Love in Rio: The Best of Brazil !

Enjoy what we have for many years. The best of Brazil: Wine, Women, Dance, and more. Write Busta Back and let us know your thoughts: bmcharlotte@yahoo.com. Visit bustaback.com for the views from "Behind" Brazil !

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

American School leaving Gávea

After 35 years in Gávea, the American School, which has become a point of reference for the neighborhood, is planning to move. School administrators have been considering the idea for a decade now, but a decision was only made recently after the school received a visit from American counselors, who examined the school's facilities and quality of teaching. According to administrative manager Emília Schweizer, the current facilities are falling behind the standards required by the educational program developed in the United States. The move should be finalized by 2008.

Schweizer added that the infrastructure of the buildings needs to be expanded and modernized in order to accomodate the new technological tools applied to education nowadays. Space is not the problem. After all, the school sits in an area of 46 thousand square meters. However, considering the emphasis the American educational systems grants to sports, a flat expanse of land would be preferable to the current hillside location.

Consulted by the school, parents said they prefer that the school either stay in Zona Sul or move to Barra, where half of its students live. Right now, management is focusing its search for a lot between Leme and Recreio.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Hotel in Leblon is robbed


The hotel Marina Palace in Leblon was robbed yesterday, at dawn. At around 3:30am, four armed men invaded the hotel, tied up the employees, and proceeded to the rooms where they robbed a Canadian tourist. They took the weekend's cash receipts, approximately R$ 4 thousand, two computers, a telephone, and a radio transmitter. Although the band destroyed the camera security system installed in several points of the hotel, police were able to retrieve images of the assault since they are sent to an outside center where they are stored.

The cameras registered the moment when the four entered the building pretending to be guests. According to witnesses, they were young and well-dressed. At the reception desk, they asked for two rooms and checked in paying R$ 785 in cash for two nights. They went up to the 14th floor and then returned to the reception area, where they tied up the five employees, including the security man. They kept the floor manager as hostage, forcing him to open the rooms where the security equipment was kept. The other employees were placed in another room, where one of the thieves watched them during the whole robbery.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Brazil: Commemorative Contrasts


On January 25th Sao Paulo commemorated its 450th anniversary. This mega-metropolis of over 16,000,000 boasts the fourth largest population in the world. An impressively expanding city, industrious Sao Paulo shoulders Brazil's economy. With revenue steadily on the incline, the city's wingspan stretches. No wonder 600,000 people commute into Sao Paulo daily to work and/or study. With so much history and burgeoning development, Sao Paulo's ego seemingly deserves its bragging rights this birthday.

Like any city would, Sao Paulo scheduled varied events. Its proud inhabitants were inclined to welcome this day with as much fireworks and hoopla as possible. Radio announcements, newspaper features, and talk surrounding the festivities to mark the occasion infiltrated every ounce of personal space. Brazilian icon and musical hero, Caetano Veloso gave a free street concert. There were parades, innumerous art exhibits, parties galore, and even a race.
Living and working in Sao Paulo for 2 years has afforded me an adopted "Paulista" pride. I had been contemplating what event to attend that weekend as my wiper blades swooshed back and forth in a perpetual lulling motion. Approaching the stoplight, the rain had made me think beyond the traffic. Then through the heavy Sao Paulo downpour, in perfect tune with the red light, I saw someone step purposefully onto the street.

She stood commandingly (facing) the oncoming rush hour evening traffic as if she were getting ready to greet tourists at the airport.

A small child, maybe seven years at most glowed with dewy olive skin. Shoulder length curls hung around her face like wet spiral spaghetti. My headlights became spotlights. Standing barefoot on her imaginary stage, wearing a tired smile and a stretched-out sopping wet t-shirt four sizes too big, she hoped to earn more than oversight. She was "working".
Twirling her baton-like devil sticks, I imagined her performing in a circus act dressed in a pink ballerina outfit. She accidentally dropped her sticks. She wasn't the greatest twirler but then again she was very young.
Recently O Estado De Sao Paulo newspaper reported that Brazil has three million children on the streets and more than five million working children. Of that number 22% do not attend school, according to Juan Miguel Petit, of the United Nations Human Rights Commission on Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking. The numbers are staggering and incredulous. However, most major intersections in Sao Paulo present this concrete reality. Countless "Paulistas" drive with their windows rolled up. Too many have been victims of car muggings at stoplights. Moreover, it's not unheard of for a child to possess a gun or knife and use it.

The child I saw, like most I encounter, did not carry a weapon. I thought about rescuing her, about how good I have it, about Sao Paulo and myself celebrating its virtuosities and how inhumane it is for her to be on the street. And I reminded myself that she is doing exactly what she's forced to. She's long since realized that a strong work ethic is necessary if you live on AND off the mean streets. It's survival of the fittest out there.
According to my paradigms, this little girl should be tucked in a warm bed, be well-fed, loved, attending school and leading a happy life. Unfortunately, she is not alone in her story. For too many impoverished Brazilian children realities are harsh and survival is a struggle.

Although it's an everyday sight in Sao Paulo to see impoverished, hungry children twirling devil sticks, washing your windshield, selling candy, or simply begging, it doesn't negate the urgency at hand. The poignant visual serves as a reminder that Sao Paulo, a city of social, political and stark economic contrasts, has ardent tasks ahead.
Together, these five million street children comprise that singular poster child that Sao Paulo and the rest of Brazil must acknowledge. Until then the "yellow brick road" remains buried in storybooks.
Several magazine and newspaper features begged the question, "What will Sao Paulo be like in fifty years"? For me the only question is, "What will the city's next celebration boast?

I look forward to Sao Paulo's economic growth and political development with profound hope. My time here has been filled with treasured encounters of people whose energy and drive match the samba beats of Carnaval. Brazilians are an amazing people. Innately passionate and magnetically happy, they are eager to rid Brazil's plaguing social ills. Their genuine desire and growing consciousness to eradicate unemployment, hunger and poverty is evident.

When the city blew out its candles this birthday, I not so secretly hoped that in 50 years street side children and their devil sticks would be a thing of the past. along with the rest of the Sao Paulo's dueling contrasts.
Brazilian "pit-bull" attacks Americans


The term "pit-boy" became popular during the 90's to designate members of groups of young men who would engage in fights and acts of vandalism during the late hours of the night. Alluding to dogs of the race pitbull, famous for their ferocity, these youngsters generally practice martial arts, shave their heads and like to flaunt tattoos and muscles under tight shirts. Twenty-four-year-old student Roberto Neves Grova de Souza seems to fit the profile.

Yesterday, at dawn, he and a friend, who has yet to be identified, attacked American promoters Siara Andrews and Wan Ly who are vacationing in Rio. The fight started at Boate Cozumel in Jardim Botânico and ended at Prudente de Moraes street, in Ipanema, where Roberto broke a bottle on Siara's head. According to the promoters, they were dancing when Roberto and his friend started to harass them. Roberto allegedly, then, forced Wan to kiss him.

