26 Mar 2013

A Coffin in the Parking Lot

Five tanks with formaldehyde and corpses, as well as a coffin with remains inside, are seen
A coffin is seen in the parking lot
in a parking lot. This real story has been dragging on for more than eight months at the Biomedical Institute of UNIRIO (University Federal of Rio de Janeiro); since the campus of Anatomic started its repair works. Students are not having practical lessons of anatomy, so far.

— They started working during a strike, but have not finished it, yet. And at this very low pace it’s not going to end anytime soon. – said a student who preferred not to say its name.
In a note sent by the press office, the UNIRIO claims that problems in the conclusion of construction materials and design changes led to delay the works, but the prediction is that the recovery of the room will be finished at the end of May.

The note adds that the parking lot was chosen "due to the urgent need of Anatomical recovery and the impossibility of transporting the bodies to another location". According to UNIRIO, acquired pools are being used for this purpose and filled with formaldehyde solution, ideal for proper conservation of bodies.

The University also states that the pools have been routinely monitored to verify its integrity and that the canvases that are covering the tanks are not becoming focus of mosquitoes, although the use of formaldehyde in the water already impedes the proliferation of larvae.
The most incredible in of this is that, nobody really cares about coffins standing in a parking lot with bodies inside. It’s something like “it’s normal; it could be anywhere”. The main concern is if mosquitoes will be widespread due to the accumulation of water on the canvases. There’s no respect for the corpse that was once a human being and now is being used for studies.

I ponder whether it could happen in the USA, UK, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, South Korea and all over the countries that take education seriously... Of course, it would never happen! I guess that such news in those countries sounds like something surreal! Coffins in a parking lot? It only happens in Brazil!

Whilst education is not priority in this country, all kinds of absurd news come to surface – and I’m listing only one curious (and sad) fact. I hope one day we have a serious government, not a populist one, which really makes every effort to improve education around here.

23 Mar 2013

Flying Through Bumpy Weather

In Brazil, the government is always against air companies and it does everything they can do to jeopardise airlines, whether charging absurd taxes to revise a manual or charging high taxes on fuel and licenses. It’s weird as Brazilian government behaves towards airlines; it does not look at this mean of transportation as something that helps to improve the country’s economy. On the contrary, the government visualises air companies as a source of endless money and, the highest taxes and fees concerning transportation in Brazil are directed to those companies.

Brazilian agencies used to control, inspect and charge airlines
By reviewing some ludicrous regulations made by ANAC, acronym for National Civil Aviation Agency, the agency responsible for the regulation and the safety oversight of civil aviation in Brazil, I could affirm that the real purpose of this branch of the government is to skim the money off, most of what, by charging exorbitant fees for flight delays or by applying rules that are difficult of being accomplished by the companies.

Aviation in Brazil pays high prices for everything. There are so many fines to be applied in case of delays that are impossible to list all them here. However, I will bring to spot some interesting cases:

ANAC charges US$ 5.337,00* to assess a flight simulator with views to the approval and examination training and US$ 1.550,00* to do the first analyse of Manual of General Maintenance.  The INFRAERO, acronym for Airport Infrastructure, the agency responsible for administrating the main airports in Brazil, also charges high prices for taking off, arrivals, time spent on aprons, radio communication, etc. The petrol that should have a reasonable price since we have PETROBRAS, is the major reason for increasing debts on the companies.

 PETROBRAS refinery
So, I ask: why does the government charges so many high taxes on airlines? Is it necessary to charge that amount to review a manual? Have Brazilian airports structures that are worth to charge those prices? We are among world’s largest oil producers and yet, it’s cheaper to fuel an airplane in Argentina than in Brazil!! It’s absolutely incoherent!

Our airports are saturated, old; there is lack of investment in runways, in structures to receive airplanes, to “find” vacant room on the aprons and even to disembark passengers; investment in navaids (navigation aids) run at slow motion. Only half a dozen of airports have ILS (instrument landing system) – a basic aid that allows airplanes to land with precision in adverse conditions. 

Another governmental agency – ANVISA, the Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency, made a point of fining GOL Airlines because inspectors of this agency realised that some of flight attendants who are selling sandwiches on board (aka BOB – buy on board), were offering the product and handling the money at same time – even the products being well packaged and the flight attendants wearing plastic gloves. This agency, supposedly, should inspect all restaurants, pubs, fast-food chains, etc. such as McDonald’s, where the person who charges you, sometimes, is the same who will take your soft drink, French fries and sandwiches - without washing its hands! But not. It is efficient only to inspect airlines.

Guarulhos is overpopulated
Brazilian media also sees aviation as a delicious dish. 
During the summer, when storms occur frequently, several media cars and trucks are seen positioned in front of the major airports with their satellite antennas point out to the skies, their personnel prepared with camcorders and reporters eagerly looking for some ‘victim’ of the chaos. They look like vultures flying over carrions or awaiting a dying animal to come to its end to snap at it as soon as it falls.

The same doesn’t occur to other means of transportation.

