RAPIDINHAS

    RAPIDINHAS

    Brazil and all other nations that speak Portuguese are once again
    bracing for an orthographic reform. They will be negligible but disturbing enough to make
    millions of books obsolete. At least some people are welcoming the changes: book
    publishers.
    By Brazzil Magazine

    The offer was easy to understand and the readers of Campinas (state of São Paulo)
    daily newspaper Diário do Povo (People’s Daily) were delighted to know about model
    Viviane Castro’s proposal: she would take off one piece of clothing every time Brazil
    scored a goal during the world cup and the result of her strip tease would be shown on the
    pages of the paper. And, in case of a Brazilian victory, the 21-year-old beauty would not
    leave anything to the imagination or to cover her brunette frame.

    Afraid she would run out of body coverings too, fast she wore all kinds of bows and
    bijouteries. Then the problems started. The goals became scarce. So, when the game against
    Holland ended in a 1 to 1 tie, which had to be decided in a nerve-racking penalty-kick
    shootout, readers swamped the newsroom with calls demanding that every penalty goal count
    toward the stripping. Gamely Castro complied. And off came her second sock, her T-shirt,
    bra, shorts and the green-and-yellow stripe she sported on her arm.

    The final victory never came. "What the heck," said Viviane, "second
    place is nothing to scorn about," and generously appeared in her glorious nakedness.

    Behavior
    Eyes on
    the Boobs

    Not one to be out of the spotlight for long, actress Sônia Braga, 48 who
    starred in Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos (Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands),
    has found a way to be back in the news without any new artistic accomplishment. She shows
    up at a party discretely dressed, covered with a cape. Suddenly, she opens the cape and lo
    and behold: under a transparent blouse her braless boobies are showing. La Braga also
    presented a recent see-my-breasts show in New York during the première of Out of Sight,
    a movie with George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. Then she repeated the exhibitionist stint
    at São Paulo’s MorumbiFashion Brasil, currently the most important fashion show in
    Brazil.

    In New York and São Paulo Sônia stole the show, although she was only a member of the
    audience. Using one of the acerbic comments it has become notorious for, weekly magazine Veja
    noted referring to a soap opera that Braga starred in her younger years: "It was
    almost as in the good ol’ times of Gabriela, if it weren’t for the changes since
    then in the conditions of humidity, temperature and, most of all, gravity."

    Braga made some more waves in an interview with Edney Silvestre from Globonews TV. She
    produced an extensive list of past lovers, including international celebrities like Mick
    Jagger, Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford. Among the Brazilians she went to bed with,
    according to her account: soccer legend Pelé, musical heavyweights Caetano Veloso and
    Chico Buarque de Holanda, and TV comedian Chico Anysio. Her opinions on some of these men
    are less than flattering. "He is very egotistical. He prefers to lock himself in the
    dressing room instead of talking to actors and crew." This one is Redford.

    Art
    Holy
    Hard-on

    Who is this naked black man nailed to a cross flaunting a penis in a very
    noticeable erection? If you answered Christ, that is what everybody else who saw the
    painting also said. What is He doing on the walls of the Brazilian congress? The aroused
    crucified man is part of an Afro-Brazilian art expo held in the National Congress Hall in
    Brasília and its artist is black senator Abdias do Nascimento.

    Despite the clear reference to Christ, the painting goes by two more subtle official
    names: Xangô Crucificado (Crucified Black God) or Martírio de Malcolm X
    (Malcolm X’s Martyrdom).

    "Nobody should feel offended," says the senator, "the work was inspired
    by Xangô, a Yoruban god." Needless to say the presence of the black horny guy among
    congressmen has more than ruffled a few feathers. Disgusted by the exhibition, senate
    president Antônio Carlos Magalhães didn’t go so far as to ban the work of art, but he
    has threatened to end the tradition of art exhibits in the congress.

    Talking to weekly magazine, Isto É, Nascimento revealed that he painted Martírio
    de Malcolm X when exiled in New York during the military dictatorship (1964-1975).
    "Malcolm X was the Jesus Christ of the black community," he explained. And why
    the erect penis? "This is a symbol of power, of force. I wanted to show the black man
    in his whole body."

    Author
    Chicken
    Ranch Party

    Ever the gentleman, writer Roberto Drummond, 59, not only sent a bouquet of 50 red
    roses to every prostitute working at the Belo Horizonte (capital of Minas Gerais state)
    Hotel Maravilhoso (Marvelous Hotel) whorehouse, he delivered the gift personally and then
    spent some time with the merry ladies. This was Drummond’s special thanksgiving
    celebration for the success of Hilda Furacão (Hurricane Hilda), a book he wrote in
    1992 and that since then has seen 15 printings. The Mineiro (from Minas) author was also
    celebrating the fact that his work was made into a hugely successful miniseries aired
    recently at Globo network. Hilda is the story of a rich girl from Belo Horizonte who left
    her bridegroom at the altar to become a hooker. The Hotel Maravilhoso whorehouse was the
    place chosen by Hilda to trade her charms. Why the roses? Answers Drummond: "I have
    come here so often and have always received the red-carpet treatment, so I decided that
    they deserve homage."

    TV
    Charming
    Africa

    Brazilian actress and model Thaís Araújo, 19, is experiencing a meteoric
    rise—she has become the female spokesperson for a new clothes detergent and in Angola
    no less. All of this is due to the character Araújo plays on Manchete TV soap opera Xica
    da Silva, which tells the story of a legendary black slave who becomes her owner’s
    lover and protégée. The erotically-charged novela, which has plenty of nude
    scenes, was shown last year in Brazil, but the Angolans are just getting the chance to
    taste Thaís spice. They fell in love with the African-Brazilian and Xica da Silva’s
    ratings zoomed up.

    Hence the invitation for the actress to sell soap in Africa. Araújo is on a roll. She
    will be Edivanêa on Globo’s next 7:00-pm soap opera. The character Thaís will interpret
    has animosity for poor people because she grew up poor, so she wants to marry the
    wealthiest guy in the fictitious Village of São Tomás de Trás (St Thomas of Behind). To
    portray the manicurist, Edivanêa, the actress had to make some aesthetic changes: she now
    has long, straight hair and her wardrobe is much lighter since the clothes she wears
    reveal more than they hide.

