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Offensive Osama Bin Laden-Themed Businesses Are Becoming Strangely Popular in Brazil

Downtown São Paulo isn’t the most likely place to find Osama Bin Laden lookalikes. So when bartender Francisco Elder Braga Fernandes was spotted several years ago, he became an instant celebrity. His resemblance to the infamous terrorist was so uncanny that people couldn’t stop taking pictures of him. But this Brazilian Bin Laden is quite the opposite – he’s totally against violence.

“I am a man of goodwill. I can’t stand violence,” said Fernandes. But that hasn’t stopped him from using his appearance to his benefit. The 54-year-old decided to market his controversial image by dressing up as Bin Laden and even changing the name of his bar from ‘Barbas’ to ‘Bar do Bin Laden’. “This was great for business,” he said. “No one calls me Francisco anymore, it’s Osama or Bin Laden.”

Over the years, Fernandes has become a local celebrity and a tourist attraction. Al Jazeera has covered the story of his bar twice so far. Tons of visitors line up to take selfie shots with him, and when Bin Laden was killed in 2011, a Brazilian television producer actually wrapped Fernandes in a white cloth and put him on a downtown overpass, just to scare passersby. Another producer had him wear battle gear and walk on the sets of a variety TV show with a fake bomb in his hand. “I don’t usually do this stuff, but it’s what they want so I do it,” he said. Read More »

Brazilian Soccer Fan Has Been Wearing His Country’s National Colors Every Day for the Last 20 Years

In a nation full of soccer fanatics, 57-year-old lawyer Nelson Paviotti stands out like a sore thumb. For the past 20 years, he’s worn only yellow, green, blue and white clothing – the colors of the Brazilian soccer team. And there’s a specific reason for his loud choice in clothes. He had promised to wear their colors if the team won the Soccer World Cup in 1994. They kept their end of the bargain and so did Nelson.

Nelson goes to work each day sporting a banana-yellow jacket, a dark green shirt, yellow pants, and a bright blue hat. But he hasn’t just stopped at clothes. Nelson has gone all out – his office is decorated with yellow walls, blue and white filing cabinets, and a blue desk (and his screensaver is the team’s logo). The clocks, chairs, phones and stereo are green, yellow, blue or white and so are the folders that contain his clients’ documents. The office décor consists of a green-yellow guitar, a soccer-ball shaped woman’s purse, cups and mugs bearing the national coat of arms, and little key chains, flags and posters with the team’s players.

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The Land of Twins – Brazilian Town Has 1,000 Percent Higher Multiple Birth Rate Than Global Average

Cândido Godói, a small town in Southern Brazil, has fondly been nicknamed: ‘Twin Land’. As the name suggests, a phenomenal number of twins are born in the remote town each year – 10% of pregnancies result in multiple births. That’s nearly 1,000 percent higher than the global average. Right from the elderly to young children, most of the town’s inhabitants are two-of-a-kind. Understandably, several theories have been proposed to explain this bizarre phenomenon – both scientific and outlandish in nature.

While some people have blamed a mysterious ingredient lurking in the town’s water supply, most fingers point towards the Nazis. Specifically, towards Dr. Joseph Mengele (a.k.a. Angel of Death), one of Hitler’s most ruthless followers. Mengele became infamous during the war for the horrifying medical experiments he conducted on prisoners. One of his sick experiments aimed at creating the perfect Aryan race for his Fuhrer. At this time, he also became interested in discovering the specific gene quirk that produces twins – to double the birth rate of the perfect race.

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Brazilian Woman Gets Mugged While Giving Interview About Rising Crime Rate

When this Brazilian woman stopped on the street to speak to a reporter about the rising crime rate in the area, I bet she didn’t expect to give him live demo! As she was complaining on live TV about the incompetent police force, a thief ran up to her and attempted to snatch her gold necklace. The whole thing was recorded on camera – I’d call it downright hilarious if only it wasn’t so appalling.

