Dourados - Brazil

Dourados is a Brazilian municipality, situated in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, 225 km (140 mi) Southwest of Campo Grande (the state's capital). It has a population of about 210,000 inhabitants, and its economy is based mainly in arable agriculture (particularly Soya, Maize and Sugar Cane) and in cattle ranching. Dourados is also the second most populous and important city of this state.

Its media, commerce, and services more than take care of the thirty cities of Mato Grosso do Sul, including a part of Paraguay. For its size and importance, it is an economic and social capital of a region that possesses approximately a million inhabitants (Vestibule of the Mercosul – the Common Market of the South).

Its development was slow until the first half of the 20th century, because of transportation limitations(highways and roads), especially with Campo Grande and the State of São Paulo. From 1950, it increased its development with the construction of roads. With this, it received migrants from other parts of the country (especially Sulistas and São Paulo) and immigrants (mainly Japanese). The city has a close relationship with Paraguay its next door neighbor, which is 120 km (75 mi) away. This is a strong factor in the ethnic and cultural union between the city and the neighboring country. This explains why 30% of the inhabitants of Dourados have some Paraguayan family link.

On Saturday night and Sunday morning there is a large open-air market (Feira) offering locally produced fruits and vegetables. Pineapples, water melons and bananas are all good and you'll find a wide range of salad and root vegetables alongside Japanese specialities such as radishes and soy cakes,

At the Feira you will also find restaurants providing Brazilian and Japanese food as well as stalls selling popular local delicacies such as Sugarcane juice (Caldo de Cana), Doce de Leite (a type of caramel made from milk and sugar and cooked until it is either a thick syrup or it can formed into fudge-like pieces) and Cocada (coconut and condensed milk cooked until either sticky or hard).

Many locals make regular trips to the Paraguayan border town of Ponta Porã/Pedro Juan Caballero where they are able to buy relatively low-cost low-duty imported items such as electronic goods, perfumes and designer clothing.
The "cerrado" landscape is characterized by extensive savanna formations crossed by gallery forests and stream valleys. Cerrado includes various types of vegetation. Humid fields and "buriti" palm paths are found where the water table is near the surface. Alpine pastures occur at higher altitudes and mesophytic forests on more fertile soils. The "cerrado" trees have characteristic twisted trunks covered by a thick bark, and leaves which are usually broad and rigid. Many herbaceous plants have extensive roots to store water and nutrients. The plant's thick bark and roots serve as adaptations for the periodic fires which sweep the cerrado landscape. The adaptations protect the plants from destruction and make them capable of sprouting again after the fire.

The state is located in western Brazil, in a region mostly occupied by the inland marshes of the Pantanal. The highest elevation is the 1,065 m high Morro Grande.

The Pantanal is an ecological destination in the heart of Brazil. It is the largest flooded lowland on the planet and the third largest environmental reserve in the world. It is home to one of the richest ecosystems ever found to date, with periodically flooded seasonal forests. It displays the largest concentration of neo-tropical fauna, including several endangered species – mammals, reptiles and fish – and it also serves as habitat for a variety of native birds, as well as those migrating from other areas in the Americas. The Pantanal is one of the best places in Brazil for flora and fauna observation and for fishing – permitted only between March and October – due to its abundance of animals. It has a total area of 230,000 square kilometres, covering 12 townships in the States of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. To the North, there are the Paracis, Azul and Roncador mountains. To the East, the Maracaju Mountain Range. To the South, the Dodoquena Mountain Range. And, to the West, the Paraguayan and Bolivian swamps. The Pantanal is so diverse that researchers subdivided it in sub-regions. Each "Pantanal" – North and South – has its own natural features, activities and ideal period for visitation.

