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Rio De Janeiro Is Betting On Carnival For ‘Cooler’ Parties – And A Better Brazil

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Rio’s government made its largest investment yet in 2024’s Carnival. If it pays off, everyone benefits.

Rita de Cassia Oliveira takes a quick break to rearrange a display of multicoloured earrings before returning to serve a group of tourists. They are choosing dazzling shorts and glittering bikini tops for this year’s Carnival street festivities. During this time, Oliveira trades her typical swimwear products for Carnival clothes, and she expects February’s income to increase compared to previous months.

“It’s the best time of year for those who work on the streets,” she explains, setting up pots of glitter at her outdoor shop on a popular Copacabana street corner.

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Rio De Janeiro Is Betting On Carnival For ‘Cooler’ Parties – And A Better Brazil

Shopping in Rio de Janeiro picks up in the weeks leading up to Carnival. The festivities draw many national and international tourists to see the world-famous parades and block parties. But it’s more than simply a good time for Brazil; it’s also a moneymaker. Tourists spend millions during Carnival, creating thousands of temporary jobs in the city.

Rio de Janeiro is expected to earn a record 5.3 billion reais (£846 million; $1.06 billion) from tourism-related activities in February this year. The state government has invested the highest in Carnival preparations and celebrations for 2024, totalling 62.5 million reais. The infusion of capital has resulted in a record number of jobs and strengthened infrastructure to support tourism, and it is expected to provide long-term socioeconomic changes to the city.

“For every one Brazilian real invested in tourism in Rio, it brings a three to fourfold return,” says Ronnie Costa, president of Rio’s tourism board Riotur. The Carnival investment is well-timed. Brazil welcomed record numbers of international tourists last year, bringing $6.9 billion (£5.5 billion) into the Brazilian economy, a 1.5% increase over the previous best income achieved in 2014 when Brazil hosted the World Cup. The country’s Tourism Plan aims to reach $8.1 billion (£6.4 billion) by 2027.

In Rio, the government has been spending on infrastructure, security, and mobility to attract visitors. This includes more flights into the city’s major international airport and enhanced police presence in tourist areas. This year, Rio will have more than 12,000 military police officers on duty during Carnival, a 5% increase from the previous year.

Officials hope this will help to counteract Rio’s reputation for violent crime. The National Confederation of Commerce (CNC) reported that this image cost the state 3.3 billion reais (£536 million; $660 million) in tourism in 2023.

“The city needs to enable decent infrastructure to receive all these tourists, so the City and Rio State are making investments to create a good, positive experience,” says CNC’s chief economist, Felipe Tavares.
Rio has also invested 40.5 million reais (£6.5 million; $8.1 million) in samba schools, the clubs that organise the city’s iconic parades. The schools open to the public several weeks before Christmas, allowing visitors to view and participate in singing music, and dancing rehearsals.

“When schools have more money, they may spend on equipment, costumes and floats. Tourists will notice something neater, tidier and more sophisticated; a cooler avenue and cooler parties; and a better day-to-day experience’, says Carlos Werneck, president of the tourism organisation Visit Rio.

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Rio De Janeiro Is Betting On Carnival For ‘Cooler’ Parties – And A Better Brazil

In addition, they’ve committed tens of millions of reais to prolong Carnival celebrations beyond the statutory five-day period. The capital has already helped pay for the typical block parties on weekends soon after New Year’s and will support the street celebrations that continue in the weeks after the parades, providing tourists with a Carnival experience in Rio during the first quarter of the year.

Tourism officials from Riotur and Visit Rio say there may also be plans for a Carnival-style celebration in the middle of the year.

Many Rio locals rely on the celebrations and subsequent visitors for income. According to Costa, investments in 2024’s Carnival have created 50,000 jobs, most benefiting socially vulnerable populations from low-income districts. Samba schools employ hundreds of seamstresses, musicians, performers, and organisers.

Full-time employees in Brazil are often paid an additional month’s income at the end of the year, known as the “thirteenth salary”. According to Oliveira, a street vendor in Copacabana, Carnival earnings are the equivalent of this incentive and an opportunity to pay off obligations and save. Rio officially registered 15,000 street vendors to work during block celebrations and parades this year, up from 10,000 last year.

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Rio De Janeiro Is Betting On Carnival For ‘Cooler’ Parties – And A Better Brazil

“Carnival represents an important source of extra income for independent street vendors to increase their revenue during this period,” says Bruno Guerra, director of popular parties at Dream Factory, an event and entertainment firm. “This extra money helps support their families and pay additional expenses, often playing a fundamental role in the financial stability of these independent street sellers.”