Congonhas - two runways, only one supports big jets
If a bus, a tube or a train delays, there are no high fines or penalties. On the contrary, it happens on a daily basis and nobody cares about it! Delay is almost part of the Brazilian culture in the cases above mentioned. Nonetheless, for aviation, it is an exception. The airline that, for some reason, delays (even if weather conditions are to blame), it will be fined in several thousands of dollars and in some cases, millions of dollars or, the airline must pay accommodation, meals, etc. to the affected passengers. Apart from taking out money of the company, it will also be headlines on TVs, newspapers, electronic media and so forth. A photo of an airplane is displayed on the covers of the issues and all Brazilians are prone to think that “that” pointed airline is not a good option to fly.

It is how things work around here.

Viracopos - one runway, one small passenger terminal
While Brazilian government does not put money to improve conditions for the airports, we see them gradually languishing day-by-day and getting overpopulated at each year that goes by. Airports in São Paulo (Guarulhos International, Viracopos International and Congonhas), in Rio de Janeiro (Galeão International and Santos Dumont), in Porto Alegre, in Recife, etc. are on the brink of having their operations ‘more’ restricted than already are today, in reason of not being able to support all necessary demand. 

As for the airlines, well..., they keep trying to survive this suffocation.

*Values extracted from: https://sistemas.anac.gov.br/gruinternet/ControladorGru?cmd=BuscarAreaInteresse

13 Mar 2013

Endless Scandals...

Cardinal Roger Mahony holding a snake
The American Cardinal Roger Mahony and a former priest were forced to pay nearly $ 10 million in a settlement regarding four cases of sexual abuse against minors. According to the lawyer of the victim's, the diocese has paid more than $ 700 million to about 550 raped victims, apparently, under the blind eye of the cardinal. Mahony, who retired in 2011 as head of the largest Archdiocese in the United States and went to Rome to attend the conclave to elect the new Pope, was accused of helping the paedophile priest and circumvent the law by sending him to a treatment centre administered by the Church, before bringing it back to the Ministry in Los Angeles.

Eight dioceses have declared bankruptcy in the country. The faithful have required (and still requires) more control and punishment, and episodes of paedophilia have contributed to the increasing detachment of Americans to the faith. Catholicism is the religion in the USA that least keeps in adult life, as a research made by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has showed.

There are so many cases of misbehaviours by Catholic priests that are impossible to list them here. I just ask myself: How is it possible to people accused of sex crimes to vote and choose a Pope?

It has happened.

A Gay Sauna (before the conclave that has chosen the Pope)

After ending the conclave, which has set the name that will assume the post of Bento 16 after his resignation, a somewhat unusual investment of the Catholic Church has been discovered. According to the British newspaper "The Independent", the religious institution has spent 23 million euros invested in apartments of a building that is home to no less than the biggest gay sauna in Europe!

The cardinal that perhaps will “sweat” more due to the proximity to the venue is Ivan Dias, head of the Congregation for the evangelization of peoples, 76 years old. The religious, who has taken part in the conclave alongside his colleagues, lives on the same floor of the sauna!

The discovery appears in a delicate moment for the Church, which still is recovering from speculation about the resignation of Benedict 16. It was said that the resignation of the German theologian took place due to the presence of homosexual Cardinals inside the Vatican. The building houses at least 18 apartments dwelt by Cardinals – responsible for choosing the next Pope!

The local press also found that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, invested in this property in 2008. It was done thanks to generous tax benefits received by the Catholic Church during the Government of Silvio Berlusconi.

The most astonishing of it all: the property is recognized as part of the Holy City!! It’s comic! 

With more this case in an endless series of news about sex scandals inside the Church, the new Pope, the Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, should admit that a huge part of its priests are homosexual, and also should stop with this hypocrisy of preaching that is against gay marriage.

12 Mar 2013

The topless of the Danish Athletes - Ooh, what a sin!!

Danish athletes in Ipanema beach - Rio
After having their pictures widely published in the mainstream media in Brazil, the Danish athletes were ashamed for going topless on the Brazilian famous Ipanema beach, Rio de Janeiro. I’ve gotten amazed with such news – and not because they took off their clothes, but in reason of “nudity” and “sex” being something so normal around here. All TV programmes show some kind of sexuality or nudity.

Well, of course they will never read this Blog, but yet, I would like to leave them a message:

Do not worry about it! Our press is sensationalist. Nowadays people have been making sex on the Brazilian beaches (mainly in Rio de Janeiro) and nobody cares! During Carnival, nude “models” are absolutely normal (Carnival is the party of sex). Sex is everywhere! It isn’t a topless that will make you ashamed of. We, Brazilian men, love sexy women and you all are lovely.

Topless isn’t allowed in Brazil because Brazilian government is hypocrite. While it allows 04 days of sex party in Carnival, besides all kinds of sex and nudity in soap operas, BBB, films, etc. it forbids women of going topless in the Brazilian beaches.

I saw your pictures and found them amazing! You all are beautiful girls. Don’t worry about this repercussion.

Thanks for reading!

PS.: Click on the banner above (My Point of View) or on the right column (Blog Archive) to read other posts.

