News from Brazil

Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on May 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm

POLITICS

President Dilma Rousseff has suspended the distribution and production of sex education films for schools in Brazil. President Rousseff believes the footage is not suitable for youngsters (BBC).

Brazil’s congress has passed a law that — if approved by President Dilma Rousseff — would require sexual health messages to be placed in underwear manufactured and sold in Brazil (MercoPress).

President Dilma Rousseff’s coalition won a victory when it blocked opposition attempts to summon her chief of staff to testify in Congress about his previous income while serving in Congress (Reuters).

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INTERNATIONAL

Brazil should invest in studying China, India and South Africa, according to experts who joined a public hearing on foreign policy of the three countries promoted by the Committee on External Relations and National Defense. The hearing is part of a debate cycle named Trends of Brazilian Foreign Policy (2011-2012) (Federal Senate).

Senators approved the nomination of Ambassador Carlos Alberto Lopes Asfora to the embassy in Tbilisi in Georgia.  He highlighted at the committee the “many opportunities” that can be seized by Brazil in relation to Georgia, a European country that was part of the old Soviet Union (Federal Senate).

Brazil will privately support French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde’s candidacy to run the International Monetary Fund, a Brazilian government official familiar with the negotiations said (Bloomberg).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

A research-and-development center for transport, logistics, defense and security was inaugurated in Brazil this week by Saab of Sweden (UPI).

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Brazil Business & Economy

In Brazil on May 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm

ECONOMY

New research released this month adds weight to the reports that Brazil’s economic growth is largely being fueled by credit markets. The research by APAS (Paulista Association of Supermarkets) shows that 53 percent of all Brazilian families are spending more than they earn. Similar research by the Household Budget Survey (conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) revealed that 75 percent of Brazilian households find it difficult to pay their bills and don’t have enough money to reach the end of the month (The Rio Times).

Is Brazil importing the wrong sort of money? Read the column by Stephanie Flanders, Economics Editor at the BBC.

Brazil’s foreign debt rating outlook was boosted to positive by Standard & Poor’s, which cited strengthening prospects for long-term economic growth (Bloomberg Businessweek).

Once a country associated with the slums known as favelas, Brazil is on its way to becoming a new engine of growth for the luxury industry, executives at the Reuters Luxury and Fashion Summit said this week.

Brazil’s unemployment rate edged down to 6.4 percent in April from 6.5 percent in March, the latest sign of a tight labor market that is pressuring inflation in Latin America’s largest economy (Reuters).

AGRI ETC

While many welcome the investments, the aggressive push comes as Brazilian officials have begun questioning the “strategic partnership” with China encouraged by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The Chinese have become so important to Brazil’s economy that it cannot do without them — and that is precisely what is making Brazil increasingly uneasy (New York Times).

The Brazilian government plans to offer a line of subsidized credit to sugar and ethanol mills for the replanting of cane crops, as part of a larger push to stimulate production of the biofuel, agriculture minister Wagner Rossi told a local newspaper (Reuters).

President Dilma Rousseff ordered a team of ministers to look into ways of reducing volatility in ethanol prices, including the possibility of government intervention in the market, the Financial Times reported, citing Energy Minister Edison Lobao (Bloomberg).

AVIATION

Embraer, the world’s biggest regional aircraft maker, will take more than one year to decide whether to build a new family of jets, Chief Executive Officer Frederico Curado told newspaper Valor Economico (Reuters).

US Airways acquires 42 slot pairs at Washington’s Reagan National from Delta as well as rights to operate additional daily service to Sao Paulo in 2015 (Reuters).

Air France Flight 447’s flight recordings show the aircraft slowed to a stall after its airspeed sensors failed while the two co-pilots were at the controls, two people with knowledge of the investigation said (Reuters).

BANKING

Bank of America Corp. is expanding in Brazil with a new commercial banking license that will allow it to take deposits and offer cash-management services to corporate clients in the country (MercoPress).

Brazil will see more acquisitions in its banking system after demand for purchasing credit portfolios from mid-size banks dried up, said central bank director Anthero Meirelles (Bloomberg).