The incident took place in broad daylight on a busy street in Rio de Janeiro. The video clip shows the woman speaking to an interviewer from RJTV. Just a few seconds into the interview, a young boy hurls himself at the woman, snatches her necklace and runs across the busy street. The woman yells in shock; the reporter’s reaction is instantaneous – he yells too, pushes the woman aside with his fist and attempts to chase the thief down.

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8-Year-Old Brazilian Miracle Worker Allegedly Cures People of Cancer and HIV

8-year-old Alani Santos is a special little girl – she claims that she can channel the power of Jesus Christ to cure people of various illnesses. Hundreds gather at the San Gonzalo church just to get a glimpse of the miracle child and be healed by her touch. Incidentally, Alani’s father is a pastor at the same church. Pastor Aduato Santos, a reformed car thief, has fondly given his daughter the name ‘missionarinha’ or ‘little missionary’.

Some of Alani’s healing sessions have been taped and uploaded on YouTube. One of the videos shows her healing a man who had been suffering from HIV for seven years. As the man stands with his head bowed, the pastor tells him: “You’re next. When the little missionary touches you, something will happen. You will be cured. You will feel the warmth.” As soon Alani puts her hand on the man’s head, he collapses on to the floor. The healing is then complete.

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Brazilian Popeye Pumps His Biceps Full of Oil and Alcohol

I always thought Popeye was adorable, but I find this Brazilian real-life version to be kind of grotesque. Arlindo de Souza, a.k.a. Arlindo Anomalia, has bulked up his arms by following a dangerous trend among body builders in Brazil – injecting themselves with a potentially lethal combination of oil and alcohol. He has 29-inch biceps, which are currently the biggest in the country. The most odd thing about his muscles is that they are bulged even when he isn’t flexing them, like great, big lumps of flesh hanging off his arms and shoulders.

Arlindo says that he’s stopped using the injections, now that a friend’s death made him realize how dangerous they are. “My friend Paulinho, he passed away from doing these things,” he said. “I felt his death a lot. He took it, I took it, but he went beyond the limit. I advise no-one to take this oil. I’ve stopped taking it, and other things as well, but there is always that will to start again. But I’m managing to control myself, to this day.”

Older pictures reveal that 43-year-old Arlindo was once a handsome man with his ‘natural’ muscles. But the Arnold Schwarzenegger fan became so obsessed with body building that he took steroids, hormones and horse vitamins to bulk up. And then, two years ago, a gym buddy offered him a ‘site enhancement oil’ to help things along. “The guy gave it to me,” said Arlindo. “He said, ‘Take this, it will make you grow in days.’ I loaded the syringe, put it in my arm, injected it and it swelled me up right there and then.”

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Meet Inri Cristo, the Man Who Thinks He Is Jesus Reincarnated

A 66-year-old Brazilian man believes he is the reincarnation of Jesus. He has been preaching the word of God for the past for the past 35 years. Born Alvaro Theiss, this controversial religious figure now goes by ‘Inri Cristo’.

Inri is derived from the Latin acronym inscribed on the cross during Jesus’ crucifixion (INRI – Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum, which means: Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews). Cristo, his last name, means Christ.

Cristo experienced his first revelation that he was Christ during a religious fast in Santiago, Chile, in 1979. Although he had a powerful voice in his head guiding him since childhood, on this occasion it told him clearly: “I am your Father. The God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.” He has hundreds of followers around the world, and his own church, ‘Soust’, based on a lush farmland outside Brasilia. Soust is an acronym for Suprema Ordem Universal da Santmssima Trindade.

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Brazilian Man Has Been Sleeping in Best Friend’s Crypt for 13 Years

Fabio Beraldo Rigol went from being a broker to being flat broke. After his business went bankrupt, he started doing drugs, and the whole chain of unfortunate events was complete when his family decided they wanted nothing more to do with him.  Today, he is a penniless homeless guy trying to make the best of a really bad situation.

