When the Brazilian fruit açaí berry was shown on Oprah just a year or so ago, its popularity soared to unheard of dimensions. Virtually unknown outside the Amazon two decades ago, and until 2000 not exported from Brazil — its major producer — açaí (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) is now an international celebrity, riding the wave of the antioxidant craze and rain-forest chic. It is now famous for its amazing healing and dietary properties. The Acai palm tree is abundant in the Amazonian rain forests. These dark berries are absolutely packed with antioxidants as well as high levels of essential fatty acids. Amazingly they also contains elements which aid cardio-vascular and digestive health. For families who live in the North state of Pará, along the winding, interlaced rivers at the hub of açaí production, the fruit has long been a vital part of their diet, a cheap way to fill up and a taste of home.

“Over the past 10 years Brazilian music has started to be recognized as a musical force in Britain. It’s no longer limited to lounge bar chill-out CDs, instead focusing on exciting new artists like Seu Jorge.” That´s how BBC´s music critic Sam Jones describes one of most talented and originals Brazilian singers – while he was waiting to watch the artist´s show  in Lecester Square, in the heart of London. At the end of the show, he was marveled by the swing of the Brazilian black musician:  “Seu Jorge took the spotlight alone to show us why he has suddenly become a big deal in Britain”, wrote BBC´s critic.  Seu Jorge, 35 years old, was made internationally famous by his role in the cult-classic film City of God. He has toured many American states, where he is known to the audiences for performing bossa-flecked Portuguese renditions of David Bowie songs in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

Curious to know more about the sharming Seu Jorge? Listen to his beautiful voice:


Brazilians were caught by surprise by Ronaldo´s announcement that he will quit professional football in 2011, when his contract with Corinthians expires, three years before the World Cup in Brazil. Ronaldo, who will be 35 years old by then, is a heroe for many young people in the country. He began his career at Cruzeiro, in Minas Gerais, and played for the more powerful clubs around the world: PSV, Barcelona, Inter, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Corinthians. He was top scorer of the Korea-Japan World Cup and three times FIFA World Player. ‘I am decided. I had not spoken before about the issue. I signed for two years and they will be the last of my career. The Phenomenon, as he is called by Brazilians, still holds hope of being in South Africa but not in Brazil 2014: ‘It’s something that still could happen, it will be impossible for the next one, as it is a long and time passes to everyone, including me.”

Brasília –   The  Ministry of Extenal Relations of Brazil designated yesterday Mr. Pedro Augusto Leite Costa, a Brazilian entrepreneur of Seattle, Washington, the Honorary Consul of Brazil. Mr. Costa, 53 years old, will work under the jurisdiction of the Brazilian San Francisco’s Consulate and will be responsible for the Brazilian affairs in the state of Washington.

Mr. Costa is  based in Seattle, in the center of a dynamic, diverse and vibrant region, that is more tied to the international economy than any other in the United States. It´s seen as a gateway for today-and tomorrow’s- global economy. Its depth in key industry clusters, such as aerospace, biotechnology and life sciences, information technology, clean technology, and logistics and international trade. Seattle means lots of business opportunities both for Americans and Brazilians entrepreneurs.

Founder and CEO of The Information Company, one of the leading PR companies in São Paulo, Brazil, and Seattle, USA, he comes from a traditional business family in Belo Horizonte, capital of the state of Minas Gerais, in the Southeast of the country. There, he graduated in Communications from the Universidade Federal – UFMG – and became a journalist devoted to economic issues.

His talent, wit and intellect took him to the much more sophisticated market of São Paulo, where he worked for several of Brazil´s most important newspapers, radio stations and magazines. He also spent a year in London, where he had the opportunity to work for the BBC as a stringer and wrote many articles, mainly on the United Kingdom and Europe, for the Brazilian media.

Before getting back to Brazil, Mr. Costa travelled widely, especially around Europe. Between 2000 and 2004, he was head of PR for 150 exhibitions around the globe, taking care of events like Brazil – 500 Years – The Rediscovering Exhibition, Xi’an Warriors, Picasso etc. In the United States, he led two important business missions between the two countries, bringing together hundreds of business, politicians and diplomatas from both countries.