    Brazilian Playboy has been badgering her for more than a year to pose nude. She
    will do it if the price is right: "I am not against the idea because I don’t know
    what Playboy has to offer. I just don’t feel comfortable getting naked in front of
    a photographer. I’ve already done those dreadful scenes for Xica da Silva and I
    cried a lot. I will pose, but only for the money. I think it is weird when women say that
    they pose for vanity. I am happy enough looking at myself in the mirror."

    Despite her busy agenda, she is also in two upcoming movies by director Lucas Amberg: Um
    Sonho do Caroço do Abacate (An Avocado Pit’s Dream) and Negritude, um Drama Urbano
    (Blackness, an Urban Drama). Araújo jumped at the chance to travel to Africa to get a
    better understanding of her roots. "It’s a great opportunity to work and, at the same
    time, to know Africa," she said with a broad smile right before leaving Brazil.

    Show Biz
    The Mother
    of All Moms

    You knew that this had to be big news when Brazil’s most prestigious prime-time news
    show, TV Globo’s Jornal Nacional, dedicated 10 minutes to the subject, while
    turmoil over the biggest privatization ever in the country, that of Brazil’s
    telecommunications, was compressed into 4 minutes and 35 seconds. Apparently envious of
    this exclusive scoop, every paper in the country commented on this excess the next day.
    You knew this was big news when one of the most popular weekly magazines, slick Manchete,
    in a technological coup, came out with a special edition, the same day the birth occurred.
    The ten-minute prime spot and the magazine cover went to Sasha, the first-born child to TV
    personality, Xuxa, 35, whose pregnancy had been covered step by step in the more and the
    less serious media.

    The country learned that Sasha was born on July 28 at 12:45 am and that she was 3.135
    (6.897 lb.) and 51 cm (20 inches) at birth. But this was just the beginning of the Sasha
    deluge to come. The Jornal Nacional showed Sasha’s first bath, an exclusive, which
    happened at 10 am. The country was able to see that the baby had a ring on her finger
    similar to the one that Xuxa herself wears and that she was not blonde as the mother, but
    tawny, like the sperm donor, Luciano Szafir. (Szafir’s relationship with Xuxa was on shaky
    ground after she said in an interview that he only had ugly people in his family.) After
    her first bath, Sasha wore a pink overall that, according to the news, was bought in New
    York. The public was also made aware that Xuxa’s baby was breastfed first at six in the
    morning, then every time she started crying. And some details: the baby was taking
    15-minute turns on each breast. Explained press aide Mônica Muniz, "As soon as the
    baby starts crying, Xuxa offers her the breast."

    In the first tests of vitality Sasha got a nine out of a possible ten. The next day the
    girl got a BCG and a hepatitis vaccine. After examining the baby, pediatrician Sérgio
    Cabral stated, "Xuxa has plenty of milk. Sasha is being breastfed every three hours.
    It is important now that she gets her food from the mother’s breasts alone."

    The birth was expected for August 10, but Carlos Dale, the gynecologist, said that the
    delivery wasn’t premature since the TV star was already on her 39th week of pregnancy. The
    choice for a caesarian was due to Xuxa’s age and the fear that the umbilical cord was
    around the baby’s neck. Xuxa withstood an 8-cm incision that was applied with surgical
    precision and the procedure was followed up by her plastic surgeon, Ricardo Pieranti.
    "The stitches were done internally so there would be no visible scars,"
    explained Dale.

    Some Dirty
    Laundry, Too

    From her father, who is a model and businessman, Sasha received a golden brooch with a
    little angel and a David star "to symbolize Judaism and Christianity, the religions
    of the father and the mother," said press aide Monica Muniz. A little lion was on the
    card relaying Sasha’s birth as well as on the baby’s linen and every door on the wing Xuxa
    stayed. The Lion is Sasha’s sign.

    The next day the cameras and flashes were still running amok when Luciano Szafir went
    to a cartório (notary public) to get a gift certificate for daughter Sasha
    Meneghel Szafir. In Minas Gerais state, however, parents who decided to name their
    children Sasha were dissuaded from doing so with the argument that the moniker might cause
    embarrassment to the girl later, since Sasha is a Russian diminutive for Alexander and not
    common in Brazil.

    The spectacle started on December 7, 1997, when Xuxa appeared on Globo TV Domingão
    do Faustão (Big Fausto’s Big Sunday) to reveal that she was pregnant. Then the news
    bombardment ensued: the construction of special quarters for the coming baby, Xuxa’s trips
    overseas to buy Sasha’s layette, the gifts people started sending, the skirmishes between
    the TV star and her daughter’s father. People were informed that Sasha would have two
    rooms in her mother’s mansion plus a swimming pool with hydromassage.

    Jornal do Brasil’s (a traditional daily from Rio) irreverent curmudgeon
    columnist, Xexéo, distilled some venom and went scatological saying that the country also
    wanted to know about Sasha’s first vomit and first bowel movement. Xuxa herself stayed on
    the sidelines on the first day, but Szafir was interviewed live and no other TV station
    besides Globo, where Xuxa is a star, had access to the hospital and the little princess.

    Show-business also had some humane touches. All the children who were born during the
    time Xuxa stayed in the luxurious São Vicente hospital, in the Gávea neighborhood,
    received a teddy bear and a baby kit. The celebrity also made donations of toys and
    diapers to the Pró-Matre foundation, an institution that cares for poor mothers.

    Defense
    War Ready

    The S-33 Tapajós is already at sea going through some rough tests and training before
    joining the Brazilian Navy. It took three years to build this Brazilian-made submarine,
    which is the third one manufactured in Brazil. The country is proud of being the only one
    in the Southern Hemisphere to build its own submarines. Brazil uses technology learned
    from the Germans and manufactures these war machines at Rio’s Arsenal de Guerra (War
    Arsenal).

    When the S-33 is ready she will become the fifth submersible in the country’s flotilla.
    The S-34 Tikuna is being built right now and should be ready by the end of the year. Two
    of the submarines were bought overseas: one from England and the other from Germany.
    Preceding the Tapajó in the Rio arsenal were the S-31 Tamoio and the S-32 Timbira. All
    were named after Brazilian Indian tribes.