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CONSTRUCTION

Odebrecht International earned the European High Speed Rail Deal of the Year 2010 Award for the contract to construct the Lisbon-Madrid High Speed Train. Located between Poceirão, along the South margin of the Tejo River in the metropolitan region of Lisbon, and Caia, at the border with Spain, the contract corresponds to the concession of the high speed train’s first stretch, which extends 167 km (Odebrecht).

Three members of the consortium that will build Brazil’s Belo Monte dam in the Amazon are pulling out, unhappy with the growing state control of the project, the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported (Reuters).

MINING & STEEL

The world’s largest ore carrier, Vale Brasil, was loaded for the first time on May 24 at Pier I at Ponta da Madeira Port Terminal (TPPM) in São Luís, Maranhão. The ship, which was loaded with 391,000 tons of iron ore, will now sail for Asia (Vale).

Brazilian steelmaker CSN said it would buy the cement and steel assets of Spain’s Grupo Alfonso Gallardo in a deal valued at 946 million euros ($1.35 billion), as it moves forward with a plan to grow overseas (Reuters).

OIL

Brazil’s offshore Libra oilfield likely holds about 5 billion barrels, the director of the National Petroleum Agency said, much less than the 8 billion it had previously estimated (Reuters).

Concerns of mounting political interference at Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras are spurring interest in a crop of start-ups seeking to tap the South American nation’s sizable reserves (Reuters).

Petrobras must triple the number of ships and deepwater drilling rigs it uses in order to double its oil and gas production by 2020, its top executive said (Reuters).

POWER

Brazil which gets about 80% of its energy from hydroelectricity is considering a record investment of 4.1 billion Real (2.5 billion USD) for wind farms this year to diversify its power supply (MercoPress).

Fundo de Desenvolvimento do Nordeste, a government fund that investments in development projects in northeast Brazil, will shift its focus from railways to wind farms to meet the region’s growing power needs (Bloomberg).

Brazil Culture & Regional News

In Brazil on May 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of a villa at Reserva Real, Jaboticatubas, in the Belo Horizonte metropolitan aera (Skyscrapercity).

ART

Strong demand for Brazilian abstract art and works by Colombia’s Fernando Botero propelled Sotheby’s to its best-selling auction of Latin American art with more than $21.6 million in sales (Reuters).

WORLD CUP

Indecision on where and how to build venues have reduced the time left for construction work, significantly increasing the amount needed to be spent in nearly all of the 12 cities hosting World Cup matches three years from now (AP).

AMAZON

Brazil’s lower house of Congress overwhelmingly approved revisions to a key environmental law that would open up land in the Amazon rain forest for agriculture and grant amnesty to producers who deforested protected areas. The Senate still must vote on the measure, which conservationists say could accelerate the pace of deforestation (New York Times).

A prominent Brazilian conservationist and his wife have been killed in the Amazon region, police have said. They said Joao Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espirito Santo were ambushed in Para state, near the city of Maraba (BBC).

An Amazonian tribe has no abstract concept of time, say researchers. The Amondawa lacks the linguistic structures that relate time and space – as in our idea of, for example, “working through the night” (MercoPress).

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RIO

The Rio police carried out anti-drug trafficking operations last weekend in the favelas Mangueira and Tuiuti in the Zona Norte (North zone) of Rio de Janeiro. The police operations left one person dead, two wounded, and six arrested. Mangueira, a community made famous by the renowned Samba School, may now be in line for a Pacification Police Unit (UPP) soon (The Rio Times).

The current positive economic climate in Brazil has motivated the city of Rio and the Association of Professional Investment Analysts of the Capital Markets (APIMEC) to organize a high profile business event, called Rio Investors Day. The event is being held May 30 – 31st at the Copacabana Palace Hotel, with 42 publicly traded Brazilian companies and more then 400 institutional investors and government representatives (The Rio Times).

Surrounded by Botafogo, Lagoa and Jardim Botânico, Humaitá is a small, residential neighborhood full of charm. Roughly just one square kilometer in size, it is one of the few neighborhoods in the Zona Sul (South zone) that still possess riveting colonial architecture. Also, from the main road, Rua Humaitá, it is hard to miss the stunning, immediate view of Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer (The Rio Times).

The city of Rio de Janeiro is seeking to raise 3.5 billion reais ($2 billion) for a real estate fund to renovate its downtown port area ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics (Bloomberg).

The Board of Directors of the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) has approved support for three Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlântica) reforestation projects in the amount of R$ 11.8 million (BNDES).

