Brazil's new president Jair Bolsonaro rode to power on a platform of racist and gendered discrimination, genocide for indigenous people, homophobia, torture apology, and the abolition of human rights; he owes his victory to political spamming and conspiracy theories spread on Facebook at Whatsapp.
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This past September, a savage fire cost the world dearly: the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, along with 20 million unique artifacts that provided untold insight into our planet and our civilization's past, went up in smoke. In the months since the flames were extinguished, researchers have only managed to recover a small fraction of the museum's collection from the ashes. It's a loss that even the most obtuse of us can get their heads around. That said, if you're interested in some colorful commentary on the incident, my friend and Faces of Auschwitz collaborator Marina Amaral talks about it at length here.)
While the chances of recovering everything lost in the inferno is pretty much nil, Google's made it possible to virtually tour the museum in its former glory.
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A couple of years before a fire devastated the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro in September, Google's Arts and Culture team started working with the museum to digitize the collection. Just a few months after the inferno, Google has reopened the museum's doors -- albeit in a virtual form using Street View imagery and digital exhibits.
The museum and Google were already planning to make the collection available to view online before the incident. Of course, no virtual tour could ever truly replace a physical museum, nor the estimated 20 million artifacts that the blaze destroyed. But tools such as 3D scanning, hi-res photography and virtual and augmented reality can offer some form of protection to items of historical value.
Facebook Inc said Monday it has removed 68 Facebook pages and 43 user accounts linked to a shady Brazilian marketing group, Raposo Fernandes Associados (RFA), for violating the social media network’s misrepresentation and spam policies. Read the rest
WhatsApp, the messaging application business owned by Facebook, said on Friday it is “taking immediate legal action” against companies responsible for a flood of political spam ahead of Brazil's presidential elections. Read the rest
Jair Bolsonaro -- Brazil's authoritarian, "sexist, racist and homophobic" presidential candidate -- was supposed to have the election sewn up, with the Brazilian left in retreat.
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Brazil’s National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, opened in 1818 and home to over 20 million artifacts has been completely destroyed by fire. The three-story museum was closed when the fire quickly consumed the building. Founded by John VI, the King of Brazil and Portugal, the museum celebrated its 200th anniversary earlier this year. The cause of the fire is currently unknown. Brazil's President Michel Temer called it a tragic day for Brazil. "200 years of work and research and knowledge are lost."
Rio's 200-year old National Museum hit by massive fire [Bruno Federowski/Reuters][Photo: Twitter/@arielpalacios] Read the rest
Remember last week when we told you that there was some jibba-jabba about the possibility of Brazil sliding back into being a military dictatorship? According to Reuters, far-right leaning presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, has named a retired general as his running mate in the nation’s upcoming elections. Here’s the shit-and-giggle part: the general in question is Antonio Hamilton Mourão. He’s the same fella that told the media that there was a possibility of there being a military coup if the Brazilian government didn’t get its shit together.
Bolsonaro, running as a candidate for the small Social Liberty Party (PSL), has pegged much of his candidacy on controversial remarks, whether defending of the past military dictatorship or suggesting acts of violence against homosexuals.
In an interview last year with Reuters, the candidate for the Social Liberty Party (PSL) played down Mourão’s remarks.
“It was just a warning. Nobody wants to seize power that way,” Bolsonaro said. “Maybe we could have a military man winning in 2018, but through elections.”
Bolsonaro had struggled to find a running mate as other parties tried to distance themselves from his controversial comments. Other proposed vice presidential candidates - including another general, an astronaut and a sitting senator - ultimately fell through.
Encouraging acts of violence against homosexuals and propping up the deeds of a past dictatorship. I can’t imagine why Bolsonaro was having problems finding a running mate.
Unfortunately, as we’ve learned over the past few years, having no moral compass or compassion for minorities won’t stop a dangerous bully or a dictator from coming to power during an election year. Read the rest
New research suggests that a key cause of poverty is poor parents' lack of engagement with neonates and toddlers. Brazil is trying to change that by showing parents the importance of interacting meaningfully with young children through eye contact and activities. Read the rest
Brazil escaped the clutches of a military dictatorship three decades ago. But fascism is really hot right now, so the nation may be about to get back on its bullshit once more.
