Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff speaks in Sao Paulo on Dec. 19, framed by posters held by protesters calling for asylum for National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. Andre Penner/AP hide caption

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Brazilian chef Alex Atala, whose restaurant, D.O.M., is ranked among the top 10 in the world, was named one of the most influential people by Time magazine this year. Cassio Vasconcellos/AP hide caption

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Social media is booming in Brazil, which has become a major market for both Facebook and Twitter. But Brazilian law is still in flux, and legislation is only just being created to deal with the rise of social media. Christophe Simon /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Volunteers look through children's letters to Santa at a post office in Salvador in northeastern Brazil's Bahia state. The campaign is part of a more than 20-year tradition to help those less fortunate to have gifts for the holiday. Raul Spinasse/DPA /Landov hide caption

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Brazilian fare from the restaurant D.O.M. in Sao Paulo is some of the best in the world — literally. It's currently ranked the sixth best restaurant in the world by San Pellegrino. Rodrigo Paoletti/flickr hide caption

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Municipal guards with batons chase a mob of thieves that snatched bags and wallets from beachgoers on Arpoador beach, adjacent to Ipanema, in Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 20. Marcelo Carnaval/AP hide caption

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A lady with two slaves, in Bahia, Brazil, 1860. Moreira Salles Institute Archive hide caption

itoggle caption Moreira Salles Institute Archive