News from Brazil

Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on March 25, 2011 at 11:09 am

POLITICS

President Dilma Rousseff announced the launch of a nationwide program for the prevention of breast and cervical cancer. The government will invest 4.5 billion reais (2.7 billion U.S. dollars) for the program. The federal government will provide free cervical smear exams for all women aged 25 to 59 in Brazil, as well as free mammogram in public hospitals (Xinhua).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

INTERNATIONAL

As soon as Carnival was over, Rio de Janeiro started to look forward to its next big spectacle: a visit by Barack Obama. The previous day, spent in Brasília with the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, had been billed as about trade—the United States is exporting more and more to Brazil, and hopes that demand in booming economies like Brazil’s will help it out of recession. But Rio was to be about fun, and about connecting with the Brazilian people rather than just with politicians (The Economist).

President Obama’s trip to multiracial Brazil is providing a case study in how America’s first African-American president approaches the matter of his race: Let the symbolism speak for itself (The New York Times).

President Dilma Rousseff and U.S. President Barack Obama made it clear they hope to strengthen relations between the two countries. Obama, on his first presidential Latin American tour, praised Brazil as a model of democracy and complimented the country’s flourishing economy during his visit (The Rio Times).

The two largest economies in the Western Hemisphere signed a trade and economic cooperation agreement to boost commerce by expanding trade and remove non-tariff barriers (The Rio Times).

The United States president, Barack Obama, expressed his “appreciation”, during his meeting with president Dilma Rousseff, for Brazil’s aspiration to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, according to a Joint Statement signed by both presidents during Obama’s first visit to Brazil (Senado Federal).

As he praised the visit of the United States president Barack Obama to Brazil, senator Eduardo Suplicy (PT-SP) suggested Obama to announce the end of the economic embargo against Cuba, while in Brazil (Senado Federal).

President Obama and newly inaugurated Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff  expanded a Memorandum of Understanding on Biofuels, and agreed “that the two countries have converging interests in energy-related matters, including in oil, natural gas, biofuels and other renewables. President Obama stated that the United States seeks to be a Strategic Energy Partner of Brazil (Biofuels Digest).

The United States must pay more importance to its strategic alliance with Brazil if it really wants to benefit from Petrobras’ recently discovered deep-water oil and natural gas reserves in the Atlantic Ocean, the company’s CEO, Jose Sergio Gabrielli, said (MercoPress).

Brazil reaffirmed the significance of Mercosur for President Dilma Rousseff administration’s foreign policy and underlined the strategic relation with Argentina, Brazil’s main associate in the trade block (MercoPress).

TWITTER & LINKEDIN

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

Be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here.

DEFENSE

Embraer Defense and Security signed a contract with DRS Defense Solutions for designing, developing, testing, and producing the KC-390 Cargo Handling and Aerial Delivery System (CHS/ADS), as well as providing its after-market support. The work will be performed by DRS Training & Control Systems in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, in the U.S. (Embraer).

President Barack Obama made a strong pitch for the Boeing F-18 jet fighter in a meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, but she did not indicate if her government had decided to buy the U.S.-made plane, the White House said (Reuters).

SCIENCE & RESEARCH

Surprised scientists have discovered the remains of a saber-toothed vegetarian. The leaf-crunching animal — about the size of a large dog — lived 260 million years ago in what is now Brazil, researchers report in Science. Its upper canine teeth were nearly 5 inches long (Washington Post).

The educational and scientific exchange between Brazil and the United States was intensified during the visit by US President Barack Obama. Two agreements were signed: the first will allow federal scientific training agencies in both countries to identify priority research areas for both sides. The other one intensifies academic exchange (Portal Brasil).

Brazil Business & Economic News

In Brazil on March 25, 2011 at 11:08 am

ECONOMY

While some data point to a cooling in Brazil’s economy from its surge last year, economists say the tight labor market and high consumer prices could keep pressure on the central bank to raise interest rates yet more this year (Reuters).

Brazil’s unemployment rate rose in February for the second straight month as policy makers took steps to cool economic growth (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s government plans to cut taxes on domestically manufactured tablet computers as part of a new industrial policy aimed at boosting production of high-end consumer technology goods, Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo said (Bloomberg).

