Brazilians plopped down in chairs gathered around sidewalk TVs and sat down to meals with sets looming over their tables on Friday night as the country settled in for the final chapter of a smash soap opera that enthralled its fans for months.
Avenida Brasil told the story of a young woman’s vengeance on the nouveau-riche stepmother who abandoned her in a landfill, but Brazil avoided a second vengeance — power outages that experts had feared might hit as TV watchers suddenly returned to normal activities once the episode ended.
Earlier on Friday, the national electricity grid warned power distributors to prepare for sudden surges in electricity use from millions of viewers switching on living room lights, raiding refrigerators and turning on microwave ovens after the 100-minute broadcast.
However, as the final minutes of the telenovela drew to a close, there were no reports of any significant power outages blamed on the soap opera.
Telenovelas, prime-time soap operas with average runs of 200 episodes, are hugely popular in Brazil, where the plot lines often become front-page news and where discussions of the heroes and villains are a major topic of conversation.
Aware of the immense popularity of Avenida Brasil, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff postponed a political rally endorsing the governing Workers’ Party mayoral candidate in Sao Paulo. The rally had been set to be held at the same time as the soap opera’s final chapter.
“I haven’t missed an episode of Avenida Brasil since it began, and there is no way I will miss the last chapter,” secretary Elizabeth Sarti said as she sipped a cup of coffee at a Starbucks. “Me and my husband have invited a group of friends for dinner and for the finale.”
The show’s major success was due to the fact that instead of focusing on the rich, it centered on Brazil’s burgeoning middle class, which has grown by 40 million in the last decade. Its main protagonists came from the middle class, while a handful of upper-class characters were relegated to the background.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big