    The S-30 Tupi was built in the ’80s in Germany by the German consortium Ferrostaal/HDW,
    but under Brazilian supervision. The fifth Brazilian submarine in operation, the Tonelero,
    was bought from England during the ’60s. When the military purchased an aircraft carrier,
    also from England, during that period, the acquisition was satirized by "cursed
    minstrel" Juca Chaves in Brasil já vai à guerra, a popular song that said:

    Brasil já vai à guerra
    Comprou porta-aviões
    Um viva pra Inglaterra
    82 milhões
    Rá, Rá, mas que ladrões

    Brazil is going to war
    It bought an aircraft carrier
    Long live England
    82 million
    Tsk, tsk, what thieves.

    Although not nuclear, the Brazilian-built submarines are 200-foot-long high-tech
    machines. The Navy, however, won’t reveal what kind of torpedoes the device, which carries
    seven officers, 30 sailors and comes equipped with imported gear, can launch.

    Language
    A Case
    of Accent

    After English and Spanish, Portuguese is the most widespread language in the West.
    There are 219 million people speaking it in four continents, 161 million of them in
    Brazil. While the members of the several communities that use Portuguese can understand
    each other, they have been trying to unify the way the rich-in-accents language is
    written.

    After eight years of discussions, the CPLP (Comunidade dos Países de Língua
    Portuguesa—Community of Countries of Portuguese Language) has agreed on a set of
    rules. The decision has been criticized both by those who deemed any change unadvisable
    and people who wanted a much more radical approach to simplify the way Portuguese is
    written.

    For Brazilians, it will be much ado about almost nothing. One of the few changes will
    be the elimination of the umlaut, a diacritical sign that many people are already doing
    without. It means that a word like tranqüilidade from now on will be written tranquilidade.
    The new rules, however, don’t change the way words are pronounced and they can be quite
    different from one country to the other.

    According to the just-signed agreement, the acute accent over words ending in ‘eia’,
    ‘eio’ disappears. So idéia (idea) becomes ideia and ministério
    (ministry), ministerio. It also eliminates the circumflex accent in words with
    repeated letters like vôo (flight or I fly) or vêem (they see). Another
    eliminated accent is the acute sign over the ‘u’ in words like argúo (I argue).

    Publishers, mainly those dealing with dictionaries and didactic books, are happy with
    the new editions they will have to print, but others decry the hassle and the expenses
    they will incur. In Portugal and the African countries that speak Portuguese (Angola,
    Cape-Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe) the ‘c’ and the ‘p’
    will be removed from words in which they are not pronounced, something Brazil has
    practiced for 30 years now. So, people from Portugal will write excecionalmente
    (exceptionally) instead of excepcionalmente as Brazilians do.

    (By the way, to those who complain and insist that Brazil should be written Brasil with
    an ‘s’, in the United States, the country’s name was Brazil with a ‘z’ until 1943, the
    year of one of several orthographic reforms in this century and nothing prevents it from
    being Brazil again in some future orthographic amendment. The lesson: the s or z are nor
    intrinsic to Brazil, but just a cabinet decision by lexicographers.)

    From now on letters ‘k’, ‘w’ and ‘y’, which were considered foreign, will be
    incorporated into the language. For not having ‘y’, ‘k’ and ‘w’ many Brazilians write Nova
    Iorque instead of New York. The present orthographic rules were established in 1943 and
    tinkered with in 1971. There were other attempts of change, however, that never quite
    caught up. The new half-hearted reform was concocted by Brazilian renowned linguist
    Antônio Houaiss (he translated James Joyce’s Ulysses into Portuguese) and
    Portuguese linguist João Malaca Casteleiro.

    Commenting on the changes in the Espírito Santo state daily, A Gazeta, José
    Augusto Carvalho, professor at the Vitória’s School of Law, wrote:

    "The main difficulties remain: they are the little rules that determine how to use
    the hyphen and many absurd incoherences in the writing of many words. Estender (to
    extend) is with an ‘s’, but extensão (extension) is with an ‘x’, pêssego,
    which derives from persicu has two ‘ss’ because the Latin ‘rs’ becomes ‘ss’, but almoço
    is with a ‘ç’, although it derives from admorsu, also with ‘rs’. The suffix ‘ecer’
    sometimes is ‘escer’, sometimes ‘ecer’. We have amadurecer (to ripen) and rejuvenescer
    (to rejuvenate). Bahia (northeastern state) is with an ‘h’, but not baiano (someone
    from Bahia), tecido (tissue) is with ‘c’, but tessitura (tessitura) is with
    two ‘ss’. And we haven’t even mentioned different letters that have the same sound (x, ch,
    s, z, x, etc.) and are always a headache for anyone writing.

    "How can you take seriously an accord that allegedly wants to make the language
    uniform, but adopts two spellings, and wants to simplify but keeps the orthographic
    complications and the stupid rules for the use of the hyphen? The ideal is that teachers,
    journalists and writers, schools, newspapers and publishing houses simply ignore the
    agreement, even if it becomes law after being ratified by Congress. Until we get an
    intelligent, ample and definitive reform."

    Literature
    Ring and
    Rhyme

    Inspired by the Académie Française, the ABL (Academia Brasileira de
    Letras—Brazilian Academy of Letters) is best known for the afternoon teas it promotes
    among its 40 more-or-less mummified members. It was a delightful surprise last year when
    then Academy president, Nélida Piñon, who has never used a computer, decided to
    computerize and internetize the institution.

    In another step to make the Academy less elitist and raise some funds in the process,
    the organization has just started a 900-number service offering poetry read by a narrator
    or the author himself. The service is called Disque Poesia (Disk Poetry) and people pay
    around $2.50 for the minute. The initial batch of verses offers love poems by Castro Alves
    ("Os Três Amores"—The Three Loves), Gonçalves Dias
    ("Desejo"—Desire), João Cabral de Melo Neto
    ("Poesia"—Poetry), Lêdo Ivo ("As Rosas Vermelhas"—Red
    Roses), and Olavo Bilac ("Canção"—Song). Melo Neto and Ivo are still
    alive and are immortals, as the Academy members call themselves.

    The idea, according to ABL’s president, Arnaldo Niskier, was to popularize poetry. And
    apparently it is working, judging from the brisk initial interest. On the first day the
    service was offered, there were hundreds of calls, 197 of them from people who wanted to
    listen to romantic Baiano (from Bahia state) poet, Castro Alves. There will be new
    poets every month and they don’t need to belong to the Academy. Ready to call? The number
    (in Brazil) is 0900 21777. The money raised will help finance the Disque Língua
    Portuguesa (Disk Portuguese Language) service, another 900 initiative that will have 50
    Portuguese teachers on the phone answering questions about the correct usage of the
    language. The new service will cost the same as the poetry one and should start in
    November.