AGRI-PECU & BIOFUELS

The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) and the Research and Projects Financier (Finep) signed a Technical Cooperation Agreement to carry out the Joint Plan for Supporting Industrial Technological Innovation in the Sugar-based Energy and Chemical Sectors (PAISS) (BNDES).

Odebrecht TransPort – in association with Petrobras, Camargo Corrêa, Cosan Açúcar e Álcool, Copersucar and Uniduto Logística – will design, build and operate starting in 2012, a multi-mode logistics system consisting of a network of multiple-use pipelines extending approximately 1,900 km integrated with the Tietê-Paraná Waterway. The system will allow for the long distance transportation and storage of clear fuels, primarily ethanol – a R$ 6 billion business (Odebrecht).

JBS, the world’s largest beef producer, said it would focus on organic growth in 2011 rather than acquisitions as it consolidates on its buying spree of recent years (Reuters).

Sugar output in Brazil, the world’s largest producer, may be delayed by soaring ethanol prices and above-average rainfall, according to broker and researcher Kingsman SA (Bloomberg).

AUTOMOTIVE

The Brazilian unit of Ford Motor Co filed a criminal lawsuit against the local management of rival Nissan Motor Co for airing a TV commercial that says the U.S. automaker charges customers too much for hatchback models (Reuters).

GP Investments, the largest Latin American buyout firm, agreed to buy a controlling stake in Brazilian stolen car recovery company Sascar Tecnologia for 168 million reais ($101 million), to tap growth in the nation’s buoyant consumer services market (Reuters).

AVIATION

Embraer and ABC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Agricultural Bank of China, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on aircraft financing and leasing. The agreement is designed to create new financing opportunities for Embraer to sell aircraft in China and other markets, with a focus on the development of China’s regional, executive, and agricultural aviation. The agreement could come to as much as US$ 1.5 billion over the next five years (Embraer).

Embraer and Alitalia have finalized an agreement for the delivery of 15 EMBRAER 175 and 5 EMBRAER 190 jets through a lease structure to be arranged by third parties (Embraer).

Embraer delivered the first EMBRAER 175 jet to Oman Air. The aircraft will serve the airline’s regional routes operating from Muscat International Airport. The deal was originally announced in November 2009 and includes firm orders for five EMBRAER 175s, plus options for another five aircraft (Embraer).

TWITTER & LINKEDIN

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

Be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here.

BANKING

Brazil’s government announced management changes at state-run lender Caixa Economica Federal at a time policymakers are seeking to implement curbs on lending (Reuters).

Bradesco Asset Management Ltd., Brazil’s third-largest money manager, plans to hire 25 people this year to meet growing foreign demand for local stocks and bonds (Bloomberg).

Banco Bradesco SA is confident it will succeed in buying a stake in Carrefour SA’s financial unit in Brazil, the Financial Times reported, citing Luiz Carlos Trabuco, the Brazilian bank’s chief executive officer (Bloomberg).

MINING & STEEL

Speculation is once again bubbling up that Brazil’s government wants more direct control of Vale SA to focus the mining giant’s vast financial muscle on industrial development and job-creation within Brazil (Foxnews).

Brazil’s biggest maker of steel products for the auto and construction industries, Gerdau SA, plans to sell as much as 4.2 billion Real (2.5 billion USD) of stock, boosting speculation that it has plans to buy a stake in a Brazilian rival, most probably Usiminas (Mercopress).

OIL

Petrobras can “easily” double its 15 billion barrels of proven oil reserves in four to five years, Chief Executive Officer Jose Sergio Gabrielli said (Bloomberg).

TELECOMS

Spain’s Telefonica will invest 24.3 billion reais (US$14.6 billion) in Brazil in the 2011-2014 period, an increase of 52 percent over the prior four years, to tap surging demand for telecommunications services in Latin America’s biggest economy (Reuters).

Brazil Culture & Regional News

In Brazil on March 25, 2011 at 11:06 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of the sofisticated 150 meter high Josephine Baker residential tower for Sao Paulo (source).

SPORTS EVENTS

Brazil sports minister Orlando Silva is seeking help from the country’s Congress to simplify the bidding process and expedite work ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio (Washington Post).

President of the U.S. Export-Import Bank Fred Hochberg announced a financing of 1 billion U.S. dollars for Brazilian companies involved in projects for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The money must be used to purchase products made by U.S. companies (Xinhua).

