RIO DE JANEIRO — Nearly 50,000 people cheered in celebration when Rio de Janeiro was announced as host of the 2016 Olympics, jumping and shouting in a Carnival-like party on Copacabana beach.
A huge roar was heard at the famed beach the moment International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said the words "Rio de Janeiro" to announce the winner in Copenhagen on Friday.
As popular President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and football great Pele celebrated in Denmark, the Cariocas, as Rio citizens are known, raised their arms to celebrate on Copacabana, frantically waving flags and hugging each other.
Silva called the win a "sacred day" as he was interviewed in Portuguese by Brazilian reporters in Copenhagen. Brazil's passion, he said, helped Rio win the Olympics against Madrid, Chicago and Tokyo.
"The other countries made proposals," he said. "We presented a heart, a soul, and the passion of Brazil's people."
The party in Rio was expected to go on well into the night, and officials said the crowd would easily surpass 100,000 people.
The Cariocas danced to samba as confetti was launched into the air in front of a massive stage set up for the victory celebration.
A banner half the size of a football field — with Rio's logo, an image of the Christ the Redeemer statue and the words "Rio Loves You" — was displayed.
"I loved it that they selected Rio. I really wanted that to happen," said 9-year-old Matheus de Melo Ferreira, wearing a bright yellow Ronaldinho jersey. "I'll get to see an Olympics from up close, it's going to be wonderful."
The Cariocas had been anxiously awaiting the result, taking advantage of a sunny day to watch the announcement on two big screens set up on the beach. Live concerts with popular artists had been entertaining the crowd since early in the morning, and the traditional Salgueiro samba group kept the party going.
Rio finally won the bid after failed attempts in 1936, 2004 and 2012.
The games will be the first held in South America and will take place by one of the most impressive backdrops — Rio's stunning beaches and famous landmarks, including the Sugar Loaf mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue.
Brazil ians feel the games have the power to transform the entire region, promoting social integration and leaving a lasting legacy.
Winning the 2016 Olympics means more than the right to host the prestigious event, it means Rio and its 6 million people likely will benefit from the billions of dollars potentially available through new investments.
The government has promised significant improvements throughout Rio to get it ready for the games seven years from now, and the Cariocas hope they will benefit from the preparations in a city which is well-known for its natural beauty and fun-loving people but also for its violent crime and many slums.
Violence has always been one of the main concerns in awarding the Olympics to Rio, but the IOC apparently trusted Brazilian officials' guarantees that the city can provide the needed security.
Other concerns included a shortage of hotel rooms and challenges to guarantee effective transportation, but officials affirm everything will be in place ahead of 2016.
Brazil is relying on a strong economy to stand behind its $14.4 billion budget for the games — the largest among all bidding cities. The billions of dollars that will be spent prompted some local criticism.
There was a huge budget overrun during the Pan Am Games, and critics have been concerned it could happen again during the Olympics. Officials said they learned with the Pan Ams and won't make the same mistakes.
"If they do what they promised to do, it will be great," said 45-year-old retiree Edinalva Kzolw. "Rio can only benefit from this if everything is done correctly, but here in Brazil you never know. I'm hopeful on one hand and skeptical on the other."
Head-banger in Brazil is getting very excited again!
Veteran hell-raisers Iron Maiden have announced five new tour dates in Brazil, within months of playing to capacity crowds in some of country's biggest music venues.
Last March, they packed the 40,000 capacity Palmeiras Stadium in Sao Paulo. Next March, they'll be following in the formidable footsteps of Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton, rock band Kiss and the Pope, no less, to wow the crowds at the Autodromo de Interlagos.
The race track is one venue they don't expect to sell out.
"Capacity is about 400,000. I don't think we'll get 400,000," Iron Maiden's manager Rod Smallwood told CNN, "We're set for about 60,000 and we hope to go past that."
