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Rafael Vilela

São Paulo, Brazil
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About Rafael
Rafael Vilela is an independent Brazilian photographer currently reporting on social injustice and the environmental crisis in his country. He was one of the founders of Midia NINJA, an initiative that today has more than 8 million followers. His photographs are part of São Paulo’s Museum of Modern Art (MAM-SP) permanent collection. In 2014 he was invited by Magnum Photos to be one of the Brazilian photographers in the OffSide Brazil project to report on the World Cup. Rafael was also nominated for World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2013, 2014 and 2015. He has collaborated on international publications such as The Washington Post, The Guardian, VICE, The Intercept and National Geographic. In 2020 he was selected by National Geographic's Emergency Fund for Journalists covering Covid-19 and his work with Covid Latam won the POYLatam and the FotoEvidence Book Award with World Press Photo.
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Content Writing Photography Fixing
Science & Environment Cultural Breaking News

Lula travels to Belgium to discuss cooperation with Europeans

15 Jul 2023  |  www.diariodolitoral.com.br
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is traveling to Brussels, Belgium, to participate in the Celac-European Union Summit. The Brazilian delegation aims to promote mutual cooperation in environmental, energy, and defense sectors, as well as combat hunger and transnational crimes. Discussions may also touch on the EU-Mercosul free trade agreement. Lula's agenda includes meetings with Belgium's King Philippe, Prime Minister Alexandre De Croo, and representatives from Austria and Sweden. The summit will take place on July 17-18, with Lula returning to Brasília on July 19.

Lula's trip to China confirmed for April 11

31 Mar 2023  |  www.progresso.com.br
The Palácio do Planalto has confirmed that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's state visit to China will take place on April 11. Originally scheduled for this week, the trip was postponed due to Lula's mild pneumonia diagnosis. Lula announced his full recovery and plans to resume work next week. The visit will include meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Qiang, and National People's Congress Chairman Zhao Leji in Beijing, as well as engagements in Shanghai. This will be Lula's first trip to an Asian country in his third term, following visits to Argentina and the United States. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expects at least 20 trade agreements to be signed during the visit. Lula is also scheduled to visit Portugal in April and attend the G7 Summit in Japan in May.

Miners begin to flee Yanomami Land, says minister

04 Feb 2023  |  www.folhadelondrina.com.br
Intelligence sectors of the federal government and the indigenous movement have identified the flight of miners from the Yanomami Indigenous Land in Roraima. Minister of Indigenous Peoples, Sonia Guajajara, confirmed the information and emphasized the need to combat illegal mining to resolve the health emergency affecting the Yanomami people. The federal government is coordinating with the state government to develop a plan for the miners' removal. Concerns were raised about the potential for miners to invade other areas, as happened 30 years ago. The government is also working on infrastructure improvements, including restructuring the Surucucu airbase and constructing artesian wells and communication structures. Health updates revealed that 601 Yanomami are currently in the Casa de Saúde Indígena, with additional patients in local hospitals.

Proposal for the creation of the National Guard is ready, says Dino

25 Jan 2023  |  A TARDE
The Brazilian federal government, led by Minister of Justice and Public Security Flávio Dino, is set to present a proposal for a permanent National Guard to protect federal public buildings in Brasília and operate in special operations in indigenous lands, border areas, conservation units, and support state security. This initiative, requested by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, aims to replace the Força Nacional de Segurança established in 2004. The National Guard will be a civil, ostensive force with its own recruitment process. The government also plans to propose legal changes to criminalize internet activities that threaten the Democratic State of Law and increase penalties for organizing and financing anti-democratic actions. Flávio Dino previewed some findings of the federal intervention report in the public security of the Federal District, which will be detailed soon, highlighting serious omissions in security planning and execution.

Flight pilots and crew declare strike for next Monday

16 Dec 2022  |  A TARDE
Flight pilots and crew from major airlines in Brazil have approved a national strike starting next Monday, demanding inflationary loss compensation, real wage and benefit gains, and improved working conditions. The strike will occur from 6 am to 8 am at the country's largest airports and will not affect flights carrying organs for transplant, vaccines, or medical patients. The SNA highlights the sector's post-pandemic recovery and increased profits, while the SNEA has offered a 100% adjustment based on the National Consumer Price Index for the base salary and other benefits but claims to have received no counterproposal from the workers.