SAO LUIS

Ponta da Madeira Port Terminal (TPPM) in São Luís will become the country’s leading port in terms of cargo handling capacity and volume in 2012. Besides handling more iron ore, Ponta da Madeira will become an important transport hub for soy and corn produced in the Northeast (mainly Maranhão and Piauí), North (Tocantins) and Center-West regions, using a new route provided by the North-South Railroad (FNS), operated by Vale and interconnected with the Carajás Railroad (EFC) (Vale).

SAO PAULO

Brazilian riot police have fired tear gas to break up a protest in support of the legalization of marijuana in South America’s biggest city. Six people were detained. A court ruled the Marijuana March in Sao Paulo was illegal. About 1,000 people still showed up for the rally Saturday in the city’s financial heart, saying the march was for freedom of expression and not pro-marijuana (Washington Post).

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on May 20, 2011 at 8:44 am

POLITICS

Revelations of a several times surge in the personal wealth of Brazilian government’s influential chief of staff Antonio Palocci have triggered controversy and could drag on and become a major headache for President Dilma Rousseff (MercoPress).

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INTERNATIONAL

Norwegian business ties with Brazil are rapidly expanding, especially in the areas of shipping, and the booming oil and gas industry. Norway ranks number seven on Brazil’s list of most important trading partners, and in 2010 the total trade between the two countries increased 47 percent from 2009 to US$2 billion (The Rio Times).

China, India and Brazil are poised to fuel an explosion in international tourism in the coming years helping to create jobs in countries ready for it, and trouble for those that lag, industry leaders say (MercoPress).

Brazil believes the next head of the International Monetary Fund should come from a large emerging market country, but does not plan to pressure actively on the issue because Europe is likely to keep its “stranglehold” on the job, a senior government official told Reuters.

China moved to smooth its lopsided economic relations with Brazil, saying it was open to more Brazilian exports and that Chinese firms will broaden their investments in Latin America’s largest economy (Reuters).

Uruguay and Brazil are making progress in negotiations on an agreement that will set up a viable bilateral exchange of electricity, Uruguay’s national director of energy Ramon Mendez said (Xinhua).

Trade between Russia and Brazil grew 28 percent last year, laying a good foundation for bilateral cooperation, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer (Xinhua).

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DEFENSE & SECURITY

President Dilma Rousseff revealed this week that the purchase of 36 fighter jets for the country’s Air Force and involving billions of dollars but which has been postponed for years will be made in 2012 (MercoPress).

Some 4,500 troops from Brazil’s Navy, Army and Air Force will participate in a joint military exercise in the Amazon region from May 23 to June 3, Brazil’s Defense Ministry said (Xinhua).

SOCIAL

A nanny revolution is shattering the colonial stereotype of inexpensive but dedicated domestic help in Latin America. As their expectations for a better quality of life rise, nannies are increasingly seeking to work for the very wealthy and becoming less affordable for many middle-class families. The shift is causing ripples of class tension, posing a nettlesome problem in a society in which more women are entering the work force without the sort of elaborate system of day care that exists in some industrialized nations (New York Times).

Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on May 20, 2011 at 8:44 am

ECONOMY

Economists lowered their forecast for Brazil’s benchmark inflation index this year to 6.31 percent from 6.33 percent, according to a weekly central bank survey (Reuters).

Brazil’s federal tax collection reached a record-high of 85.1 billion reais (52.8 billion U.S. dollars) in April, up 19 percent from March and 10.3 percent from the same period last year, the country’s Federal Revenues Secretariat said (Xinhua).

AGRI ETC

Brazilian farmers are spending like never before on farm equipment, fertilizer and other investments, a possible sea change in rural sentiment that could boost long-term output in a country that barely scratches the surface of its agricultural potential (Reuters).

U.S. diversified food company Sara Lee, which controls 22 percent of Brazil’s retail coffee market, is in talks to buy Marata, a local producer of coffee and beverages (Reuters).

The investment holding company of Brazil state development bank BNDES will raise its stake in local beef producer JBS to 30 percent from 17 percent with the conversion of debentures to shares, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters.

AVIATION

A Brazilian federal judge sentenced two American pilots involved in a fatal air crash over the Amazon rain forest in 2006 to community service (New York Times).

