News from Brazil

Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on April 27, 2012 at 9:56 am

POLITICS

Despite President Dilma Rousseff’s record-breaking approval rating of 64 percent after fifteen months in office, polls indicate her predecessor Lula da Silva remains the Brazilian people’s preferred Worker’s Party (PT) candidate for the 2014 presidential elections (The Rio Times).

Brazil’s Congress passed a bill easing rules mandating the amount of forest that farmers must preserve, delivering a long-sought victory to the country’s powerful agriculture lobby and a political defeat for President Dilma Rousseff (Reuters).

President Dilma Rousseff announced investments of 32 billion reais (17 billion U.S. dollars) to improve the public transportation system in large cities in 18 Brazilian states. Rousseff highlighted the need to invest in subways, saying that in the past, governments thought it too expensive to invest in subway networks, and today the task of building subway networks in large cities became more difficult (Xinhua).

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INTERNATIONAL

A former Brazilian prostitute plans to sue the United States embassy and five of its personnel for injuries sustained outside a strip club late last year, complicating the second of two embarrassing incidents to emerge recently involving American officials and sex workers in South America (Reuters).

Three of Brazil’s leading companies said they are increasing investment and exploration in Peru’s natural gas sector as the country prepares to build a new pipeline and petrochemical plants (Reuters).

Argentina is seeking greater partnership with Brazilian state-run energy company, Petrobras, to develop the country’s energy resources after announcing the nationalization of YPF, its main oil producer. The move, which saw Argentine president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, strip a 51 percent YPF stake from Spanish oil company Repsol and place the company under national control, sent shock waves through the business world (The Rio Times).

Iran says it has called home a diplomat who is accused of molesting four girls at a swimming pool in Brazil and will investigate him. The official was arrested following the alleged incident at a sports club in the capital, Brasilia, but freed after invoking diplomatic immunity (BBC).

A group of former environment ministers led by ambassador Rubens Ricupero and former senator Marina Silva presented in São Paulo a declaration to “save” Rio+20, the UN environmental summit to be held in June, from failure. The declaration says today’s main environmental issues, such as climate change and the planet’s physical limits, are not on the summit’s agenda (Folha).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta pushed Brazil to buy $4 billion worth of Boeing-made Super Hornet fighter jets, saying the prospective sale reflected how important Brazil was to the United States (The New York Times).

Brazil will get US advanced technology transfers if it buys Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet to upgrade its air force, visiting US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said (MercoPress).

Panetta praised Brazil’s emergence as a global power, urging the nation to become more involved in security efforts around the world by assisting in places like Africa (Washington Post).

Brazil collaborated during the 1982 Falkland Islands conflict in an operation mounted by the Soviets to supply Argentina with spares, arms, munitions and other requirements according to the Rio do Janeiro newspaper O’Globo based on disclosed documents from the National Security Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MercoPress).

SOCIAL

The National Association of Federal Prosecutors (“Associação Nacional dos Procuradores da República – ANPR”), says that the decision by a panel of judges (“Terceira Seção”) at the Superior Appellate Court (“Superior Tribunal de Justiça – STJ”), that sex with a minor of less than 14 years of age is not necessarily rape, is an affront to the principle of absolute protection of children under the Brazilian constitution (Agencia Brasil).

Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on April 27, 2012 at 9:55 am

ECONOMY

Brazilian unemployment rate rose to 6.2 percent in March before seasonal adjustments, from a previously reported 5.7 percent in February, the government’s statistics agency IBGE said (Reuters).

Economists kept nearly unchanged their outlook for the Brazilian economy after the central bank cut rates for the sixth straight time last week (Reuters).

Brazilian companies continue to hire. Employment grew by 0.1% month over month, making up for the layoffs that occurred at the same time. Real wages rose +1.3% in March or 18.5% in annualized terms. On a yearly basis, the real wage bill growth picked up further steam to 7.3%, from the recent 1.2% yearly low record back in October (Forbes).

