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Soccer Player Paulinho Won’t Let Intolerance Of His Afro-Brazilian Religion Stop His Faith

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Paulinho

LAGOA SANTA, Brazil — When the Brazilian football player Paulinho scored a goal at the Tokyo Olympics, he celebrated by pointing an imaginary arrow at the glowing cameras as a tribute to a deity in his persecuted Afro-Brazilian religion and a shot at religious intolerance.

Subsequently, he lost over 10,000 social media followers for his public tribute to Oxóssi, a godly archer who uses his bow to stalk and feed the hungry.

He claims he progressively gained new fans in his soccer-obsessed South American nation by representing his Afro-Brazilian religion, Candomblé, and challenging religious intolerance. His religion has been subject to a rising tide of persecution, sometimes attributed to the rapid spread of evangelical Christianity in Brazil.

“Some competitors inquire about my religion, wanting to know what it is like… They always heed when I speak. But it’s still a small minority in football’, the 23-year-old Atletico Mineiro player said in an interview at his residence outside of Belo Horizonte in Brazil’s southeast. “I…get messages about how I express myself about the religion, some from people who also believe in the faith but aren’t too outspoken. And it’s great to feel that they appreciate what I do.”

In Brazil, only a small minority practice Candomblé. In recent years, however, reports of religious intolerance against them have increased, particularly at the hands of members of Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal congregations, whose mission is to convert unbelievers.

Paulinho

Although he was not as involved with Candomblé then, he felt targeted when he began his professional career in 2017 with the prominent club Vasco da Gama.

Some members of African-influenced religions have been subjected to verbal abuse, discrimination, and even the devastation of their temples and forced eviction from their neighborhoods.

Growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Paulinho experienced religious discrimination like his mother and grandmother before him.

His mother, Ana Christina Sampaio, recalled feeling insulted when other players’ parents implied that her son’s success on the football pitch was due to Afro-Brazilian sacrificial rituals.

She stated, “They disregarded Paulinho’s abilities and efforts.” Certainly, there is religious intolerance, but in Brazil, it appears to be religious bigotry against Candomblé.

As Catholic Portuguese colonists carried enslaved Africans to Brazil, these men and women merged their traditional religions with Catholicism. These religions are practiced by less than 1% of Brazil’s 210 million inhabitants.

Academics and advocates for religious freedom assert that neo-Pentecostal congregations sometimes demonize Afro-Brazilian religions. In uncommon instances, pastors have been found to explicitly direct radicalized evangelicals to commit acts of violence.

Sociologist Reginaldo Prandi stated, “Candomblé has always been persecuted; the only place in Brazil where its adherents are the majority is during Carnival.” He made note of the well-known traditional samba school competition in which references to Candomblé deities, or orixas, have been a constant for decades.

Paulinho

In recent years, samba schools have pleaded for Afro-Brazilians to be accepted and religious violence to cease.

“Prejudice cannot invalidate his football abilities. Everyone will forget about his religion if he proves to be an exceptional athlete. This is Brazil’s custom, said Prandi. However, it will be one of the first things people say when he performs poorly.

Paulinho stated that the prejudice he faced prompted him to abandon Brazil and play football in Europe. In 2018, he transferred to the German club Bayer Leverkusen for $21 million. In four years, he participated in 79 matches and scored nine goals. According to him, his faith was never an issue there.

Paulinho currently plays for the Brazilian club Atlético Mineiro, which in the 1980s featured some of the country’s first outspokenly evangelical soccer players. He still hopes to play professionally in England or Spain.

In Brazil, however, he has become an influential advocate for a marginalized religious minority.

He stated, “People recognize that I have a deeper understanding and knowledge of our religion.” Looking back… Candomblé has been present throughout all phases, illuminating the path. And now I can speak with more assurance.”

Earlier this year, Paulinho displayed his Candomblé pride during a game, provoking his detractors and bolstering his supporters. After scoring, he removed his shirt to reveal a new tattoo. It read “se” — or “energy” in Yoruba — or, as Axé is known to Brazilians, Axé, which is essential to Candomblé.