    Here’s the most requested poem, "Os Três Amores" by Castro Alves:

    Minh’alma é como a fronte sonhadora
    Do louco bardo, que Ferrara chora…
    Sou Tasso!… a primavera de teus risos
    De minha vida as solidões enflora…
    Longe de ti eu bebo os teus perfumes,
    Sigo na terra de teu passo os lumes…
    —Tu és Eleonora…
    Meu coração desmaia pensativo,
    Cismando em tua rosa predileta
    Sou teu pálido amante vaporoso,
    Sou teu Romeu… Teu lânguido poeta!…
    Sonho-te às vezes
    virgem…seminua…
    Roubo-te um casto beijo à luz da lua…
    —E tu és Julieta…
    Na volúpia das noites andaluzas
    O sangue ardente em minhas veias rola…
    Sou D. Juan!… Donzelas amorosas,
    Vós conheceis-me os trenos na viola!
    Sobre o leito do amor teu seio brilha…
    Eu morro, se desfaço-te a mantilha…
    Tu és Júlia, A Espanhola!…

    Recife (state of Pernambuco),
    September 1866

    My soul is like the dreaming front
    Of the crazy bard, who cries Ferrara
    I am Tasso!… the spring of your laughs
    Flowers my life’s solitudes..
    Far from you I drink your perfumes,
    I follow on earth the lights of your steps…
    —You are Eleonora…
    My pensive heart faints
    Mulling over your favorite rose
    I’m your pale misty lover
    I’m your Romeo… Your languid poet!…
    I dream about you sometimes
    virgin…seminude…
    I steal from you a chaste kiss by the moonlight
    —And you’re Juliet…
    In the voluptuousness of Andalusian nights
    The fiery blood rolls in my veins…
    I’m Don Juan!… Loving damsels,
    You know my dirge on the guitar!
    Over the love bed your breast shines…
    I’ll die if I undo your mantilla
    Your are Julia, The Spaniard

    Culture

    When the
    Muzzle
    Was King

    Created in 1960 and elevated to an art form during the military dictatorship
    (1964-1985), on June 18 the office of censor was eliminated from the Brazilian
    bureaucracy. That was the day the Câmara dos Deputados (House of Representatives)
    approved a law extinguishing the post. But not before the institution had created some of
    the most unbelievable and hilarious-to-the-point-of-absurd pages of Brazilian history.
    However, the Censorship Department, a branch of the Federal Police, was legally extinct in
    1988 when the new Brazilian constitution went into effect.

    There are still 240 people receiving monthly salaries ranging from $3,000 to $4,000 as
    censors—84 of them actively working—even though they were occupying different
    positions in the government machine. These men and women decided what Brazilians could
    read in the papers, what books could be published, what songs could be heard and what
    films and TV programs could be shown. For newspaper editors it was almost impossible to
    keep up with all the taboos and items that could not be reported. The news blacklist
    ranged from an obvious terrorist attack, bank robberies, labor strikes, and epidemics to
    any criticism of the military and news about the censorship itself.

    In 1973, for example, an order from the Departamento de Censura da Polícia Federal
    (Federal Police Department of Censorship) barred the media from reporting on a meningitis
    epidemic. Declarations by members of the progressive clergy were forbidden and bishops who
    demanded more justice and a better distribution of the wealth, like Hélder Câmara and
    Pedro Casaldáliga, couldn’t even be mentioned in the media. In May, 1974, a bus strike
    paralyzed São Paulo, but nobody heard a word about it through the media.

    Over a period of 10 years, starting December 13, 1968, the country lived under AI-5
    (Ato Institucional No. 5—Institutional Act Number 5), a presidential decree by
    general Arthur da Costa e Silva that suspended the constitution, disbanded congress,
    cancelled the political rights of more than 60 congressmen, and created the so-called
    previous censorship all in the name of "the defense of the necessary interests of the
    nation."

    Except for official communiqués, all of these events could not be reported, though,
    and Rio’s daily Jornal do Brasil, for example, talked about the crisis in cryptic
    format: "Weather black. Temperature suffocating. The air is unbreathable. The country
    is being swept by a strong wind." And it is hard to imagine what did readers make of
    Rio’s serious, now defunct, Correio da Manhã with this attempt at humor with the
    headline, "Rich Cat Dies of Heart Attack in Chicago."

    While other dictatorial regimes, even the ones installed at other times in Brazil,
    didn’t hide their censoring efforts or try to justify the closing of publications by
    denying printing paper or threatening advertisers, the Brazilian military regime that took
    over in 1964 wanted to display an appearance of legality. This surreal status quo, such as
    it was, became so real and comforting to the military that President Emílio Garrastazu
    Médici made an anthological declaration about the subject. "Brazil is an island of
    tranquility," he said, explaining that he had arrived at this conclusion after
    watching TV news, which showed a world in conflict and a paradisiacal Brazil isolated from
    the turmoil. He seemed oblivious of how the tranquility-island myth was maintained.

    As a form of protest, daily O Estado de São Paulo published extracts from Os
    Lusíadas (The Portuguese), an epic poem by the greatest of Portuguese poets, Luís
    Vaz de Camões (1524-1580), instead of finding other news, as most other newspapers did to
    fill up the gap left by the vetoed article. Jornal da Tarde, O Estado’s
    afternoon sister publication, used the extra space for food recipes. These fillers showed
    up in all places and often on the front page. In Rio, Tribuna da Imprensa, more
    censored than most, filled its spaces with shockingly ugly black boxes.

    Foreign correspondents in Brazil were also subjected to the military scissors.
    Journalists had to present their stories to a censor before being able to wire them back
    home. Not doing so would mean certain deportation. In 1973 the Bolshoi Ballet wasn’t
    allowed to perform in Brazil under the pretext that the Soviet art would not be healthy
    for the country.

    Between 1974 and 1979 the censorship vetoed or made cuts or other changes in thousands
    of magazine and newspaper articles, 840 songs, 117 plays and 47 films. Warner hasn’t tried
    to show Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange since 1971, fearing it would be vetoed. When
    the film was presented to the censors in 1978, it was liberated without cuts, but the
    distributors were forced to insert some black spots to cover the actors’ genitalia.