Disturbed, the Americans decided to leave and were followed by Roberto and his friend to Prudente de Moraes, where they argued again. Although bleeding heavily from the deep cut on her head, Siara managed to write down the license plate of the car Roberto was driving. Contacted by the police, Roberto's father disapproved of his son's actions, taking him to the police station where he was charged.
Police to increase patrols in Zona Sul

Police have devised a new strategy to reduce the number of robberies of homes and apartments in Zona Sul. From now on, police officers will patrol residential streets in the early hours of morning. The new procedure was announced yesterday by colonel Jorge Braga, commander of the 23rd military police battalion, located in Leblon, following a decision made by the Sub-secretary of Public Safety Marcelo Itagiba.

Itagiba said that there was a 32% increase in home thefts in 2003 compared to the previous year of 2002. Already, the first months of 2004 show another increase, of 8%. He added that the increase is a reflection of some of the problems the Brazilian middle class has been facing, and that it is common to see middle class youngsters committing robberies to support a drug habit.

In order to increase the policing on residential streets in Zona Sul, some police will have to be relocated. Currently, there 30 police kiosks in Zona Sul, but only 17 of them are occupied. In addition, Colonel Jorge Braga said he will meet with building managers to orient them about home security.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Powerful Storm Hits Southern Brazil Coast



RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - A large spiraling storm lashed southern Brazil Saturday night, downing trees and ripping tiles off homes as Brazilian and U.S. meteorologists disagreed over whether the storm is a hurricane — the first on record in the South Atlantic.



The outer edge of the storm hit the southern coast of Santa Catarina with 55 mph gusts and heavy rains a little before 11 p.m., said Clovis Correa of the State Meteorological Institute.

The storm damaged homes, downed trees and knocked out power for several hundred thousand people across some 40 municipalities, said civil defense officials in the two southern states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.

"Fortunately, there has not been a single report of major injury or loss of life as yet," said Ariel Goncalves, a spokesman for the Rio Grande do Sul Civil Defense Agency.

The storm hit land around the beach resort of Laguna, a town of 40,000 inhabitants. It also brushed Torres, a city of 400,000 in the neighboring state of Rio Grande do Sul.

"We expect the rain and wind to rage for a couple of more hours, then the storm will back off a bit and hit again around three o'clock in the morning," Correa said.

Laguna and Torres are about 500 miles south of Rio de Janeiro.

Rio Grande do Sul Civil Defense Director Colonel Paulo Osorio said fire and police officials were on standby in his state.

Meanwhile, a debate raged between Brazilian and U.S. meteorologists over whether the storm was a hurricane.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center (news - web sites) in Florida estimated the storm was a full-fledged, Category I hurricane with central winds of between 75 and 80 mph, making it the first hurricane ever spotted in the South Atlantic. AccuWeather, Inc., a private forecasting company, said it also considered the storm a hurricane.

Brazilian scientists disagreed, saying the storm had top winds of 50 to 56 mph, far below the 75 mph threshold of a hurricane.

"Winds and rains will not be significant, so we don't need to alarm the population," meteorologist Dr. Gustavo Escobar of the Brazilian Center for Weather Prediction and Climatic Studies said earlier Saturday.

U.S. scientists said they were baffled by the Brazilian position.

"We think the Brazilians are, quite frankly, out to lunch on this one," said Michael Sager, an AccuWeather meteorologist. "I think they're trying to play it down and not cause a panic. I don't know what they're doing, but they're obviously wrong."

All sides said they were basing their estimates on satellite data, since the United States has no hurricane hunter airplanes in the area and Brazil doesn't own any.

Satellite images showed a spiral-shaped mass of clouds with an open area in the center. Escobar called it an "extra-tropical cyclone."

Sager said the storm had a clear, well-defined eye and that it had lasted for more than 36 hours. Storms that are not hurricane-strength sometimes form strong eyes, but not for that long, he said.



Kelen Andrade, another meteorologist with the Brazilian center, said the storm was swirling only in a clockwise motion and was not showing motion in the opposite direction at higher altitudes, another mark of a hurricane. Sager disagreed.

"If you know what you're looking at, you can see that counterrotating quite readily," he said.

American Consulate attacked

A man threw a home made bomb at the American Consulate building, downtown, this Monday afternoon. André Luiz Lopes da Silva first threw a rock at the door and then the explosive, known as a Molotov cocktail. The bomb exploded by the side of the main door of the building. Later, he took an iron bar and broke the windows of an official car parked in front of the building.

André was detained by the consulate's security personnel, cuffed and taken to the police station. While arguing, André, who is 37 years old, said a spiritual entity ordered him to throw the bomb at the consulate. He was charged and transferred to Polinter prison, at Zona Portuária.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Golf in and around São Paulo


Golf in Brazil, in general, and in the metropolitan areas of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, in particular, is still very much an elite sport. If you are used to the easy access to a golf course in Northern Europe and the US, you are now on new turf. If you are lucky enough to be living in a smaller city in Brazil, golf is a lot more accessible, provided, of course, that there is a club in town. Most local golfers in Brazil come from an economic class that prefers to pay a little more in order to belong to a club that is not overrun by people on weekends. This makes for expensive memberships, high maintenance costs and restricted access for visitors including expats.

In São Paulo and Rio access to golf courses is not very expensive compared to golf in other major cities in the world even though, with current exchange rate and the inflation of the last year or so, the cost has gone up a lot. Golfing, however, is more restricted and relatively expensive compared to what you will pay for other leisure activities in Brazil.

Golf Courses in the São Paulo Metropolitan Area

There are eighteen golf courses within easy reach of the most common residential areas in São Paulo. Six of these golf clubs are located in the metropolitan area of São Paulo, including the ABCD area, which can be reached within an hour (not counting traffic, of course).

 Clube de Campo de São Paulo, City of São Paulo,
 Guarapiranga Golf and Country Clube, City of São Paulo,
 São Bernardo do Campo Golfe Clube, São Bernardo do Campo,
 São Fernando Golf Clube, Cotia,
 São Francisco Golf Clube, Osasco (9 holes),
 São Paulo Golf Clube, City of São Paulo.

In addition, you will find another five clubs within 100 km of the area called Vale do Paraiba, i.e. along the Dutra/Carvalho Pinto highways going towards Rio which can be reached in a maximum of an hour and a half.

 Arujá Golf Club, Arujá,
 Blue Tree Park Resort (previously Paradise Golf Club), Magi dash Cruses,
 Golf Club de São José, São José dos Campos (9 holes),
 Internacional Golfe Clube dos 500, Guaratinguetá (9 holes),
 PL Golf Club, Arujá.

Within the same range, both in distance and time, along the Bandeirantes/Anhanguera and Castelo Branco towards Campinas and Sorocaba respectively, there are another five clubs.