Brazil records 97 deaths and 7.9 thousand cases in 24 hours

07 Oct 2022  |  A TARDE
Brazil reported 7,904 new COVID-19 cases and 97 deaths in the last 24 hours, with a total of 34,715,137 infections and 686,803 deaths since the pandemic began. Mato Grosso do Sul's data was not updated. Currently, 118,766 cases are being monitored, and 33,909,568 people have recovered, representing over 97% of those infected. São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Minas Gerais have the highest death tolls, while Acre, Amapá, and Roraima have the lowest. The Ministry of Health's vaccination meter shows that 484.8 million vaccine doses have been administered, with 99.2 million people receiving a booster shot and 33.6 million receiving a second extra dose.

Photography and storytelling for The Washington Post

Losing elders to COVID-19 endangers Indigenous languages

29 Dec 2021  |  National Geographic
The article discusses the impact of COVID-19 on the preservation of indigenous languages in Brazil, focusing on the Puruborá people and their language. Eliézer Puruborá, one of the last native speakers, passed away from COVID-19, further endangering the language spoken by a small community of 220. The pandemic has exacerbated the situation by causing the death of elders, who are key to language preservation, and by disrupting cultural events and language stewardship activities. The Puruborá have been working with linguist Ana Vilacy Galucio from the Emílio Goeldi Paraense Museum to create an audio archive of their language. However, the remaining semi-fluent elders are at risk due to the pandemic. The article also mentions the Guarani Mbya, who have found an unexpected boost in language interest through online classes during the pandemic. The Puruborá are determined to continue their efforts to preserve their language and culture post-pandemic.

In Brazil, a reckoning over coronavirus strategy as crisis and deaths mount

21 Jun 2021  |  Washington Post
The article focuses on the plight of Zuleide da Conceição Félix, a 67-year-old former maid, and many others in Brazil who have become economic refugees due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It describes the living conditions in makeshift settlements on the outskirts of São Paulo, where evicted and unemployed individuals have gathered. The article criticizes President Jair Bolsonaro's pandemic strategy, which prioritized the economy over strict containment measures, leading to prolonged crisis and increased poverty. Economists argue that this approach has failed to protect the most vulnerable, resulting in high unemployment, hunger, and a surge in the homeless population. The settlements, often formed on vacant land, have become a symbol of the government's failure to support its poorest citizens, with emergency payments being reduced and evictions continuing. The Brazilian supreme court's recent suspension of removals has sparked debate, with Bolsonaro defending landowners' rights. The article highlights the uncertainty and struggle for basic necessities like water and food in these communities, as well as the growing number of families arriving at the settlements.

Uber Eats Workers Are Striking Throughout Latin America

11 Aug 2020  |  www.vice.com
The article discusses the plight of delivery workers in Latin America, focusing on the Brazilian delivery worker Paulo Roberto da Silva Lima, known as 'Galo'. Galo has become the face of a labor movement protesting poor working conditions and pay during the COVID-19 pandemic. Delivery workers, particularly those using apps like UberEats, Rappi, and iFood, have gone on strike to demand better conditions and government regulation. The article highlights the challenges faced by these gig workers, including low pay, long hours, and increased risks due to the pandemic. It also covers the response of the companies involved, the rise of worker collectives, and the potential for legislative changes and the formation of cooperative delivery companies. The movement has gained traction across Latin America, with strikes and protests in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Ecuador.

The Invisible Men of the Pandemic: São Paulo's Gravediggers

22 Jul 2020  |  www.theguardian.com
The article focuses on the gravediggers of Vila Formosa, Latin America's largest cemetery, located in São Paulo, Brazil, who have faced an increased workload due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Miguel Braga, a gravedigger and father-of-two, is highlighted as he describes the challenges and emotional toll of his job during this crisis. The article provides statistics on the rise in burials and the impact of the pandemic on São Paulo, comparing it to other hard-hit regions globally. It also touches on the personal experiences and coping mechanisms of the gravediggers, as well as the recognition of their role as unsung heroes by epidemiologists. The gravediggers' observations suggest that São Paulo may be past the peak of the crisis, but the virus is spreading to other parts of Brazil. The article concludes with Braga's reflections on the fragility of human existence, regardless of one's status in life.

These Images From the Brazilian Protests Speak to the Country's Dual Crisis

15 Jun 2020  |  TRUE Africa
Brazil faces a dual crisis with the Covid-19 pandemic and the controversial leadership of President Jair Messias Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro, known for racist remarks and LGBT phobia, has been a significant hindrance in the country's efforts to combat the virus, having dismissed two health ministers. The country's death rate from coronavirus is the second highest globally, and there is no end in sight to the crisis. Bolsonaro's actions pose challenges to Brazil's democratic institutions and raise concerns about a potential authoritarian regime.

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