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March 19, 2014 | By Vincent Bevins
SAO PAULO, Brazil -   The governor of Rio de Janeiro state apologized Wednesday for the death of a woman shot during a firefight between police and criminal suspects and later dragged behind a police vehicle. The incident was the latest to raise questions about police conduct  in Rio as Gov. Sergio Cabral's administration continues a years-long effort to reform the police department and establish peace in its favelas , or slums, in preparation for the 2014 World Cup, which begins in June, and the 2016 Olympic Games.
March 18, 2014 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
If you're looking for dreamy beaches this summer, TripAdvisor travelers suggest Sancho Bay on a remote Brazilian island in the Atlantic Ocean as the 2014 best beach in the world. The website's fans also give high marks to beaches in Hawaii, ranking seven of them in the top 10 beaches in the United States. TripAdvisor culled traveler reviews and ratings for beaches over a 12-month period in coming up with the 2014 statistics released Tuesday. California didn't make a showing on the world or domestic best beaches list, now in its second year.
March 9, 2014 | By Melissa Magsaysay
We've seen supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio posing in bejeweled bikinis and gigantic feather wings. Now she's crossing over to the other side of the camera, creating a line of beachy, bohemian clothing called ále by Alessandra. The longtime Victoria's Secret Angel draws on her Brazilian heritage and Southern California lifestyle for the collection, which is scheduled to debut at Planet Blue stores and on March 15. "It reflects my everyday life," Ambrosio says of the collection, whose pieces sell for $60 to $260.
February 24, 2014 | By Christopher Reynolds, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
If you're an American chasing tickets for the World Cup beginning June 12, your time is running short, and you have to go through Brasilia and FIFA, not necessarily in that order. Brasilia is the Brazilian capital, where the government oversees handling of visa applications. In fact, Brazil has set up a separate visa category for World Cup visitors, presumably simplifying red tape that has sometimes complicated travel between the U.S. and Brazil. But to get one of those visas, you must first show that you have tickets to one of the competition's 64 matches in 12 cities.
February 21, 2014 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
Venezuela's state-supported music education marvel, El Sistema, offering free instruction to nearly 600,000 young people in all corners of the country, is not without controversy. With an increasingly restive Venezuelan public protesting human rights violations and economic dysfunction, El Sistema, an agency in the executive branch of the government, cannot escape its association with the administration of President Nicolàs Maduro. But those who argue that El Sistema has always been a program above politics and an example of positive social action that is catching on around the world had powerful evidence with the exceptional Los Angeles debut Wednesday night of the Bahia Orchestra Project.
February 15, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien and Vincent Bevins
Apple threw open the doors Saturday to its first store in Brazil, one of the world's fastest-growing smartphone markets and a region that is crucially important to the company. Chief Executive Tim Cook announced the opening in a tweet : "'Obrigado' to everyone who visited our new store in Rio de Janeiro today and to our terrific customers across Brazil!" The opening is the company's first in Latin America, and comes in a country that is set to host the World Cup this summer and the Olympics in 2016.  The grand opening drew more than 1,700 people, according to the Brazilian newspaper the Globe.
February 5, 2014 | By Eric Sondheimer
 Since he started playing basketball in Brazil when he was 9, 6-foot-10 Lucas Siewert remembers being enthralled with the three-point shot. "When I first started playing, I'd always go to the third-point line," he said. The sophomore at L.A. Cathedral sure learned his lessons well. He made five three-pointers on Wednesday to help the Phantoms improve to 18-2 and virtually lock up the Camino Real League title with a 71-50 home win over Cantwell-Sacred Heart. He finished with 15 points.
February 4, 2014 | By Vincent Bevins
RIO DE JANEIRO -- At least six people were killed in a shootout with Brazilian police in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, authorities said, as officers sought to apprehend suspects in the slaying of a police officer two days earlier. Two officers were wounded in the exchange of fire and three teenage boys were arrested, accused of drug trafficking and attempted homicide. Tuesday's firefight and the death Sunday of officer Alda Rafael, who was shot in the back, are the latest setbacks for Rio's "pacification" program.
January 16, 2014 | By Kevin Baxter
The U.S. will make its first visit to the Ukraine for a March 5 friendly, the team's final international match before World Cup rosters are due. Ranked 18th in the world in the latest FIFA rankings, Ukraine has the unfortunate distinction of being the highest-ranked team not to qualify for this summer's World Cup in Brazil. Ukraine was eliminated by France in a UEFA qualifying playoff decided by an own goal. "Ukraine is a very talented team and was very unfortunate not to qualify," U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann said.
January 15, 2014 | By Kevin Baxter
The ticket application period for U.S. Soccer's allotment of group-play tickets in this summer's World Cup closes Feb. 7. The application process is not being conducted on a first-come, first-served basis, meaning fans can apply at any time through the end of the application window. But to apply through U.S. Soccer, applicants must first join the U.S. Soccer Supporters Club. Membership for that group closes Feb. 1. The number of tickets available for the U.S. team's three group-play matches -- against Ghana, Portugal and Germany -- will vary depending on the size of the stadium.
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