TWITTER & LINKEDIN

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

Be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here.

AMAZON

The first round of projects to be supported by Brazil’s National Climate Change Fund will focus on greenhouse gas reduction in the agricultural, energy and steel sectors, the Fund’s steering committee announced last week. With a budget of US$ 143 for 2011 (R$ 238 million), the Fund will also finance projects aimed at preventing deforestation and fires in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes (Portal Brasil).

PARATY

Paraty is a world heritage site, a beautiful cobbled colonial town, with a traffic-free historical center. Outside festival season at least, it appears to have stopped in time. The original inhabitants were Guaiana Indians, but the present town was founded in 1667 (The Rio Times).

RIO DE JANEIRO

According to the latest report published by the Brazilian Ministry of Health, there have been 7,030 cases of dengue in the municipality of Rio since the beginning of the year, among them four deaths were registered (The Rio Times).

Obama’s time in Rio consisted of a morning look at the favela Cidade de Deus (City of God) in Zona Oeste (West zone), a speech at the Theatro Municipal to the Brazilian public, followed by a visit to Christ the Redeemer (The Rio Times).

Rio, boasting picture-postcard scenery and plans for big investments ahead of the soccer World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games two years later, is not alone in a Brazilian housing boom that is inevitably raising fears of an asset bubble in one of the world’s hottest emerging markets (Reuters).

With the excesses of Carnival and the stifling heat of summer fading, now is the time to get out of the city and into the countryside. There are no shortage of places to indulge these healthy urges, but for those looking for both views and a beach, Itacoatiara in Niteroi offers the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure (The Rio Times).

RIO GRANDE DO SUL

For years, so many twins have been born in the small southern Brazilian town of Cândido Godói that residents wonder whether something mysterious lurks in the water, or even if Josef Mengele, the Nazi physician known as the Angel of Death, conducted experiments on the women here. Now the mystery appears to be solved  (The New York Times).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

SAO PAULO

At the end of last year The Rio Times explored what R$2,000 per month can afford in Brazil’s largest city, this week they return their look at the rental market, but now at the top end with R$10,000 per month to spend.  At this level the options flatten out, and what you can get is comparable in all the top districts in São Paulo (The Rio Times).

The ethanol-powered bus, which first debuted with great success in Europe six years ago and arrives on the streets of São Paulo next May, can be a viable and effective solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and common pollutants statewide. Representatives from the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) and Swedish bus and truck manufacturer Scania took that message to Geraldo Alckmin, Governor of Brazil’s wealthiest state, São Paulo (Unica).

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on March 18, 2011 at 11:40 am

POLITICS

President Dilma Rousseff vowed in an interview not to allow the specter of inflation to return to Brazil, saying her government could keep price rises under control without hurting economic growth (Reuters).

Anti-torture activists praised Brazil’s justice minister for supporting creation of a commission to investigate human rights abuses during the military dictatorship, although they consider the proposal “timid” (Washington Post).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

TWITTER & LINKEDIN

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

Be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here.

INTERNATIONAL

Obama is flying down to Rio. For many South Americans, the United States is no longer the only game in town (if it ever was). Trade with China is booming. Many South American countries feel increasingly confident that they can make their own mark in the world. That is especially true of Brazil, the most important leg of Mr Obama’s trip (The Economist).

Mr. Obama will encounter a noticeably different style of leader in Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president. But while Mr. Obama openly admired Mr. da Silva’s ample political skills, he may find the United States has more to gain from a Brazil led by the no-nonsense Ms. Rousseff, analysts said (New York Times).

Barack Obama’s trip to Brazil this weekend differs in a marked way from the previous 14 visits by US presidents, writes analyst Paulo Sotero (BBC).

Washington’s identification of Brazil with Latin America and the Third World hampers its appreciation of Brazil’s power and importance to the United States. It is true that Brazil is geographically part of Latin America, and it is also true that Brazil, a founder of the Group of 77, was, with India, among the original leaders of the “Third World.” But Brazil is Brazil—as large and every bit as unique as the United States or China (Luigi Enaudi on National Defense University).

