Latin America

3:08pm

Wed September 18, 2013
Latin America

Brazil's Traffic Is A Circus, So Send In The Clowns

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:01 pm

The Brazilian city of Olinda has a novel approach to taming its ever-growing traffic problem: traffic clowns known as palhacos.
Andrea Hsu NPR

On a busy avenue in Olinda, in northeastern Brazil, two men in wigs, big red noses and full clown makeup are squeaking horns and making a good-natured ruckus.

"Where's your helmet?" shouts one as a motorcyclist whizzes by. "Fasten your seat belt!" calls out the other.

Uncle Honk and Fom Fom are traffic clowns, or palhacos, hired by the city to make the roads a bit safer. They lean into traffic, making exaggerated gestures, like the sweep of the arm to mimic fastening a seat belt, and a mimed reminder to never drink and drive.

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12:04pm

Tue September 17, 2013
World

Brazilian Leader Postpones State Visit Over Spying Concerns

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 5:16 pm

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff attends the first working meeting of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday.
Handout Getty Images

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Tuesday that she would not travel to the United States for a state visit on Oct. 23.

It is the first concrete diplomatic consequence of the revelations made by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed widespread spying by the U.S. government on foreigners.

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11:05am

Mon September 16, 2013
World

Brazilian Believers Of Hidden Religion Step Out Of Shadows

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:45 pm

Men possessed by orixas dance before getting dressed in orixa costumes. They are participating in an Olubaje party, a Candomblé ritual for cleansing life of bad things and healing. The main god at the party is Omulu (the one with straws), known for healing diseases.
Marcello Vitorino Fullpress for NPR

Amid chanting and drumming, a crowd gathers in Sao Paulo and waits for the gods to come to them from the spirit world.

They are celebrating a sacred festival day in honor of Omulu, a deity of life and death. The women wear white dresses with crinolines, colorful belts and headdresses. The men wear lace, pajama-style suits. They sing and dance in a circle for hours; the room gets warmer, the chanting more intense.

Suddenly, they are here: Orixas have possessed the chosen among the faithful. They are spirit gods, the deified ancestors who link humans to the other world.

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5:45pm

Thu September 5, 2013
World

The Other G-20 Drama: Obama And Brazilian President Rousseff

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 5:49 pm

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff attends the first working meeting of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday.
Handout Getty Images

While everyone has been focused on Syria, including the dramatic meeting of two world leaders at odds over the situation, there was another bit of drama unfolding Thursday at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia:

President Obama was late to dinner apparently because he was busy trying to smooth over a conflict with Brazil.

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10:55am

Wed September 4, 2013
World

Lights Out In Venezuela; President Blames Opposition Saboteurs

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 3:57 pm

Fans wait for play to resume Tuesday at a FIBA World Cup qualifying basketball game in Caracas, Venezuela. A blackout left about 70 percent of the country without electricity.
Ariana Cubillos AP

Venezuela's President Nicholas Maduro said a massive power outage that plunged most of the country into darkness Tuesday, causing traffic chaos in the bustling capital of Caracas, was due to sabotage.

Officials said 70 percent of the country was without electricity, shutting down traffic lights and partially disrupting the underground transport system.

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