 Champs Privé Residence Country & Golfe, Campo Limpo (9 holes),
 Clube de Golfe de Campinas, Campinas,
 Lago Azul Golfe Clube, Sorocaba (9 holes),
 Quinta da Baroneza Golf Club, Itatiba/Braganza Paulista,
 Terra de São José Golfe Club, Itu.

Down on the coast, within the same distance, there are two courses.

 Guarúja Golf Club, Guarujá (9 holes),
 Santos São Vicente Golf Club, São Vicente (9 holes).


There are a few private golf courses that will appear in the statistics as members of the São Paulo Golf Federation, but it would appear that the owners of these courses are the only members and, unless your are Bill Clinton or Sylvester Stallone, you may find it very hard to be invited. In addition to these courses/clubs around São Paulo there are half a dozen other scattered around the interior of the state of São Paulo.

Membership and Costs of Belonging to a Golf Club

In addition to golf courses there are a few driving ranges in São Paulo mostly along the major highways crossing the city (the Marginais). A special case that may be interesting for the expat community is the Golf Federation‘s golf center close to the Congonhas Airport. In addition to a driving range, the center has a nine hole pitch and put course with holes ranging from 80 to 110 yards. To access the golf center, also known as the Kaiser Golf Center, is relatively inexpensive in comparison with what is said about green fee costs below.

The total cost of becoming a member of a golf club in São Paulo is rather high. A new member is required to buy a title from the club or from a member wishing to sell. The titles may not always be very expensive, at least in dollar terms. However, most clubs charge a significant fee for transferring the title into the new member‘s name before you can use your title. The transfer fee, in Brazil called "joia", can often be many times more expensive than the title itself. When you sell the title you will in most cases make a profit but the joia is a sunk cost that you will not recover. This practice is not restricted to golf clubs but is common in most clubs. Normally, the total cost becomes prohibitive for most expats with a normal budget who will not stay in Brazil for more than the customary 2-4 years.

In some cases the club will sell you a "Right to Play" which is neither a title nor a "joia". You will pay an upfront fee for playing as a "member" of the club for a specified period or indefinitely, depending on the club. This fee is also a sunk cost which you will not get back when you leave. Some clubs will also accept you as a "Green-fee member". In this case you only pay the monthly maintenance fees of the club but at a higher rate than a title carrying member.

Access to play at São Paulo golf clubs without being a member is, with few exceptions, severely restricted. Some will only allow green fee guests if invited and accompanied by a member. Some allow green fee guests on certain days of the week. The green fee ranges from R$100 during the week and R$200 plus during the weekend and some will give a discount if you play in the afternoon. Some require you to have a caddy which will set you back another R$ 30-40. Renting a golf car, when available, costs about R$ 70-80.

It is getting crowded on the golf courses that are open for green fee guests. While a few years ago, you could easily show up on a Saturday or Sunday morning and expect to tee off without much of a wait, today you should most definitely reserve a tee time in advance. You may be lucky and get on fairly quickly but then again you may not.

There is a lot of talk about golf being a very fast growing sport in Brazil. It is, but in a very uneven way. The number of Asian players is growing very rapidly. The number of expats has dwindled in the last couple of years with the reduction in foreign managers and executives. The big question is what is happening to the number of non-Asian local players and it is my impression that it is increasing but very slowly.

Many new golf courses are being built in Brazil but only in condominiums and resort areas far from São Paulo. The Brazilian tourism authorities have finally discovered that there are many tourists that would not consider traveling to a resort area that does not have a golf course close by. Of the clubs within easy reach of São Paulo listed below only three, Blue Tree Park in Mogi das Cruzes (resort), Champs Privé in Campo Limpo (condominium) and Quinta da Baroneza in Itatiba (condominium), have been built in the last seven years. There are many real estate projects in the works in the area with golf course as part of the condominium but until now only one quality golf course, Quinta da Baroneza in Itatiba has been built.

The golf courses are not always easy to find. A friend of mine took three attempts to find Campinas Golf Club before succeeding. Signs are rare and few people know where they are even if your Portuguese is good enough to stop and ask. The first time you visit a new course you are well advised to get good instructions before leaving.

Most of the golf courses are good golf courses and will be a challenge to you, if not for their design, for some other unknown difficulty. The greatest difficulty is that most courses don‘t have Bermuda type grass on the fairways but local grass types which are a lot harder to hit off.

For the golf experts among you, the following ranking of Brazil‘s golf courses was provided by Golf Digest recently:

1. Ilha de Comandatuba (Ocean), Bahia,
2. São Fernando Golf Club, São Paulo,
3. Gávea G. & C.C., Rio de Janeiro,
4. São Paulo Golf Club, São Paulo,
5. Itanhanga G.C., Rio de Janeiro,
6. Alphaville Graciosa G.C., Curitiba, Parana,
7. Porto Alegre C.C., Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul,
8. Clube Curitibano, Curitiba, Parana,
9. Guarapiranga Golf and Country Club, São Paulo,
10. Quinta da Baroneza Golf Club, Bragança Paulista, São Paulo.

In a later article, I will cover in more detail the existing golf courses, how they are, where they are, how you can join and which ones can be played by green fee guests. In addition, I will give some more information on the driving ranges in the area.

I hope that you all will find a way of continuing your golf career while in Brazil.
Abuse and Impunity in Brazil
Every 15 seconds one Brazilian woman suffers from domestic
violence (beatings, spanking physical torture) in Brazil. That
translates into 2.1 million cases a year. Is spite of this, Brazil is
still one of the few countries in Latin America and the Caribbean
that does not have a special law dealing with the problem.


More than 86 million women, representing 50.8 percent of Brazil's population commemorated International Women's Day and the official opening of the Year of the Women in Brazil on March 8. The public demonstrations and celebrations were reminders of how little progress has been made in the area of women's issues.

Brazil has a long history of inequality between men and women, which reveals itself in machismo, violence against women and discrimination. A Federal Secretariat of Women and a Special National Commission for Women have recently been formed to deal with these gender issues.

According to a 2003 study by the Perseu Abramo Foundation, working women, with more years of education than men, earn 30 percent less than men for the same job. Afro-Brazilian women earn on average 50 percent of the income of white women and about 35 percent of the income of white men. Politically, women make up only 7 percent of senators and 6 percent of mayors in the country. In the Congress more than 300 projects that would benefit women continue to be tied up in the federal bureaucracy.

Amnesty International (AI) recently spearheaded an international campaign to combat violence against women. According to AI, one billion women, or 1/3 of the women in the world, have suffered physical or sexual violence or some other type of abuse. Twenty percent of women worldwide are victims of rape. Brazil is cited as one of the countries where violence against women continues to be a major problem because of impunity and the merchandising of women's bodies.

