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International – An essentially agrarian country listed among the world’s poorest, with virtually no infrastructure, few natural resources, a poorly educated population, a 25-percent unemployment rate, and an income per capita of under US$ 100. This dreadful description seems not to correspond to reality, but in the 1950s this was the situation of South Korea, today a world-class power.

Transport – More than 42,000 flights and over 3 million passengers carried in 2013. The Rio-São Paulo air shuttle service, which started to materialize in August 1936, is one of the world’s busiest routes. Initially serviced by a three-member crew aboard German aircraft Junkers Ju 52-3M with a 17-passenger capacity, the shuttle then linked both metropolises over a 373-kilometer stretch and flew at 250 kilometers per hour.

Occupation – The majority of Brazil’s salaried workers cannot save any money. As they retire fairly early, the total number of pensioners that continued to work in 2013 was roughly 5 million people, according to data by the National Household Sample Survey (Pnad, from the Portuguese acronym) of national statistics office Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE).

Health – Though highlighted by the media, the practice of eating well is not, as the Brazilian saying goes, in the people’s mouth. Brazilians (who are not alone in that) have poor eating habits. The acclaimed partnership between rice and beans, even if made more nutritional by meat, has a low nutritional value, according to a survey released in late 2011. What’s worse, the same study pointed out that 61% of the population ingests higher amounts of sugar than those recommended by doctors.

Natural resources – Brazil’s national tree, brazilwood is under serious threat of extinction. Since the discovery of the country, in 1500, this flexible wood with long and straight fibers that yields a red dye used in the past in the textile industry, flourished freely along the Brazilian coast. Yet brazilwood was mercilessly chased by the colonizers, while it is estimated that some 70 million trees were felled over the last five centuries.

Cities – Pato Branco, in Paraná State, with nearly 80,000 inhabitants and located 438 kilometers from Curitiba, stands out among same-size municipalities for its impressive technical development, with over 70 IT and appliances/electronic companies, mostly small sized, operating in the city.

Education – Where are the children? Aren’t they playing out in the street? Actually, the children and their games – hopscotch, marbles, singing games, hide-and-seek, soccer playing, kites, and tag – have vanished from the streets. The little ones are being transformed into mini-adults full of obligations, their games replaced by gadgets, video games, and tablets, which they play with on their own. To study or to play: that is the question.

Interview – Mauro Garcia, executive director for the Brazilian Association of Independent Television Producers (ABPITV, from the Portuguese acronym), gives an overview of the green-and-yellow audiovisual industry, which has never experienced a more promising context. Passage of Bill 12,485/2011, which creates quotas for local films, series, and programs to be aired on closed television channels, is opening a window of opportunity for national-content producers.

Business – Brazil is a relatively new entrant – some two or three decades – in the game of company internationalization, but the fact that it already has more than 1,000 multinational companies shows that the country can and should stimulate the establishment of subsidiaries abroad and the acquisition of foreign assets. The advantages of business geographic diversification abound, with risk diversification possibly as the most important, according to pundits.

Music – The genre of gospel music, which became popular in countries like the United States, is gaining ground in the Brazilian music scene. Since 2010, the three largest local recording companies have decided to bet their chips on this market niche, which is estimated to generate R$ 1.5 billion every year.

Memory – Paraguayan War for Brazilians and War of the Triple Alliance for Argentines and Uruguayans. Or Triple Infamy for the defeated, the Paraguayans, and their supporters. Controversies aside, the fact is that this was the biggest South-American military conflict ever, a bloody historical fact that is turning 150 years old immersed in complete silence.

Literature – The deaths in a short span of time of two luminaries of Latin America’s literature, Mexico’s Carlos Fuentes, in May 2012, and Colombia’s Gabriel García Márquez, in April 2014, calls for a few considerations on the world’s literary production crisis in this so-called “age of communication”. Today, there is an unquestionable predominance of visual arts to the detriment of the “word”.

History – The now Saint José de Anchieta was, in his lifetime, much more than a Jesuit. Anchieta stood out as a missionary and priest, and as a naturalist and anthropologist who was learned in climatology, tropical fauna and flora, the customs of local tribes, and jungle survival techniques. And all that without the vain glory of those who call themselves erudite scholars, always signing instead as “the smallest, the minutest, the last or, still, the unworthy son of the Ignatian order”.

Books – The 25 years between 1988 and 2013 are a period of great transformations in Brazil and across the world. As a keen observer of the domestic and foreign scene, entrepreneur Abram Szajman followed the unfolding of these events on a daily basis in order to interpret their deepest meanings, developments, and outcomes, in particular concerning the economic and social sector that he represents as President of the Federation of Trade in Goods, Services and Tourism of the State of São Paulo (Fecomercio SP) and of the Sesc and Senac regional councils.

Thematic panel – Economist Claudio Salvadori Dedecca debated the situation of Brazil with members of the Economics, Sociology and Politics Council of the Federation of Trade in Goods, Services and Tourism, Sesc and Senac, stating that there will be no growth in the country if the social issue is not addressed.