    The last act of censorship occurred in 1986 after the generals had already bowed out of
    power. That year the José Sarney administration vetoed the showing of Je Vous Salue,
    Marie (Hail Mary), a movie by French director Jean-Luc Godard.

    Representative Sérgio Carneiro protested against the status granted the former censors
    by the new law: "It’s an act of immorality to reward those who always were on the
    side of the dictatorship and were part of a period that Brazil wants to forget," he
    declared. The passage of the bill was a result of the lobbying effort by the censor
    themselves to guarantee that they can retire as chief of police and criminal experts and
    thus receive better pensions.

    Slang
    Talking
    Mall

    The Fashion Mall, a shopping center in São Conrado in Rio’s south zone, has become the
    in-spot for the Carioca (from Rio) jeunesse dorée. Teens from the
    well-to-do neighborhoods like Ipanema, Leblon and Gávea gather there on weekends on their
    way from or to a party to know the latest gossip, meet friends, discover upcoming bashes,
    and learn the new slang.

    "Planeta Globo," a Sunday supplement from Rio’s daily O Globo ,
    recently published a glossary of some of the terms being used by the youngsters:

    Alambrou—it didn’t work

    B. V. (for boca virgem =virgin mouth)—he/she who has never kissed on
    the mouth

    Chegar junto (to get close)—to flirt

    Creonte—shy

    E aí, Leske?—What’s up, guy?

    Estancou (it stopped)—it went wrong

    Galego (Galician)—bully

    Guerreiro (warrior)—guy with an ugly girl

    Levar (tomar) um toco (get a stump)—to be spurned

    Pegar (to pick up)—to engage in heavy petting

    Pela-saco (peel-scrotum)—brownnoser

    Perder a linha (to lose the line)—to hesitate

    Qual é moleque?—What’s up, guy?

    Ralar (to grate)—to split

    Sapecar—to sock

    Seqüelado—spaced out, too drunk

    Shape (English term)—body as in shape maneiro = great body

    Soci—social gathering

    Vazar (to leak)—to leave

    Zoar—to go out for fun and love games

    Scandal
    Flour
    Generation

    The disclosure that Brazilian women were taking birth-control pills made of flour
    instead of active ingredients has provoked the Health Ministry’s intervention, which in
    turn has led to the discovery of a rampant use of fake medicine across the country. At
    least a dozen women came forward to say that they became pregnant while taking Microvlar,
    a contraceptive made by German laboratory Schering, one of the ten largest in Brazil.

    The lab’s explanation? The fake capsules that reached the market had been produced as a
    test for a new machine and the flour-filled pills had been sent for incineration and
    stolen during this process. Not very convincing, though, since the laboratory didn’t tell
    the authorities or go public before the case had already become a scandal. Even after
    having been contacted by the women who found themselves pregnant while taking the medicine
    the company didn’t take any action to alert the public.

    In some instances, the medicine snafu resulted in tragedy. It was reported that ten men
    died across the country while taking an innocuous Androcur, a drug that was supposed to
    treat their prostate cancer. In the state of Amazonas, 120 AIDS patients being given a
    triple medicine cocktail by the government found out that their medication was adultered.
    All of these reports provoked panic with people being medicated, wondering if they were
    taking the real thing, a placebo, or something toxic and dangerous.

    After being just installed in the office of the Health Ministry, José Serra closed
    Schering laboratory for five days while government inspectors probed their facilities. At
    the same time the Receita Federal (the Brazilian IRS) started to audit the company in
    search of possible fiscal fraud. The Justice Ministry ended up intervening. It created a
    special police force to fight counterfeit drugs and started a special hot line for people
    to report fake medicines.

    Brazilian police started a national crackdown, arresting bogus drug sellers and
    shutting down pharmacies selling fakes. Hundreds of boxes containing phony medicines and
    prescription drugs stolen from hospitals were confiscated in São Paulo and Rio, Brazil’s
    two largest cities. More than 60 counterfeit brands of pharmaceuticals were discovered by
    early August, ranging form antibiotics to cancer and AIDS medicines. Schering was fighting
    in the Justice a close to $3 million fine and eight women who said they became pregnant
    while using Microvlar were suing the laboratory.

    Maria Seila Meireles Gonçalves, 32, one of the first women to openly speak about
    discovering that the birth-control pill she was taking did not work, was using the product
    for eight years. Gonçalves, who lives in Mauá in greater São Paulo, is one of the women
    suing the laboratory. "I was shocked," she explained, "I was taking the
    contraceptive because I’m in no condition to have more children."

    Leni Aparecida, another plaintiff, says that for 10 years she had opted to use
    Microvlar due to the low price of the product (around $3 for a 21-pill carton against an
    average price of $15 charged by other contraceptives) and never had any problems.

    Hooked on Drugs

    In Brazil there are 55,000 pharmacies for a population of 161 million. The country is
    the world’s fourth largest consumer of pharmaceuticals. Experts from the World Health
    Organization (WHO) believe that 25,000 would be more than enough to attend to the
    population. Brazilians are known for selfmedication and overmedication. It is believed
    that half of all prescription medicines dispensed in the country is unnecessary. To
    complicate matters, the federal government has only 1,400 inspectors in charge of
    monitoring not only the pharmacies and some 7,000 distributors and 400 laboratories, but
    also 600 ports and airports.

    If the Health Ministry has its way, (it has presented a bill in Congress to moralize
    the commercialization of medicaments), Brazil’s drug counterfeiters and distributors of
    fake products might get up to 30 years in prison, the maximum allowed jail term in the
    country, instead of the four years contemplated by the current law.

    The president of Abifarma (Associação Brasileira da Indústria
    Farmacêutica-Brazilian Pharmaceutical Industry Association), José Eduardo Bandeira de
    Mello, estimates that pharmacies across the country might hold 135 million boxes and
    bottles of phony medication. Inspired by the American Food and Drug Administration, Brazil
    is creating its own agency to control the manufacturing and commercialization of medicine
    to be tentatively called Agevisa (Agência de Vigilância Sanitária-Sanitary Vigilance
    Agency). Serra traveled at the end of July to the U.S. to meet with directors of the World
    Bank and the president of the Inter-American Bank of Development, Enrique Iglesias, to see
    how the FDA works.