On March 8, non-governmental organizations and movements that defend women's rights delivered a proposal for a law to combat violence against women to the Federal Secretary of Women. Brazil is one of the few countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that does not have a special law dealing with domestic violence.

The latest study by the Perseu Abramo Foundation (2003) indicates that 2.1 million Brazilian women suffer from domestic violence (beatings, spanking, physical torture) each year; 175 thousand women each month; 5.8 thousand on a daily basis and 1 woman every 15 seconds. Seventy percent of the aggressors in these cases are husbands, ex-husbands or boyfriends of the victims.

The Amnesty International report indicates that, "The Brazil media, at times, stimulates the vision that violence against women is acceptable, even sexy." The proposed law calls for a national policy to combat and prevent domestic violence, police and legal proceedings to deal with the aggressors, protection and legal access for the victims, and ways to combat actions that put the lives of women in risk.

More than 982 representatives from each Brazilian state will meet this summer for the first National Conference on Women's Issues entitled "Policies for Women: Equality from the Perspective of Gender".

In preparatory meetings, along with violence against women and equality in the work-place, the following issues were emphasized:

1. Prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases, especially AIDS (married women are currently at greatest risk in this area).

2. Lack of health care for women. The incidence of breast cancer and deaths of women at child-birth continue to be very high.

3. The role of men and youth in the struggle for gender equality in schools and the work place.

4. Discrimination against Afro-Brazilian, indigenous and lesbian women.

Consuelo Lins, who works with the non-governmental organization SOS Woman, stresses the importance of women being active participants in the discussion of public policies connected to them. Their large numbers in the workplace mean that that there should be better policies and higher salaries.

The good news is that the number of small business women in Brazil grew in 2003. The number is still well below the worldwide average for women but progress is being made.
Shopping fever in Rio malls



For four years in a row, the shopping malls of Rio de Janeiro have promoted a giant sale event called "Shopping Fever". Well, it's back! From this Thursday to Sunday, buyers will have a chance to purchase products at up to 70% off. Twenty-three shopping malls are participating; six of them in Barra da Tijuca alone.

This year, organizers expect over six million people to take advantage of the promotions, and that sales will surpass last year's by 12%. Compared to a normal weekend, the event nets an increase of 30% in sales. Traffic in the commercial centers increases by 40%, which has made shopping owners and retailers conclude that there's a specific - and quite large - public that waits for the sale in order to make their purchases. They are warning that this is the last opportunity to buy items from the summer collection.

Some of the shopping malls participating in the event are Downtown, Barrashopping, New York City Center, Via Parque, Recreio Shopping and Fashion Mall.
Shopping Malls
Barra Garden
Av. das Américas, 3255 Tel: 430-9400
www.barragarden.com.br
Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.. Sunday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
food court: Monday through Saturday from 10 am. to 10 p.m. Sunday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
This open-air landscaped shopping center has 163 shops, a food court, an events center, theatres, and an ice-skating rink with skate rental.

Barra Point
Av. Armando Lombardi, 350 Barra da Tijuca Tel.: 483-5358
Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Located at the edge of the Tijuca Lagoon, Barra Point has 100 decoration and fashion shops, two movie theatres and a food court, and kiosks that cover 80 square meters. There is also a 160 square meter area for happy hours and shows.

Barra Shopping
Av. das Américas, 4666 Barra da Tijuca Tel.: 3089-1000
www.barrashopping.com.br
Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.. Sunday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
food court: Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 am. Sunday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Latin America's largest shopping mall, offering men's, women's and children's wear; food courts; fruit, vegetable and fish markets; leisure areas; a games center; bowling, and the Rock in Rio theme bar. Parking available.

Casashopping
Av. Ayrton Senna, 2150 Barra da Tijuca Tel.: 430-8000
Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
All the latest in building, refurbishing and decoration for the home, in 79 specialty shops, with a bar, a restaurant and parking.

Cittá America
Av. das Américas, 700 Barra da Tijuca Tel.: 3803-7777
Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday through Saturday.
Rio's newest business center combines business and leisure. Attractions are the theme park, Parque da Monica, and Hard Rock Café, the world-famous bar.

Downtown
Av. das Américas, 500 Barra da Tijuca Tel.: 494-5007
www.downtown.com.br
Monday through Saturday, hours vary from shop to shop.
food court: Every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
A business center with shops and offices, 12 movie theatres with large screens, digital sound and adjustable seats. food court with bars and coffee shops. Microbrewery and informal restaurants.

Fashion Mall
Estrada da Gávea, 899 São Conrado Tel.: 3322-2733/ 33220300
Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The most charming and sophisticated shopping mall in town offers the best shopping in designer shops as well as selected restaurants. It also has 4 movie theatres and parknig.

New York City Center
Av. das Américas , 5000 Barra da Tijuca Tel.: 432-4980
www.nycc.com.br
Every day from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Entertainment and shopping center, with 18 Multiplex movie theatres, a night club, GameWorks and many other attractions
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Contacts in Brazil

São Paulo Office
John Holmes - Chief Executive Officer
Email jholmes@phoenixic.com
Telephone - 00 55 11 289 8834
Fax - 00 55 11 288 3904
Bilingual schools

Colégio Cruzeiro
R. Carlos de Carvalho 76 - Centro - Tel: (21) 2509-9259 / 2424-1777
Jacarepaguá Address: Rua Retiro dos Artistas, 589. Jacarepaguá Ph. #: 2424-1717
http://www.colegiocruzeiro.com.br
Founded by Germans in 1862 to serve the German community. At first it was a German school, but became a Brazilian school after WWII. Classes are in Portuguese, and German is taught as a foreign language. For further information, please contact the school.

Escola Corcovado
Rua São Clemente 388 - Botafogo - Tel: (21) 2537-8811. Fax: (21) 2537-9411
E-Mail: sebc@terra.com.br
Classes are given in Portuguese or German (the student must be fluent in the chosen language). Monthly fees between R$530,00 and R$610,00, plus a donation to the Corcovado Scholar Society of R$110,00.

Escola Suíça
Rua Almirante Alexandrino 2495 - Santa Teresa
Tel: (21) 2556-5746 . Fax: (21) 2285-6255
http://www.esbrj.com.br
Swiss school where students can have classes in French or German. Portuguese and English are taught as foreign languages. Uses the Brazilian calendar.