A supporter of Atletico Mineiro posted on Paulinho’s Instagram, “Get out of our club, macumbeiro!” shortly after. This term is sometimes used derisively to refer to Macumba members, defined as “a polytheistic religion of African origin… practiced mainly by Black Brazilians in urban areas.”

In the same post, another club supporter said: “You care more about candomblé and politics than football, you shouldn’t be here.”

Paulinho has also been targeted by far-right activists aligned with former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who had a significant evangelical support base. Paulinho was among the few active soccer players to publicly endorse President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the 2022 elections.

Paulinho

Growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Paulinho experienced religious discrimination like his mother and grandmother.

Since the 1960s, the acceptance of Candomblé among Brazil’s middle class has been facilitated by the support of Brazilian performers such as Grammy-winner Caetano Veloso.

“At that time, the world was in search of other civilizations. Europeans pursued Buddhism, while the Beatles travelled to India,’ said Prandi. “Brazilians were not required to travel.

“We had this very dramatic and theatrical religion in the state of Bahia, which originated with the Africans,” he continued. It was then that all intellectuals became involved; it was our counterculture.

Prandi stated nonetheless that persecution of Candomblé continued.

“Now Brazil has a very conservative movement, which led to the election of Bolsonaro, and people like Paulinho are viewed as a threat because he is a popular football player,” he said.

Others are following in Paulinho’s footsteps. After scoring the game-winning goal in the Brazilian Cup final against Flamengo on Sunday, Sao Paulo FC midfielder Rodrigo Nestor revealed on national television that he is a Candomblé follower.

Nestor told TV Globo after the match, “My orishas, my mother Ians, were with me.” He referred to the Candomblé deity of wind, lightning, magic, and fire.

Paulinho aims to again represent Brazil at the Paris Olympics next year. He maintains confidence in his abilities and religious pride. Before each contest, he prays to the divine beings for guidance. In addition, his mother blesses him with water and basil leaves to ward off negative vibrations.

“My faith has taught me to be patient,” said Paulinho. “This is also a wonderful quality of my orisha: Oxóssi only has one arrow, so he must be accurate. He must be patient.

“In some games, I have only one clean shot. I could get it right; I could get it wrong,” he added. “However, regardless of the outcome, I am confident that the discipline I’ve gained from Candomblé will allow me to find other opportunities if I remain resilient.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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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Canada’s Population Explosion Under Trudeau Triggers Housing Shortage

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Canada's Population Explosion Under Trudeau Triggers Housing Shortage
Canada is seeing its strongest population expansion in decades: File Image

The Trudeau government declared on March 21, 2024, that it would accept fewer temporary residents due to the difficulty of assimilating so many newcomers so quickly. However, population growth appears to be accelerating in 2024.

Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, the population aged 15 and over increased by approximately 411,000 in the first four months of the year, representing a than 50% increase over the four-month growth in early 2023.

This new acceleration was the focus of a recent research paper by Stéfane Marion, chief economist at the National Bank of Canada. “The demographic shock is getting worse in Canada,” he told Canada’s Globe and Mail.

Canada is seeing its strongest population expansion in decades, thanks almost exclusively to foreign migration, which includes the entrance of temporary workers and students. The population increased by about 1.3 million last year, or 3.2%, the fastest rate since the late 1950s.

Every month, tens of thousands of households participate in Statistics Canada’s labour survey. While the government includes population data in its monthly jobs report, they are not official estimates. Statscan publishes a different population report on a quarterly basis; the next edition is due June 19.

Nonetheless, these data indicate that Canada’s economy has remained strong to begin the year, which could complicate the federal government’s efforts to limit migration.

For the first time, the Trudeau government will impose limits on temporary residents beginning this fall. The government aims to reduce this group to 5% of the total population during the next three years; at latest count, they accounted for 6.5%.

Given those plans, “it would seem that many people have decided to come to Canada earlier,” Mr. Marion said, stressing that housing affordability may worsen in the short term.

Several analysts have predicted that Canada’s population growth will eventually decrease to approximately 1% when these new laws take effect.