    The precariousness of the Brazilian health system was again exposed when only two Rio
    laboratories from a total of 14 were able to detect that a yellowish sample presented to
    them for analysis was not urine, but the popular soft drink guaraná-made from the guaraná,
    an Amazonian berry-mixed with water. They even detected substances that couldn’t possibly
    be present and, at least in one instance, the result indicated a disease. The ruse was
    played by Rio’s daily O Globo, which sent its Amazonian berry concoction to 14
    labs.

    Entertainment
    Daunting
    Thomas

    Mr. Controversy himself is at it again. Genius to some or just an incurable crackpot to
    others, there is no other theater director quite like Gerald Thomas, a man who speaks
    alternately in Portuguese, English, French and German, in search of the words that best
    capture his thoughts. While gearing up for the 1999 presentation of Mary Shelley’ s Frankenstein
    on Broadway and a show based on French author Jean Genet to premiere off-Broadway in
    December, he has just started the run of his latest Brazilian spectacle, a García Lorca
    inspired show being performed on the bed of a truck in Praça da Sé, a square in the
    heart of São Paulo.

    His show’s name? Hang on to your hat, but you probably have never heard of a more
    tortuous and winding title: I, Federico García Lorca, who strangled my characters,
    knifed the myths of the Spanish culture, beheaded the spirit of Latinity and laid down
    naked in bed with men, now I carry my theater on the back of a truck to the squares in the
    interior of the country before the fascist troops gun me down in one of them."

    He should be in Vienna right now rehearsing Arnold Schoenberg’s opera Moses and
    Aaron. Then it’s time to come to New York for Le Petit de Genet (The Little One
    by Genet) a play with le petit déjeuner, which means breakfast. Le Petit
    Déjeuner is a futurist reading of Genet’s Le Balcon (The Balcony). Not
    that Thomas considers the enfant terrible Genet an avant-gardist. Au contraire.
    Says the Brazilian director, "I wanted to show how dated is Le Balcon. All the
    questions present in the text are already passé. I want to do Le petit de Genet to
    celebrate the end of the century. Enough of Heiner Müller and his
    "Hamletmachine" and "Medeamaterial", which are a bore. Today is time
    for Michael Jackson and to discover what type of art we’re going to do from now on."
    And he is already thinking about a new Brazilian project for next year, the staging of
    Samuel Becket’s Waiting for Godot with veteran rocker Rita Lee in her first role on
    stage.

    The casting for Broadway’s Frankenstein has not been determined yet. The
    producers, who are investing some $6 million, would like to have a big name like Robert De
    Niro or French actor Gerard Depardieu. Thomas would prefer Christopher Walken. He
    explained why in an interview with Rio’s daily Jornal do Brasil: "De Niro
    draws the public, but he is very hard to work with, rehearses little, and doesn’t have the
    versatility of a Christopher Walken. As for Depardieu, I sincerely don’t know his
    work." Thomas also believes that Frankenstein represents what the U.S. is today, a
    mix of civilizations, "an attempt, sometimes naïve, to overcome the old
    continent." He would prefer not to hear any non-American accents in his Frankenstein
    version.

    Thomas also talked about art and himself recently to O Globo, a daily from Rio:
    "To be an artist is to not recognize frontiers. Perhaps for that reason I think words
    are less important and more restrictive than images. I am more a story teller than a
    director. I develop the themes that interest me. I wouldn’t dare make a Molière and I
    would only stage a few Shakespeare plays."

    Gerald Thomas has also become the artistic director of off-Broadway La Mama—the
    temple of experimental theater in New York—at the invitation of owner, legendary
    Ellen Stewart. "Ellen asked me to take the position because at 78 she is in no
    condition to take care of the theater schedule and bureaucratic matters," said
    Thomas. The Brazilian director promises that until the year 2,000, he will take La Mama
    back to its golden years when the place was the favorite stage for Pina Baush and Bob
    Wilson. Thomas would like to see foreign directors at the new La Mama, people like French
    Patrice Chéreau, Canadian Robert Lepage, Italian Leo Bernardini, and German Klauss
    Michael Gruber. Two of his works will also be shown at La Mama: Nowhere Man, to
    premiere in October and The Balcony adaptation scheduled for December.

    Diplomacy
    Bye and Good
    Riddance?

    In his four-year stint as the American ambassador in Brasília, Melvin Levitsky did not
    fit the stereotypical image of a diplomat: suave, dissimulated, diplomatic. He raised a
    series of controversies and was even publicly scolded by President Fernando Henrique
    Cardoso after criticizing the way Brazil was dealing with a billionaire radar contract to
    monitor the Amazon. Always worried about the drug problem, Levitsky seemed at times more a
    policeman than a politician.

    "Dinosaurs," that’s the way he dismisses those who criticize him. Just before
    leaving Brazil to become a professor, the ambassador distributed a few more samples of his
    causticity in an interview with leading weekly magazine Veja: "The Brazilian
    press always wants to make this monster or angel out of the American ambassador. That’s
    why former U.S. ambassadors in Brazil wouldn’t talk to the press. The work of an
    ambassador is not to create good relations in the country where he is, but to advance, to
    improve the conditions for the interests of the country he represents."

    And about the Brazilian-perceived American threat to the Amazon: "The threats
    today come from gold diggers and drug traffickers. They are the ones who don’t respect the
    Amazon’s sovereignty. The United States doesn’t represent any threat," the ambassador
    guaranteed.

    Fashion
    Charm
    Seller

    Apart from Ocimar Versolatto in Paris, who, after being on the brink of bankruptcy,
    starts to draw worldwide interest to its designer clothes, there are no Brazilian stars in
    the skies of international fashion. Tufi Duek, who has already been called the Brazilian
    Calvin Klein by an American fashion publication, would like to change this. In three
    years, he says, you and almost any other person living in the U.S. will have heard about
    him and his clothes already trademarked as Tufi Duek in the States.

    Duek is not new at the dressing game. This Paulista (from São Paulo) born in
    Rio was only 20 in 1975 when he started his first clothing business, Triton, with two
    seamstresses. Six years later, the young entrepreneur created a second more sophisticated
    label called Forum. Together these firms today have 1,300 employees and own 75 boutiques
    besides having access to another 600 shops to distribute their products. Their slick
    advertising sometimes takes 10 or more consecutive pages in Brazil’s leading magazines.