International Christian School of Rio
Av. Peifeito Dulcídio Cardoso 4351 - Barra da Tijuca
Tel: (21) 2431-1239, Tel/Fax: (21) 3325-3088, Email: icsrio@hotmail.com
Located in a very secure location along the picturesque Lagoa in Barra da Tijuca, ICS RIO offers North American curriculum with all classes taught by certified native English professional teachers. Follows the American curriculum and calendar. Traditional classes for K3 to grade 8 with a Multimedia program accredited with an Academy in Arizona via network and internet. Low class enrolments. For fees and further information, call ICS-RIO. Web page: http://www.expats.com.br/advertisers/ics

Lycee Moliere
Rua Pereira da Silva, 728 - Tel: (21) 2556-6296, fax: (21) 2205-9014
Full French-Portuguese bilingual school. Contact school for prices and more information.
http://www.lyceemoliere.com.br

Our Lady of Mercy
R. Visconde de Caravelas, 48 - Tel: (21) 2537-9065
http://www.olmrio.com.br
American school with all classes in English. The north-American calendar and curriculum are used. Matriculation fee: R$5000,00 (pre- school and kindergarten), R$ 4500,00 (2nd to 9th grades) and R$ 4000,00 (10th to 12th grades). Monthly fees: R$ 882,00 (pre-school), R$ 1082,00 (kindergarten), R$ 1082,00 (1st to 3rd grades), R$ 982,00 ( 4th to 9th grades ), R$ 1071 (10th to 12th grades).

St. Patrick's
Av. Ataulfo de Paiva, 1120 - Leblon
Tel: (21) 2274-0033 - http://www.st-patricks.com.br
Divided into an American and a Brazilian section, the school includes nursery to 4th grade (American section) and nursery to high school (Brazilian section). The American section has classes in English and follows the American curriculum. Monthly fees for the next semester: R$650,00 (nursery) and R$710,00 (kindergarten to 4th grade), Matriculation fee: R$ 250,00.

The American School
Estrada da Gávea 132
Tel: (21) 2493-4230 / 2512-9830 / 2259-1177 - http://www.earj.com.br
English speaking school founded In 1937 to serve U.S. citizens and international families. Portuguese is taught as a foreign language. Application fee: US$ 200,00. Matriculation fee: US$ 5.000,00. Monthly fees: from R$ 1580,00 (early childhood education) to R$ 2068,00
(9th to 12th grade) Uses north-American calendar and curriculum

The British School of Rio de Janeiro
Admissions Office: R. Real Grandeza, 87, Botafogo
Tel.: 55(21)2539-2717/2539-2845; Fax: 55(21)2266-4060 - http://www.britishschool.g12.br
English-speaking school based on the National Curriculum for England, IGCSE and International Baccalaureate. Academic year from February to December. The school is housed on three sites: Botafogo - Nursery to Class 5 (3 to 12 years); Urca - Class 6 to Class 11 (12 to 18 years); Recreio dos Bandeirantes - Pre-Nursery and Nursery (2 to 3 years)
Monthly fees 2003: Pre-Nursery (Part-Time) R$ 1,380.00; Nursery R$ 1,902.00; Reception to Class 4 R$ 1,519.00; Classes 5 to 11 R$ 1,902.00; Meals (for all classes) R$ 138.00

Brazilian consulate attacked

Tuesday afternoon, a bomb of moral effect exploded at the Brazilian consulate in downtown Santiago, Chile. The explosion occurred in the lady's bathroom located in the consulate area, which is open to the public daily until 3pm. There were no casualties and the 30 employees, who were working in the internal area of the building, were warned about the bomb by an anonymous phone call 15 minutes before the explosion.

At first, authorities believed the attack was orchestrated by members of radical-wing group Movimento de Izquierda Revolucionária - MIR. Supposedly, the group had sent a letter to Chilean newspapers claiming responsibility for the attack as a protest against the treatment the Brazilian government has been giving to Chilean citizen Maurício Hernandes Norambuena, who, in 2001, led the group that kidnapped Brazilian publicist Washington Olivetto. However, yesterday afternoon, a spokesman for MIR, Demetrio Hernadez, denied that the group was responsible for the explosion.
Rio gets federal support to boost tourism

Rio will benefit this year from new criteria established by the federal government for distributing funds to promote tourism. The National Tourism Plan introduced last year hopes to increase the number of foreigners visiting Brazil from 3.8 million in 2002 to 9 million by 2007. The plan reserves 50% of the total budget for the states with the greatest potential for tourism according to number of hotels, tour agencies and guides, among other factors. The state of Rio is receiving the largest share of any state this year with 19.65%, or R$ 1,254,240.88 to invest in promotion.

The first meeting of the State Tourism Board, on Monday, divided the funding into R$ 578.880,41 for national campaigns and R$ 675.360,47 for international promotion, and assigned a commission to decide how the money will be used. The commission is made up of representatives of the State Board of Tourism, the Forum of Tourism Secretaries of Rio de Janeiro, the Rio branch of the Brazilian Association of the Hotel Industry and other institutions from the industry. It was also decided that the State Board would choose sector representatives to participate in the "Thematic Chambers" created by the Ministry of Tourism and to identify and propose methods of putting the National Tourism Policy into effect.

The State Secretary of Tourism, Sérgio Ricardo Martins de Almeida, commented that while the state faired well, the budget will still be tight. The Secretary proposed the hiring of an international consulting firm that has worked with the state before on the Maravilha campaign, as well as with the city of Barcelona in Spain. Sérgio Ricardo would like to see the firm prepare a campaign based upon the existing "Discover the State of Rio de Janeiro" theme.
Joyce at Mistura Fina

A format almost exclusive to Jazz singers was used by Joyce to record her newest album "Banda Maluca" for the label Biscoito Fino. Traditionally, jazz singers have all the musicians playing together, live in the studio. Joyce did this and is doing it again, tonight and tomorrow night, at Mistura Fina, both days at 8 and 11pm. An opportunity to reproduce on the stage the creative moment that resulted in the album, recorded originally for the English label Far Out.

Playing together for years has made Joyce (voice and guitar), Rodolfo Stroeter (bass), Teco Cardoso (flute, alto and soprano saxophone), Nailor Proveta (alto sax and clarinet) and Tutty Moreno (drums) completely at ease with collective improvisation. Joyce has built her repertoire based on samba and other Brazilian rhythms, but open to the world which has become her market, even more so than Brazil.

There shouldn't be any surprises then when one hears an Irish "Samba do Joyce", a French "Mal em Paris", a jazzy "For Hall" or an unusual version of the Beatles's "A hard day's night." Mistura Fina is located in Borges de Medeiros, 3.207, in Lagoa. Tel.: 2537-2844 Tickets cost R$35.
Violence in São Paulo

A sad statistic was published by local media regarding the city of São Paulo. Security companies from the state tracked down indexes of violence by neighborhood and concluded that the "lightning-kidnapping", a typical Brazilian crime that consists of abducting the victim only long enough to force him or her to make cash withdrawals, occurs once every couple of hours in the city.

The study listed among its most dangerous areas the neighborhoods of Morumbi, Pinheiros, Jardim Paulistano, Campo Belo, Saúde, Vila Mariana, Moema and Itaim Bibi. And most of the time, the victims are found in the east part of the city, in Sapopemba, São Mateus, Iguatemi or São Rafael, for instance, or in the south part, such as Jardim Ângela and Capão Redondo.