After reading the minutes from the last Brazilian monetary policy committee meeting, some derivatives traders at Nomura Securities in New York asked “who let the doves out? (Forbes)”

BRAZIL WEEKLY’S BRAZIL’S NEXT 10 HOTTEST BUSINESS CITIES

No doubt the biggest and most important business centres of Brazil are the megacities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and do not forget most other state capitals like Belo Horizonte, Salvador da Bahia, Recife, Fortaleza, Curitiba and Porto Alegre.  But Brazil is big and there are plenty of other fast developing cities, not being state capitals. So for a minute forget Sao Paulo, Rio and those other 2014 World Cup host cities and check out Brazil Weekly’s Brazil’s Next 10 Hottest Business Cities.

BUSINESS

Portugal’s Treasury Secretary Maria Luis Albuquerque defended a takeover bid by Brazil’s Camargo Correa for Portuguese cement maker Cimpor from suggestions it was against the national interests and the price was too low (Reuters).

Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of Instagram this month crowned a new poster child for the tech boom and made a hometown hero out of Mike Krieger, Brazilian cofounder of the picture-sharing app. The next challenge for Krieger’s aspiring cohort of local tech entrepreneurs: To hit it big without leaving Brazil for Silicon Valley or an Ivy League dorm room (Reuters).

Europe’s largest drugs distributor Celesio is set to significantly boost its stake in Brazil’s largest drugs distributor Panpharma from currently 50.1 percent (Reuters).

AGRI ETC.

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) announced that its Board of Directors has named the organization’s Technical Director, Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, as interim CEO, taking over from Marcos Jank who announced his resignation on March 27th. Rodrigues will act as interim CEO until the conclusion of a selection process, now underway, for a new chief executive (Unica).

AUTOMOTIVE

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), the world’s largest luxury automaker, posted a 30% drop in first-quarter sales in Brazil due to a tax rise for imported cars, said Henning Dornbusch, the company’s country head (MercoPress).

AVIATION

Embraer posted a 36 percent drop in first-quarter net income from a year earlier to 111.2 million reais ($61 million), according to a securities filing (Reuters).

Gol Linhas Aéreas , Brazil’s second-largest airline, is in talks to sell an additional 17 percent stake to U.S. carrier Delta Airlines as it struggles with rising costs and a reduced ability to invest (Reuters).

BANKING & FINANCE

BTG does not want to go public only to see partners chase Ferraris, third homes and early retirement by taking unnecessary risks in order to plump the share price. So it has put severe restrictions on partners selling shares. Partners who want to leave the bank or cash out will be allowed to sell their shares only to other partners, and only at book value. In this way the bank’s culture will not be corrupted by going public, the thinking goes, and shareholders can be reassured that partners will stay for the long term. Some partners are said to be grumbling about the scheme (The Economist).

Brazil’s central bank will toughen scrutiny over mergers and acquisitions in the financial industry that have in recent years resulted in massive scale and efficiency gains for lenders but scant improvements in the quality of customer service (Reuters).

Rising defaults may prevent Itaú Unibanco from cutting interest rates further, signaling that Brazil’s largest private sector lender is unwilling to sacrifice profits in the face of government pressure to lower borrowing costs (Reuters).

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MINING & STEEL

Vale, the world’s largest iron ore miner, expects demand and prices for its main product to recover through 2012, but is likely to face bigger future tax bills that would make it harder to capitalize on any improvement in metal markets (Reuters).

Petrobras and mining giant Vale are in talks over a rare earths deal that would allow Vale to replace China as Petrobras’ supplier of lanthanum oxide for oil refining (Reuters).

E.ON, Germany’s top utility, may join forces with Eike Batista to produce gas in northern Brazil after companies owned by the Brazilian billionaire found significant amounts of gas in the region (Reuters).

Brazil Weekly’s Brazil Culture & Regional News

In Brazil on April 27, 2012 at 9:53 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of the WTorre JK Shopping Iguatemi complex for Pinheiros, Sao Paulo (Skyscrapercity).

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CINEMA

When Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles’s adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” opens at Cannes 65th Film Festival, a more than 30-year old journey will end (Folha).

FIFA WORLD CUP

Brazil will complete all its planned infrastructure projects and stadium development programs on time to host soccer’s World Cup in 2014, the country’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said (Bloomberg).

AMAZON

When Brazilian indigenous leader Tashka Yawanawa saw the news on television that communities from Peru were campaigning to prevent the construction of dams close to their land, he had no doubt about how he could help. He turned on his computer, and using Skype, he contacted indigenous movements involved in the protest to offer both his support and to publicise the cause in Brazil (BBC).

