The provincial town of Mage seems a world away from the violence and drug dealing that plague Brazil's larger cities. On a recent afternoon, the central square is a picture of calm. Children play around a fountain; older people sit on the many park benches dotting the area, under the shade of trees.
Mage, about 35 miles northwest of Rio, is close enough that people can commute to the city, which many of them do. Yet it's far enough away that nothing much really happened here in the past. But residents say that is changing.
In 1993, a freighter ran aground off Queens, N.Y. The Golden Venture had nearly 300 people on it who were being smuggled into the U.S. from China.
Passengers cited China's forced-sterilization program and governmental persecution from political expression as reasons to climb aboard the Golden Venture. Some paid the smugglers $30,000 to board the ship. An organized crime syndicate would front the money, and the passengers would have to work off the debt, often in restaurants like indentured servants.
It's an overstatement to say that it's beginning to look like President George W. Bush's fourth term.
Still, that characterization by former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer carried the ring of truth Thursday with the report that a National Security Agency telecommunications program that Americans first became aware of under Bush has continued under Obama.
President Obama arrives in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on Friday to spend two days with China's new president, Xi Jinping, at a 200-acre estate called Sunnylands.
The house at Sunnylands is built of lava stone. The private golf course includes a pink pagoda. And if the presidents feel like fishing in one of the property's 11 lakes, they will hardly be the first world leaders to dip a line in the water.
Tropical Storm Andrea has made landfall on Florida's Big Bend area, the National Hurricane Center in Miami reports. As of 5:45 p.m. ET, the center's tracking system placed the storm on the state's Gulf coast, level with Gainesville. Andrea is expected to spread rain and strong winds along the Southeastern coast tonight and Friday.
Singer Justin Bieber is the latest celebrity to score a booking on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, destined for its first suborbital test flight sometime this year.
The Bieb and manager Scooter Braun join the likes of Ashton Kutcher, Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie on the elite passenger list of those willing and able to pay $250,000 for a seat on Richard Branson's commercial space-flight venture.