For the last 13 years, Fabio has been living with his dead friend buried in one of the six graves of a cemetery crypt in Santa Isabel, Brazil . It really doesn’t seem like much (at all), but it’s certainly better than living on the streets, at least in Rigol’s opinion. The poor man doesn’t seem too bothered by the fact that he lives and sleeps in a place most people loath spending even an hour in. Let’s face it, living in a cemetery does take guts, despair and remarkable adaptability, but Rigol has all of these. “I’m more afraid of the living than the dead,” he says. “I’ve never seen a ghost. It gets a bit quiet here sometimes, but I’m not a big talker, so it suits me. I’m not very good around living people”.

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Modern-Day Pharaoh: Brazilian Businessman Wants to Take Prized Bentley with Him to the Grave

They say you can’t take your worldly possessions with you when you die, but a Brazilian businessman is going to try. Following the example of Egyptian pharaohs, Count Chiquinho Scarpa decided to bury his prizes Bentley Continental in his back yard, so he can enjoy driving it in the afterlife.

62-year-old Count Scarpa, a quirky millionaire from Sao Paolo, Brazil, announced he has decided to do like the pharaohs and entomb his $500,000 Bentley Continental Flying Spur in his back garden, on Monday, via Facebook. The message came with a photo of the successful businessman holding a cockatoo on one arm while resting the other on his luxurious limousine. To assure those who doubted him that his claim was sincere, the following day Scarpa posted another photo of him holding a shovel next to a big hole in his garden, with the car parked behind him, adding that he was going to put in the ground by the end of the week. His bizarre messages got thousands of “likes”and “shares”on Facebook, and eventually got the attention of the media. Count Scarpa was invited on the “Agora É Tarde” TV show where he told host Danilo Gentili he got the idea after watching a documentary on Sunday. ‘I was watching a documentary about the pharaohs of Egypt, very interesting. They buried their entire fortune to have a comfortable life on “the other side”!’ he said.

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Brazilian Man to Marry Pet Goat in Devil’s Curch

Aparecido Castaldo, a retired stone cutter from Jundiai, Brazil has decided to marry his beloved Carmella, a goat. Because no Christian minister would agree to perform the marriage ceremony, the two will be wed by a known satanic leader, in the Church of the Devil.

People have married their pets in the past, although in most cases the marriage ceremony was just a symbolic one performed by family or friends. However, 74-year old Aparecido Castaldo, a widower and father-of-seven, apparently wanted to be united with his goat Carmela in a church, by an evangelical minister. Unfortunately, none of the churches he contacted with his unusual request wanted to perform the ceremony, so Aparecido eventually contacted Toninho do Diabo (Tom the Devil), an old friend who just happens to be one of the most famous satanists in Brazil. The wedding is scheduled to take place at midnight, on October 13, at the Devil’s Church, in Sao Paolo. “Only our church accepted this love between man and animal because we have no prejudice,” Toninho said.

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Brazilian Woman Names All Her 15 Children Walter

To honor her husband, a woman from Paraiba, Brazil, gave all her children, nine girls and six boys, his name, Walter. Although they were proud to carry on their father’s name, the girls said it made their lives harder.

When she got pregnant with her first child, Erotides Brandão made a deal with her husband, Walter, to give it his name, regardless of whether it was a boy or a girl. That’s how Walterlúcia ended up with her unique and bizarre name. The mother was happy to honor her life partner, she just didn’t expect to have 15 children and him to ask her to do the same for all of them. Still, Erodites told Brazilian reporters they were very much in love and couldn’t deny each other anything. In order to make life easier for their children, especially the girls, the two parents decided to combine the “Walter” with common girl names followed by Maria. Their nine daughters are named: Walterlúcia Maria, Walterlívia Maria, Walterlênia Maria, Walterlônia Maria, Walterlácia Maria, Walterluzia Maria Emília, Walterluana Maria, Walterangelina Maria and Waltersilvana Maria. Obviously, it was easier for the boys, who were baptized with two first names: Walter Emanuel, Walter Luís, Walter Olivério, Walter Marcelo (who died at six months), Walter Licínio and Walter Fernando. Erodites lost three other pregnancies, who were also going to be named Walter.