The band has every reason to be confident of strong ticket sales in South America where fan loyalty verges on fanaticism. Video Watch part one of Iron Maiden Revealed »
When the band last toured Curitiba in Brazil in March 2008, thousands of ecstatic "Maiden" supporters kept them awake overnight by booming Iron Maiden music outside their hotel.
Across Latin America, they sold 250,000 tickets in less than one week to nine concerts in seven countries. In Colombia, they set a new record for the fastest ticket sales of any event.
Rapid ticket sales are expected this Saturday when seats go on sale for three new concerts in Latin America: Venezuela, Colombia and Chile.
Tickets for concerts in Brazil are due to go on sale next week -- along with seats for four concerts which are still to be announced, in four more countries, two of which will host Iron Maiden for the first time.
"We've always had tremendous success with the fans down there (in Latin America)," said Smallwood.
But why, many may be moved to ask? What is it about Iron Maiden and South America? Are they in love with Iron Maiden or is it heavy metal as a music genre that's really captured their hearts? What do you think? Sound off below.
Malcolm Dome, presenter of British heavy metal radio station TotalRock has a theory.
"The Latin way of life seems to connect with heavy metal enormously, It's not just in South America, it's the Latin communities in Spain and Portugal."
"I think it's got a lot to do with what heavy metal represents -- passion, energy, emotion, rebellion, a slight anarchy. I think it's the part of the Latin mentality," he added.
Iron Maiden may have been formed in a London pub the 1970s, but it wasn't until 1985 when they took to the stage at the original "Rock in Rio" concert that their South American fan base began to swell.
The band played one gig as guests of British compatriots, Queen, that was broadcast live across the continent winning them new fans, many of whom have stayed loyal over the years.
Claudio Vicentin, the editor of South America's best-selling heavy metal magazine Revista Roadie Crew, said, for some fans, heavy metal songs are their first introduction to the English language.
"In Brazil and South America many heavy metal fans begin to learn English translating the lyrics and singing together the lyrics on concerts."
"The fans here are very passionate about music. And then, once you like heavy metal, you are going to die listening to heavy metal. You are not going to love Iron Maiden just for one summer."
What is it about the music? "It's the energy of the sound," Vicentin said. "The guitar riffs, the melodies, the heavy drummer sound and the voice of the singer."
Right now, the band is taking a rest from a grueling schedule that started with the first concert in the "Somewhere Back in Time" tour in India last February. From there they went to Australia, Japan, the U.S., Latin America and Europe.
The tour resumes on February 9, when they'll pack up their version of a tour bus, Ed Force One, a 757 airliner decked out in Iron Maiden logos and take again to the skies for the first scheduled concert in Dubai.
As in previous legs, lead singer Bruce Dickinson will be in the pilot's seat, flying the entire band and their roadies from city to city.
One thing that will change is the line up.
"It will be different from last time, we'll have pyros with us which we didn't take last time (and) there'll be a few songs we didn't do last time."
Madonna now thinking of adopting from Brazil or India?
Madonna is reportedly considering adopting another child from somewhere other than Malawi, after running into problems in the country.
The star was said to have been looking to adopt a young girl called Mercy from an orphanage in the African state, after adopting son David from there in late 2006 - but the girl’s family objected to the child being taken out of the country.
Now a source has told the People newspaper that the star, who is currently in the middle of her Sticky & Sweet World Tour, is consulting her Kabbalah advisers as to where to look next: “Madonna wanted give David a sister from the same country. But that won’t be happening any more.
“Brazil has been mentioned, although Madonna has yet to make any formal enquiries to the adoption agencies out there.”
The source added that Madonna was also considering adopting a child from India after a family holiday there earlier in the year.
Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie are also parents to 11 year old daughter Lourdes, from Madonna’s previous relationship with personal trainer Carlos Leon, and a seven year old son Rocco.
I found this pretty interesting article of a phenomenon that is currently happen in Brazil that could be an interesting solution to control fertility rate in poor countries. Preeti Aroon reports on a Foreign Policy blog that soap operas seem to cut down the fertility rate.
