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In its “Metro Brazil” report, Brookings analyzed for the first time economic and demographic data pertaining to Brazil’s most significant cities.

It shows that metropolitan areas not only play an essential role in the country’s financial landscape but also display dynamic economies that continue to grow despite slowed growth at the national level.

The numbers underscore the healthy state of these metro areas.

With 33 percent of the population, they account for 56 percent of national GDP, concentrate half of the country’s college graduates, and are responsible for at least 45 percent of their states’ GDP.

Globally, these metro areas are responsible for one-third of Brazil’s exports.

BRAZIL

Faithful to walk miles to see pope

RIO DE JANEIRO — Those people hoping to attend next year’s open air papal Mass in Brazil will have to be in good physical condition.

The website of the organizing committee for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit says the Mass will be held on a farm in Guaratiba, in a remote rural area of western Rio de Janeiro state.

It says the faithful will be taken to nearby towns by bus, then choose among three trails up to 8 miles each to walk the rest of the way to the site.

More than 2 million are expected to attend the Mass.

The pope will be in Brazil from July 23 to 28 to celebrate World Youth Day and will officiate two ceremonies on Rio de Janeiro’s famed Copacabana beach.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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