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Brazil: The man who planted a tree and grew a whole family of forests
21 March 2017 - When Antonio Vicente bought a patch of land in São Paulo state and said he wanted to use it to plant a forest, people called him crazy. In 1973 forests were seen by many as an obstacle to progress and profit. Maintaining forests are essential for water supplies because trees absorb and retain water in their roots and help to prevent soil erosion. So with some donkeys and a small team, he worked on his little patch -- 31 hectares (77 acres) of land that had been razed for grazing cattle -- and set about regenerating. More than 40 years later, Vicente -- now 84 -- estimates he has replanted 50,000 trees on his 31 hectare Serra da Mantiqueira mountain range property. Vicente said, 'I didn't do it for money, I did it because when I die, what's here will remain for everyone.' He adds, 'People don't call me crazy any more.' (more)

Brazil launches database to fight illegal Amazon logging
7 March 2017 - Brazil's federal environmental agency, Ibama, launched on Tuesday a centralized database to track timber from source to sale, a vital step in the fight against illegal logging in the Amazon. The system, known as Sinaflor, allows individual trees to be electronically tagged and monitored as they are cut down and pass through the supply chain . . . With built-in satellite mapping, timber being sold as legal can be checked against the exact area of licensed commercial production it is claimed to originate from. (more)

Brazilian conservationists develop new tool to cut illegal wood from supply chains
22 December 2016 - Companies that want to buy Brazilian timber without contributing to illegal deforestation have a new tool to help them ensure stolen wood does not appear in their supply chains -- a digital platform tracing the origins of wood, environmentalists said. The Responsible Timber Exchange created by conservation group BVRio draws on government data and satellite maps to help buyers and sellers check the origins and certifications of wood. (more)

Brazil ratifies Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gases
12 September 2016 - The Brazilian government on Monday ratified its participation in the Paris Agreement on climate change, a significant step by Latin America's largest emitter of greenhouse gases that could spur other countries to move forward. With a landmass a little bit larger than the continental United States, Brazil emits about 2.5 percent of the world's carbon dioxide and other polluting gases, according to United Nations data. (more)

Brazil ratifies Paris deal; joins top polluters U.S., China
12 September 2016 - Brazil, one of the world's largest emitters of heat-trapping gases, on Monday ratified the Paris agreement to fight global warming, joining top polluters United States and China and bringing the deal closer to implementation. With Brazil's ratification, the Paris climate agreement comes closer to the requirements to enter into force. It needs ratification by at least 55 parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change representing at least 55 percent of global emissions. (more)

Brazil's industry edges up in July, beats expectations
2 September 2016 - Brazil's industrial output remained nearly steady in July, official data showed on Friday, beating expectations for a small drop as a timid recovery from recession starts to take root. Industrial output returned to growth in the second quarter, gross domestic product data showed this week. (more)

Beverage giants in Brazil to halt sale of soft drinks in schools
23 June 2016 - In a surprising decision the three largest soft drink companies in Brazil have announced that starting in August they will no longer distribute soft drinks at cafeterias and snack bars in schools which cater to children twelve years old and younger. According to a press release, the beverage companies will only sell mineral water, fruit juices, coconut water, and dairy-based drinks in schools, to give kids healthier choices. (more)

Overflowing Brazil delegation brings flair to climate talks
6 December 2015 - Once in a while at the global climate talks in Paris, the sea of mostly dark business attire is broken up by flashes of orange, yellow, and red feathers from the spectacular headdress of Brazilian campaigner Jose de Lima Kaxinawa. De Lima Kaxinawa belongs to the Kaxinawa, also known as the Huni Kuin, a tribe that lives in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil and Peru. He is also one of hundreds of Brazilian 'party overflow members' at the climate talks, by far the biggest number of any country. This is because Brazil has once again applied its unique open door policy under which anyone can join the government delegation if they pay their own way. And so Brazil has brought 800 government delegates to the climate talks -- by far the most. 'We are very inclusive,' a former Brazilian Foreign Minister told Reuters of the policy. Brazilian campaigners are a constant presence at the venue north of Paris, lobbying in corridors and halls for causes led by the protection of the rainforest. (more)