According to experts, the kidnappers are usually youngsters with little experience in crime, whose goal is to assault several victims per day and increase their winnings. A few security measures to avoid being caught in such a situation are:

· If being robbed, don't try to fight back or react
· Don't make any abrupt or sudden moves
· Don't be the first car to stop at a traffic light
· Avoid carrying cash station cards
· If you must, carry only a few checks with you, instead of the whole checkbook
· Keep two wallets with you, your real one and a fake one with a small amount of money for robbers
Barra regains boom town crown

Beautiful Barra da Tijuca is once again the fastest growing neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. Barra showed an increase in area licensed for construction of 93% in 2003, compared to the previous year. New building jumped from 362 thousand square meters in 2002, to 701 thousand in last year. Recreio dos Bandeirantes, the leading growth area in 2002, fell well behind Barra and even behind Jacarepaguá in the rankings.

Interest in Jacarepaguá has grown both because of its proximity to Barra at relatively cheap prices, and because of the prospect of investments in infrastructure planned for the upcoming Pan American games. Some of the events will be hosted in new facilities constructed in Jacarepaguá, as well as in the new Olympic stadium being built in Méier. The new stadium and its convenient access to the beach in Barra via Linha Amarela caused a growth of just over 2% for that traditional suburban neighborhood.

The growth of these areas on the west side of Rio comes at the expense of growth in other areas of the city. Overall growth for the metropolitan area fell by 6%. Several factors were responsible for a decline of 22% in Zona Sul. The high cost and relative scarcity of open lots there are principal factors. Also, the creation of APAC's, Protected Cultural Environment Areas, is limiting the options of builders seeking to buy older buildings and houses for the purpose of demolition to make way for apartment buildings.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Political crisis scares international investors

The political crisis spawned by suspicions of corruption in the Brazilian government decreased the flow of foreign investment in the stock market, in São Paulo, to its lowest level since May of last year. The tendency is being called the Waldomiro effect, alluding to the accusations of bribery committed by the former assistant to the presidency, Waldomiro Diniz.

Although the first two weeks of February were quite profitable for foreign investors, who achieved high profits during the crisis by taking advantage of the strong oscillations in the prices of assets, about a week ago, on March, 10th, the balance of foreign investments was only R$49.3 million. A worse performance can only be found a year ago with a negative balance of R$53 million.
Politicians visit slum to speak to residents

The debate on police violence heats up. Yesterday, Alessandro Molon, president of the Human Rights Committee of the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro, and one of its members, deputy Geraldo Moreira, went to the slum Beira-Mar in Duque de Caxias, to speak with residents. Particularly, they looked for the relatives of 16-year-old student Aline Gonçalves de Lima and 31-year-old evangelical pastor Marcelo Salgueiro Soares de Menezes, both killed last Tuesday during a police narcotics operation.

The politicians intend to present the Committee with a proposed law regulating assistance to family members of such victims. Pastor Marcelo's widow and her four young children have been receiving a food basket from the slum's Resident's Association but clearly need more help. During the visit, the deputies met a teenager who claims to have witnessed the murder of both victims. They decided to ask for special protection from the government for the teenager girl and all other residents who decide to speak up against police violence.
Staheli case brings FBI to Brazil

Two FBI agents arrived in Rio de Janeiro last week searching for clues in the murder of Shell executive Todd Staheli and his wife. Yesterday, the agents visited the couple's residence in a condominium in Barra da Tijuca and analyzed police video with images of the bodies and the crime scene. The couple was murdered on November, 30th of 2003, but Brazilian police have not yet found the assassin.

Both agents specialize in crime scene investigation, and their expertise is to profile criminals through the reconstitution of crime scenes. They were invited to Brazil by the Department of Public Safety, which did not reveal how long the agents will be here. Today, they will meet with secretary of Public Safety Anthony Garotinho. According to sub-secretary Marcelo Itagiba, Brazil has an agreement with the American government regarding police investigations.

Rio's police have also been unable to identify the murder weapon. So far, they only know that it was a sharp object that can be used to hit and cut. They also have no suspects. Following the same technique the FBI uses to identify serial killers, the FBI agents will try to create a profile of the murder by studying the victim's personalities through their home environment and the technical evidence found at the crime scene.
Even on strike, Federal Police agents help catch criminal


Businessman and former deputy Sérgio Naya was arrested today trying to flee Brazil. Naya, who owns the construction company Sersan, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter when the building Palace II, built by his construction company in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, collapsed in 1998 killing 8 people.
The businessman was forbidden to leave the country while waiting for the court's answer to his appeal.

The arrest was made at the airport Salgado Filho, in Porto Alegre. Holding a fake ID, Naya was identified in line while waiting to make his connection from a domestic flight to an international flight for Montevideo, in Uruguay. He was recognized largely in part to the standard operation now being carried out by Federal Police agents since the announcement of their strike on Tuesday, March 9th. (For more on this story, click here.)

According to his lawyer João Carlos Escosteguy, Naya was going to Uruguay to negotiate a loan to pay for the compensation he owes the families of the victims.
Police break up gang hideout in Leblon

An operation launched last evening by the 23rd Military Police battalion managed to break up a gang of teenagers that robbed residents and tourists, in Leblon and Ipanema. Commanded by 24-year-old lieutenant Fabiana Silva, the operation arrested 25 gang members all at once. Twenty-one of them were under age. The teenagers had a hideout in an underground sewer at Vieira Souto avenue with Farme de Amoedo street. At the site, police found a portable TV, a radio, pirate CDs and R$295.

Although the operation was a major success, residents still can not feel too safe. This morning, two bandits tried to rob the car of a resident of the building Bromélia, on Sambaíba street. A private security man confronted the robbers and shots were exchanged. The perpetrators managed to escape with the aid of a backup car waiting near the building next door. According to witnesses and residents of the building, this is the fourth attempted robbery to occur at the garage entrance in less than a year.
Rio is the most violent Brazilian state for youngsters

Rio de Janeiro, known throughout the world as the wonderful city, is far from wonderful for its youngsters. That conclusion was drawn from a report released by Unesco - the United Nations organization for Education, Science and Cultural studies. According to the report, Rio is the Brazilian state with the highest rate of deaths from violent causes among youngsters between 15 and 24 years of age. The precise figure is 128 deaths for each 100 thousand habitants.

The state doesn't do well on deaths provoked by so-called avoidable diseases either. Unesco researcher Julio Jacobo Waiselfisz, creator of the Index of Juvenile Development, says Brazil is one of the countries with the highest percentages of violence against youngsters and Rio, its worse state. The report also showed huge discrepancies among the states. For instance, a youngster born in Alagoas has about a 15% chance to be illiterate when he or she reaches the teenager years. In Santa Catarina, however, this chance is only 1%.

Unfortunately, says Julio, "tell me where you were born and I'll tell you what your destiny is. It's hard to talk like that, but there is a close relationship between place of birth and possible destiny. Of course, there is room for change but very little."