Mr. Costa became one of the foremost PR specialists in business communication, especially in the Brazilian economic and financial systems. Aware that relations between Brazil and United States were bound to become more meaningful for both countries, he idealized an enterprise to bring them commercially together. This is how The Information Company was born.

With offices in both countries, TIC has a history of success with business developments, public relations and partnerships in Brazil and the United States. It develops strategic actions to establish commercial relations bilaterally in order to promote business opportunities for companies and organizations. And there is no better time to do business in Brazil than now, when the country is booming, full of unique opportunities in so many sectors.

Last year, Mr. Costa changed the profile of his company towards the Web 2.0, transforming the business into an information aggregator in order to provide meaningful information and relevant stories to media, bloggers, analysts and influencers.

Mr. Costa works as a press and business adviser in Brazil and the United States, China, Japan, Europe and South America extensively for Brazilian banks, insurance companies, law firms, assets management and IT organizations. More recently, he has been working as a documenter in the United States, making series for the Brazilian TV.

Married with two young daughters, he lives in Seattle and Sao Paulo.

Many people would say no, Brazil is not a slave-ocratic country anymore. It left  slavery behind more than a 100 years ago. Precisely in 1888, when Brazilians were forbidden by law to keep slaves.  But many other people would  say yes, in many ways this is a slave-ocratic society. One of those to think so is the former governor of Brasília, Brazil´s capital, Senator Cristovam Buarque (PDT).  He says that although we no longer accept the selling and imprisonment of human beings or condemning them to forced labor, we condemn millions to unemployment or to humiliating work due to lack of training. “We are slave-ocrats when we allow the differentiation of the schools according to the income of a child’s family, differentiation as severe as that of the lives in the Manor House and the Slave Quarters. We are slave-ocrats because we have still not undertaken the distribution of knowledge, a decisive instrument for liberty”, says he.

Brazilians go a little nutty every February at carnival time. Similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, only celebrated throughout the country – it involves millions of people dancing in the streets, dressed in fancy costumes, beads, face masks. For four days, Brazilians just forget the future to enjoy only the present. People from all over the world come to Brazil to have fun in this very special time, mainly in Rio and in cities like Salvador, Recife e Olinda, in the northeast of the country.

Modern Brazilian Carnival originated in Rio de Janeiro in 1641, when the city’s bourgeoisie imported the practice of holding balls and masquerade parties from Paris. It originally mimicked the European form of the festival, later absorbing and creolizing elements derived from Native American and African cultures.”

The beaches of Rio de Janeiro, the most well known Brazilian city, famous as much for their boisterous energy as for their natural beauty, are undergoing a makeover thanks to a “Shock Order” program by the current mayor, Eduardo Paes. Under the new rules, ball games are among the undesirable activities being curtailed or banned as the city that will host a World Cup (2014) and Olympics (2016) within seven years seeks to clean up its act. Up to 2 million people pack Rio’s beaches on a sunny day, bringing together high society and slum dwellers making it the most democratic place in the city. Some critics say the moves by the mayor will affect the spontaneity of beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana, which have been celebrated in many a samba and bossa nova song.

      

Brazilian most famous writer Paulo Coelho (photo) is staging a sort of crusade against Rio´s decision to invite former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to be a consultant of 2016 Olympic Games. 

He says in his blog he was appaled when he was told Blair had been invited. “I immediately posted in Twitter that I don’t want a person who has lied to his country and to the world, who has blood in this hand, to participate in an event where peace and healthy competition is to be celebrated”, he protested. 

Rio state Gov. Sergio Cabral says Coelho is a fine author, but said Rio can use the organizational skills of a political leader who won the 2012 games for London.

Brazilian minister Dilma Rousseff, president Lula´s preferred successor, finally admitted that she “would like very much” to be nominated to succeed him. As the president, she belongs to the Workers Party, which will choose its candidate during a national convention, later this month. Coming after eight years of President Lula’s rule, this is a pivotal election. Brazilians will go to the polls in October 3 to vote for president, all 26 state governors, all 513 members of the lower house of Congress, and two-thrds of their 81 senators. In the opinion polls, so far, Dilma comes second, after the governor of São Paulo, José Serra. The opposition has already presented several official complaints against Lula da Silva and Rousseff for anticipated “campaigning”.