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The Pain of Growing Up – Being Stung by Hundreds of Bullet Ants in the Amazon Rain-Forest

Among the most bizarre coming-of-age rites we’ve ever featured is the one followed by the Satere-Mawe Tribe, an indigenous tribe from the Amazon rain forest, Brazil. What a boy has to do to become a man in this tribal community is painful, to say the least – he has to withstand being stung by not one, but a swarm of Bullet Ants. In case you’e not familiar with this exotic insect, here’s an interesting fact: the Bullet Ant claims the number one spot on the SSPI (Schmidt Sting Pain Index), a scale created by Justin Schmidt that rates the pain caused by different Hymenopteran stings. Some say the ant’s sting is just as agonizing as being shot by a bullet.

In preparation for the initiation rite, the elders of the tribe collect the ants from the jungle. These ants are drugged and placed stinger- first into special gloves woven from leaves. As the drug wears off, the ants become increasingly agitated and are raring to sting. This is when the boy puts on the gloves and lets the bullet ants work their magic, for 10 whole minutes, no less. “It’s the same as having your hands on fire,” says one Satere man. But the real pain starts once the gloves come off, and the venom starts to take effect. As the pain continues to rise, the hands become paralyzed and look like stumps. But just one attempt is usually not enough to turn a Stare boy into a man. He must go through this ritual as many times as it takes for him not to cry during the process. The day he doesn’t shed a single tear, is when he becomes a real man. Sometimes, this can take up to 20 attempts.

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High on Art – Brazilian Artist Paints with Marijuana Smoke

For his latest series, aptly entitled “Blow Job – Work of Blowing”, Brazilian artist Fernando de la Rocque has created images of political and religious icons using marijuana smoke. Needless to say that has sparked a great deal of controversy in the art world.

We’ve seen some pretty unique works of art created with smoke, like the ghost paintings of Rob Tarbell or the smoke-painted bottles of Jim Dingilian, but none as controversial as Fernando de la Rocque’s. The daring artist using a unique technique to paint images onto a white canvas – he blows marijuana smoke on pre-cut stencils laid down on the canvas to dye paint and shade the desired areas. The results are pretty impressive, but it’s the bizarre technique that attracted the most attention, with many wondering how he must feel after completing one of his smoky artworks.

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Brazilian Inmates Pedal Their Way to Freedom

At one particular Brazilian jail, inmates don’t actually need both wheels on their bicycle to make an escape. By pedaling on stationary bikes, they can reduce their sentence and also get into shape.

The medium-security penitentiary of Santa Rita do Sapucai, a mountain range city about two hours north of Sao Paolo, has recently made headlines for its controversial sentence-reducing program. Thought up by the local judge, Jose Henrique Mallmann, who said he was inspired by a piece of news he read on the Internet about gyms in the United States where people generate electricity by riding stationary bikes, this two-month old program has inmates doing the same thing to reduce their stay in jail. For every three eight-hour days riding the bikes, criminals have one day of sentence shaved off. It’s a pretty good deals, but like other recently-implemented programs in Brazilian jails, it sparked some controversy around the South-American country.

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Wannabe Incredible Hulk Used Green Industrial Paint That Wouldn’t Come Off

Paulo Henrique dos Santos, a pool attendant from Brazil, wanted so much to impersonate the Incredible Hulk for a local running event that he painted himself with green industrial paint. He later found out the paint won’t come off no matter how hard he scrubbed.

I always thought becoming a superhero was hard, but a young Brazilian Hulk fan proves it’s returning to human form that’s really tricky. According to Brazilian news site Globo Extra, 35-year-old Paulo Henrique dos Santos achieved celebrity status in the Villa Cruzeiro favela of Rio Janeiro, after he covered himself in green industrial paint, only to realize it won’t wash off. His intention was to dress up as the popular superhero for a running event, but since shops didn’t have the brand of paint he normally used, this “genius” decided to go with industrial paint normally used for ballistic missiles and nuclear submarines.

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