Embraer and Comlux The Aviation Group announced a contract for the acquisition of three large Legacy 650 executive jets for the Fly Comlux Division, in Kazakhstan. The agreement was revealed at the 11th Annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, EBACE 2011 (www.ebace.aero), in Geneva, Switzerland, and includes options for another four aircraft. The total value of the deal, at list price, comes to USD 90.7 million, and could reach USD 211.7 million, if all options are confirmed. The first delivery is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2011 (Embraer).

Embraer SA’s E-190 jets, flown by carriers including US Airways Group Inc., need more frequent inspections after tests turned up cracks that may indicate a structural flaw, Brazil’s aviation authority said (Bloomberg).

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BANKING & FINANCE

The BNDES’ disbursements totaled R$ 24.9 billion during the first quarter of this year, with a 2% decrease compared to the same period in 2010. Although small, this was the first reduction in disbursements registered since 2006, taking only first quarters into consideration (BNDES).

Caixa Economica Federal, Brazil’s biggest mortgage lender, is in talks to boost its stake in Cielo to at least 10 percent to expand in the lucrative card payment processing market, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters.

Banco do Brasil SA may add three funds in by August to invest in the fields of water, renewable energy and homebuilding, said head of the bank’s asset management arm Carlos Massaru (Bloomberg).

A Brazilian investment fund worth $24 million has attracted wealthy investors as the value of auctions of the country’s art grows by as much as 38 percent a year (Bloomberg).

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MINING & STEEL

Vale informs that its Board of Directors approved the nomination of Murilo Pinto de Oliveira Ferreira to succeed Roger Agnelli as Vale’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), starting on May 22, 2011, at the conclusion of Mr. Agnelli’s term (Vale).

This month, Vale opened its first nickel operation in Brazil. Onça Puma, in Ourilândia do Norte, southeast Pará, is one of the largest ferronickel production plants in the world. The project, which covers the municipalities of Ourilândia do Norte, Tucumã and Parauapebas, has an annual production capacity of 220,000 tons of ferronickel, containing 53,000 tons of nickel, a highly valued product in the steel industry (Vale).

OIL & GAS

A group of Brazilian banks and funds have created a company called Sete Brasil that will build seven deep-water rigs for state-run oil company Petrobras’ offshore exploration campaign (Reuters).

Petrobras likely will choose a less ambitious investment plan than management proposed, sources said, a move that should boost profits and put the brakes on excessive borrowing (Reuters).

Petrobras in the first quarter quickened the pace of drilling in the offshore Santos Basin, Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa said, as the firm seeks to speed up development of ultra-deep water reserves (Reuters).

TELECOMS

SK Telecom Co. may win a permit to operate services in Brazil, the nation’s communications minister said, as South Korea’s largest mobile-phone company seeks to expand abroad (Bloomberg).

Brazil Culture & Regional News

In Brazil on May 20, 2011 at 8:42 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

A new render of the Museum for Image and Sound (MIS), to be built on the site of an infamous and now demolished discotheque on Rio’s Copacabana boulevard.

REAL ESTATE

Minha Casa Minha Vida (My House My Life) the massive public housing campaign launched by the Brazilian Federal Government in March of 2009, has been kicked into overdrive. Originally showcased with a federal subsidy of R$34 billion and a plan of building one million low-cost units throughout the country by 2014, Minha Casa Minha Vida now has more than twice the budget, a federal subsidy of R$72 billion (The Rio Times).

Brazilian real estate developer Rossi Residencial said it bought a controlling stake in builder Norcon. The purchase creates a new company called Norcon Rossi, with 70 percent ownership in the hands of Rossi (Reuters).

Brazilian home sales are unlikely to be affected by rising borrowing costs so long as the central bank keeps the benchmark interest rate below 14 percent, said Duilio Calciolari, the new chief executive officer of Gafisa SA (Bloomberg).

WORLD CUP

Ricardo Teixeira, head of the CBF (Brazilian Football Federation) was named by Lord Triesman as one of four FIFA members willing to accept bribes in return for voting for England’s unsuccessful 2018 World Cup host bid (The Rio Times).

AMAZON

Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has increased almost six fold, new data suggests. Satellite images show deforestation increased from 103 sq km in March and April 2010 to 593 sq km (229 sq miles) in the same period of 2011, Brazil’s space research institute says (BBC).