BRASILIA

“It’s easy to speak ill of the capital of Brazil. But it is also necessary. Brasilia turns 52 today. It is enough time for any project of such magnitude to work out. But Brasilia failed completely in the three main reasons that support its creation (Folha)”.

NORTH EAST

National and international media groups are calling on the Brazilian authorities to fully investigate the murder of a campaigning journalist. Political reporter and blogger Decio Sa was shot dead in the north-eastern state of Maranhao. He was the fourth journalist to be killed in Brazil so far this year (BBC).

RIO

The Military Police (Polícia Militar, PM) are planning on forming 7,000 new recruits by the end of this year. The main goal is to reach 60,000 PMs – 16,000 more than today – by 2016, and ensure security for the major events like the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games (The Rio Times).

The neighborhood of Leblon is perhaps the most exclusive and expensive in the city, yet bordered on two sides by canals draining into the sea, polluted water is often harming the beach’s appeal. On one side is the Jardim de Allah canal, and the other side the Visconde de Albuquerque canal, and residents have since, long been hoping for some solutions (The Rio Times).

Every July, the celebrities of the publishing world gather in a small town on the lush coast of Rio de Janeiro state. They are drawn to Brazil by a literary festival that has already been attended by renowned authors including Martin Amis, Margaret Atwood and Paul Auster. The warm reception and idyllic setting prompted British novelist Ian McEwan to refer to the Paraty International Literary Festival, or Flip, as it is known , as “like being in A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (BBC).

Rio do Janeiro officially declared it is suffering an epidemics emergency of the mosquito transmitted disease of dengue, following confirmed reports of over 50.000 cases so far this year, and 500 in the last week (MercoPress).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

SAO PAULO

Congressman Paulo Maluf lost a bid to dismiss charges filed against him in New York in 2007 for allegedly stealing $11.6 million from a Brazilian public works project when he was mayor of Sao Paulo. Maluf and his businessman son, Flavio, who also was charged, sought a court order to toss the indictment accusing them of participating in a kickback scheme in which money was run through a New York bank account and then transferred offshore (Reuters).

Eletropaulo Metropolitana Electricidade de Sao Paulo SA, the Brazilian utility unit of AES Corp., is planning to install smart meters that will monitor electricity usage for as many as 80,000 customers to improve the reliability of its power grid and curb theft (Bloomberg).

Brazil Government & Politics News

In Brazil on April 20, 2012 at 10:57 am

POLITICS

Brazil’s economic rise is forcing it to deal with a problem it long regarded as the sole concern of rich countries like the United States: the need to secure its borders and slow down a flood of drugs, illegal immigrants and other contraband. President Dilma Rousseff, under political pressure from a crack epidemic in Brazilian cities, is spending more than $8 billion and overhauling Brazil’s defense strategy to tackle an issue that has implications for trade, agriculture and the overall economy (Reuters Special Report).

No central banker in the world’s top 10 economies has surprised analysts as frequently as Brazil’s Alexandre Tombini. Since taking office 15 months ago, Tombini set interest rates lower than economists expected in three out of 10 policy meetings, including an August reduction that all 62 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg failed to anticipate (Bloomberg).

The Brazilian Health Ministry announced an investment of 505 million reais (270 million U.S. dollars) on cancer treatment in the country’s public health care system (Xinhua).

Former president Jose Sarney is recovering in intensive care in a Sao Paulo hospital after undergoing heart surgery. Mr Sarney, 81, underwent angioplasty over the weekend to clear an obstructed artery, doctors said (BBC).

Representatives of the Landless Farm Worker Movement (Movimento do Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra – MST) delivered a list of their demands to representatives of the president’s cabinet on April 11. This has become an annual occurrence, a harbinger of what is known as Red April (“abril vermelho”) when a wave of red flags (symbols of the MST) is supposed to sweep across the land as the group holds demonstrations and invades farms and public buildings commemorating the 17th of April in 1996 when the Massacre of Eldorado dos Carajás took place. At that time, 21 landless workers were killed by police in the state of Pará (Agencia Brasil).