However, Tavares emphasises that it is not just about profit. “When we have such a large development in Carnival and tourism, we see significant social improvements in the region,” he said. “Rio is getting more professional in the Carnival and tourism sectors. More people in tourism speak English and Spanish.

You can see options in two or three languages. Rio’s entire city and economy are adjusting to become an international and national tourism destination.”

In February, São Paulo state is set to receive a record 16.2 billion reais (£2.6 billion; $3.25 billion) in tourism revenue, over three times that of Rio state. Tavares attributes this to the region’s vastness. “We are seeing destinations that were not traditional for Brazilian Carnival, such as the states of Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais and São Paulo growing a lot every year.”

This is a beautiful time for Rio’s street vendors, such as Oliviera. She states, “It’s like Christmas for us.”

SOURCE – (BBC)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Dickey Betts, Co-Founder Of The Allman Brothers Band, Dead At 80

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Dickey Betts, a guitarist and co-founder of the Allman Brothers Band, has died, according to a family statement released to CNN on Thursday by his longtime manager.

Betts was eighty.

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Dickey Betts, Co-Founder Of The Allman Brothers Band, Dead At 80

“It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that the Betts family announces the peaceful passing of Forrest Richard ‘Dickey’ Betts,” according to the statement. “The well-known performer, songwriter, bandleader, and family patriarch passed away this morning at his home in Osprey, Florida, with his family by his side. Dickey was larger than life, and his absence will be felt around the world. During this terrible time, the family requests prayers and respect for their privacy in the coming days. More information will be provided at the proper time.”

Betts’ manager, David Spero, told Rolling Stone that the guitarist had cancer and chronic obstructive lung disease.

Betts, who was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, grew up listening to bluegrass, country music, and, subsequently, rock & roll. Betts, bass guitarist Berry Oakley, drummers Butch Trucks and Jaimoe, and brothers Gregg and Duane Allman formed the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, and are credited with helping create the sound and genre of Southern rock in the 1960s and 1970s.

Betts composed and sung the band’s biggest song, “Ramblin’ Man.” Initially, he created the song with the intention of having another artist sing it.

“I was going to send ‘Ramblin’ Man’ to Johnny Cash,” Betts stated in 2020, later adding that he “thought it was a great song for him.”

“But everyone liked the song. Even my father enjoyed the song before we recorded it or anything. And I’m thinking I’ll email this to Johnny Cash and see if he wants to perform it,” he added. “The producer (Johnny Sandlin) mentioned that we needed another song for the record and asked if I had any. I explained, ‘Well, I got one, but I was going to send it to Nashville for Cash to record.’ He said, ‘Let’s hear it. And then, ‘No! We gotta do it.'”

Betts also wrote the popular Allman Brothers songs “Blue Sky” and “Jessica.”

Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident in 1971, and Oakley died in a motorcycle crash the following year. Betts and Gregg Allman became the band’s leaders, but creative disputes and substance misuse prompted the group to split up and reform several times.

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Dickey Betts, Co-Founder Of The Allman Brothers Band, Dead At 80

Cameron Crowe, then 16, followed the Allman Brothers Band on tour in 1973 for a Rolling Stone cover story that would later serve as the basis for Crowe’s Oscar-winning 2000 film “Almost Famous.” In 2017, Crowe described Billy Crudup’s key rock star character as “a tribute” to Betts.

In an email to CNN later that day, Crowe referred to Betts as “a guitarist for the ages, the musical glue that held together The Allman Brothers Band for many years.”

“Dickey’s quiet warmth, and his timeless contribution to American music was a big inspiration for our film,” said the writer-director.

Betts quit the Allman Brothers Band in a widely publicized separation in 2000. While the band continued to tour for nearly 15 years and issued one more studio album, Betts performed with his Great Southern ensemble, which included his son Duane, and released another studio album of new songs. Betts retired in 2014.

Also on Friday, the Allman Brothers Band issued an official statement, stating that Betts’ “extraordinary guitar playing alongside guitarist Duane Allman created a unique dual guitar signature sound that became the signature sound of the genre known as Southern Rock.”

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Dickey Betts, Co-Founder Of The Allman Brothers Band, Dead At 80

“He was passionate in life, be it music, songwriting, fishing, hunting, boating, golf, karate or boxing,” the statement went on to say. “Dickey was all in on and excelled at anything that caught his attention.”