Brazilian government officials said that they would crack down on cattle ranchers in the Amazon after new data showed that deforestation there had increased by 26 percent in the nine months that ended in April, compared to with the same period a year before (New York Times).

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NORTH-EAST

Recently, the north-east has become Brazil’s star economic performer. In the past decade the region’s GDP rose by 4.2% a year, compared with 3.6% for the country as a whole. Last year Pernambuco state’s economy grew by a China-like 9.3% (The Economist).

RIO

It comes as no surprise that Rio de Janeiro, a city rich in culture and history, is home to a multitude of museums. Art aficionados will not be disappointed as they meander the streets and come across everything from the distinguished Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM), to the colorful Museu Carmen Miranda. This year, in celebration of the country’s museums as well as National Museum day on May 18th, Brazil will host the ninth annual National Museum Week (The Rio Times).

Rio de Janeiro state recorded in March the lowest murder rate in 20 years, according to a report released by the Public Security Institute (ISP) (Xinhua).

SAO PAULO

The state of Sao Paulo may provide incentives to sugar-cane mills that burn their waste residues to produce electricity as the region seeks to double its biomass power capacity within three years (Bloomberg).

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Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on May 13, 2011 at 9:15 am

POLITICS

The first 100 days of president Dilma Rousseff’s foreign policy were filled with a combination of “pragmatic” partnerships for development with an “idealistic” search for social progress. The evaluation was presented to the Committee on External Relations and National Defense by the minister of External Relations, Antônio Patriota (Federal Senate).

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff decided to cut all relations with the Inter American Human Rights Court following on the CIDH decision to request that the construction of a huge dam in the Amazon be suspended, following an appeal from indigenous groups (MercoPress).

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INTERNATIONAL

Reflections on Brazil’s Global Rise by Celso Amorim, the man who led Brazil into its new global era discusses his diplomatic vision and Brazil-U.S. relations (Americas Quarterly).

Brazil’s Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota has lambasted Western countries for their human rights practices, emphasizing that they have the worst record in human rights abuses (PressTV).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

Last week the Brazilian Federal Government inaugurated the country’s first Integrated Border Management Office (Gabinete de Gestão Integrada de Fronteira, GGI-F) during an event at Iguacu Falls, in the State of Paraná. A day later, the second such GGI-F office was inaugurated in Corumbá, in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul. These inaugurations signify increased federal commitment to the fight against drug trafficking, both domestically and along international borders (The Rio Times).

Brazilian growing importance in the international scenery requires the restructuring of the intelligence services, including a follow-up of facts and tendencies outside the country. The warning was made at the Committee on External Relations and National Defense (Federal Senate).

Odebrecht Defesa e Tecnologia (ODT) was one of the exhibiting companies at the eighth edition of the Latin America Aero & Defence (LAAD) – Defense & Security event, held from April 12-15 at the RioCentro expo pavilion in Rio de Janeiro. Considered the largest in Latin America’s Defense and Security sector, the fair gathered 663 exhibiters from 40 countries and received over 25,000 visitors. At the ODT booth, for example, visitors had a chance to see some of the company’s defense equipment and that of companies in which it holds stake, such as the Mectron radars. The panel also showed the main projects underway at the company, such as the construction of the submarines for the Brazilian Navy (BW).

A trove of 35,000 documents released by the Brazilian National Archives on April 13 show that the Brazilian Air Force monitored leftist groups and political parties, labor union members, and students for up to ten years after the country’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship (LatinDespatch) .

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RESEARCH, EDUCATION & TECHNOLOGY

Mining giant Vale will invest at least 400mn reais (US$253mn) to build three technological centers in different parts of the country, according to Luiz Mello, the director of the initiative (Vale).

Brazil plans to send thousands of students to learn abroad on scholarships (MercoPress).

SOCIAL

The number of black or brown people in Brazil has reached 97 million, as against 91 million who call themselves white and 2.5 million who see themselves as yellow or indigenous, Brazil’s Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) reported (Xinhua).

Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on May 13, 2011 at 9:14 am

ECONOMY

The developed world remains in the grip of economic uncertainty and slow growth as consumers reduce spending, particularly the credit-driven spending which contributed first to the economic boom and ultimately, the bust. In Brazil, the picture could not be more different. In the midst of rising inflation consumers are showing no signs of moderating their spending habits, preferring to incur more credit-card debt to keep on spending (The Rio Times).

Brazil is an important economic story. Yes, China is a growing force, but so is this powerhouse Latin American country. Here’s why (CNBC).

Although many well-known foreign companies, from cosmetics giants L’oreal to car maker Fiat, Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica and global energy groups such as Shell have been increasing investments in Brazil, there is a less recognized, but growing, foreign investor presence emerging – private equity groups (The Rio Times).

It is a paradox haunting Brazil’s economic-policy makers – ordinary people have never had it so good, but the country’s industry is facing its toughest times yet (BBC).

Brazil will apply nontariff trade barriers to imports of cars and car parts, a government source said on Thursday, in an effort to stem fast-rising imports that are battering domestic manufacturers (Reuters).

Brazil’s economy has begun decelerating and should expand by 4 percent this year, less than its potential of 4.5 percent, said Vladimir Caramaschi, chief economist of Credit Agricole’s Brazilian unit (Bloomberg).

AGRI ETC.

Citrovita and Citrosuco of Brazil won European Union antitrust approval for their merger plan to form the world’s largest wholesale supplier of orange juice (MercoPress).

Brazil may start leasing farm land to foreigners to find a way around new legal restrictions on land sales and attract more foreign investment, the agriculture minister said (Reuters).

Heineken NV, the world’s third-largest brewer by volume, is considering making an offer for Brazil’s Primo Schincariol Industria de Cervejas e Refrigerantes SA (Bloomberg).

AVIATION

The Brazilian government has moved towards privatizing the country’s five largest airports in an effort to head off concerns that the nation’s transport infrastructure will not cope with the massive influx of visitors for the 2014World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Terms of the auction will be announced for Guarulhos airport in São Paulo, the Juscelino Kubitschek airport in Brasília and the Campinas airport in São Paulo state in May. The terms for Galeao airport in Rio de Janeiro and Confins airport in Belo Horizonte will be published by early July (The Rio Times).

The cockpit voice recorder from an Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic two years ago has been found, French investigators have said (BBC).

Embraer and Régional, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air France, signed a contract for two additional EMBRAER 170 jets, confirming options originally placed in August 2007 (Embraer).

Embraer commemorated the delivery of the first EMBRAER 190 jet to TRIP Linhas Aéreas. The Brazilian airline currently operates a fleet of nine EMBRAER 175 jets, and should receive nine EMBRAER 190 jets by the end of this year (Embraer).

Boeing forecasts that air carriers in Latin America will require 2,180 new airplanes worth approximately 210 billion US dollars over the next 20 years as air travel in the region out paces the world average (MercoPress).

American Airlines said it has asked the U.S. Department of Transportation for permission to make 10 additional weekly flights between the United States and Brazil (MSNBC).

Brazil’s government may finance the acquisition of a stake in Portugal’s troubled state airline TAP by domestic air carrier TAM, a government source told Reuters.

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BANKING

Brazilian loan defaults are unlikely to rise in the coming quarters, Banco do Brasil executives said, contradicting recent statements by rivals concerned with eroding asset quality as the economy slows and inflation gains momentum (Reuters).

MINING

Vale celebrates the beginning of mining activities at its coal mining project in Moatize, in the Tete province of Mozambique, ahead of operations at the processing plant. Production is set to start in July 2011. With an investment of USD 1.658 billion, the mine will have a production capacity of 11 million tons per year of metallurgical and thermal coal (Vale).

Brazil’s government wants to boost rare earth mining domestically to wean the country away from dependence on China for the minerals (Reuters).

Russia’s largest steel producer Severstal said it had bought a 25 percent stake in Brazilian iron ore company SPG Mineracao, part of a strategy of investing in steel-related raw materials (Reuters).

OIL & GAS

Petrobras is the world’s eighth largest publicly traded company, according to a ranking prepared by Forbes magazine. In this edition of the ranking, the Company moved up ten positions compared to 2010, when it held the 18th place BW).

Petrobras announced the increased investment plans for the emerging Santos basin pre-salt assets, earmarking 73 billion US dollars for the 2011-2015 period. The vast sum is a 63% increase compared with the company’s 2010-2014 plan said a company statement (MercoPress).