Housing Affordability in Canada

Meanwhile, Stéfane Marion fears that housing affordability difficulties will increase amid another surge in immigration numbers.

“Demographic shock is worsening in Canada. The working-age population (aged 15 and over) increased by more than 100,000 in April, bringing the total to more than 410,000 after four months in 2024.

According to today’s Hot Chart, this is a significant acceleration (+47%) above the 278,000 increase seen in the first four months of 2023. Greater Toronto, where population growth hit a record 107,000 at the start of the year, has accelerated by 66% compared to 2023.

Greater Montreal and Greater Vancouver have not lagged behind since the beginning of 2024, with growth more than doubling that recorded in 2023.

With Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, Marc Miller, announcing plans to curb immigration in 2025, it appears that many people have decided to come to Canada sooner.

Housing affordability issues could increase in the coming quarters, as we approach another record year of population growth.

RBC indicates a loss of affordability in Canada

RBC’s aggregate affordability score for Canada increased by 2.8 percentage points to 62.5% as mortgage rates rose and property prices rose somewhat. (An increase in the measure indicates a loss of affordability.) This reversed a little improvement in the second quarter.

The issue is particularly acute in Vancouver, Victoria, and Toronto, where property ownership is extremely expensive. Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax also confront difficult affordability issues.

Last quarter, purchasers’ already bad situation deteriorated even further. A typical household required to set aside an additional 4.4 percentage points of its income to afford the costs of owning an average home at current prices and interest rates.

In fact, the entire income of that (median) household was insufficient, with RBC’s aggregate affordability metric coming in at an amazing 102.6%. The only practical choice for most ordinary consumers remains a less expensive condo apartment, which is still out of reach for many.

Home purchase activity has cooled again after unexpectedly rebounding last spring. Furthermore, prices are beginning to fall from their summer highs. In the face of significant affordability pressures, we believe the downward trend may accelerate in the near term.

Keywords: Canada News, Canada Population

 

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Politics

Trudeau Liberals Electoral Chances are as Good as Dead

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Trudeau Liberals Electoral Chances are as Good as Dead

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party’s popularity has plummeted to record lows  in recent polls. Scandals and his carbon tax weakened Trudeau’s support after years of support. Many election Analysts belive Justin Trudeau and his Liberals will not survive the next election.

The newest Angus Reid survey shows the Conservatives leading nationwide, with Trudeau and his Liberals losing support in most provinces, especially Ontario and Quebec. Analysts say Trudeau’s leadership fatigue, unhappiness over inflation, ridiculous carbon tax, and continual policy flip-flopping are driving voters away.

Trudeau’s carbon tax is unpopular across Canada. Many Canadians hate its higher prices for homes and businesses.

Critics say it unfairly targets energy, threatening jobs and prosperity. Skeptics believe the tax fails to solve global climate challenges despite claims it will reduce emissions.

Provincial governments like Alberta passionately oppose federal intrusion. The carbon tax still divides society.

Steven Guilbeault, Trudeau’s Environment and Climate Change Minister, has lost support from neutral public and provincial governments and the powerful climate action lobby.

Don Braid of the Calgary Herald says Chickens with their heads cut off run around in circles. In politics, the federal Liberals are starting to exhibit this postmortem behaviour.

Braid says their electoral chances are as good as dead, and their head, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, seems only tenuously attached to his party. Still, they dash around crazily, patching this and launching that, all while sticking to their unpopular policies, ministers and leader.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault, the core cabinet fowl who said no new roads should be built in Canada, continues to press his climate extremism.

“The result is political fiasco.”

Alberta and Saskatchewan have always been bitterly opposed to many measures. But Guilbeault is now losing support from the public, provincial governments that once were at least neutral and, crucially, the powerful climate action lobby.

The disasters are self-inflicted. Trudeau and Guilbeault stuck to the carbon tax even after the policy’s disastrous deflation by the “carve out” for home heating oil, a benefit mainly to Atlantic Canada.

Their faux-tough response — nobody else gets that, dammit! — actually cost farmers a break that had been planned, but suddenly looked like another exemption.