    The plans to take on the U.S. have already been in the works for more than a year now.
    In the first phase of the attack, the New York fashion media, upscale boutiques and every
    main character on the Yankee fashion stage were bombarded with videos, samples and
    information on his companies. Last November Duek installed a showroom in So-Ho to coincide
    with shows for the launching of the summer collection. Result: two small shops bought his
    clothes. In April the same strategy was used for the winter collection. The number of
    American boutiques interested in the Tufi Duek label grew to 14 and two shops in London
    also picked up the product.

    "The market I am looking for" he told newsmagazine Veja, "is the
    more sophisticated one, in which what counts is talent and quality. At the beginning we
    don’t want a well-recognized name and a strategy in which the sale volume is what matters
    most. We want a name with design quality."

    The real test for the Tufi Duek label started in July when the clothes ordered in April
    arrived at the mostly luxury boutiques. Duek says that he is not surprised that his
    business is still in the red. He believes that in three years he will be in the black and
    not singing the blues anymore.

    Economy
    Blondies
    for Export

    The world’s fourth largest beer producer, following the United States, China, and
    Germany, Brazil thinks it is time to share its golden wealth with the world. From the 8.1
    billion liters (compare this to the 23.6 billion from the U.S.) it produces annually, only
    a fraction is sold overseas. Some specialty chains and ethnic markets have been selling
    the imported product in the US for years, but Brazilian beer brewers want more than that.

    Antarctica and Brahma, the two largest beer producers, have their plans to gobble a
    little more of the foreign market. Small-fry Independente has already carved a little
    niche for itself with Xingu. The company hopes the mystique of the Amazon, Xingu is a
    tributary of the mighty Amazon River, will rub off on their beer. Through an agreement
    with the Budweiser Company, Antarctica has for the past two years been exporting Rio
    Cristal, a concoction specially prepared for gringos.

    Recently, however, Antarctica started another assault into the Yankee market shipping
    120,000 Antarctica Pilsen bottles to Florida. This is the same beer that is sold in
    Brazil, only the label is in English. Oddly enough, it is the Latino market in Florida
    that is the main target of this initial assault. Today, overseas sales represent 1% of
    Antarctica’s revenue. They are betting this share will grow to 5% in four years.

    Brahma already sells 2.5% of its production overseas. The company has bought plants and
    is manufacturing its beer in Venezuela and Argentina. They seem more interested in the
    European market than the American one right now, though. Brahma used the World Cup in
    France as an avenue to ship 2 million bottles and cans of its Brahma Pilsen to Europe.

    War
    Farewell
    to the Bomb

    For the time being, Brazil has officially given up on its super-power dreams of
    building its own A-bomb. On July 13, in the presence of U.N. general secretary Kofi Annan,
    President Fernando Henrique Cardoso signed the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear
    Arms, after years of steadfast refusal to do so. Brazil went the whole nine yards to
    endorse another treaty that forbids nuclear tests, something that only 16 countries in the
    world have done so far.

    It was in 1987 that civilian president José Sarney announced to the world that the
    country had learned how to produce enriched uranium, an indispensable step on the way to a
    nuclear bomb. The Army, Air Force, and Navy, all three branches of the Armed Forces, were
    in the pursuit of this Holy Grail that was reached first by the Navy. The Brazilian A-bomb
    program has been so shrouded in mystery that at times not even the President has known
    what is going on. In 1968, Brazil announced the construction of its first nuclear plant,
    Angra I. (Angra II, the first one to go into operation, will be finished by year’s end,
    two decades behind schedule.)

    From the start, however, what Brazil really wanted was the bomb. Seven years later,
    President general Ernesto Geisel signed a $30-billion contract with Germany for the
    construction of eight nuclear plants. After leaving office, Geisel talked about his mixed
    feelings about the deal: "The agreement was burdensome, but this was the only way
    Brazil had to dominate the nuclear technology." The 1988 constitution had already
    forbidden the use of nuclear bombs, but it was in 1990 that President Fernando Collor de
    Mello, in a mostly symbolic gesture, threw two whitewash shovels into an until-then secret
    hole in Serra do Cachimbo (Pipe Range), state of Pará. The crater belonged to the Air
    Force and had been built for underground nuclear tests.

    Recently, some episodes from the nuclear deals were made public and it was learned, for
    example, that officials in Europe and the United States were bribed. A unnamed military
    person who worked in the nuclear program told weekly newsmagazine Veja, "In
    the United States, the Navy bought equipment that could be sold, but could not leave the
    country. A team of technicians went there, disassembled the whole thing and copied them
    piece by piece."

    Music
    Good Ol’
    Times
    Are Back

    Enrollment is open for what Record TV hopes will mark the rebirth of the Festival de
    MPB (Brazilian Popular Music Festival), a music competition that has been around since the
    end of the ’60s and launched such musical talents as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and
    Chico Buarque de Holanda. It all initially started at Record. But then, Globo network was
    not the monopoly it has become and the TV station from São Paulo wasn’t owned by a
    controversial evangelical church (Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus—Universal Church
    of the Kingdom of God), as it is today. But the producer of the original shows, Solano
    Ribeiro, is back for the new version of the festival, which he promises will not be a
    rehashing of old ideas, "but something innovative."

    Ribeiro expects to receive some 7,000 submissions. A jury of musical experts will trim
    them to 36 and these will be the songs that will be introduced in three semifinals, until
    only 12 finalists will be left when December comes. There will be a CD featuring all of
    these songs. The finalists will also have a videoclip, which in turn will run for a prize
    in screenplay, direction, and art direction. "There are close to 1.6 thousand
    regional music festivals throughout Brazil," says Ribeiro. "A TV competition,
    however, is one of the few roads left to reveal the new or unknown artist."

    Movies
    Tickets Plus

    General Cinema, which manages 1,300 motion-picture screens in the U.S., is betting on
    Brazilians’ increasing appetite for movies. The company is investing $250 million and
    plans to build 300 new screens in the country in the next five years. The first multiplex
    with 15 screens is almost ready and is the anchor business for Internacional Shopping
    Guarulhos, a shopping mall in Guarulhos, in the greater São Paulo.

    General Cinema is not the first foreign company to show intereste in the Brazilian
    movie business and in theater complexes in particular. Cinemark, another American company,
    had a head start with multiplexes in Rio and São Paulo. After all, Brazilians took close
    to $400 million to the box-office in 1997 and the potential for growth is enormous. Brazil
    has today a mere 1,300 screens—many in bad shape and in undesirable
    locations—approximately one third of the number it had in the ’60s when there were
    3,500 movie screens.

