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Musical minister

Sao Paulo, July 1 (Reuters): Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil is taking a month off his day job as the nation’s minister of culture so he can go on a European tour to make ends meet.

Gil, one of Brazil’s best known musicians, accepted the ministerial post at the start of the year only after he was assured he would be allowed to continue pursuing his musical career. His government salary of some $2,900 a month, he claimed, was insufficient to maintain his standard of living.

Yesterday, the dread-locked native of north-eastern Bahia state flew to Europe, where he will spend 24 days performing in cities including London, Rome, Paris, Lyon and Vienna.

Gil, 60, was one of the founders of Brazil’s “Tropicalismo” counterculture movement in the 1960s together with singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso. His mixture of rock and Afro-Brazilian beats has also won him many fans around the world, and in 1999 he won a Grammy Award in the world music category for his album Quanta.

One of his latest recordings was a tribute to Jamaican reggae icon Bob Marley, named Kaya ’ Gandaia — a word play alluding to Marley’s song Kaya, a street name for marijuana but also meaning “Get some fun” in colloquial Brazilian Portuguese.

Window act

Boston (Reuters): Women's fashions may be getting flimsier every day but bystanders saw more than they bargained for when a scantily-clad performance artist tried to squeeze into clothes in a storefront window. Apparently outraged by a touch too much flesh, residents called police to stop artist Elaine Belsito, who was wearing only a sports bra and panties, from dressing in the window of a gallery in Somerville, Massachusetts, The Boston Globe reported on Monday. Belsito was staging a performance art piece called: “If Only You Lost Five Pounds You’d Be Perfect,” and was ordered out of the window by police. No charges were filed, the paper said.

Born again

Rio De Janeiro (Reuters): Finding a job in Brazil may be tough, especially when your records say that you are dead, as 25-year-old unemployed driver Marcio Freitas da Silva discovered. The problem is that when another man of the same name and age died three years ago, coroners wrote the names of the living da Silva’s parents in the death certificate, “murdering” him for official records. “It’s a humiliating situation when others make mistakes and I have to prove that I’m alive,” da Silva said, complaining that he had been told during his ordeal that a dead man “cannot drive vehicles on federal highways.”

The civil registry office has already revitalised da Silva, but the new documents, issued late last year, have not reached most government offices.

Globo showed an election official eagerly explaining to da Silva that, alive or not, he could not vote while his record said he was dead.

BERLIN, June 30 (Reuters) - A German used recorded barking to provoke a neighbour's dog to respond so he could report the animal for disturbing the peace, police said on Monday.

”The man evidently didn't like the dog and wanted to make it bark more so he could report it,” a police spokesman in the northern town of Harrislee said.

After the man complained to police about the German shepherd, the neighbour discovered a speaker hidden in his garden hedge attached to a cable leading to the man's house.

He alerted police, who found the system was rigged up to play dog barks and sounds of tongue clicks meant to attract canines. “The whole story is so ludicrous, we really can't imagine what he thought he would achieve,” the spokesman said.

”There's no way the man would have had his dog taken away just because it barked sometimes.”


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