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BRAZIL BEAT: Get on the party bus in Recife

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Brazil fans celebrate the first goal of their team during a live broadcast of the soccer World Cup match between Brazil and Chile, inside the FIFA Fan Fest area on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, June 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Brazil fans celebrate the first goal of their team during a live broadcast of the soccer World Cup match between Brazil and Chile, inside the FIFA Fan Fest area on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, June 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Fans of Brazil pray before a live broadcast of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Brazil and Chile, inside the FIFA Fan Fest area in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, June 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Fans of chile national soccer team pose for photos prior the World Cup round of 16 match between Brazil and Chile at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

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RECIFE, Brazil (AP) — World Cup tourists using public buses in Recife are in for the ride of their lives.

The No. 503 bus driven by Uiraquitan Batista is completely covered in Brazilian flags and yellow and green paraphernalia. It also blasts the forro music popular at the festivities going on during the month of June in Northeast Brazil.

Wearing a top hat with the Brazil flag, Batista drives around the city hopping up and down in his seat as he dances to the upbeat music he plays and welcomes passengers with an ear-to-ear smile.

Soon passengers are chanting along with the forro music and dancing together inside the bus, sometimes with Batista’s colleague, bus fare collector Eduardo Martins, who wear a green and yellow wig.

Though the World Cup inspired Batista to decorate his bus in support of the Brazil national team, this 44-year-old bus driver always had a taste for festive decorations.

“It’s a way of identifying yourself with the passengers and saying I’m doing what I like,” said Batista, who has been a bus driver for 20 years and has been decorating his workspace for 12.

“I show it at every party: Saint John, Christmas, New Year’s and Carnival,” he added.

For commuters used to moody drivers and endless traffic, the atmosphere Batista created makes the ride a pleasure rather than a daily nightmare.

“This way we go to work lively,” said Maria Antonia Chaves, who occasionally is lucky enough to hop onto Batista’s bus.

“I love it. I love forro, and I love his good mood,” she added.

Batista and Martins took an entire day to decorate the bus with flags, banners and other objects, which were paid for by their bus company. In fact, the company liked Batista’s idea so much that it asked him to alternate routes every weekday from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. to benefit passengers in all parts of Recife.

“It’s a therapy for passengers. It brings them happiness, joy. Everyone who gets on likes it, takes pictures, films it and shares it on social media,” Martins said proudly.

— By Renata Brito — www.twitter.com/RenataBrito91

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TWITTER HACKED

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s government says a hacker breached the Twitter account of the nation’s federal police and posted false word that there was a bomb threat in the World Cup stadium where Brazil took on Chile.

The hacked message was posted about an hour before kickoff Saturday and said that there “was a confirmed bomb threat” in the stadium in the city of Belo Horizonte, and that “an evacuation is not being ruled out.”

The office of the Brazilian presidency said on its own Twitter account about an hour later that the message was false. The fake message was removed.

Brazil’s government websites and those related to the World Cup have been targeted by hackers in recent weeks. But nobody immediately took credit for this incident.

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SUBDUED SAO PAULO

SAO PAULO (AP) — Sao Paulo’s typically raucous Avenida Paulista was particularly subdued Saturday morning.

“I’m very nervous,” said Munuel Freitas, a 21-year-old Brazilian quietly standing outside a major shopping center adorned with a giant flag of Brazil. “Chile is not an easy team. It is going to be difficult.”

All along the thoroughfare there were equally jittery Brazilians preparing to watch their country’s first World Cup knockout game. As kickoff time approached, the streets emptied as rabid fans flocked to bars, restaurants — and mostly the sanctuary of their own homes. Aside from the Elvis impersonator belting out drawled hits in a Brazilian-themed jumpsuit, all was quiet as pedestrians seemed to be consumed by their own thoughts.

“I want them to win, of course, but I don’t trust our team,” said Daniela Arce, 38, wearing the almost mandatory yellow Brazil team jersey. “They think they are all stars, and we think we are the greatest, and we have to win because we are home. But most of the World Cups we did not win.”

She likened the political atmosphere around the games to that at the 1970 tournament, when a Brazil title lifted the spirit of a country in the middle of a military dictatorship. Should Brazil lose, many fear that the wide scale protests that accompanied the heavily criticized preparations will resume.

— By Aron Heller — www.twitter.com/aronhellerap

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BRACING FOR PROTESTS

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — Banks and car dealerships near the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte had their windows boarded up in fear of protests before Brazil’s match against Chile in the second round of the World Cup on Saturday.

Owners took the precautionary measure because several demonstrations against the billions of dollars spent on the World Cup were scheduled for the morning of the match in the southeastern city. Some banks near downtown, where protests have happened in the past, also had their facades boarded up overnight.

Belo Horizonte was home to some of the most violent protests during last year’s Confederations Cup, the World Cup warm-up tournament in Brazil. Demonstrators trying to get near the stadium clashed with police, who

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