President Dilma Rousseff has said that the face of poverty in Brazil is one that is “black and female,” which highlighted the need to bolster public policies in relation to women’s health in the country and admitted that the country’s black population still experiences unacceptable levels of poverty, violence and unemployment (The Rio Times).
Former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who is credited with ending years of hyperinflation in the South American nation, will join a newly created advisory board at Brazilian investment fund Gavea Investimentos (Reuters).
Cleaning the Brasília pork factory… In a never-ending telenovela of sleaze, Dilma Rousseff is tackling the excesses of patronage politics but not yet the underlying system (The Economist).
When the Viennese-born writer Stefan Zweig moved in 1941 to Rio de Janeiro, he was one of world’s most translated authors, renowned for his taut novellas exploring passion, obsession and despair. Some now compare his importance in Brazil to that in the United States of Alexis de Tocqueville, the French political thinker who wrote about American concepts of liberty and equality in “Democracy in America” (New York Times).
The Brazilian Congress has passed a bill banning smoking in enclosed public places nationwide. Smoking bans are already in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other big cities. The new law goes one step further. It makes illegal designated smoking rooms in airports and bars that exist even in those places with a ban already in place (Washington Post).
Brazil’s president signed a law establishing a truth commission to investigate human rights abuses by the military regime that ruled Latin America’s biggest country from 1964 to 1985. President Dilma Rousseff will appoint the seven members of the commission, which will have two years to complete a report. The board will have subpoena power, can demand any document it wants from the government and can put witnesses under oath. But its recommendations won’t result in any prosecutions as long as the country’s 1979 amnesty law remains intact (Huffington Post).
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The Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will visit Cape Verde in early 2012 to strengthen ties and cooperation between the two Portuguese-speaking countries, the leader of the Atlantic island state has said (Xinhua).
Paraguayan members from the Mercosur Parliament, Parlasur made a public statement to complain the ‘intimidating Brazilian military display’ with armoured vehicles and heavy equipment along the border particularly across from the Ciudad del Este which is ‘contrary to international agreements and the Mercosur spirit’ (MercoPress).
Eight South American countries pledged to boost cooperation to protect one of the planet’s largest natural reserves from deforestation and illegal trafficking in timber and minerals. Representatives of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela gathered in Manaus, northern Brazil, also vowed to speak with one voice at next June’s UN conference on sustainable development in Rio (AFP).
South Korean companies are coming under fire in Brazil for alleged abuse of their workers, amid an investigation by local labor prosecutors (AFP).
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DEFENSE & SECURITY
Brazil ranks number 11 in terms of global defence spending, but due to its annual growth of 20% it is expected to become one of the tope ten defence spending nations by 2016, according to a new report. Brazil has not come under military attack in over 50 years, and traditionally favors negotiation over military force to resolve disputes with other countries. The country allocates 41% of its defense budget towards pension payments and is expected to spend only 8% towards arms procurements, ASD Reports says (Defenceweb).
Brazil’s aircraft manufacturing industry is emerging as a serious contender in the highly competitive air transport market where it’s pitted against major players from North America, Europe and Asia. With the increasing difficulties in securing U.S. administration and congressional approval for arms deals, the former recipients of U.S. hardware are being wooed by Brazil’s Embraer as well as other foreign suppliers. Brazil has also strengthened its market position by offering soft terms and playing the neighborly card (UPI).