President Obama will be warmly greeted by huge crowds in Brazil when he arrives March 19 for the beginning of a Latin American tour, but only modest progress can be expected on the agenda of foreign-policy problems confronting the two countries. There is only one thing that could dramatically elevate the significance of Obama’s visit — the U.S. president’s unambiguous endorsement of Brazil for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council (Miami Herald).

Rio do Janeiro governor Sergio Cabral said he expects US president Barack Obama to announce during his trip to Brazil that he supports Brasilia’s aspiration to hold a seat in a reformed UN Security Council (MercoPress).

When US president Barack Obama lands in Brazil the emphasis of the visit will be on deepening economic relations and potential business opportunities, but Brazil has made it plain clear that any free trade talks with the United States can only take place in the framework of Mercosur (MercoPress).

When top American officials have visited Brazil in the past, they often have asked what the United States can do to help Brazil’s economy, which has been buffetted by periodic financial crises. But when President Obama visits this weekend, he’ll be asking what Brazil can do for the U.S. economy (Washington Post).

Brazil and the United States, the two largest economies in the Western Hemisphere, have a history of close business and diplomatic ties — as well as disputes over trade and other issues. Learn the HISTORY OF BRAZIL-U.S. TIES.

Senator Alvaro Dias (PSDB-PR) criticized Brazilian foreign policy in the administration of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, for having approached dictatorships and subjected taxpayers to massive expenses due to the opening of embassies and consulates in countries in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean without the necessary economic return and sufficient number of Brazilian residents to justify such actions (Senado Federal).

The Indian Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Anand Sharma, said that the India-Brazil bilateral trade would increase to $10 billion in the next few years from $7.73 billion in 2010 (India-Brazil Chamber).

Brazil’s powerful Federation of Industries of Sao Paulo State (Fiesp) is set to create a Chinese Studies Centre in partnership with the federal government, the president of the federation said in Sao Paulo (MercoPress).

Brazil imports too many knick-knacks from China complained Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, who next month makes an official state visit to the Asian giant, according to reports in the Sao Paulo press (MercoPress).

DEFENSE

Brazilian Armed Forces military equipment is ‘obsolete’ and not in condition to be displayed in case of a conflict according to an official reports published in the Folha de Sao Paulo (MercoPress).

French President Nicolas Sarkozy promised Brazil his government would support Dassault’s proposed technology transfer of its new fighter jet as the company seeks an edge in its bid to win a multibillion-dollar Brazilian military contract (Reuters).

The defense and security arm of Embraer has acquired a controlling interest in the radar division of Brazil’s OrbiSat da Amazonia. South America’s leading aerospace company said it has paid 28.5 million reals ($17.1 million) for a 64.7 percent holding. OrbiSat is known for radar technology able to remotely sense terrain under the cover of trees. The Brazilian Army is using the technology to map parts of the Amazon (Defense News).

INNOVATION

Brazil’s determination to boost innovation and productivity of local companies is being realized by the Financing Agency for Studies and Projects (FINEP), which helps fund the research and development of new enterprises in the country (CNTV).

By the end of March patients at the Federal Hospital in Ipanema, in Rio de Janeiro (Southeast Brazil) will begin taking part in the decisive phase of testing for new chemotherapy drug. The drug is being tested for the treatment of the most common type of malignant brain tumor (Portal Brasil).

Brazil Business & Economic News

In Brazil on March 18, 2011 at 11:39 am

ECONOMY

Can Brazil’s record employment rate get any better? . Although unemployment rose from 5.3% to 6% in January, new employment data beat market expectations (Forbes).

Economists covering the Brazilian economy cut their growth forecast for next year for the first time in 12 months on bets that policy makers will need to slow the economy to cool inflation running at a 26-month high (Bloomberg Businessweek).

The Brazilian government said GDP is expected to grow by more than 5% a year through 2014. The Finance Ministry says in a release argued that increased long term investments by the private sector will be fundamental in achieving the projected growth (MercoPress).

The Brazilian government is tightening a law that restricts the amount of land foreigners can buy. The decree prohibits non-Brazilians from buying controlling shares of companies that own vast tracts of territory in the country (MercoPress).

Ministry of Labor and Employment has granted more than 56 thousand permits to foreigners last year, 13 thousand more than in 2009 (Portal Brasil).

Brazil’s federal tax agency wants to investigate publicly traded companies that award stock options to employees for tax-avoidance purposes, Valor Economico reported (Bloomberg).

