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Minais Gerais is a state in the southeast of Brazil, north of Rio de Janeiro. It ranks as the second most populous, the third by gross domestic product (GDP), and the fourth largest by area in the country. The state's capital and largest city, Belo Horizonte, is a major urban and finance center in Latin America, and is the sixth largest municipality in Brazil, after the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Brasilia and Fortaleza, but its metropolitan area is the third largest in Brazil with just over 5,500,000 inhabitants, after those of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Minas Gerais is the Brazilian state with the largest number of presidents of Brazil; Brazil's current president, Dilma Rousseff, born in Belo Horizonte, is one of them.
Minas Gerais features some of the longest rivers in Brazil, most notably the São Francisco, the Paraná and to a lesser extent, the Rio Doce. The state also holds many hydroelectric power plants, including Furnas. Some of the highest peaks in Brazil are in the mountain ranges in the southern part of the state, such as Serra da Mantiqueira and Serra do Cervo, that mark the border between Minas and its neighbors São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The most notable one is the Pico da Bandeira, the third highest mountain in Brazil at 2,890 metres, standing on the border with Espírito Santo state. The state also has huge reserves of iron and sizeable reserves of gold and gemstones, including emerald, topaz and aquamarine mines. Emeralds found in this location are comparable to the best Colombia-origin emeralds, and are most often a bluish-green color
The central and eastern area of the state is hilly and rocky, with little vegetation on the mountains. The south of Minas Gerais is hilly and green, with coffee and milk production. The west of Minas Gerais, also known as "Triângulo Mineiro" (which means "the Minas Triangle", due to the geographic shape of this region), is composed of a particular type of savanna, known as the Cerrado.
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The FIFA World Cup 2014 will be held in Brazil. It takes place from 12 June to 13 July 2014. It will be the second time that Brazil has hosted the competition, the previous being in 1950. The national teams of 32 countries will join the second biggest sports event in the world (after the Olympic Games). A total of 64 matches are to be played in twelve cities across Brazil, with the tournament beginning with a group stage. For the first time at a World Cup Finals, the matches will use goal-line technology. Twelve locations will be World Cup host cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo. They cover all the main regions of Brazil and create more evenly distributed hosting than the 1950 finals in Brazil provided, when matches were concentrated in the south-east and south. As a result the tournament will require significant long-distance travel for teams. Brazil opens the tournament against Croatia, played in Sao Paulo on the 12th of June, and the final will be played on the 13th of July in Rio de Janeiro.
Belo Horizonte/Pampulha – Carlos Drummond de Andrade Airport (PLU) is the main gateway by air to the state and is located about 8 kilometres from downtown Belo Horizonte. TRIP and two other smaller airlines serve the city. Some of the main destinations include Campo Grande, Curitiba, Campinas, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro.
Minas' traditional cuisine is unique but was mainly influenced by the Portuguese. Minas prides itself on its food, and comida mineira restaurants can be found throughout the country.
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