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Brazil: public accusations of corruption

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Most Brazilians take it as a given: Their government is plagued by corruption. The latest scandal hit this month, featuring video that showed Federal District Governor Jose Arruda and his allies stuffing money into pockets, bags and even socks.

The Amazon with back pain, Part II

I’m now back in Novo Aripuana (pictured), where the perfectly decent Hotel Tio Ze does not have perfectly decent beds for back pain sufferers. So, yesterday, with a nap aborted, I decided to take advantage of the two things the town seemed to offer me: a pharmacy, and a massage therapist.

The Amazon, with back pain, Part I

Somehow, woke up this morning with immense pain on the lower right side of my back. It’s the kind that when anything jolts, like you trying to get out of bed, pain shoots through your side.

Parties jockey in advance of presidential polls

 Top News: Tempting though it is to lead with the absurdity of Lula’s suggestion that Obama look to the Brazilian universal health care system as a model, we’ll start with politics, instead.  

Soccer and soap operas in the Amazon

PRIMAVERA, Amazonas state, Brazil — This riverfront fishing and manioc-farming community, four hours by motor-powered canoe from the nearest major city, has two kinds of evenings: those when there is fuel for the community generator, and those when there isn’t.

Back of the boat

I just started on a reporting trip in Amazonas state, so a word on the means of transportation here, which pretty much boils down to ABC: Anything but cars. Highways are few and far between here, both because historically it has been very difficult and expensive to lay down a lasting highway here, and these days, it is considered environmentally hazardous to the land it runs through. I've heard a few different slight variations quoted, but something like 52 out of 62 municipalities in the state cannot be reached by road.

Gang violence rocks Rio

Top News: The violence in Rio de Janeiro over the weekend, barely two weeks after Rio was selected to host the 2016 Olympics, drew coverage

The Rio war

If it had happened three weeks earlier, we might be looking at a 2016 Olympics in Madrid, Chicago or Tokyo, the three candidate cities where a police helicopter was not shot down by drug gangs this weekend.

The "little country that could" didn't

[Editor's note: This article was updated late Wednesday to note Argentina's 1-0 win over Uruguay in the World Cup qualifier in Montevideo.] BOSTON — If Americans recall the 1950 World Cup at all, it is because of the greatest upset in American soccer history, glorified in the 2005 film “The Game of Their Lives”: United States 1, England 0. But in the wider soccer universe, the ’50 World Cup in Brazil was far more memorable for the dramatic upset in the finals.

Olympic fever!

 Top news: The Olympics are coming to Brazil in 2016. Last Friday afternoon, an already-festive crowd of 30,000 gathered on Copacabana Beach erupted as the International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge flipped over a card that read “Rio de Janeiro” (which he read with a somewhat Spanish pronunciation, but that’s neither here nor there).
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