News from Brazil

Brazil Weekly’s Brazil Culture & Regional News

In Brazil on March 2, 2012 at 11:34 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

The Rio local authorities recently inaugurated a new landmark bridge connecting the Linha Vermelha highway to Fundao Island in Guanabara bay (Skyscrapercity).

FIFA WORLD CUP

Ricardo Teixeira is to stay on as the head of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) despite recent calls for his resignation amid renewed corruption allegations. Local football federations voted unanimously to confirm Mr Teixeira in the post he has held for 23 years (BBC).

As Brazil struggles to modernize stadiums and airports in time for the FIFA 2014 World Cup federal justice officials are investigating Ricardo Teixeira, leader of Brazil’s 2014 World Cup Organizing Committee and boss of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) in connection with misappropriating $5 million in funds from a FIFA event (Huffington Post).

A Brazilian congressional commission has partially approved legislation covering the 2014 World Cup. But sticking points remain, including the insistence by Fifa that alcohol, currently banned, be sold at venues. Fifa, football’s world governing body, has pressed for the law to be passed soon but it still needs to go before the full Congress (BBC).

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CULTURE

Paulo Coelho became the greatest Brazilian writer of all time. Not the best, but the greatest: the best-selling books (140 million until last October), the most famous (released in 160 countries), the most translated (73 languages ), the most celebrated (he has 10.5 million followers on Facebook and Twitter) (Folha).

Opening on 20 April 2012, the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, or IABR: Making City includes exhibitions at various venues across Rotterdam, Almere, São Paulo and Istanbul, a conference, debates and lectures, publications, and television and radio programmes (iabr).

AMAZON

For environmentalists, it’s possibly a deal with the devil. For government conservation groups with boots on the ground in the biggest jungle on Earth, it’s the only compromise to keep the Amazon safe, and expand Brazil’s reliance on clean energy. The problem is, that in order to build that clean energy, thousands of acres of pristine Amazon rainforest will have to be cut up and inundated with river water to build hydroelectric dams like Belo Monte, currently the largest ongoing hydroelectric project in the world (Forbes).

“Perhaps it’s the curse of Rondônia,” joked Ari Ott, referring to teething troubles with the first turbine of the Santo Antônio hydroelectric plant which was intended to kick off a new cycle of huge power projects in Brazil’s Amazon jungle region. The enormous turbine, designed to generate 71.6 megawatts of electricity, overheated during initial tests in December and the necessary repairs delayed its coming onstream, now announced for late March, by at least three months (IPS).

BAHIA

Petrobrás, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, is suspected of inadvertently funding a political campaign of the ruling Worker’s Party (PT) through a contract with local NGO, Pangea, current affairs magazine Epoca reported last week (The Rio Times).

FORTALEZA

The already strong Canadian presence in Brazil’s retailing industry is growing, with the Ivanhoe Cambridge Group to announce an estimated $300-million shopping centre investment. The real estate wing of Quebec’s pension fund manager, present in Brazil since 2006, is to announce the construction of a 352,800 square foot shopping mall in the northern city of Fortaleza, along with the expansion of two existing malls (Montreal Gazette).

RIO

The announcement made by the state government’s Chief Secretary of Staff, Regis Fichtner, that the bonde, Santa Teresa’s tram system, will be relaunched in 2014 has been criticized by the Association of Residents and Friends of Santa Teresa (AMAST) (The Rio Times).

Since opening in 2009, the General Osório Metro station (the last stop of Line 1) in Ipanema has increased the accessibility to the area, connecting Praça General Osório with Copacabana Cantagalo Metro stop. However, due to further expansion of the new Metro Line 4, extending to Barra da Tijuca, the stations will close for eight months starting in December 2012 (The Rio Times).

When it comes to music in Rio, there is one place always on the tip of everyone’s tongue, for visitors and Carioca alike, Lapa. Arcos da Lapa (arches of Lapa, or just Lapa as it is commonly known) continues to be one of the best areas in Rio to enjoy good food, cold drinks, and great live music from all genres (The Rio Times).

Most guide books will say no trip to Rio is complete without a ride on the gondola, which used to refer only to visiting the Pão de Açucar (Sugar Loaf) for a view of the bay. Now more people are finding their way to the Complexo do Alemão favelas to enjoy a different type of high-ride experience on the Teleférico line in Rio’s Zona Norte (North Zone) (The Rio Times).

Rio needs to increase the hotel capacity to accommodate tourists who will be in the city for the 2016 Olympic Games, according to a study released by statistics agency IBGE (Xinhua).

They call it the Bridge of Knowledge – a spectacular £22m cable-stayed bridge at the entrance to the 2016 Olympic city, not far from Rio’s international airport. Designed by one of Brazil’s leading architects and erected by the construction conglomerate Queiroz Galvão, the bridge was inaugurated on the eve of this year’s Rio carnival, a monument to the rebirth of the seaside city, which is at the centre of a major economic boom after decades of stagnation. But drug traffickers who control the Complexo da Mare, a giant slum next to the bridge that tourists pass on their way from the airport to the southern beaches, demanded a $2m (£1.3m) bribe to allow its construction (The Guardian).

SOUTH EAST

Brazil’s high speed train connecting Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro will be ready by 2022, Transportation Minister Paulo Sergio Passos said. The government will auction rights to build and manage the railway between Brazil’s two most populous cities in two stages, Passos said in an interview from his office in Brasilia. The first stage, to be completed by December, will decide on the technology and operator for the train, while the second stage, in which the consortium that will build the infrastructure will be chosen, will happen in 2014 (Bloomberg).

At the Carnival celebrations in Rio, Salvador and Olinda – the country’s three best known — an influx of foreigners drives prices way up. But towns like São Luiz, wedged into the tropical green hills between São Paulo and Rio, attract mainly Brazilian tourists and provide a generally much cheaper and more intimate experience (New York Times).

SOUTH

A team of Brazilian archaeologists and divers who discovered the remains of a Spanish vessel off the southern state of Santa Catarina say the recovered fragments correspond to a shipwreck that occurred in 1583. The recovered pieces and the documentary review indicate the wreck was a supply ship for a fleet that left Spain in 1581 on a mission to build two forts on the Strait of Magellan to stymie the advance of English pirates menacing Madrid’s territories in the New World (Latin American Herald).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

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