Brazil received an International Monetary Fund rescue package in mid-2002 of $30.4 billion, then a record sum. Brazil's central bank paid back the IMF loan in 2005, although it was not due to be repaid until 2006. One of the issues the Central Bank of Brazil recently dealt with was an excess of speculative short-term capital inflows to the country, which may have contributed to a fall in the value of the U.S. dollar against the real during that period. Nonetheless, foreign direct investment (FDI), related to long-term, less speculative investment in production, is estimated to be $193.8 billion for 2007. Inflation monitoring and control currently plays a major part in the Central bank's role of setting out short-term interest rates as a monetary policy measure.

Between 1993 and 2010, 7012 mergers & acquisitions with a total known value of $707 billion with the involvement of Brazilian firms have been announced. The year 2010 was a new record in terms of value with 115 billion USD of transactions. The largest transaction with involvement of Brazilian companies has been: Cia. Vale do Rio Doce acquired Inco in a tender offer valued at US$18.9 billion.

Corruption costs Brazil almost $41 billion a year alone in 2010, with 69.9% of the country's firms identifying the issue as a major constraint in successfully penetrating the global market. Local government corruption is so prevalent that voters perceive it as a problem only if it surpasses certain levels, and only if a local media e.g. a radio station is present to divulge the findings of corruption charges. Initiatives, like this exposure, strengthen awareness which is indicated by the Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index; ranking Brazil 69th out of 178 countries in 2012. The purchasing power in Brazil is eroded by the so-called Brazil cost.

The country is also a pioneer in the search for oil in deep water, from where it extracts 73% of its reserves. Uranium is enriched at the Resende Nuclear Fuel Factory, mostly for research purposes (as Brazil obtains 88% from its electricity from hydroelectricity ) and the country's first nuclear submarine was delivered in 2015 (by France). Brazil is one of the three countries in Latin America with an operational Synchrotron Laboratory, a research facility on physics, chemistry, material science and life sciences, and Brazil is the only Latin American country to have a semiconductor company with its own fabrication plant, the CEITEC. According to the Global Information Technology Report 2009-2010 of the World Economic Forum, Brazil is the world's 61st largest developer of information technology.

Brazil also has a large number of outstanding scientific personalities. Among the most renowned Brazilian inventors are priests Bartolomeu de Gusmão, Landell de Moura and Francisco João de Azevedo, besides Alberto Santos-Dumont, Evaristo Conrado Engelberg, Manuel Dias de Abreu, Andreas Pavel and Nélio José Nicolai. Brazilian science is represented by the likes of César Lattes (Brazilian physicist Pathfinder of Pi Meson), Mário Schenberg (considered the greatest theoretical physicist of Brazil), José Leite Lopes (only Brazilian physicist holder of UNESCO Science Prize), Artur Ávila (the first Latin American winner of Fields Medal) and Fritz Müller (pioneer in factual support of the theory of evolution by Charles Darwin).

Roman Catholicism is the country's predominant faith. Brazil has the world's largest Catholic population. According to the 2000 Demographic Census (the PNAD survey does not inquire about religion), 73.57% of the population followed Roman Catholicism; 15.41% Protestantism; 1.33% Kardecist spiritism; 1.22% other Christian denominations; 0.31% Afro-Brazilian religions; 0.13% Buddhism; 0.05% Judaism; 0.02% Islam; 0.01% Amerindian religions; 0.59% other religions, undeclared or undetermined; while 7.35% have no religion.

However, in the last ten years Protestantism, particularly in forms of Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism, has spread in Brazil, while the proportion of Catholics has dropped significantly. After Protestantism, individuals professing no religion are also a significant group, exceeding 7% of the population as of the 2000 census. The cities of Boa Vista, Salvador, and Porto Velho have the greatest proportion of Irreligious residents in Brazil. Teresina, Fortaleza, and Florianópolis were the most Roman Catholic in the country. Greater Rio de Janeiro, not including the city proper, is the most irreligious and least Roman Catholic Brazilian periphery, while Greater Porto Alegre and Greater Fortaleza are on the opposite sides of the lists, respectively.

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