Sitting Room

Friday, February 26

Safe in the city: Urban spaces are the new frontier for international security

Vanda Felbab-Brown
 
Over the coming decades, as more and more people move into urban centers, the world’s major cities will increasingly play a key role in the 21st century distribution of global power. More than ever, writes Vanda Felbab-Brown, governing capacity and legitimacy will be shaped by how states manage public security, suppress crime, and deliver stability and prosperity for millions of inhabitants. 

Thursday, February 25

Thank You World, Carnival and You conquered the Zica Outburst


Carla Daniele with 6-month-old son Victor in Foz do Iguaçu



Carnival in Brazil and everywhere else ended two weeks ago. And what I've got to say I will say it right now because otherwise time will make this thought incredibly old. I want to scream Thank you Brazil for not having canceled carnival 2016 because of the Zica Virus threat and explosion. Thank you World, because so many beautiful, brave people came in a time when all kinds of voices said that coming to Brazil would be dangerous. People came from Italy, from Portugal from the USA, from Canada, from Japan, Paraguay, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, France, the UK from all over.Thank you, Gracias, Grazie.

Carnival in my city is very simple. This year the main carnival on a closed venue belonging to the Center of Gaucho Traditions (CGT / CTG in Portuguese. But we also had an afternoon carnival downtown called “Carnaval da Saudade” tentatively and roughly similar to Nostalgia Carnival which brigs to mind either that older people might use the occasion to remember past moments and carnivals. But I felt no melancholy in the air. I saw many 3-year-old, 6-months-old with whole families dancing or being danced out in the streets or under the canvas tent put up in the street that closed to traffic as the Brazilian Industrial Federation lamented the losses in productivity and counted lost billions. One or two day before that, it was reported that Zika could be found in the saliva and transmitted through kisses. Kissing, breathing, living, smiling – ‘cause with your mouth open mosquitoes and germs might be shot into your system. That is why I say and think that I should repeat: Thank You for coming to the carnival where nobody died as victim of the Aedes aegypti.                
Small children and even Wonder Woman

I would like to thank the 130,000 passengers of 13 cruise ships that lined up the Mauá Pier of Rio de Janeiro Harbor. In 2015, without the fear of zica only 70,000 came. A special thanks to journalists and the press. Organizers say that 1.282 Brazilian journalists were sent to the Avenida Sapucaí where the "sambodrome" is located. They work for 225 newspapers, radios and TVs from nine states.  Foreign press was represented by 287 press professionals from 111 international news producers. These are Rio de Janeiro numbers. I special salute to those who went to Porto Alegre, Recife, Salvador, São Luis and many other places.     
One of many Foz do Iguaçu organized Carnival Groups
No need to say look at the camera
Then the downpour but no one left 

Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay to showcase diverse beauty of Brazil


Alex Ferro Photo of students holding cards with
relay host cities

The Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay will begin on 3 May, but a taste of the colour and excitement that it will spread around Brazil was experienced in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday (24 February). In a celebratory event held alongside the Rio 2016 headquarters, the full relay route, the first torchbearers and the uniform they will wear were revealed to the sound of forró music accompanied by dancers on stilts.


Children weaved among the dancers, proudly holding aloft the names of all 329 towns and cities that will host the relay which will visit all five regions of Brazil between 3 May and  5 August, reaching 90 per cent of the population. Despite a hot summer sun that produced 40-degree heat, it was an energetic and multicultural celebration, as the relay and the Games themselves are expected to be.

Rio 2016 Olympic mascot Vinicius was the first to model the torchbearers uniform, showing off his samba skills in front of the gathered crowds and media. Brazilian judoka Érika Miranda, who was selected by Rio 2016 to be a torchbearer, also donned the white, yellow and green outfit, alongside others who have been invited to carry the torch by the relay partners Coca-Cola, Nissan and Bradesco.