Brazil: Rio's elite police practice Transcendental Meditation for peace of mind
21 November 2015 - A group of 400 elite police officers in Rio de Janeiro, host of next year's Olympic Games, will take Transcendental Meditation classes to help deal with the stress of the job. Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper said the courses will be funded by the David Lynch Foundation. (more)

Brazil project aims to save endangered indigenous languages
6 November 2015 - Of the estimated 2,000 indigenous languages thought to have been spoken in pre-Columbian times in what is now Brazil, only around 160 survive today. A program spearheaded in part by UNESCO, the U.N.'s cultural and educational agency, aims to give a fighting chance to nearly three dozen threatened languages. Over nearly eight years, the program has helped 35 tribes to transcribe their languages, develop dictionaries and teaching tools for children, and document their rich oral traditions. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Brazil: TM 'made me a better athlete . . . made me a better person' - Olympic medalist Flavio Canto
26 October 2016 - Flávio Canto is a Brazilian judoka and jiu jitsu black belt who won the bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and three medals at the Pan American Games. He attributes his success and focus to practising Transcendental Meditation since 1995. In 2003 he founded Instituto Reação, a non-governmental organization that promotes human development and social inclusion through sports and education, transforming underprivileged kids into 'black belts' on and off the mat. TM helps institute students relieve stress and achieve the inner equilibrium required to excel both inside and outside the classroom. One student says: 'TM makes me feel relaxed, feel lighter, like if I could fly among the clouds. I was able to focus better on my studies, understand more about my life and reflect what I can become someday.' (more)

Rio de Janeiro's elite police learning Transcendental Meditation in preparation for 2016 Olympics
24 November 2015 - With Olympic Games just a year ahead, the pressure is mounting on Rio de Janeiro police. Security has remained a major challenge in preparation for the grand international event. To prevent stress-induced burnout, last week a group of 400 Rio police officers started a course of Transcendental Meditation. An official explained that a policeman who is less stressed will have a better capacity to make decisions. If TM is proven to reduce the stress, the goal is to expand teaching the technique to the whole troop. The courses are supported by the David Lynch Foundation, which was founded to prevent and eradicate the effects of traumatic, toxic stress among at-risk populations. (more)

Leader of Amazonian tribes to launch programmes for traditional peoples
24 November 2010 - A major leader of Amazonian tribes, who has worked to unify them and protect their traditional cultural values, expressed his intention to launch, in conjunction with the World Federation of Traditional Kings, a programme for the promotion of the region's traditional people. The World Federation is an initiative of the Global Country of World Peace. (more)

Safeguarding the knowledge of traditional peoples to benefit the world
24 November 2010 - The recent visit of Haru Kuntanawa, a great leader of Amazonian tribes, inspired deep appreciation among leaders of the Global Country of World Peace in MERU, Holland. That the knowledge of the traditional peoples has been safeguarded and protected deep in the Amazon forests is 'heartening and inspiring', commented a young Global Country leader in the field of culture. And now that knowledge is coming out into the world and is being shared with others. (more)

Brazilian TV news features Transcendental Meditation in Paul McCartney report
19 November 2010 - On Friday, 19 November, a prime time Brazilian TV news show covered the recent visit of Paul McCartney to the city of Sao Paulo, a report which included a three-minute segment on the Transcendental Meditation Programme. Nearly 60 million people viewed the broadcast, which described benefits of the technique in reducing stress and improving brain functioning. (more)

Agence France-Presse report: TM program helps de-stress schools in Brazil
14 November 2010 - Improved grades and better test scores, reduced stress and less anxiety, greater happiness and more inner peace. That is the forecast for more than one million students attending 1,000 public schools in Brazil's second-largest city, Rio de Janeiro, who will soon get the chance to practise Transcendental Meditation twice daily during class. This news was recently reported by the international wire service Agence France-Presse. (more)

Maharishi University of Management partners with college in Rio
17 June 2010 - An agreement to offer a joint MBA program with a Brazilian college will afford Maharishi University of Management students the opportunity to study in Rio de Janeiro. (more)

