Rio, too

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In Brazil, racial discrimination against darker-skinned people is rife; and the famous unequal society is especially tilted against black Brazilians, who are subjected to horrific summary executions by police in the favelas (squatter neighborhoods). Read the rest

Brazilian police killing often as Olympic games loom

Photo: Reuters

Amnesty International reports a "huge increase" in the number of people killed by police in Rio de Janeiro in the run up to the Summer Games.

According to new figures from Brazil’s Public Security Institute, in the city of Rio alone 40 people were killed by on-duty police officers in May: an increase of 135% on the same period last year, when 17 were people killed by police. Across Rio state as a whole, police killings almost doubled, from 44 to 84.

The 2016 Olympics are shaping up to be quite the trainwreck: a government meltdown, a doping scandal that may see Russia's entire team banned, and a public health crisis likely to convince many athletes, media and tourists to stay away.

Previously: Rio: your quadrennial reminder that the Olympics colonize host-states with Orwellian surveillance and human rights abuses Read the rest

The Olympics are profitable for every host city (that lies about the numbers)

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Going for the Gold: The Economics of the Olympics, a paper in the Journal of Economic Perspectives analyzes the economics of hosting the Olympics, indicting the numbers game played by bid committees and the IOC. Read the rest

Rio: your quadrennial reminder that the Olympics colonize host-states with Orwellian surveillance and human rights abuses

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Remember in 1988, when South Korea's military dictator created slave-labor camps and kidnapped thousands of homeless children to work in them? Read the rest

After a coup, a judgment: Brazil's "interim president" barred from holding office for 8 years

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Last month, a controversial political machination at the top levels of Brazil's government saw the removal of its elected left-wing president, Dilma Rousseff, and her replacement with an appointed, neoliberal "interim president" President Michel Temer, who has now been convicted of committing election fraud and barred from holding elected office in Brazil for 8 years. Read the rest

Brazil judge orders WhatsApp blocked for 72 hours, affecting 100 million people

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A state judge in the Brazilian state of Sergipe has ordered all mobile phone operators in the country to block Facebook-owned WhatsApp for 72 hours, nationwide. Those five telecom providers put the ban into effect today, and it affects about 100 million people. In Brazil, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app.

Read the rest

Drunk, knife-wielding monkey pursues bar patrons

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A drunk monkey turned "belligerent" at a bar in Brazil, reports Arede, grabbing a knife, pursuing patrons and climbing onto the roof.

After the tiny primate—said to live at the bar—downed a glass of rum and armed itself, firefighters had to be called to subdue it. The monkey was later released to the wild, according to the report, but was spotted menacing homeowners on the outskirts of town. After recapture, local authorities now plan to move the monkey to the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources for evaluation. Read the rest

Woman shot dead by drug gang after following Waze app's directions to wrong destination

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In Brazil, a 70-year-old woman was killed when directions she followed from the driving app Waze led her and her husband into a neighborhood controlled by a violent drug gang. The destination they meant to go to? A beach area popular with tourists, which was in the opposite direction. Read the rest

Universal Music's anti-piracy ads reached new heights of crazypants gore

Saatchi & Saatchi Sao Paulo designed these grotesque ads for Universal Music, in which bloody gobbets of rock-n-roller are captioned with "Stop Destroying the Band You Like: Say No to Music Piracy." Read the rest

Clever food festival posters turn produce into landscapes

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These delightful images were created to celebrate an annual food and culture festival in Brazil. Read the rest

Just look at this guy with bananas all over his head

Brazilian artist Edu Monteiro's Autorretrato Sensorial ("Sensory Self-Portait") is a series of photos in which he poses with all manner of objects wrapped around his head, from bananas to an octopus. Read the rest

Police in Brazil kill six people a day

So says a report from The Brazilian Forum on Public Safety, an NGO that singles out the Rio police for "abusive use of lethal force." Read the rest

Brazil's amazing, underground hot-air balloon subculture

An exquisitely researched and endlessly fascinating long article tells the history of Brazil's centuries-old baloeiro craft, whereby painstakingly handmade paper balloons are lofted trailing ladders of pyrotechnics and long banners, powered by melted-down candle-stubs from churches and graveyards, cheered on by sometimes violent gangs who labor over them for months before releasing them. Read the rest

Brazil's Internet-enabled activism kicks all kinds of ass

Airshowfan writes, "Over the past several years, various citizen groups in Brazil have used the power of online crowdsourcing in creative ways to tackle social problems large and small." Read the rest

The English Method: UK taught modern torture to Brazil's dictators

Brazil's 21-year military dictatorship was a torturing, brutal regime -- among their victims was the current president, Dilma Rousseff. At first, the generals tortured by flogging and shocks, but British officials taught them to torture without leaving marks, helping the regime to rehabilitate its international human rights image. The techniques the UK taught to Brazil's torturers were developed for Malay rebels and perfected on Northern Irish Republicans, and these techniques came to be known as "The English Method."

Other governments -- Germany, France, Panama, and, of course, the USA -- also trained Brazil's torturers, but the UK methods were the best. British agents travelled to Brazil to train the torturers personally. More details of the British "foreign aid" program are coming to light as the UK government finally succumbs to the rule of law and releases files from the National Archives at Kew, a move that has been steadfastly refused for obvious reasons.

One document that's come to light is a letter from then-British Ambassador, David Hunt, called "Torture in Brazil," which praises the Brazilian regime for cleaning up its appearance of brutality by "taking a leaf out of the British book." Read the rest

Homebrew syringe hydraulic excavator

Here's a video of a young Brazilian man demonstrating justified pride and palpable pleasure as he puts his homebrew excavator, powered by syringe hydraulics, through its paces. Here's an Instructables post that takes you through building an ambitious syringe-hydraulics robot -- full of good ideas for your own syringe hydraulic projects.

Boy Makes DIY Excavator with Syringe Hydraulics (via Geekologie) Read the rest

Edward Snowden's open letter to the people of Brazil, offering help in rooting out NSA spying in exchange for asylum

Edward Snowden has sent an open letter to the Brazilian people, offering to help them root out NSA spying in Brazil in exchange for asylum. The letter -- which is extremely well written, stirring material -- sets out the scope of US surveillance in Brazil today, and makes a moral case against it. It lauds Brazil for its commitment to privacy in the digital age, and condemns America for rendering Snowden stateless as punishment for exposing economic espionage dressed up as war on terror. It ends with this: "when all of us band together against injustices and in defence of privacy and basic human rights, we can defend ourselves from even the most powerful systems." Click through for the full text. Read the rest

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