Read more  on official Rio de Janeiro 2016 site

Check List of towns and cities

Monday, February 22

Hitler's daughter may have lived in Foz do Iguaçu till her death in 2006

The lady in the photographh grew up beleiving that she was part of Germany's Royalty and that she was Countess Nora Daisy von Kirschberg. She was never able to question why a Countess had to live a life in utter poverty, most of this time in Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil) where she shared a shack with dogs, cats, garbage, lice, mice? She had arived to Foz do Iguaçu back in the early 70s with mother Countess Nora von Kirschberg who had once been married to a Count and Former Military called Kurt Bruno von Kirschberg. The family had to escape Germany with the Nazis on their heels.




It is possible that Adolf Hitler never died in Germany. It is possible that he may have died in Paraguay. It is also possible that he did not escape Germany alone. According to a book that is ready to go to press in Brazil, 

in Foz do Iguaçu to be exact, Magda Goebels and one of her daughters - a daughter fathered by Hitler somewhere in 1936 also came to Paraguay and lived on a farm until her father died.

A lady that called herself a Countess and lived in misery in Foz do Iguaçu for over 30 years may be the answer to many hidden facts about the Nazis that fled Germany after World War II. Luiz and Christiane (surnames withheld) two MDs that live in the city that houses Iguassu falls have written a book about the story. Their conclusion is that Countess von Kirschberg as she was known in town was on board a KLM’s plane that flew from Schiphol to Rio de Janeiro via Zurich, Lisbon, Dakar and Natal in 1947. According to the story told by the Countess, the plane landed in Rio de Janeiro. From there the Countess, her Mother called Nora Friz, her father were then flown to Campo Grande, also Brazil, en route to Asuncion Paraguay. The last leg of the trip was overland on a 13-hour stretch to Encarnación, Paraguay.

The family was connected to high rank Nazis and the doctors learned after four years of interviews and one year of hands on caring for the aging countess that her name and title were fake – just the creation of a ‘persona’ that she had to live throughout her post war life. After the countess’s father died, Countess Mother and Countess Daughter embarked on an 18-year long trip that ended up bringing them to Foz do Iguaçu in 1972. For years there has been suspicion that Mother and Daughter were in fact Eva Braun and a Hitler's daughter.

Gerald Paine an American that might also answer for another name and nationality spent years chasing them while he tried to convince authorities about the duo's identity. Local newspaper articles from the 80s have vented the possibility. "They were nearly right - Franco and Christiane say - they just were a little bit off the track". The child would-be countess was really Hitler's daughter but not with Eva Braun. 

Likewise, the woman that the spies chased was not Eva Braun. The doctors discovered that the lady was in fact Magda Goebbles. The 1.400-page book is rich in details, drawings and facts that show how the family left Europe, what the plan was; how a fake identity and a fake family were created in order to escape persecution. The Mother Countess supposedly died in 1978 in an accidental fire in the family shack. There is enough evidence that someone else died in that fire. The Daughter Countess died in 2006.

Franco is an ophthalmologist and also has a bachelor degree in journalism. Christiane is a Gynecologist and was the Countess's doctor in a public health post in the area the countess lived. In the last years of life the countess accepted to tell much of what she knew and also gave the doctors a trunkful of papers, documents and drawings. Even the countess's cat Mieze was delivered to the doctor couple for protection. Franco and Christiane are looking for an editor interested in funding this first part of the story.

Most of the book's material came from home-made bound drawing book and diaries kept by the Countess daughter; One of the drawings show the KLM airplane that flerw them across the Artklantic to what could be a safe and quiet place in South America.

Sunday, February 7

Iguassu Night Sky by Babak Tafreshi of TWAN

Iguassu Falls Night Sky

Fans of NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day might have noticed Friday’s installment: a stunning shot of the southern sky over Iguaçu Falls, as seen from deep in the Brazilian side of the national park surrounding the falls.
But really, you have to see it on a much more cosmic scale …
I was lucky enough to get in touch with the astrophotograher who snapped the shot, Babak Tafreshi, a photographer, science journalist, astronomy communicator, and award-winning creator of The World at Night (TWAN) project. By Victoria Jaggard posted in 2010. See photo check text  HERE