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Follow-up on the death of prison director

A confidential report issued by the Sub-Secretary of Intelligence of the Secretary of Public Safety has been leaked to the Brazilian press. The report reveals that former sub-director of prison Bangu I, Wagner Vasconcellos da Rocha, murdered last Friday, was under investigation. Supposedly, he and the chief of security, whose name has not being revealed, were involved in a plot to aid in the escape of some Rio's drug traffic bosses, who were imprisoned in the unit. They were to leave guns and grenades in the prison and, according to the alleged deal, would receive R$5 million.

Yesterday, the prison director, Major Danilo Nascimento, removed his chief of security from the position. The report from the Sub-Secretary of Intelligence also names drug dealers Márcio dos Santos Nepomuceno, Marcinho VP, Marcos Antônio Silva Tavares, Marquinhos Niterói, and Elias Pereira da Silva, nicknamed Crazy Elias. The three of them are now serving time in Bangu I. The investigation is working with the hypothesis that they were the ones who would have ordered Wagner's execution after suspecting that he had betrayed their agreement.
"The game is on now"

The Secretary of Public Safety of Rio de Janeiro, Anthony Garotinho, announced this Monday that police were able to intercept various phone conversations between drug-dealers ordering the riots and the attacks against police officers that occurred this weekend in Rio. He said that the recording will show drug dealers saying that they planned to stone police patrol cars, burn tires and close streets. To one of the drug dealers in particular, who says on the recording that the "game is on now", Garotinho answers, defiantly, that the game has not started yet.

And to prove just that, he ordered the police to restart their operations in the slums of Rio. A total of 850 police officers, 275 from Civil Police and 575 from Military Police, are occupying 64 slums in the state. The areas chosen for occupation are made public only on the day of the operation, a procedure that will become standard from now on. They are Querosene, Santo Amaro, Cerro Corá, Galinha/Árvore Seca, Complexo do Caju, Mangueira, Providência, Anastácia, Cruz/Formiga, Menino de Deus, Juramento, Pedreira/Jorge Turco, Santo Cristo, Marítimos, Muquiço/Beira-Rio, Lixão, Chatuba, Vila Juaniza,
Covanca/Caixa d'Água, Jordão, Cabritos/Tabajaras, Coréia, Cocada, Manhoso, Prata, Sono Leve, Parque Araruama, Manguinhos, Baixa do Sapateiro, Rocinha, Antares, Jardim Vieiras and Barbante.

The population has been instructed to call this number - (21) 2253-1177 - if they feel they have any information that can be relevant to the police investigation. General-commander of Military Police, Renato Hottz, warned that any one caught promoting riots such as burning and breaking buses will be charged with association with drug dealing.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

B. B. King Tours Brasil

B. B. King, the living legend of the blues, has confirmed his presence in four Brazilian cities. The American singer and guitar player will arrive in São Paulo, on the 17th of this month, to present a show at Bourbon Street. He was chosen to close the cycle of celebrations the night club is holding for its tenth anniversary, since it was B. B. King himself who was the first to sing at Bourbon Street when the club opened its doors in December of 1993.

After that, the 78-year-old King will play in Curitiba, Rio and Brasília. The show in Rio has been scheduled for March, 20th, at the Marina da Glória. On the 24th, he will return to São Paulo to play at Via Funchal. He will be in Brasília on the 27th.
Drug-dealers kill prison director

The drug traffic in Rio de Janeiro has killed another prison director, this time, 37-year-old Wagner Vasconcellos da Rocha, who worked as sub-director at the high-security prison Laércio da Costa Pelegrino, known as Bangu I. Wagner was ambushed in São João do Meriti, yesterday morning, on his way to work. His car was intercepted by another car and a motorcycle, and he was shot twice, in his arm and chest. He was taken to a hospital in Caxias, where he was pronounced dead.

The sub-director suffered another attempt on January 21st, of this year. At the time, he managed to dodge the bullets and escape. He asked to be dismissed from the position and went on vacation. He was still waiting for an answer to his request, and yesterday was his second day back at work. Wagner is the fourth management member of Bangu I to be killed, since 2000.

In September of that same year, Sidneya dos Santos Jesus, who was the prison director at the time, was shot in front of the building where she lived. There were several witnesses to the crime, but all refused to testify. Last year, in July, security coordinator Paulo Roberto Rocha was shot and killed in the central lane of Brasil avenue by two men on motorcycles. Two weeks later, four ski-masked men executed the prison director at the time, Abel Silvério de Aguiar, with over ten shots. Secretary of Public Safety Anthony Garotinho assures that all of the previous crimes have been solved.
Plenty of new films for post-carnival entertainment

Brazilians like to say that the year only really starts after carnival. That’s true this year for film fans, as nine new films opened in area movie houses. Among the options are two suspense thrillers, a couple of comedies, a horror film, a Brazilian documentary, and three dramas, including one from France. In addition, tickets are already on sale for the controversial new film “The Passion of Christ” directed by Mel Gibson, which has had its debut moved up one week because of its enormous success at the box office in the U.S.

The Gibson film, about the last 12 hours of the life of Christ, will open on March 19th and tickets are already on sale at the box offices of the UCI cinema chain or at their web site www.ucicinemas.com.br. The movie has been criticized by Catholics for its graphic and, in the opinion of some, excessive violence, while some Jews regard it as anti-semitic. Meanwhile, in it’s first week the film pulled in box office receipts of US$ 125 million.
There are plenty of stars in evidence in the multi-plex theaters. Denzel Washington portrays a small town police chief who becomes the suspect of a double homicide he is investigating in "Por um triz" (Out of Time). Halle Berry plays a psychiatrist who may be possessed by an evil spirit in "Na companhia do medo" (Gothika) with Penélope Cruz and Robert Downey Jr. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Beyoncé star in "Resistindo às tentações" (Fighting Temptations), a comedy about an ad man who has to lead a gospel choir to victory in a contest in order to receive an inheritance. Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear are Siamese twins in a comedy from the kings of over the top humor, the Farrelly brothers, entitled “Ligado em Você” (Stuck on You). Cate Blanchett is Veronica Guerin in "O custo da coragem" (Veronica Guerin), about a journalist who was assassinated in Northern Ireland for revealing links between the government and drug traffickers.
The Brazilian documentary "Glauber, o filme, labirinto do Brasil", tells the story of the life and personality of the influential and controversial movie director Glauber Rocha. The French film, "Passaporte para a vida" (Laissez-passer), by Bertrand Tavernier is a drama about how French filmmakers resisted Nazi occupation. Danish director Tomas Vinterberg is responsible for "Dogma do amor" (It’s All About Love) , a futuristic drama with Sean Penn and Clair Danes. Finally, there is "Pânico na floresta" (Wrong Turn), about a group of youths lost in the woods being stalked by horribly disfigured assassins.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Nearly 50 thousand tourists visited Rio during Carnival

The Brazilian Hotel Association of Rio de Janeiro announced yesterday the statistics concerning hotel occupation for the Carnival period. Approximately 50 thousand tourists registered at the city's hotels, mostly Brazilians from other states. The occupation rate was 97.4%, surpassing last year's rate by 0.4%. While Brazilians were in the majority with 60.4%, 80% of the city’s foreign visitors were from European countries.

