President Dilma Rousseff launched a nationwide plan aimed at the social inclusion of disabled people. The so-called Living without Limits Plan foresees an investment of 7.6 billion reais (4.27 billion U.S. dollars) until 2014, to be used in several fields to integrate Brazilians with disabilities in the society (Xinhua).
Compared with its neighbours, Brazil has been slow to revisit its dictatorship’s crimes. The country has kept an amnesty law passed in 1979. It was intended to allow exiled dissidents to return without fear of prosecution, but later deemed to protect criminals within the regime too (The Economist).
Brazil paid $2.7 billion in debt to the World Bank ahead of schedule so that states and cities can take out new loans at cheaper rates, O Estado de S. Paulo reported, citing an official at the lender (Bloomberg).
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has had his hair and trademark beard shaved off as he battles throat cancer. Lula was shaved by his wife Marisa Leticia ahead of his next round of chemotherapy, which can make a patient’s hair fall out (BBC).
President Dilma Rousseff met with with the Labor Minister, Carlos Lupi, to demand an explanation of why he apparently lied about the details of a trip he made to Maranhão on government business (The Rio Times).
Former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso recommended President Dilma Rousseff a purge of her cabinet which faces yet another alleged corruption case: the minister of Labour, the fifth since she took office last January (MercoPress).
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President Rousseff ordered the creation of an “Africa Group” this month led by her trade and industry minister, Fernando Pimentel, to refresh its push in the region. Pimentel will lead government officials and business executives this month on a 10-day mission to explore opportunities in the three countries that Rousseff recently visited – Angola, Mozambique, and South Africa (Reuters).
Antonio Patriota told Reuters in an interview that the BRICS grouping — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — was fine as it was, brushing off a suggestion Indonesia may be admitted to the club.
President Dilma Rousseff criticized German chancellor Angela Merkel for her refusal to receive suggestions as to how face the global crisis and on specific issues such as youth unemployment (MercoPress).
The next Republican president needs to make Brazil a top priority by firstly, naming a high-level ambassador and secondly, making Brazil one of his first stops overseas. Brazil is still considered a developing country, but this classification is about ten years out of date. The United States needs to develop new ways to work with countries like Brazil that are on their way to becoming industrialized countries. Instead of foreign aid and development, the US have “cooperation interests” with Brazil that are linked to foreign policy, national security, and commercial interests (Foreign Policy).
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DEFENSE & SECURITY
The strengthening of the Brazilian Navy, aiming at guaranteeing Brazilian national sovereignty on riches such as the oil reserves in the continental shelf, will require investments of R$ 223 billion by 2030. The figures were presented by the Armed Forces Chief of Staff, fleet admiral Luiz Umberto de Mendonça, during a public hearing by the Committee on External Relations and National Defense. Until 2030, said the admiral, it will be necessary to purchase 20 conventional submarines and six nuclear ones, among other vessels, besides the constitution of a second fleet to have its headquarters in a not yet definite state in the Northern and Northeastern regions (Federal Senate).
The head of the federal police in Sao Paulo is braced for a high terror threat during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, one of the few times a top security official has addressed such concerns in the South American country. Brazil hasn’t had to deal with a major terrorist attack and officially dismisses the existence of terrorists within its borders, but Roberto Troncon Filho told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that the World Cup will present unique safety challenges to local authorities (Washington Post).
How far have Brazilian women come? They’ve moved ahead in education and health, according to new studies, and in the professions and technical fields. But their economic and political power has grown more slowly, and they lag in managerial and senior positions (New York Times).
For the first time, non-white people make up the majority of Brazil’s population, according to preliminary results of the 2010 census. Out of around 191m Brazilians, 91 million identified themselves as white, 82m as mixed race and 15m as black. Whites fell from 53.7% of the population in 2000 to 47.7% last year (BBC).