From The New York Times:
Retired generals and other former officers with strong ties to the military leadership are mounting a sweeping election campaign, backing about 90 military veterans running for an array of posts — including the presidency — in national elections this October. The effort is necessary, they argue, to rescue the nation from an entrenched leadership that has mismanaged the economy, failed to curb soaring violence and brazenly stolen billions of dollars through corruption.
And if the ballot box does not bring change quickly enough, some prominent former generals warn that military leaders may feel compelled to step in and reboot the political system by force.
For those in Brazil old enough to have lived through the last time the country was run by a bunch of violent tools in matching slacks, it’s a worrisome notion. The last time that nation was ruled by its military, 434 people "disappeared" or were killed by Brazil’s military government, not to mention the scores tortured and abused during the dictatorship’s 21-year reign.
A lot of analysts believe that the possibility of the military taking over the Brazilian government again is remote. However, given the jump to right-wing politics, authoritarian rule, kleptocracy and dictatorships that countries like Nicaragua, Poland, Turkey, the United States and the Philippines have been wallowing in of late, anything is possible – especially in light of the nation's rising violent crime rates, a 13% unemployment rate, and a growing underground economy. Read the rest
In 1994, Brazilian singer Vânia Bastos released this scorching cover of Sade's "Sweetest Taboo" sung in Portuguese. Most recently, the track is included on the new compilation "Onda De Amor: Synthesized Brazilian Hits That Never Were (1984-94)" from Soundway records.
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In the USA, there are tens of thousands of teachers in open rebellion, in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, and things are heating up in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa and Colorado.
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The Olho D'Agua river in Bonito, Brazil flooded in early February after a heavy rain, submerging the jungle around it. You'll see in this trippy video that the river's waters are so crystal clear that the path, vegetation and foot bridge are perfectly visible underwater.
The footage was captured by a park guide at Recanto Ecologico Rio da Prata, an ecotourism group that operates in that area. They write:
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This was a rare episode, and by the end of the day the river had returned to its normal level.
We would like to inform that on this date the tour operated normally until the 1st stretch, which, although it is also above normal, all the tourists left satisfied because they experienced a different and special day in the attraction!
In "The Haribo Check," aired on German public broadcast ARD, a documentary team audits Haribo's supply chain and finds "modern day slaves" in Brazil working to harvest carnauba wax, a key ingredient in the sweets: the plantations pay $12/day, and workers (including children) sleep out of doors, drink unfiltered river water, and have no access to toilets, under conditions that a Brazilian Labor Ministry official called "modern-day slavery."
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Pedra Que Engole means "swallowing rock," an accurate name for a small Brazilian cave accessible only via waterfall. Read the rest
This footage, dated to August 19, 2017, shows a man (in a white tee) in line with his family at a snack bar in Brazil. There's another man (in a blue hooded sweatshirt) next in line. The family appears to be ordering their food. The man waiting in line behind them is tinkering around on his phone, as one does. All of a sudden, the man in the white tee whips out a gun and threatens the man in the blue sweatshirt.
The footage is low-res and there's no sound. What was the man in the white shirt afraid of? Perhaps they know each other and are sworn enemies?
Well, you'd never guess, but it turns out that it's a cop who thought the guy in the hooded sweatshirt looked suspicious.
At least we can take comfort in the fact this sort of thing doesn't happen in America! Read the rest
Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been found guilty of corruption charges stemming from a scheme at the state oil company, Petrobras. He will remain free on appeal. Lula remains a very popular politician with widespread public support. Read the rest
On Friday, a variety of news outlets around the world published the Malta Files, a cache of 150,000 documents leaked "from a Malta-based provider of legal, financial and corporate services," revealing, among other things, that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was secretly given a $25M oil tanker (!) by Azeri billionaire Mübariz Mansimov, a "friend" of Trump's who was present at the inauguration. Read the rest