The tourist traffic in town increased by 9% compared to last year. Alfredo Lopes, president of the association, says that city hotels had never received as many foreign tourists as they did this Carnival. He added that the city's image in Europe is very good. The industry earned US$15 million during the period, which means an average amount of US$500 per guest per day. According to data published by Riotur, including shopping, leisure and board, the city earned US$141 million.

On a curious note, this year's Carnival was also very profitable for can collectors. An organized collection, formed between the municipal sanitation company Comlurb, the Independent League of Samba Schools, the Cultural Association of the Community of Barraqueiros do Terreirão and the recycling company Latasa Reciclagem S.A., guaranteed a collection 20% higher than that of last year. Thanks to the partnership, some collectors were able to earn as much R$960, the equivalent of 4 months of the current minimum wage salary.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Rio Carnaval Results:

Place _ Escola de Samba (Points)


1 - Beija-Flor (388,7)
2 - Unidos da Tijuca (387,9)
3 - Mangueira (387,9)

4 - Viradouro (386,9)
5 - Imperatriz Leopoldinense (386,5)
6 - Salgueiro (386,2)
7 - Portela (384,9)
8 - Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel (381,2)
9 - Império Serrano (380,9)
10 - Grande Rio (380,5)
11 - Porto da Pedra (376,7)
12 - Tradição (372,9)
13 - Caprichosos de Pilares (368,9)
14 - São Clemente (367,8)

Monday, March 01, 2004

Battle for city's streets heats up over weekend

The confetti and the glitter had not settled on the asphalt yet, as cariocas say, and the truce between drug dealers and Rio's police for the control of the wonderful city was over. A weekend with a total of nine attacks on police officers is proof that, as an investigation by the Intelligence Department of the Secretary of Public Safety concluded, criminals are reacting to the Differentiated Disciplinary Regime imposed by the Penal Administration Secretary on the 700 inmates of prison Bangu III, after a prisoner's rebellion, in December of last year.

The investigation also concluded that the attacks were organized by the criminal faction led by drug dealer Luiz Fernando da Costa, known as Fernandinho Beira-Mar. For more information on Beira-Mar, click here. Governor Rosinha Matheus said she will not yield to pressure from the bandits and won't suspend the rigorous disciplinary regime. Rosinha's husband, the State Secretary of Public Safety Anthony Garotinho has ordered the general commander of military police Colonel Renato Hottz, to increase city policing, taking precautions to have police cars patrol city areas in pairs, to avoid being caught alone.

Since the rebellion, which ended on December, 5th of last year and lasted 75 hours, the prison Bangu III has been undergoing repairs. It's administration says that in order to guarantee the safety of the construction workers, the prisoners who used to stay in two galleries, now occupy only one of them. Because of the lack of space, they can no longer walk the hallways or receive conjugal visits. Sun-bathing has been reduced to once a week and vocational and basic education classes are suspended. The administration says they don't know when repairs will be completed.
Police arrest two members of bike gang

A successful undercover police operation resulted in the arrest of two perpetrators, members of a gang that use bikes to commit robberies in Zona Sul. The operation was carried out on Saturday afternoon by the police coordination of special resources Core. A group of twenty undercover officers patrolled the beaches and streets of Zona Sul, managing to catch and arrest two minors stealing a bike from a woman, in Copacabana.

According to Core's coordinator, deputy Gláucio Santos, the operation was ordered by the chief of Civil Police, deputy Álvaro Lins, due to an increase of complaints over the last week. (See Gang of robbers on bikes target tourists in Zona Sul.) He added that intelligence has established that more than one group of robbers is at work in the area and that, because of this, the undercover operation launched this week will continue for undetermined time.
More on crimes committed against tourists during Carnival

They come to see our glorious Carnival and, unfortunately, get a bit more than they asked for. This Carnival, in Rio, reports show that thirty six tourists were robbed during their stay in our town. Just yesterday morning, two tourists went to the police to report a robbery. A Finnish man had his photographic camera taken in Copacabana. A Peruvian was doped by a woman, who took US$100 from his wallet along with his passport.

On Tuesday, during the parade of Banda de Ipanema, police arrested a man and a group of Israelis was chased by three armed youngsters. The Israeli businessman complained that there was not enough policing, but sadly, when there was, instead of helping...

Two officers from Military Police Battalion number 23, a soldier and a Sergeant, actually assaulted an Israeli tourist in Copacabana, this Tuesday, taking US$5 thousand from him. The victim reported the crime and identified the officers, who were arrested.
Australian exposes himself at Christ monument

Twenty-five-year-old Australian tourist Adam Kubyk was charged with indecent exposure last Friday, after taking off his clothes at the monument of Christ the Redeemer. The incident happened Friday at noon. Visibly drunk, Adam, egged on by a group of three friends who accompanied him, took off his clothes and climbed naked on a marquise. Covering his penis with a sock, he posed for his friends and allowed himself to be photographed.

Some of the visitors present found it funny and also took pictures, but there were others who become revolted. Angélica da Costa Ferreira, a student from Paraíba, was one of them. She decided to report Adam and together with another member of her group, who is a prosecutor, warned police officers stationed at the base of Corcovado. The officers intercepted the cab the tourists were exiting in.

At the police station, Adam said he was sorry and even apologized to deputy-assistant Carlos Sodré. He was charged and released, after signing a term committing himself to return to Special Criminal Court for the audience. If he doesn't return or leaves the country before the audience, Federal police will start procedures to stop Adam from entering Brazil again. He can be convicted to three months to a year of jail time.
Gang of robbers on bikes target tourists in Zona Sul

A German couple who were walking on Copacabana beach
, this Wednesday afternoon, were robbed by a group of robbers on bikes. The robbers pulled the lady’s gold necklace off her neck, but a few police officers standing nearby saw the incident and intervened, arresting a 16-year-old involved.

Police say that there are two gangs operating on bikes in Zona Sul. One, made up of robbers from the slum Pavão-Pavãozinho, operates in Copacabana, and another one, formed by residents of the slum in Morro do Cantagalo, operates in Ipanema, primarily on the streets of Joana Angélica, Vinicius de Moraes, Farme de Amoedo, Nascimento Silva and Barão da Torre.

The gangs also target drivers stopped at traffic lights. Armed, they demand cash, jewels and cellular phones, while two other robbers stand behind on bikes giving coverage. According to residents of the area, this type of robbery is quite common, but it doesn’t get reported out of fear.