11 Mar 2013

The Next Pope

The crises faced by the Catholic Church have been fairly discussed in recent days, with the resignation of now Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI and preparations for conclave that will elect a new pontiff. Reform of the Curia, leak documents, allegations of corruption and scandals of paedophilia, and other inappropriate sexual conduct, are among the major challenges for the next pope.

The Conclave
While the Church chooses another man “to represent God on Earth”, faithful followers are waiting eagerly to know who will be the man to take the power. Ones say it will be Italian, others say it will be Brazilian and others say the chosen name is North American. 
Well, if this man is “chosen by God” his nationality does not have any importance. But..., is he really chosen by God?

In my viewpoint, he is just one man as others humans. He is not chosen by God but by other men to represent a Church or a Feud. It’s not necessary to be religious to learn that the Vatican is a reign, so much so that the Pope uses a lucent gold crown! Inside this reign it’s impossible to know what’s going on and how things work. Nobody actually knows what’s behind the scenes.

The main concern of Catholic Church should be to clean its image before the world. Sexual conducts of its priests should be the main worry. In Brazil, at least, dozens of cases involving Catholic priests are always in the news headlines, but, nobody really cares. The power of Catholic Church in the world as whole is strong enough to ease those misconducts.

“The critical point is not to explain to people how the structure of the church works. It is already written, and anyone who wants to know about it can find information on the website of the Vatican. The problem today is to find a language that allows people to understand that Christ is salvation. This is the great crisis which we live today.” – said the Italian priest Antonio Marazzo, 60, who works as postulator of the cause of the saints for the Congregation of the Redemptorists and lives near the Vatican.

Well..., perhaps he is an extremist, but he has some reason.
By saying that, I may conclude that sexual scandals will keep happening inside the Church.
It was already announced by the Vatican that the new Pope will have to have charisma to be able to bring young people to Church, as the Vatican has been losing ground to other religions as Muslims (the world’s fastest growing religion), Buddhists, Evangelicals and so forth.

While the Vatican conceals dirtiness behind its curtains, savvy people look for God in other religions or even by reading the Bible and trying to understand by their owns. The history of Catholic Church is tainted by blood, prejudice and power – and nowadays, by sexual scandals (having paedophilia as the main concern). However, blindness gripped people in a way, that almost always police does not investigate such abuses. If it had happened to others religions than Catholic, perhaps, those religions would banned from earth (in Brazil, at least).

I admire people, who, even in the 21st Century, still follow a reign by believing the chosen man, a king, is sent by God!

I would rather try to follow God, the Creator, by reading and studying the Bible - and not by believing in anyone who says it’s “chosen by God”.

"Religion is the opium of the people" – Karl Marx.

6 Mar 2013

Hugo Chavez is Dead - What's Next?

 The controversial and populist president of Venezuela, Mr. Hugo Chavez has died after losing a battle against cancer. He was very popular not only in Venezuela but in the whole world, mainly for declaring the US his enemy and for approaching to countries like Russia and Iran.

A self-proclaimed socialist and revolutionary, he got support among the poor and won repeated election by using Venezuela's oil wealth to pursue “socialist” policies. His government has implemented social programmes, including health services for all. This was the kind of speech he was used to saying and in some regions it really was implemented but, in Venezuela as a whole, mainly in Caracas, poverty has spread out all over the regions.

Internationally, he was a staunch critic of US "imperialism" and accused Washington of backing failed coups against him (chiefly in 2002).

I like to compare him to the ex-Brazilian President Lula. As well as Mr. Lula, he also used populism to come to power. Education was out of the scope –although it was part of all speeches. Giving food to the poor was more important than giving them education. In some regions it is actually more important, at least for a short period of time, but with education people are able “to think with their own brains” - and would not be dependent on governments only – besides being capable of learning about. But, it was not his flag.

At some extent, Chavez had some reason in telling about the abuses the US makes in poking its nose everywhere in the world (notwithstanding he made a big mistake in making agreements with countries such as Iran) but he also used his “acclaimed” status of “foe of the US” to promote himself; and it has worked a lot.

South America for some time has become “red” or leftist. I can mention Lula and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, Cristina Kirchner in Argentina, Ollanta Humala in Peru, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, José Mujica in Uruguay and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Among all of them, the ex-President of Venezuela was the most critic of the United States. All others, despite being reserved about American policies, use to deal with the US in a respectable manner. So, for the USA, the death of Chavez will be seen as something positive to the region.

But, what’s next? Will Venezuela choose other president than a populist one? In Venezuela people love Chavez more than hate him, and it was demonstrated in the last election. Perhaps, we can expect nothing but continuity of his government, after all socialism is being implemented gradually in Venezuelan soil – and in South America as well – and another socialist will ascend to power. The impact it will have in the relationship with all American countries will be known in 30 days, when Venezuelan people will choose their new president.

For now, Hugo Chavez has left this world with his most known word that described, in his views, the United States: “imperialism”. It is almost impossible to do not associate this word to him.

To conclude, I hope to see a really democratic President ascending to power in Venezuela (at least a less troublemaker), as well as I hope the same occur to all South America.