AGRI

The Gross Value of Agricultural Production (GVAP) for the of the 20 main crops in Brazil will total RS$ 189.6 billion in 2011 (about U$ 114 billion). Based on the estimate for the 2010/2011 harvest and the prices up to February of this year, this result is 5.8% up on the GVAP achieved in 2010 (Portal Brasil).

Dow AgroSciences has won approval from Brazil regulators for a new corn seed containing five genes that protect plants from insects and weed-killing treatments, an executive told Reuters.

AUTOMOTIVE

Germany’s BMW looks set to replace rival Mercedes-Benz as the only luxury carmaker in Brazil, if it decides to assemble cars there for the first time, underlining the region’s growing ecomonic importance (Reuters).

AVIATON

Embraer delivered the 19th EMBRAER 195 jet to Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras. This is the 100th E-Jet to go into operation in Latin America and the Caribbean, where Embraer is the absolute leader in accumulated sales of commercial jets from 61 to 120 seats, with a 79% market share (Embraer).

Gol Linhas Aereas topped largest rival TAM as Brazil’s biggest domestic air carrier in February for the first time since at least the start of 2006, as competition in the red-hot market intensifies, government data showed (Reuters).

A Chilean regulator said it would probe the proposed merger of regional airline LAN with Brazil’s TAM, in a setback for a push to create Latin America’s biggest carrier (Reuters).

Embraer could make business jets at its idled plant in China, the newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo reported (Reuters).

MINING

Vale continues to conduct its activities in Japan and is taking all possible measures to contribute to minimize the impacts of the earthquake and tsunami that the country has suffered (BW).

Vale plans to start production at its iron ore project in China with annual capacity of 1.2 million tonnes by end-March this year (Reuters).

President Dilma Rousseff may push major shareholders of Vale SA to name Suzano Papel e Celulose SA’s Antonio Maciel Neto to replace Chief Executive Officer Roger Agnelli, O Estado de S. Paulo reported (Bloomberg).

TWITTER & LINKEDIN

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

Be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here.

OIL & GAS

Petrobras announced that its operations in Japan were not affected by the earthquake that struck the northeast coast of the country. Company employees are safe and no injuries have been reported. There was also no damage to Petrobras’ facilities in Japan (BW).

The U.S. Interior Department said it gave final approval for Petrobras to use the first ever deepwater floating production storage facility in the Gulf of Mexico (Reuters).

BG Group will invest up to $30 billion in Brazil over the next decade, seeking to tap fast-growing reserves of crude and natural gas, Chairman Sir Robert Wilson said (Reuters).

Billionaire Eike Batista said he received five potential offers for stakes in Brazilian oil fields controlled by his OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA as crude prices trade near their highest in 29 months (Bloomberg).

Portuguese oil company Galp Energia plans to raise 2 billion euros ($2.8 billion) by selling shares in its Brazilian unit to finance ambitious growth plans, Chief Executive Officer Manuel Ferreira de Oliveira said (Reuters).

Oil major BP has agreed to buy a Brazilian sugar and ethanol group for $680 million, expanding its presence in the country’s biofuels industry in what it said was the largest deal to date for its alternative energy unit (Reuters).

The U.S. Export-Import Bank plans to provide a loan of $1 billion for deep-water oil exploration in Brazil, the Valor newspaper reported (Bloomberg).

PORTS

The railway system that hauls soybeans, meal, corn and other goods to Brazil’s No. 2 port of Paranagua reopened, its operator said (Reuters).

REAL ESTATE

A total of 9.1 million families plan to buy real estate in Brazil over the next 12 months which is a huge increase since the Minha Casa Minha Vida (My House, My Life) program was introduced in 2009 (MercoPress).

TELECOMS

The head of Telecom Italia’s Brazilian unit, tipped to lead the company’s Latin America division, is being investigated on fraud charges as part of a wider probe into fake SIM cards, judicial sources said (Reuters).

Brazil Regional News

In Brazil on March 18, 2011 at 11:36 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of the 45 floor Concordia Corporate Tower, planned for Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. It will be one of the tallest buildings of Brazil (Source: Skyscrapercity).