Brazil: First schools in Rio adopt Transcendental Meditation as city-wide project progresses
19 November 2009 - In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Teachers of the Transcendental Meditation Programme are creating a grand plan for the 'immense opportunity' of implementing Transcendental Meditation into the city's schools, following the inauguration of the Brazilian Department of Education's historic initiative. The implementation will take place in three stages, explained Raja Jose Luis Alvarez, Raja (Administrator) of Invincible Latin America for the Global Country of World Peace. (more)

Media in Brazil report benefits of Transcendental Meditation for cardiovascular health
17 November 2009 - The Transcendental Meditation Programme not only reduces stress, but recent research shows that it lowered risk of heart attack, stroke, and death by nearly 50 per cent in patients with coronary heart disease. A local couple in Brazil also shares the benefits they've experienced in their lives. (more)

Meditate and learn better - 7,000 students practising Transcendental Meditation in Rio
13 November 2009 - Through the generosity of the David Lynch Foundation, 7,000 students in Rio de Janeiro are now practising the Transcendental Meditation Programme as part of their school day. Students and school administrators say they are seeing the benefits. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

The end of a People: Amazon dam destroys sacred Munduruku 'Heaven'
6 January 2017 - Four dams are being built on the Teles Pires River -- a major tributary of the Tapajós River -- to provide Brazil with hydropower, and to possibly be a first step toward constructing an industrial waterway to transport soy and other commodities from Mato Grosso state, in the interior, to the Atlantic coast. Those dams are being built largely without consultation with impacted indigenous people, as required by the International Labor Organization's Convention 169, an agreement which Brazil signed. A sacred rapid, known as Sete Quedas, the Munduruku 'Heaven', was dynamited in 2013 to build the Teles Pires dam. A cache of sacred artifacts was also seized by the dam construction consortium and the Brazilian state. The Indians see both events as callous attacks on their sacred sites, and say that these desecrations will result in the destruction of the Munduruku as a people -- 3,000 Munduruku Indians live in 112 villages, mainly along the upper reaches of the Tapajós River and its tributaries in the heart of the Amazon. (more)

Rio's Olympic air: Dirty, deadly, and no cleaner legacy from Games
1 August 2016 - Rio de Janeiro's air is dirtier and deadlier than portrayed by authorities and the Olympics' promised legacy of cleaner winds has not remotely been met, an analysis of government data and Reuters' own testing found. Brazil declared in its official bid for the Olympic Games, which open on Friday, that Rio's air quality was 'within the limits recommended by the World Health Organization.' That was not true when Rio won the right to host the Games in 2009 and it is not true now. Thousands die annually in Rio's metropolitan area of 12 million people because of complications related to the air. People exposed to the pollution have higher risks of lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, asthma, and other diseases. (more)

Reuters Exclusive: Studies find 'super bacteria' in Rio's Olympic venues, top beaches
11 June 2016 - Scientists have found dangerous drug-resistant 'super bacteria' off beaches in Rio de Janeiro that will host Olympic swimming events and in a lagoon where rowing and canoe athletes will compete when the Games start on Aug. 5. The findings heighten concerns that Rio's sewage-infested waterways are unsafe. The super bacteria can cause hard-to-treat urinary, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, and bloodstream infections, along with meningitis. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says studies show that these bacteria contribute to death in up to half of patients infected. (more)

Brazil interim gov't under fire in wake of leaked recording
23 May 2016 - Brazil's interim government came under fire Monday as a secret recording emerged of the new planning minister discussing a purported pact to push for President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment to stall a huge corruption probe that has engulfed much of the nation's political class. (more)

AP Explains: Brazil President impeached, now what?
13 May 2016 - Brazil's Senate voted Thursday to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, a move that temporarily removes her from office while a trial is conducted. Rousseff is accused of using accounting tricks to hide budget deficits and bolster an embattled government. Rousseff has long argued she did nothing wrong. The Associated Press explains what's next: (more)