The carbon tax, revealed as a purely political tool, is ripe for axing by a potential new leader like Mark Carney. Even New Democrats have argued that the tax should exit, stage left.

Now, Guilbeault has introduced amendments to the Impact Assessment Act, allegedly bringing it into line with the Supreme Court ruling that found the law seriously intrudes on powers rightly belonging to the provinces.

Trudeau’s power grabs shot down

Guilbeault has never acknowledged this was a defeat. He treats the ruling as a simple policy problem rather than a 5-2 thumping by judges not usually known for hostility to federal power grabs.

Alberta was predictably furious about the amendments. Premier Danielle Smith always said Guilbeault would make a gesture and proceed as usual, forcing yet another court challenge.

“When you look at the unconstitutionality of the first draft, you can’t just make tweaks and bring this in line with the Constitution,” says Rebecca Schulz, Alberta’s minister for environment and protected areas.

“That’s really the issue here. Minister Guilbeault still has the ability to involve himself in projects that are within provincial jurisdiction.

“In the end, this piece of legislation remains unconstitutional. We are going to be taking this back to court and I’m confident in our position, because their changes don’t actually address the issues that we’ve raised.”

The trouble is, legal uncertainty causes still more delays in building crucial projects. Ottawa imposed a ban on designating new major projects after the court ruling. It has been in effect for seven months.

Trudeau’s middle ground game not working

The Impact Assessment Agency, the powerful regulatory body that oversees all this, said in a statement: “No decisions to designate projects will be taken. Consideration of any new designation requests will only resume, as appropriate, once amended legislation is in force.”

Most striking is the fury from the climate action lobby toward Guilbeault’s amendments.

“Overall, the bill is a complete federal abdication to address proposed high-carbon projects such as in situ oil mines,” Steven Hazell, a retired environment lawyer and federal regulator told the National Observer, Canada’s best chronicler of climate stories and policy.

Green party Leader Elizabeth May said the government was “erring on the side of stupidity.” May sees the court decision as an opportunity to go further with legislation, not retreat to meet demands of provincial jurisdiction.

She’s the politician who believes the country should be put under virtual martial law to deal with the climate emergency, with all power to Ottawa. And those people are, more or less, the Liberals’ natural allies.That’s where Trudeau and his crew have got themselves as they race around, trying to find a murky middle ground on everything from climate action to taxation and Israel’s war against Hamas (no major religious group in Canada now favours the Liberals, according to a new poll from the Angus Reid Institute).Source: The Calgary Herald

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China And Russia Reaffirm Their Close Ties As Moscow Presses Its Offensive In Ukraine

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china
AP News - VOR News Image

BEIJING — On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated their “no-limits” friendship, which has expanded as both countries face mounting tensions with the West, and blasted US military deployments in Asia and the Pacific.

At their summit in Beijing, Putin hailed Xi for China’s recommendations to settle the conflict in Ukraine, which Ukraine and its Western allies have rejected as mostly adopting the Kremlin’s line.

Putin’s two-day state visit to one of his biggest allies and commercial partners comes as Russian forces launch an operation in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, marking the most serious border incursion since the full-scale invasion began on February 24, 2022.

China claims to be impartial in the crisis, but it has supported the Kremlin’s accusations that the West led Russia into attacking Ukraine, and it continues to supply vital components required by Moscow for weapons manufacture.

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AP – VOR News Image

China And Russia Reaffirm Their Close Ties As Moscow Presses Its Offensive In Ukraine

China, which has not condemned the invasion, suggested a broad-based peace plan in 2023, calling for a cease-fire and direct talks between Moscow and Kyiv. Both Ukraine and the West rejected the idea because it did not call on Russia to vacate Ukraine’s occupied territories.

China also lent a verbal nod to Russia’s narrative about Nazism in Ukraine, with a joint statement issued Thursday saying Moscow and Beijing should protect the post-World War II order and “severely condemn the glorification of or even attempts to revive Nazism and militarism.”