INTERNET

A nationwide program aimed at providing internet access to 80 percent of the country’s population by 2014 is forging ahead in Brazil, Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo said (Xinhua).

TWITTER & LINKEDIN

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

Be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here.

WORLD CUP

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff tried to ease concerns about preparations for the 2014 World Cup. She said in the president’s blog that Brazil will invest nearly $20 billion in infrastructure to ensure the World Cup is successful. She said 68 percent of that amount will come from the federal government (Washington Post).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

BAHIA

The small island of Boipeba may lack glamour, but it compensates with ridiculously perfect weather and the kind of vacant, palm-shrouded beaches that make you forget about the pleasures of air-conditioning (The New York Times).

RIO

This year, it is estimated that around 1,000,000 tourists attended the annual celebration that has been going on for more than 350 years, up from last year’s estimate or 750,000. A large percentage of those tourists have always been visiting from the U.S., Europe, and Canada, bringing millions into the city’s economy (The Rio Times).

http://i904.photobucket.com/albums/ac242/atlantico/imagesqtbnANd9GcTlwJTWt5w6PF9VslwlLxF1nf7fj7loPWLQ0ZcFB5zIUyZYmq57.jpg

Brazil’s former central bank chief, Henrique Meirelles, has been appointed to lead preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (BBC).

Ask a Carioca ‘What’s your opinion on Flamengo?’ and it’s unlikely the answer will be about the neighborhood. Flamengo is football (soccer), the name of Rio’s favorite team. But it is also a small and vibrant middle class neighborhood located between Botafogo and Centro with the most spectacular view of the Sugar Loaf (The Rio Times).

SAO PAULO

The New York Times has an interesting list of what can be done in 36 hours in São Paulo.

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on March 11, 2011 at 10:41 am

POLITICS

President Dilma Rousseff is backing away from a reform agenda that the business community, the IMF and others say is needed to spur investment and sustained growth in Latin America’s largest economy, according to Reuters.

SPLIT SECOND POLL

INTERNATIONAL

The number of people who see Brazil as having a positive influence in the world is rising rapidly, according to a BBC World Service poll of 27 countries (BBC).

Brazilian oil giant Petrobras has withdrawn from an offshore oil exploration block in Cuba’s waters that it leased amid great fanfare in 2008 (MercoPress)

Correspondents for a Brazilian and a British newspaper have been held in a jail outside the North African country’s capital, the publications said, and the Brazilian was reported released (Washington Post).

The Governments of Brazil and France concluded the text of the pension agreement between the two countries. After the international treaty is entered into force, with their respective ratifications of the Legislative powers of each country, the pension agreement will benefit about 60 thousand Brazilians who work in France, as well as French citizens residing in Brazil (Portal Brasil).

DEFENSE

Embraer can develop a light turboprop trainer aircraft, in partnership with India, with the goal to meet the potential demand from the armed forces of both nations, said the vice-president for the Defense Market of the company, Orlando Neto (India -Brazil Chamber).

TWITTER & LINKEDIN

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

Be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here.

RESEARCH & INNOVATION

Scientists and engineers at Cenpes, the research center of Petrobras in Rio de Janeiro, are trying to find a way of placing automated processing plants to separate oil, gas and water on the seabed, some 2,000 meters beneath surface waters. The plants would be powered by undersea electrical generators that also would pump oil and gas through pipelines laid along the bottom of the South Atlantic to gathering stations and terminals hundreds of kilometers away (Brazil Portal).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

Brazil Business & Economic News

In Brazil on March 11, 2011 at 10:40 am

ECONOMY

Brazil’s archaic labour laws penalise businesses and workers alike. Time for reform (The Economist).

The release of last year’s economic figures on March 3rd was cue for much crowing in Brazil. The economy grew by a blistering 7.5%, a rate unmatched since 1986. But is Brazil now the 5th or 7th largest economy in the world (The Economist)?

The inflow of US dollars to Brazil so far this year (Jan-March 4) marks a surplus of 24.3 billion USD over outflows, which helped to further appreciate the Brazilian Real, according to the latest figures released by the Central Bank (MercoPress).

Retail prices in Brazil, as measured by the benchmark IPCA index, rose 0.8% in February, down from 0.83% January, the national statistics agency said (MercoPress).

