The beaches of Rio de Janeiro, the most well known Brazilian city, famous as much for their boisterous energy as for their natural beauty, are undergoing a makeover thanks to a “Shock Order” program by the current mayor, Eduardo Paes. Under the new rules, ball games are among the undesirable activities being curtailed or banned as the city that will host a World Cup (2014) and Olympics (2016) within seven years seeks to clean up its act. Up to 2 million people pack Rio’s beaches on a sunny day, bringing together high society and slum dwellers making it the most democratic place in the city. Some critics say the moves by the mayor will affect the spontaneity of beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana, which have been celebrated in many a samba and bossa nova song.

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