When asked what he enjoyed most about music, Betts told the Sarasota Herald Tribune in 2020 that it was the impact it had on his listeners.

“I like the crowds mainly, and what the music did for them,” he went on to say. “They enjoyed the music more than I did. I just love how the crowd can drift off into another universe during a concert.”

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Taylor Swift Drops 15 New Songs On Double Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology’

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NEW YORK — Could there be a Taylor Swift new album release without any added surprises?

No.

On Friday, the pop star released her 11th album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” which is an amalgamation of her previous work and reflects the artist who, at the height of her powers, has spent the last few years re-recording her life’s work and touring it, filtered through synth-pop anthems, breakup ballads, provocative and matured considerations.

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Taylor Swift Drops 15 New Songs On Double Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology’

But it was midnight. At 2 a.m. Eastern, she released “The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology,” which included 15 new songs.

“I’d written so much tortured poetry in the past 2 years and wanted to share it all with you, so here’s the second installment,” Swift wrote in an Instagram caption. “And now the story isn’t mine anymore… it’s all yours.”

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Taylor Swift Drops 15 New Songs On Double Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology’

The songs are a natural continuation of the first half of the album, with many returning to her “evermore” and “folklore” style, aided by her partner Aaron Dessner.

Swift has surprised her fans before, and she has surely done so with a surprise album release. A few months after “folklore” was released in 2020, she revealed that “evermore” will be available at midnight on the same day. Speaking of midnight, she released a “3am” edition of “Midnights” with seven new tracks in 2022, just a few hours after the original release.

Taylor Swift’s album “The Tortured Poets Department” is now available.

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Taylor Swift Drops 15 New Songs On Double Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology’

Music Writer Maria Sherman describes it as “an amalgamation of an artist who has spent the last few years re-recording her life’s work and touring its material, filtered through synth-pop anthems, breakup ballads, provocative and matured subject matter.”

Swift revealed a surprise two hours after the album’s release: 15 more tracks.

Swift’s first original album since her record-breaking Eras Tour debuted last year.

SOURCE – (AP)

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AI Model Aitana Lopez “Racks Up” Over 300K Instagram Followers

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AI model Aitana Lopez
AI :odel Aitana: The Clueless Agency

Artificial intelligence (AI) is nearly ubiquitous, occupying video and audio environments. In recent years, the K-pop music industry has used deep-fake technology to create groups that resemble actual individuals. Now meet Aitana, Spain’s first AI model.

Eternity and Mave, virtual female groups developed using artificial intelligence, have blurred the barriers between entertainment and technology. Whether we like it or not, these accelerating and frightening shifts are here to stay.

AI has recently made influencers one of its goals. Aitana Lopez, a 25-year-old AI-powered influencer from Spain, is a pioneer in the field. Switching lanes to her Instagram, @fit_aitana will strike you with eerie realism, as her “virtual soul” has deliberately developed a personality that is exceptionally lifelike and resembles the presence of a real-life model.

Her Instagram account already has over 300,000 followers.

Aitana, created by Ruben Cruz, the creator of AI modeling business The Clueless, is a an AI model.

According to Euronews, Cruz’s breakthrough idea was fueled by the agency’s struggle to form genuine business relationships with real-life influencers. “Many projects were put on hold due to problems beyond our control,” the Clueless creator stated.

The Clueless describes Aitana, who is 25 years old, as a “strong and determined woman, independent in her actions and generous in her willingness to help others”. The AI model is also described as a Scorpio with a passion for video games and a commitment to fitness. Her vibrantly crafted design highlights Aitana as a standout with a multifaceted personality.

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Designers working on Aitana’s images at the agency.The Clueless Agency

The Clueless Agency describes the AI influencer with eye-catching pink hair as an outgoing persona with “complicated humour and self-centeredness.”

The AI-powered “gamer at heart and fitness lover” was born on December 11, 1998. Her Instagram photos depict a digitally produced universe that reinforces the notion that she is engaging in real-world activities.

Following her trendsetting debut, the AI agency unveiled her other virtual companion, The Clueless’ second AI model, Maia Lima.

Similar to the controversy and criticism surrounding K-pop’s experimental experimentation, the rise of AI influencers has pushed unrealistic beauty standards.

While it is possible to focus on current technological advancements, this side of the virtual story is not without concerns for the future.

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