Putin has claimed the “denazification” of Ukraine as a primary purpose of the military action, falsely referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government as neo-Nazis.

The mostly symbolic and ceremonial visit emphasized cooperation between two countries facing challenges in their relations with the United States and Europe.

“Both sides want to show that despite what is happening globally, despite the pressure that both sides are facing from the U.S., both sides are not about to turn their backs on each other anytime soon,” said Hoo Tiang Boon, a Chinese foreign policy researcher at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.

While Putin and Xi stated they wanted to stop the war, they made no new ideas in their public remarks.

“China hopes for the early return of Europe to peace and stability and will continue to play a constructive role toward this,” Xi said in prepared remarks to the media in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. His statements echoed China’s overarching peace initiative.

Earlier in the day, Putin was greeted in Tiananmen Square with military fanfare and cannon fire.

On the eve of his visit, Putin stated that China’s proposal may “lay the groundwork for a political and diplomatic process that would take Russia’s security concerns into account and contribute to achieving long-term and sustainable peace.”

Zelenskyy has stated that any negotiations must entail the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the departure of Russian soldiers, the release of all captives, a tribunal for those responsible for the assault, and security assurances for Ukraine.

china

AP – VOR news Image

China And Russia Reaffirm Their Close Ties As Moscow Presses Its Offensive In Ukraine

Putin said he would brief Xi on the situation in Ukraine, adding, “We appreciate the initiative of our Chinese colleagues and friends to regulate the situation.”

Following Russia’s latest attack in Ukraine last week, the war has reached a crucial point as Ukraine’s depleted military awaits new supplies of anti-aircraft missiles and artillery rounds from the United States, which have been delayed for months.

China and Russia’s joint statement also harshly slammed US foreign policy, citing US-formed alliances as having a “Cold War mentality.”

“Both sides expressed serious concern about the consequences caused to the strategic stability of the Asia-Pacific region by AUKUS,” according to the statement, referring to the acronym for Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

China and Russia have accused the United States of installing land-based intermediate-range missile systems in the Asia-Pacific region under the guise of joint drills with allies. They claimed that the United States’ operations in Asia were “changing the balance of power” and “endangering the security of all countries in the region.”

The united declaration underscored China’s support for Russia.

“There’s so much Chinese falling over themselves to give Russia face and respect without saying anything specific, or committing to anything,” said Susan Thornton, a former diplomat and senior fellow at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center.

The meeting was another endorsement of China and Russia’s amicable “no limits” friendship, which they signed in 2022, just before Moscow invaded Ukraine.

Since then, Russia has been increasingly economically dependent on China since Western sanctions have limited its access to most of the global commercial system. China’s expanding commerce with Russia, which reached $240 billion last year, has helped the country buffer some of the worst effects of sanctions.

Moscow has transferred most of its energy exports to China and relied on Chinese enterprises to purchase high-tech components for Russian defense sectors to avoid Western sanctions.

china

AP – VOR News Image

China And Russia Reaffirm Their Close Ties As Moscow Presses Its Offensive In Ukraine

“I and President Putin agree we should actively look for convergence points of the interests of both countries, to develop each’s advantages, and deepen integration of interests, realizing each others’ achievements,” added Xi.

Xi congratulated Putin on the start of his fifth term in office and commemorated the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the former Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, which were formed after a civil war in 1949. In the March election, Putin eliminated all significant political opponents and faced no serious threat. He, like Xi, has not spelled out a succession strategy.

“In a famous song of that time, 75 years ago — it is still performed today — there is a phrase that has become a catchphrase: ‘Russians and Chinese are brothers forever,'” Putin stated.

During the war, Russia and China expanded their military ties. In recent years, they have conducted several cooperative war simulations, including naval drills and long-range bomber patrols over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea. Russian and Chinese ground forces have also moved to the other country’s territory to conduct joint training.

China continues to be a major market for Russian military hardware, while the country’s defense industry is rapidly developing, including the production of aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines.

Putin has already stated that Russia has shared highly sensitive military technologies with China, considerably improving its defense strength.

SOURCE -(AP)

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