Brazil

The doctor's office is clean and white and comfortingly bland in an upscale neighborhood of Sao Paulo. We were given the address by a health professional who told us one of the doctors here gives safe abortions in a country where they are illegal.

The doctor agrees to speak on condition of anonymity after we prove we are not there to entrap him. He does not admit on tape that he terminates unwanted pregnancies. But he says openly he favors legalizing abortions.

Sony's new PlayStation 4 won't be on store shelves until next month, but the gaming console has already raised eyebrows in Brazil, after reports that it would cost 3,999 Brazilian real — or about $1,845 at today's exchange rate.

The company says the steep cost isn't a case of price gouging, but instead a sign of Brazil's heavy taxes and fees on imported electronics.

The game system will be released in the United States on Nov. 15 and in countries including Brazil later that month. Large retailers in the U.S. will offer the PS4 at a base price of around $400.

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The years 2009 and 2010 were dark days for Miami real estate. Home prices plummeted. Mortgages imploded. Foreclosures soared.

And buyers flooded in from Brazil.

Since that time, Brazilians have become the top foreign buyers of homes and especially condominiums in South Florida. As recently as June, the largest number of foreign-based online visitors to the Miami Association of Realtors website came from Brazil. In 2011 and 2012, most international buyers of residential real estate in the Miami area came from Brazil.

Washington was supposed to fete Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff today. But she canceled her formal state visit, the only one the White House had scheduled for a foreign head of state this year.

By now most people know why. Rousseff is protesting revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on her personal phone calls and e-mails.

“Without respect for sovereignty,” she said in a blistering speech last month at the United Nations aimed at the Obama Administration, “there is no basis for relationships among nations.”

Karen Rundlet

Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. All three counties beat the national average when it comes to the number of homes that have foreign language speakers.

We already know that local polling places offer ballots in English, Spanish, Creole. And that business is conducted in those three languages.

But in recent years, it’s Portuguese that has established itself as a new language of commerce.

Carolina Pinho is Brazilian. She moved to South Florida more than 20 years ago.

emergingmoney.com

Like Miami Herald sportswriter David J. Neal, who wrote so eloquently about his boyhood memories of the Indianapolis 500, I’m a Hoosier-turned-Miamian who spent many a May in my own youth at the world’s most famous race car track.

The latest reports based on documents said to have been leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden allege that:

-- France. "The U.S. National Security Agency recorded millions of French phone calls, including those involving individuals with no links to terrorism, Le Monde reported on Monday."

This week was supposed to bring together the leaders of the largest and sixth-largest economies in the world. Brazil President Dilma Rousseff had been scheduled to make an official state visit to the White House but she called off the trip after it was revealed that the U.S. National Security Administration intercepted emails and telephone calls between herself, her staff and the Brazilian state energy company Petrobras.

Call it "Castrocare." Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro sent doctors abroad for decades to work throughout Latin America and as far away as Africa.

In some cases, like Haiti, the medical missions were seen as purely humanitarian. In other places, like Venezuela, it was a form of barter that provided Cuba with subsidized oil imports.

It's not Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, but people are dressing up anyway.

A group of Brazilian protesters have been coming out in costume at demonstrations against Rio's governor, Sergio Cabral. There's the masked crusader Batman, of course, but also a motley assortment of other characters, including Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil was so angry about reports that the National Security Agency was spying on her and others in her country that she recently called off a high-profile visit to the U.S.

The Brazilian leader was still in a fighting mood Tuesday as she used her speech at the United Nations General Assembly to deliver a broadside against U.S. spying. She also called for civilian oversight of the Web to ensure the protection of data.

Brazil is known for its music and distinctive dances, not necessarily for its paintings or photography. But that is changing. Not only are Brazilian artists now getting big play in major museums around the world, but something new is happening inside Brazil: There's a burgeoning appetite for art.

The tiny, copper-hued golden lion tamarin is so beloved in Brazil that its image graces the country's 20-real bank note. But this lion-maned monkey is in peril.

There's only one place on earth where the golden lion tamarin lives in the wild: in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, or Mata Atlantica, just north of Rio de Janeiro. Deforestation in the region has reduced the monkey's habitat, once a massive ecosystem stretching for a half-million square miles, to just 2 percent of its original size.

Tens of millions of Brazilians have risen out of poverty over the past decade in one of the world's great economic success stories. The reasons are many: strong overall economic growth, fueled by exports. A rise in the minimum wage. A more educated workforce. And big government spending programs, including direct payments to extremely poor families.

But becoming middle class in Brazil means a better life, not an easy one. The new, lowest rung of the middle class is what in the U.S. would be called the working poor, with monthly incomes of between $500 and $2,000.

It all started out so promisingly. She was young, still in her teens, and she'd landed her first job. As is the custom in Brazil, to get your salary you have to open an account with the bank the company deals with — and with that new account came the woman's first credit card.

"The banks say, 'I want to help you,' " she says. "And if you have a credit card, it's a status symbol, you are well-regarded."

She switched jobs. That company dealt with another bank — which issued her another credit card. She got a store credit card, too.

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