Many factors account for the drop in Brazilian fertility, but one recent study identified a factor most people probably wouldn't consider: soap operas (novelas).
During the past few decades, the vast majority of the population, of all social classes, has regularly tuned into the evening showings. The study, conducted by Eliana La Ferrara of Italy's Bocconi University and Alberto Chong and Suzanne Duryea of the Inter-American Development Bank, analyzed novelas aired from 1965 to 1999 in the top two time slots and found that they depict families that are much smaller than those in the real Brazil. Seventy-two percent of leading female characters age 50 or below had no children at all, and 21 percent had just one child. Hence, the authors hypothesized that the soap operas could be acting as a kind of birth control.
Using census data from 1970 to 1991 and data on the entry of Rede Globo into different markets, the researchers found that women living in areas that received Globo's broadcast signal had significantly lower fertility.
The researchers controlled for many factors that might have biased the results.
So what is next? Maybe Western aid agencies should be funded to put up satellite TV over Africa. The TVs can be delivered with solar panels to villages all over Africa. This will increase demand for solar power and therefore accelerate the development of photovoltaics technology. So we'll get a two-fer out of this deal. But if the villagers watch soaps during the daylight hours will this be effective? Probably so if the soaps work by changing attitudes.
Leah Fortune is getting the world with her "Cambalhota Mortal"
Brazil has a new promise women soccer raising star: a green-eyed blonde with freckled skin as bright as her smile. Her name is Leah Lynn Gabriela Fortune, and she's an American teenager raised in the Chicago 'burbs.
But Leah, or as the Brazilians call her, "Lay-uh," was practically milk-fed on "joga bonito" -- the beautiful game. She was born in San Paulo, Brazil to American parents, so it was only natural that Leah Fortune would subliminally absorb the game before she learned to walk. She has the futbol bloodline too, with a Brazilian grandmother and a father who was raised in the Amazon as a missionary child. Even if Leah hasn't learned to speak Portuguese fluently yet, she reflects a new generation of transnational soccer players in the United States. There's Tina Ellertson, who plays for the women's national team but could have played for Ghana or Nigeria; Jozy Altidore, who could have represented Haiti; and Giuseppe Rossi, who recently decided to play for Italy over the U.S. after coming of age.
"My whole family is crazy about soccer," said Fortune. "My dad introduced me to the game. He played when he was a teenager, and my mother owns a soccer complex. I was born into the game -- I just love it."
Apparently, the love is mutual. For the first time in her life, Leah finds herself signing autographs and staving off excited Brazilian fans like a regular Beckham-ess. Turns out dual citizenship is a blessing in disguise: Leah can play with one foot in each continent, straddling playing time between her club, Team Chicago, and the U-20 Brazilian national team. However, all bets are off once Leah turns 21, when she'll have to commit exclusively to USA or Brazil.
But for now, as the youngest player on the team at 17, Fortune is taking full advantage of the opportunities that come with a starting role for Brazil. That includes owning a trick the Brazilians had never seen before -- a flip throw-in in which she levitates the ball into the box with her hands. "Leah Cambalhota Mortal" was the headline streaming across Brazilian televisions and newspapers during the CONMEBOL South American U-20 championships this past March.
With a 30-goal surplus against opponents over the course of seven games, Leah and her teammates stormed through the CONMEBOL Tournament as if every game was a carnival. Following in the big footsteps of her idols, Marta and Kaká, Fortune and her teammates will travel to the U-20 World Cup in Chile, which will be staged Nov. 20 to Dec. 7.
In the meantime, the savvy junior will bring her newly acquired Brazilian samba, or jinga, to her Wheaton Academy high school team and Team Chicago crew in between training camps. Fortune recently orally committed to Clemson University, after considering Notre Dame and West Virginia, both top-notch programs. In regard to his new recruit, Tigers' Head Coach Hershey Strosberg wrote via e-mail, "I cannot imagine how tough it is for her to balance school, full-time training, living in Brazil and being away from family and friends. It speaks volumes to her courage and determination."