President Dilma Rousseff has pledged to reduce taxes on local businesses to help them invest and compete in a world awash with cheap money that is hurting Brazil’s economy, Veja magazine reported. Speaking shortly after a meeting with industry leaders, Rousseff told the weekly magazine in a two-hour interview that the way out of Brazil’s struggle with inflation and slow growth was lower taxes to spur private investment (Reuters).
The meeting between President Dilma Rousseff and 28 business leaders on March 22 was a heavyweight encounter. The president faced off with Brazil’s most powerful retailers, bankers and industrialists — who between them represented 12 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Brazil’s captains of industry had come to deliver a somber message, one increasingly heard around Brazil: Domestic industry is losing the battle to cheaper imports. It simply isn’t competitive enough (Bloomberg).
Brazil’s Senate gave final approval to a bill that seeks to gradually eliminate the country’s pension deficit by limiting government payments to 3,916 reais ($2,144) per month to retired public workers (Bloomberg).
Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said that treatments for a cancerous throat tumor had been successful (The New York Times).
The Brazilian government will offer tax cuts, reduced payroll costs and credit breaks to companies that investment in innovation, Science and Technology Minister Marco Antonio Raupp announced (Xinhua).
Brazil is asking more than 2,000 websites to remove sexual content that promotes Latin America’s biggest country as a sex tourism destination, the Tourism Ministry said (Washington Post).
Brazil is planning to invest more funds in its flagship public housing programme, in the latest effort to boost public investment and stimulate a stagnant economy, President Dilma Rousseff said (Reuters).
While Brazilian multinationals are going global and are confronting foreign bribery risks of their own, corruption at home is under the spotlight (the president’s administration has lost a seventh Minister to corruption allegations since the last post). Now, a special committee created by the Brazilian Congress to analyze bill 6.826/2010 has recently presented a revised draft that bolsters certain key provisions and keeps other significant ones the same. The House aims to vote on the legislation before July 2012 (Corporate Compliance Insights).
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Brazil will push for its large emerging-market peers including China to denounce what it sees as unfair monetary policies by Europe and the United States, raising the stakes in a global confrontation over economic imbalances. Brazilian Trade and Industry Minister Fernando Pimentel told Reuters his country would seek such language in a communique at this week’s BRICS summit, which brings together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Reuters).
The Committee on External Relations and National Defense asked the United States to “cancel the economic and trade embargo against Cuba.” Shortly after, the committee rejected a proposal to ask Cuba’s government the concession of an indult to political prisoners who are still in the island’s prisons and the authorization for blogger Yaoni Sánchez to travel to other countries, such as Brazil (Federal Senate).
DEFENSE & SECURITY
Embraer expects to bid again within weeks on the U.S. Air Force contract to supply up to $1 billion in light attack planes for the Afghan government, the chief executive of the company’s defense unit said (Reuters).
Embraer Defense and Security disclosed that it has signed contracts with three African nations for the acquisition of the A-29 Super Tucano light attack and advanced training turboprop. The Burkina Faso Air Force, the first operator of this model in Africa, has already received three aircraft that are used on border patrol missions. The Angola Air Force recently acquired six of this aircraft for the same mission, and the first three will be delivered in 2012. Also, the Air Force of Mauritania chose the A-29 Super Tucano to carry out counter-insurgency missions. The total value of the contracts – including an extensive logistical, training, and replacement parts package – comes to more than USD 180 million (Embraer).
Rio do Janeiro riot police used pepper spray and tear gas to chase protesters away from a celebration by retired soldiers marking the March 1964 coup that established Brazil’s long military dictatorship (MercoPress).
President Dilma Rousseff plans to use her New Delhi visit later this week to sound out Indian leaders on the French Rafale fighter jet, which she is considering buying to beef up Brazil’s air force (MercoPress).
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Brazil’s Amazon Military Command headquarters to get an idea of the range, capabilities and challenges facing the armed forces’ effort Brazil. Gen. Eduardo Villas Boas of the Brazilian army hosted Dempsey for the short visit and discussed the full range of his command (Defense gov).
The number of Brazilians categorized as middle class has risen rapidly in recent years, climbing from 34% of the population in 2004 to 54% in 2011, according to a study released by consumer finance firm Cetelem BGN and the Ipsos research institute (MercoPress).
According to Data Popular the NCM, New Middle Class, will show the real face of Brazil. A family with monthly income of around 2374,00 reais is actually part of this class, which consists of over 100 million people, representing 1 trillion Reais of spending power. The NCM can be found throughout the country, though they are most present in the South (and least in the North East). Florianopolis is the city with propotinally the most NCMs (Data Popular/Almanaque Brasil).
In Brazil, comparison with the U.S. made it easy to imagine that country was a “racial democracy.” Yet although Brazil never enacted statutory racism, millions of black Brazilians face inequalities that are deeper than in the U.S. In the absence of a foil like the white supremacism in the U.S., Brazil long avoided a thorough interrogation of its own racial inequalities. In its absence, an agile reinterpretation of racial discrimination is taking place in Brazil that bears lessons for the U.S. (The New York Times).
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