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Gisele Bundchen Launches Shantytown Model Search

Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen on Tuesday launched a contest to discover new talent in Brazil's shantytowns, promising to reward the winner with a modeling contract.

"I feel privileged to be the sponsor of this project," Bunchen said, recalling that she had been rejected by 42 agents in London at the start of her career, when she was only 17.

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Panetta: U.S. Marines Punished over Brazil Prostitute

Three U.S. Marines and a State Department employee were punished over their involvement with a Brazilian prostitute in December, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday.

The admission came as officials were still reeling from the fallout of a prostitution scandal implicating Secret Service agents and military personnel working on a visit to Colombia by President Barack Obama.

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BRICS Ready to Flex Muscles At G20-IMF Meet

China and the BRICS emerging economies are set to flex their muscles as the top finance officials of the G20 and the IMF meet Friday seeking to raise $400 billion to prevent financial contagion.

Having already rolled back the goal for new crisis intervention funds from $500 billion, the International Monetary Fund remained some $80 billion short going into Friday's meetings in Washington.

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Brazil’s Medium ‘John of God’ Said To Cure Thousands

Every week using mainly his hands but also armed with scissors, a knife and scalpel, Joao Teixeira de Faria, a self-styled Brazilian medium and "psychic surgeon," treats thousands of sick people who claim to be cured.

Among those who have sought the services of the healer known as "John of God" has been none other than Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the popular Brazilian ex-president, now said to be in remission from larynx cancer.

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Brazil Alarmed over Rising Obesity Rate

In Brazil, a country known for girls in mini-bikinis and where body-consciousness borders on obsession, nearly half the population is overweight, a study by the Ministry of Health released Tuesday found.

"There is a tendency toward increased weight and obesity in the country. It's time to reverse the trend to avoid becoming a country like the United States," said Health Minister Alexandre Padilha.

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Media Watchdog Says 31 Journalists Killed in 3 Months

The number of journalists killed while doing their job in the first three months of the year reached 31, up 50 percent from 21 deaths a year ago, media watchdog Press Emblem Campaign said Monday.

In strife-torn Syria, nine journalists lost their lives during the period, including famed American war correspondent Marie Colvin.

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BRICS Summit Defends Dialogue for Syria, Iran

The world's biggest emerging powers on Thursday said dialogue was the only answer to the crises in Syria and Iran, seeking to buttress their economic heft with a unified diplomatic clout.

At their fourth summit, the leaders of the BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- also pushed for the creation of a new joint development bank as a counterpoint to Western-backed aid lenders.

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Brazilian Arrested for Fake ID with Jack Nicholson Photo

Brazilian police said Wednesday they arrested a man for forgery when he tried to open a bank account using an identification document with a photo of actor Jack Nicholson.

Ricardo Sergio Freire de Barros, 41, was arrested in the northeastern city of Recife and charged with using false documents and forgery, police said.

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Loss of Antarctic Base Deals Brazil a Major Blow

The destruction of Brazil's Antarctic base in a fire that killed two navy personnel has dealt a major blow to the country's strategic research on the resource-rich continent, experts say.

"All the central core of the base, where the installations were concentrated, was lost. The exact extent of what occurred still needs to be determined, but the assessment is that we really lost virtually everything," Defense Minister Celso Amorim said late Saturday.

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G20 to Pile Pressure on Europe for Stronger Firewall

Top economic powers at the G20 meeting in Mexico's capital this weekend were set to urge Europe to do more to tackle its financial crisis before they commit to new funding for the IMF.

The European Union is seeking to gain support for an additional $500 billion of resources for the International Monetary Fund at the G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in Mexico City on Saturday and Sunday.

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