    The competition’s arrival has also been a blessing for Brazilian moviegoers who are
    already paying up to $12 a ticket (popcorn and butter are extra) in some movie theaters.
    As a consequence of Cinemark’s presence at a shopping mall in São Paulo, tickets in the
    area have been lowered to $6.

    History
    Uncovering
    the Discovery

    Pedro Álvares Cabral, the Portuguese noble who is believed to have discovered Brazil
    on April 21, 1500, was no gifted navigator. His trip to Brazil was probably his first one
    as a navigator. He was chosen to command the 13-ship fleet and the crew of 1,500 that
    arrived in Brazil because he was married to one of the wealthiest Portuguese women at the
    time, Dona Isabel de Castro.

    As for the sailors—since there were no women on the ships—they loved to play
    cards, but many card decks were lost. Every time they played and one of the religious
    aboard showed up, the cards were thrown out to sea. Little revelations like these, stories
    you won’t hear in school, fill the just-released A Viagem do Descobrimento (The
    Discovery Trip). Written by Gaúcho (from Rio Grande do Sul) journalist, Eduardo Bueno,
    40, and published by Editora Objetiva, the 140-page volume is only the first of a series
    of six books in the Terra Brasilis collection.

    "The book has no scoops, but information that the vast majority of people
    ignores," Bueno told daily O Estado de S. Paulo. How many exilés were left in
    Brazil when the fleet left towards India? Some say two, some five. One of them was Afonso
    Ribeiro, who lived for a year and a half among the Tupi-Guarani Indians. According to the
    author, those left in the first and following trips were enchanted with two things: the
    sheer quantity of exotic fruit and the profusion of naked women.

    Music
    The Voice from
    the Street

    Farofa Carioca (Toasted Manioc Flour from Rio) and Boato (Gossip) are two new bands
    from Rio that have just released their first CDs. They are being presented under the label
    of MPC (Música Popular Carioca—Carioca Popular Music), a lively sound accompanied by
    harsh lyrics identified with urban Rio, but they say this classification limits their
    scope.

    The new bands sing about the underbelly of the big city like the sale of crack and pot.
    "Banana" broaches the subject of the landless and "Marginália" is a
    hymn to justice and peace. Both are from Boato. Farofa Carioca’s crooner, Jorge Mário da
    Silva, is a former beggar who, for three years, lived and slept on the streets. At ten he
    already had a job fixing flat tires. In 1990, the police killed his brother in a massacre.

    "I was a minor violator. In order to survive I sold peanuts in Ipanema, and when I
    couldn’t make it, I would just steal," Sandrinho, the band’s percussionist, told
    Rio’s daily, O Dia (The Day). Farofa sings, amongst others, "Moro no
    Brasil" (I Live in Brazil), "Doidinha Pra Ter Neném" (Dying to Have a
    Baby) and "Rabisca Robson" (Scribble Robson).

    A Sample

    Rabisca Robson

    Farofa Carioca

    Robson era um sujeito legal (…)

    Mas se arrasou e começou a vacilar

    Quando passou a andar

    Com o bonde do mal

    Começou a freqüentar boca-de-fumo
    e botequim

    Ficou popular como Robson Rabisquim)

    Moro no Brasil

    Farofa Carioca

    Moro no Brasil,

    não sei se moro muito bem ou muito mal

    Só sei que agora faço parte
    do país

    A inteligência é fundamental.

    Scribbling Robson

     

    Robson was a cool guy (…)

    But went down and started to falter

    When he started to go with

    The streetcar of evil

    He started to visit crack houses
    and bars

    He became popular as Scribbling Robson

    I Live in Brazil

     

    I live in Brazil

    I don’t know if I live too well or too badly

    All I know is that I’m now part
    of the country

    Intelligence is fundamental

    TV
    Black Black
    Humor

    Cripples, Jews, Japanese, gays, fat people, everybody is fair game for the vitriolic
    humor of Casseta e Planeta, the Brazilian Monty Python with a tropical and popular twist.
    Seldom light and often funny, the comedians are in charge of Globo network’s
    no-holds-barred-in-the-politically-incorrect-department Casseta & Planeta Urgente! show.
    The comedians have bought themselves a couple of lawsuits after telling jokes about South
    African President Nelson Mandela during his recent visit to Brazil.

    In one sketch, the announcer stated as in a news broadcast, "Now you are going to
    see exclusive images of black leader Nelson Mandela’s night visit to Brasília. Here we
    see Mandela being received by (black) senator Benedita da Silva and by former Sports
    minister Pelé." All you could see on TV was a black screen. The text continued
    talking about a fictitious show for Mandela by real black music bands Raça Negra (Black
    Race), Negritude Jr. (Blackness Jr.), Cidade Negra (Black City), and Só Preto Sem
    Preconceito (Only Black Without Prejudice). And they didn’t stop there: "The tickets
    were sold on the black market for a nota preta (black money = big amount).

    Lawyer Charlain Galvão da Silva from the Workers’ Party Black Movement criticized the
    jokes as very detrimental to the black race and announced he will sue Globo network. The
    president of the Associação Brasileira de Negros Progressistas (Progressive Blacks
    Brazilian Association) also threatens to sue and intends to ask for around $1 billion in
    damages. "This segment was an affront against the black race and a disrespect towards
    a foreign dignitary, " he told São Paulo’s daily Jornal da Tarde.

    Ad
    No Harmful
    Additives

    In the wake of the Viagra craze, infamous lingerie manufacturer DuLoren has
    started a new advertising campaign touting the natural aphrodisiac effects of their
    products, bawdy and provocative bras and panties. The ad, which has been shown in weekly
    magazine Isto É (the Brazilian Newsweek), shows a shirtless man standing by
    a bed in a hospital room flanked by two gorgeous young ladies in their undies. While one
    woman nibbles on his shoulder, the other one, clad in a scanty panty, daringly places her
    hand under the panting man’s fly. The copy states: DuLoren provokes erection and has no
    side effect. The panty maker has raised eye brows recently with risqué campaigns
    involving religion, rape and even Santa Claus. This time, however, the jeering crowd is
    silent. Not even a single "boo" has been heard. Hecklers get tired, too.

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