BP is negotiating opportunities to buy stakes in oil fields in Brazil to accelerate production increases in the South American nation, the head of the company’s Brazil division said (Reuters).

Eike Batista, Brazil’s richest man, said he plans to list in London about $2 billion of shares in OGX Petroleo e Natural Gas Participacoes SA, his flagship oil production and exploration company, the Financial Times reported (Bloomberg).

Brazil Regional News

In Brazil on May 13, 2011 at 9:12 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of the 180 meter high newly designed TV Tower for Brasilia, under construction,showing 104-year old Oscar Niemeyer still inspired by sexy curves.

FIFA WORLD CUP 2014

THE 2014 football World Cup, to be held in Brazil, should provide an opportunity for the hosts to show what they can do, both on and off the pitch. Its footballers define o jogo bonito (“the beautiful game”), and these days the country’s economy is pretty good to watch as well. But it seems ever more possible that the country will drop the off-field ball (The Economist).

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AMAZON

Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies has again postponed a vote on controversial changes that would ease a key law on forest protection (BBC).

PERNAMBUCO

Large foreign companies are very interested in the Northeast region of Brazil. The mixture between economic growth and concentration of potential consumers in one region has attracted hundreds of groups. Kraft Foods, the biggest food industry of United States  and number second in the world, is one of them (India-Brazil Chamber).

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RIO

Recent investigation has found that Rio de Janeiro’s militia chiefs are now controlling their empires from prison. As reported recently by O Globo, many militia heads continue to coordinate their operations after incarceration, in the relative safety of seven square meter concrete cells. This form of leadership, pioneered by drug traffickers, appears to have been perfected by the militias (The Rio Times).

The number of international tourists visiting Rio de Janeiro increased by 8% in 2010 compared with the previous year, according to a study conducted by Embratur, the Brazilian Tourism Board (MercoPress).

The City of Rio de Janeiro passed a law limiting queues in banks to no more than 15 minutes, and on the days before and after public holidays, 30 minutes. Bank queues in Rio have been famously long, with workers commonly spending their whole lunch hour in the notorious ‘fila’ only to return to the office wearily carrying unpaid bills despite all best intentions (The Rio Times).

José Mariano Beltrame did what everybody in Rio de Janeiro thought impossible—pacify two of the city’s most drug-infested, crime-ridden favelas. Welcome to the shantytown counterinsurgency (Newsweek).

Perfectly located between Ipanema, Leblon and Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas with Gavea to the east, the neighborhood of Jardim Botanico lies quiet and undisturbed. The district, who’s name derives from the renowned Botanical Garden is home to a predominantly middle to upper class residency, that enjoys being tucked away (The Rio Times).

Most guide books will undoubtedly recommend visiting the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas for its beauty, but the area is more than your simple tourist attraction. As one of the only neighborhoods in Rio which doesn’t have a favela, this sheltered district is home to a wealth of facilities and good transport links connecting it to Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Humaitá and Jardim Botanico (The Rio Times).

Google has agreed to amend its map of Rio de Janeiro, after city officials said it gave too much prominence to favelas, Brazilian media report (BBC).

The meaning of Leblon in Tupi Gurani, the language of the Brazilian native Indians who were the first to inhabit the area, is literally ‘island between waterways’, named because of the two canals that define the boundaries of the neighborhood from the Lagoa in the North, to the famous beach-lined Atlantic Ocean in the South. The canals are much smaller now, but to this day they mark the boundaries of one of Rio’s most exclusive neighborhoods (The Rio Times).

RIO GRANDE DO SUL

It might have beaches, beauties and Carnival celebrations that make the world look on in envy, but as a wine-growing nation, Brazil is just emerging. Many may be surprised to know that the country boasts over 400 wineries though, virtually all of them in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, near the Uruguayan border. Now as Brazil’s winter months arrive, some find themselves looking at wine options, and what Brazilian winemakers have to offer (The Rio Times).

SAO PAULO

Recently Brazil’s business capital, São Paulo, has felt a lot like pre-bust London or New York. The property fever there and in other Latin American countries makes some fear that the region’s economic renaissance may have become over-exuberant. But the housing boom is grounded in rising prosperity rather than excessive debt (The Economist).