Brazil's Senate impeaches President Rousseff; trial ahead
12 May 2016 - Brazil's Senate voted Thursday to impeach President Dilma Rousseff after a months-long fight that laid bare the country's fury over corruption and economic decay, hurling Latin America's largest country into political turmoil just months before it hosts the Summer Olympics. Rousseff's suspension and likely permanent removal ends 13 years of rule by the left-leaning Workers' Party, which is credited with lifting millions out of abject poverty but vilified for being at the wheel when billions were siphoned from the state oil company Petrobras. The investigation into a multibillion-dollar kickback scheme at Petrobras has ensnared dozens of elite politicians and businessmen across the political spectrum. Although Rousseff herself hasn't been implicated, top officials in her party were and that tarnished her reputation. Polls have said a majority of Brazilians supported impeaching Rousseff, though they also suggest the public is wary about those in the line of succession to take her place. (more)

Brazil losing forest the size of two soccer fields per minute
29 April 2016 - Latin America's largest country is still losing tropical forests the size of two soccer fields every minute, despite attempts to tackle illegal logging and improve local land rights, a former head of Brazil's forestry service has said. Deforestation rates in Brazil, home to the world's biggest expanse of tropical forests, slowed significantly between 2004 and 2010, but have picked up again in recent years due to a lack of innovation and government planning, Tasso Azevedo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Illegal loggers are changing their strategies by moving wood from one region to another to hide its point of origin, he said. And efforts to track supply chains have not kept pace with savvy criminals, said Azevedo, who now directs the environmental group MapBiomas. (more)

Brazil justice orders impeachment process for VP, heightens crisis
5 April 2016 - A Supreme Court judge ordered Brazil's Congress on Tuesday to start impeachment proceedings against Vice President Michel Temer, deepening a political crisis and uncertainty over leadership of Latin America's largest country. Justice Marco Aurelio Mello told the lower house to convene an impeachment committee to consider putting Temer on trial on charges he helped manipulate budget accounting as part of President Dilma Rousseff's administration. Mello, who has a record of controversial decisions that later have been overturned by the full court, criticized the shelving of a request to impeach the vice president by lower house Speaker Eduardo Cunha, who in December launched impeachment proceedings against Rousseff on the same grounds. (more)

Zika virus spreads fear among pregnant Brazilians
31 January 2016 - For scores of women in the epicenter of the Zika outbreak in Brazil, the joy of pregnancy has given way to fear. In the sprawling coastal city of Recife, panic has struck maternity wards since Zika -- a mosquito-borne virus first detected in the Americas last year -- was linked to wave of brain damage in newborns. There is no vaccine or known cure for the poorly understood disease. In about four-fifths of cases, Zika causes no noticeable symptoms so women have no idea if they contracted it during pregnancy. At Recife's IMIP hospital, dozens of soon-to-be mothers wait anxiously for ultrasound scans that will indicate whether the child they are carrying has a shrunken head and damaged brain, a condition called microcephaly. Zika, first identified in Uganda in 1947 and unknown in the Americas until discovered in Brazil last year. Ninety percent of children born with the condition will have retarded mental and physical development, and will need specialized care for the rest of their lives. There is no certainty what they will be able to see or hear, or when they will learn to walk and talk, Adriana Scavuzzi, a doctor at Recife's IMIP hospital said. (more)

Caught off-guard by Zika, Brazil struggles with deformed babies
27 January 2016 - Angela Rocha, a pediatrician in northeastern Brazil, measures the head of a child born with microcephaly, a tragic neurological complication linked to Zika, the mosquito-borne virus sparking a health scare across the Americas. Outside the room, seven mothers cradling infants with abnormally small heads line up for hours for tests. More than 1,000 cases of microcephaly have been reported in just a few months in Pernambuco state, the epicenter of the Zika outbreak. For a country that for years has battled the Aedes aegypti mosquito -- responsible for previous epidemics of dengue, yellow fever, and other tropical diseases -- the outbreak of Zika has caught the government, public health administrators, and doctors entirely off guard. Microcephaly has been clinically linked by scientists to mothers believed to have been infected with Zika while expecting. (more)


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