As the northwestern city of Rio Branco prepares for the World Cup, some wonder whether its failed bid in 2009 to be one of the host cities was a blessing in disguise.
The host team, Brazil, faces off against Croatia in the first match of the World Cup today.
Public school teachers in Brazil often work at more than one school in order to cobble together a full-time pay check.
Most public school students in Brazil are in class for about four hours each day. In an effort to get more kids studying full-days, cities like Rio are rushing to build more schools.
Primary school quality in the world's No. 7 economy ranks below impoverished Haiti. But galvanizing Brazilians to boost education for all is no easy task.
Bus drivers in Rio have already gone on strike, and teachers may do the same. Some say other groups - including the federal police - could strike as well amid World Cup attention and the leadup to elections.
The opulent Teatro Amazonas opera house still stuns visitors to Manaus. It's a legacy of the rubber boom and the region’s short-lived monopoly on worldwide production.
Northeast Brazil used to be known for poverty and migration south. But locals like Maria Joelma da Silva, who the Monitor first met in 2008, are redefining the region.
Brazil's favelas are often associated with violence and crime, but that's only part of the story.