Tuesday, January 12

Visiting the Brazilian side of the Three Border Marker is no longer free

Official Authorization to charge
Visitors to the Brazilian Three Border Mark now run by the Cataratas do Iguaçu S.A. private company partly owned by Advent International will have to pay R$ 14.00 plus R$ 1.00 as a volunteer contribuiton to the Iguassu Tourismo Promotion Fund totalling R$ 15.00. Fee began to be charged as of this Monday, January, 11. In US dollars that will amount to USD 3,50 plus the 30-cent contribution to the Iguassu Fund (Fundo Iguaçu). The total will be US$ 3,80, less than US$ 4 which seem to be OK. In return for the fee visitors will have a Bar known as the Boteco Cabeza de Vaca that offers the chance to have a "drink with a view" and what a view! Foz do Iguaçu (the city) residents do not pay. Parking fee for cars is R$ 5.00.

The rest of Brazilians will pay the same as Americans, Canadians, Australians, Paraguayans, Argentineans. Brazilians over 60, will pay half the amount. Brazilian Children will also pay half the fee from 2 through 11 will also pay half the entrance fee.  As said abovce residents of Foz do Iguaçu do not pay to get in but will have to prove that they live in the city. They can do that by bringing a legal document with a photo on it plus a something that shows a local address, Voter's card may be accepted.   

On the Iguassu Tourism Promtion Fund (ITPF)
The ITPF survives thanks to a R$ 1 contribution made by tourists and vitiors to the Iguaçu National Park, the Itaipu Binational Dam Tourism Complex, hotels and now the Three Border Mark now officialy part of the Marco das Americas (Mark of the Americas) Tourism Complex. The money contributed to the ITPF may be used beyond promotional interests. One example fo that "other use" has been seen after September 7, 1915 when a storm with strong winds, rains and left over 50,000 people roofless. Records show that morte than 3,00 houses had their roofs completey destroyed. The fund contributed over 80,000 to help the affected community mostly within a five-kilometers radius from the Three Border Mark.        

Sunday, December 27

Something is happening on the Border-Mark Monuments of the Tri-Frontier Area


As it was until recently. Note Bahá’i

Message on Peace  
Brazilian-side 1903 Border Mark

As it is since Tuesday, Dec, 21.
Photo by Marco Labanca
 

 As it will look by the end of 2017
as part of the

Mark of the Americas Tourism Complex
Known as the 'Marco das Tres Fronteiras' in Portuguese and 'Hito de las Tres Fronteras' in Spanish this  most interesting tri-nation place to see in the Argentina-Brazil- Paraguay Triple Border Area has finally got reasons to positively be in the local headlines. The 'three marks' have been targeted for investiments as the region looks for ways to 'economic reconversion' which locally means moving from an informal kind of economy to more formal or hopefully total formal business activities. 



Theme Park on

Jesuit Missions and the

Spanish adelantado

Cabeza de Vaca *

The Brazilian Border Stone Mark or "Marco"  has been handed over to the private sector as a PPP (Public Private Partnership). The first stage of the the new Tourism Complex is open to the public. It includes a Visitors' Center, a Bar overlooking the Iguassu and Paraná Rivers besides of course offering the opportunity to peep at the Paraguayan and Argentinean Border Marks. The company who got permission to run the place hopes to deliver the whole project by December 2017 which will include a Cabeza de Vaca Memmorial, the reopened and renewed iconic Space for the Americas, restaurants and one or two observation towers.        

* Did you know that the Spanish conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca "discovered" Iguassu Falls on his way from (what now is) the Brazilian Coast to Asuncion, Paraguay, is also part of US History ?

The Argentine Side's 
Three Borders Mark (3BM)


Older and simpler red-earth version of the Argentinean 3BM
The Argentine 3B Mark as it looked until rather recently
Read more on this HERE 

The Argentine side 1903 Border Mark as it looks today

Land of Many Waters

Land of Many Waters
This is a secret little waterfalls where I often go and take a very few people for my ecopsychological nature-connecting experience