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food / travel

Watch: Australia's Most Famous Beach Turns Blood Red

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (Australia)

Worldcrunch

When you see red water on an Australian beach... you immediately think "shark attack!"

Sydney's most famous beach, Bondi beach, and neighboring Clovelly beach were closed on Tuesday after the water turned bright red. On Wednesday, 10 other Sydney beaches were closed according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Photo: Bondi Rescue/Edwina Pickles

Photo @oystermag/Twitter

Photo @bondibaggins/Twitter

Photo: @jacintamused/Twitter

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Photo @thetimes/Twitter


Photo @UrbanSocietyAus/Twitter

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the crimson color is caused by a red algae known as "Noctiluca scintillans," or "sea sparkle." "It has no toxic effects, but people are still advised to avoid swimming in areas with discolored water because the algae, which can be high in ammonia, can cause skin irritation."

Sea sparkle gets its name because it can be phosporescent at night.

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Society

Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.


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