Canada lost its top ranking to Brazil this year on Forbes magazine’s list of the number of billionaires each country boasts in the Americas outside the United States, the magazine said in its annual richest-people edition (Brazilian-American Chamber).

Emerging markets face a “definitive danger” from accelerating inflation and should resist the temptation to impose capital controls to stem currency gains, said Arminio Fraga, the head of Brazil’s stock exchange and a former central bank president (Bloomberg).

AUTOMOTIVE

Volkswagen Brazil continues with its plans to develop a car that will be cheaper than the Gol model. According to the Volkswagen Brazil CEO, Thomas Schmall, the price would be around R$ 23,000 (US$ 13,500). The executive, however, didn’t give an estimate of when will it be launched (India-Brazil Chamber).

AGRIPECU

Italian dairy producer Parmalat, seeking to fend off a takeover by a bigger rival, is holding merger talks with Brazilian peer Lacteos Brasil in a deal valued at up to 2.5 billion euros ($3.4 billion), two Brazilian newspapers reported (Reuters).

JBS, the world’s largest beef processor, said that it terminated a joint venture with Italy’s Cremonini after years of wrangling over the partnership (Reuters).

AVIATION

India and Brazil signed a bilateral air services agreement (ASA), based on the liberal ICAO template, which paves the way for increased air-connectivity between the two countries. According to the agreement, both the countries would now be entitled to designate any number of airlines. The designated airlines of each side are entitled to operate 21 services/week in each direction with any type of aircraft not exceeding the capacity of B-747 aircraft (RTT News).

Delta Air Lines is open for more joint ventures and would like to be stronger in India and Brazil in particular (Reuters).

BANKING

Citigroup may hire veteran dealmaker Andre Kok to head its investment banking unit in Brazil. Brazil-born Kok stepped down from Itau BBA last August and recently completed the period when he was prohibited from going to work for an Itau BBA rival, according to the IFR (Reuters).

Banco Santander Brasil SA plans to expand its team of 122 private bankers by as much as 20 percent this year as Brazil’s economic growth fuels demand for wealth- management services (Bloomberg).

Bradesco is the favourite to take a stake in the local banking arm of French retailer Carrefour, a business magazine reported (Reuters).

POWER

Brazil’s state development bank BNDES will buy up to 600 million reais ($361 million) in convertible notes of the Eike Batista owned power producer MPX, which is seeking capital to boost production of fossil fuels (Reuters).

TWITTER & LINKEDIN

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

Be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here.

MINING & STEEL

Vale, the world’s largest iron ore producer, could be forced to pay up to 3.9 billion reais ($2.4 billion) in back royalties to the Brazilian government, the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo said (Reuters).

Cia. Siderurgica Nacional plans to boost its investment in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais to 15 billion reais ($9 billion) over the next few years, Valor Economico said, citing the state government and the company (Bloomberg).

OIL & GAS

Galp Energia SGPS SA (GALP), a Portuguese oil company, is studying the sale of assets in Brazil to raise as much as 3 billion euros, Jornal de Negocios reported (Bloomberg).

Petrobras received an environmental license to transport natural gas from Brazil’s largest oil field, paving the way for the state-run producer to boost output from the deep-water deposit (Bloomberg).

RETAIL

Havaianas, the Brazilian flip-flop maker part of Sao Paulo Alpargatas SA, is planning to further expand into Europe this year, opening shops in London, Paris, Rome and Lisbon, the Independent on Sunday reported (Bloomberg).

TELECOMS

Brazil’s Oi will invest as much as 6 billion reais ($3.6 billion) this year to expand network and services, compared with 3.1 billion reais in 2010, Chief Financial Officer Alex Zornig said (Reuters).

Brazil Culture & Regional News

In Brazil on March 11, 2011 at 10:37 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of the Grande Hotel Bolonha for the city of Belem, capital of Para state (Source).

INTERNET

Brazil is on the way to becoming Google Inc’s sixth-largest global market, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said as the company opens new offices in the fast-growing Latin American region (Brazilcham).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

URBAN

The 24 biggest Brazilian cities will receive R$ 18 billion (US$ 10.5 billion) in investments via Growth Acceleration Program (PAC, in Portuguese) to enhance their public transportation infrastructure (India-Brazil Chamber).

