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Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: República Federativa do Brasil), is the largest and most populous country in South America, and the fifth largest in the world in both area and population. Its territory covers 8,514,876.599 km² between central South America and the Atlantic Ocean and it is the easternmost country of the Americas. It borders Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and the département of French Guiana to the north, Uruguay to the south, Argentina and Paraguay to the southwest, Bolivia and Peru to the west, and Colombia to the northwest. The only South American countries not bordered by Brazil are Ecuador and Chile.

The Brazilian coastline covers 7,367km (4,655 mi) along the Atlantic ocean. Numerous archipelagos are part of the Brazilian territory, such as Penedos de São Pedro e São Paulo, Fernando de Noronha, Trindade e Martim Vaz and Atol das Rocas. Tropical climate is predominant. In the south of the country, subtropical climate prevails. Brazil is traversed by the Equator and Tropic of Capricorn lines. It is home to varied fauna and flora and extensive natural resources.

The Brazilian population tends to concentrate along the coastline in large urban centers. While Brazil has one of the largest populations in the world, population density is low and the inner continental land has large demographical empty spaces. It is a multiracial country composed of European, Amerindian, African and Asian elements, more often combined in the same individual than separated into different communities. The official language is Portuguese, and it is the only Portuguese-speaking country in all the Americas. Catholicism is the predominant religion, though Protestant communities have experienced significant growth in the last decades. Brazil has the largest Roman Catholic population in the world.

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Chagas disease
Credit: CDC
Chagas' disease (also called American trypanosomiasis) is a human tropical parasitic disease which occurs in the Americas, particularly in South America. Its pathogenic agent is a flagellate protozoan named Trypanosoma cruzi, which is transmitted to humans and other mammals mostly by blood-sucking assassin bugs of the subfamily Triatominae (Family Reduviidae). Those insects are known by numerous common names varying by country, including benchuca, vinchuca, kissing bug, chipo, pito, chupança, chinchorro, and barbeiro. The most common insect species belong to the genera Triatoma, Rhodnius, and Panstrongylus. However, other methods of transmission are possible, such as ingestion of food contaminated with parasites, blood transfusion and fetal transmission.

The symptoms of Chagas' disease vary over the course of the infection. In the early, acute stage symptoms are mild and are usually no more than local swelling at the site of infection. As the disease progresses, over as much as twenty years, the serious chronic symptoms appear, such as heart disease and malformation of the intestines. If untreated, the chronic disease is often fatal. Current drug treatments for this disease are generally unsatisfactory, with the available drugs being highly toxic and often ineffective, particularly in the chronic stage of the disease.

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Sugarloaf Mountain, Brazil
Credit: Paul Mannix

Sugarloaf Mountain is a peak situated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean. Rising 396 metres (1,299 ft) above sea-level, its name is said to refer to its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar.

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I'm like Sergeant Schultz, I know nothing. We are trying to share ideas around the world. We don't just come up with a great idea in Brazil and ignore it in the rest of the world.

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Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Credit: Agência Brasil
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Portuguese pronunciation: [feʁˈnɐ̃dʊ ẽˈʁikɪ kaʁˈdozʊ], (born June 18, 1931) – also known by his initials FHC – was the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil for two terms from January 1, 1995 to January 1, 2003. He is also an accomplished sociologist. Born in Rio de Janeiro, he has lived in São Paulo most of his life. Cardoso is a widower (he was married to Ruth Valença Correia Leite Cardoso until her death on June 24, 2008) and has three children.

Educated as a sociologist, he was a Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the Universidade de São Paulo. He was President of the International Sociological Association (ISA), from 1982 to 1986. He is a member of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), an honorary foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has penned several books. He was also Associate Director of Studies in the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and then visiting professor at the Collège de France and later at the Paris Nanterre University.

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Simca Vedette Chambord 1961
Credit: Dino1948

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Juscelino Kubitschek bridge
Credit: Sting

The Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge also known as the President JK Bridge or just the JK Bridge, crosses Lake Paranoá in Brasília, D.F. It is named for Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira, former president of Brazil, who in the late 1950s decided to build Brasília as the new capital of the country. It was designed by architect Alexandre Chan and structural engineer Mário Vila Verde.

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