The onset of Carnival sends many Brazilians scrambling to buy tickets to legendary parades or costumes for street parties — but millions of others want to run for the hills to escape the Bacchanalian revelry (Reuters).

SANTAREM

Carnival ended in Brazil, which means that over the last week or so, international travelers have flocked to Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, cities known for transforming themselves into international redoubts of hedonism for five days before Lent and hiking their prices way up in the process. The New York Times checked out the scene in Santarem do Para.

TWITTER & LINKEDIN

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

Be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here.

RIO

Who won Carnival? Two favorites ended up on the top positions but as a bit of surprise for some and indignation for others, Beija-Flor de Nilópolis took the title with only 1.4 points ahead of Unidos da Tijuca (The Rio Times).

The recently appointed head of the Rio’s Civil Police, Martha Rocha, made surprise inspection visits to seven police precincts during Carnival weekend to meet with police officers as well as check for irregularities. The inspection began at the 14th Precinct in Zona Sul’s (South zone’s) Leblon where Rocha checked if all police officers scheduled for duty were working (The Rio Times).

The historic Cais do Valongo, once the Brazilian slave port, was unearthed in Rio’s Olympic facelift when archaeologists uncovered its ruins (The Guardian).

U.S. President Barack Obama will tour a slum during his upcoming visit to Brazil, Rio de Janeiro governor Sergio Cabral said.

U.S. President Barack Obama will tour a slum during his upcoming visit to Brazil, Rio de Janeiro governor Sergio Cabral said. The governor said he would like Obama to visit Chapeu Manguiera in the south of the city facing the Leme beach, the shooting scence of the Brazilian movie “Orfeu Negro” that was described in details by the U.S.president in his autobiography (Xinhua).

The Rio city hall and the U.S. government haven’t chosen a slum for the visit, but the governor said he would like Obama to visit Chapeu Manguiera facing the Leme beach, the shooting scence of the Brazilian movie “Orfeu Negro” that was described in details by the U.S.president in his autobiography.

SAO PAULO

The constant drizzle and cold could not dampen the party spirits in the São Paulo Sambódromo and Vai-Vai Samba school was crowned winners of the Special Group for the 2011 Carnival celebration. Judges praised the school for their luxurious floats and celebrities, such as singer Maria Rita and Model Ana Hickmann helped rally the crowds (The Rio Times).

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on March 4, 2011 at 10:21 am

POLITICS

Brazil’s new president picks a different route to prosperity and influence from Latin America’s generation of left-populist leaders (The Guardian).

Brazil’s government will slash spending on defense and low-income housing as part of $30 billion in cuts to this year’s budget, hoping to cool red-hot economic growth and slow a spike in inflation. Officials said the cuts would freeze the hiring of civil servants but will not touch social welfare programs or the government’s main infrastructure program, which is critical to Brazil’s plans to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics (Reuters).

President Dilma Rousseff said on a popular television program that Brazil’s workforce needs more women (Xinhua).

INTERNATIONAL

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held a bilateral meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota on February 23, 2011. The Secretary and Foreign Minister discussed a wide range of issues, including preparing for President Obama’s upcoming visit to Brazil, his first presidential visit to South America. Secretary Clinton said she was honored attend the inauguration of President Dilma Rousseff, and she looks forward to broadening and deepening the strong partnership between the United States and Brazil (State Dept).

Brazil is gathering data from its business sector to determine if it should sue the European Union at the World Trade Organization over limits on poultry imports, a Brazilian diplomat said (Reuters).

Contrary to expectations even when black and brown make up 52% of the 190 million Brazilians, –according to the latest census–, their genetic ancestry is more predominantly European than African or Indio-American (MercoPress).

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota in Beijing, vowing joint efforts with Brazil’ s new leadership to promote their strategic partnership. Calling Brazil a sincere friend and strategic partner of China, Wen said the country hopes to enhance contacts with Brazil’s new government, deepen political trust, and facilitate bilateral exchanges and cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, technology and culture (Xinhua).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

TWITTER & LINKEDIN

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

Be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here.

DEFENSE

The Brazilian government has “no money to buy jet fighters” in 2011 confirmed Finance minister Guido Mantega in reference to the tender for the purchase of at least 36 modern aircraft and for which France, United States and Sweden are competing (MercoPress).

SPLIT SECOND POLL