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INTERNATIONAL

The International Monetary Fund’s bid to win a big boost in funding to handle the euro-zone debt crisis hit a speed bump when Brazil demanded more power at the IMF for emerging economies as a condition for lending it extra cash. Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega laid out the terms for a deal after a meeting with fellow BRICS nations Russia, India, China and South Africa (Reuters).

Energy Minister Edison Lobao said that state-run oil company Petrobras’s relations with the Argentine government were “totally normal” and the company could increase investments there. The minister’s statement, in response to a reporter’s question, comes days after Argentina announced it would expropriate 51 percent of the oil company YPF, which is controlled by Spain’s Repsol (Reuters).

U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, were among the officials in Brazil this week to continue bilateral talks. Secretary Clinton was previously at the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Colombia from April 13-15th, before traveling to Brasilia April 16-17th to lead the U.S. delegation for the third U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue (The Rio Times).

The U.S. is committed to reform of the U.N. security council and will support the entrance of Brazil in the future once international consensus is built around the matter, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said (Fox).

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the CEO of Brazil’s government- controlled oil and gas giant Petrobras to discuss potential Brazil- U.S. partnerships in the oil sector (Xinhua).

Cooperation in energy development, closer economic ties including a free trade agreement and praise for Brazil’s economic and political leadership were some of the issues discussed by visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her first day of meetings with Brazilian officials (MercoPress).

Brazil criticized Argentina’s decision to restrict the import of Brazilian pork, threatening a tit-for-tat response. In a radio interview, Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Mendes Ribeiro said that if the restrictions, announced in February, remained in place, Brazil might take similar measures against Argentine exports (Xinhua).

Brazil says it will seek an explanation from Iran after an Iranian diplomat was accused of molesting underage girls at a swimming pool in Brasilia. The Iranian official was questioned by police following complaints from parents but released after invoking diplomatic immunity (BBC).

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to pay an official visit to Brazil in the near future, official sources said (Fars).

Brazil’s International Relations community remains concentrated in the triangle of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, and most academics rarely have a chance to engage with Brazilian thinkers located in other regions. While the South is better developed and boasts growing IR departments in places such as Porto Alegre and Florianópolis, very few IR scholars are based in the Northeast and North of Brazil, so this regional perspective is particularly underrepresented in debates about Brazil’s national interest. This is all the more worrying because it is in the North where the most serious challenges lurk (Post Western World).

Dr. Hewitt is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada and Visiting Public Policy Scholar at the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Hewitt offers critical insight into Brazil’s role in the 21st century and its ascendency to global power as he addresses a wide spectrum of issues ranging from the history and shape of Brazilian-Canadian relations to what Canada can learn from Brazil’s technological advancement and expertise.  This interview is a must-read for anyone interested in South America’s emerging giant (Geopoliticalmonitor).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

Argentina and Brazil agreed to work on a common defence agenda underlining the importance of strengthening Unasur and working to ensure that Latin America is a peace zone thus sending a strong message to the UK on the Falklands/Malvinas issue (MercoPress).

Defense contractor Sierra Nevada Corp said it filed a court challenge to the U.S. Air Force’s new plan for a bungled competition to supply 20 planes to Afghanistan. Sierra Nevada’s Brazilian partner Embraer, for its part, said an Air Force briefing only heightened concerns that officials could throw out findings from a 15-month competition that awarded it the $355 million contract (Reuters).

Israel’s Rafael has expanded into Brazil with the acquisition of a 40 per cent stake in Gespi Aeronautics. State-owned Rafael said the purchase – its first in Brazil – would improve local capabilities and boost the government’s efforts to increase defence exports. Gespi’s customers include all three of Brazil’s armed services (Janes).

DuPont, widely known as a chemical maker, introduced its bulletproof Kevlar fibre and SentryGlas car kit Armura in 2008 to middle class Brazilian families with Chevrolets, Hondas and yes, even low-cost Kias. Now, it wants to bulletproof taxis that will shuttle visitors between events for the 2014 World Cup soccer championship and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic games (Reuters).

The CIA recently released “sanitized” documents on American involvement in Brazil’s 1964 coup, and there’s bad news for the Brazilians although not the bad news that might be expected. Instead of supporting what is often claimed in Brasilia—that the U.S. hijacked a democratically-elected Brazilian government—the CIA messages, if they can be believed, show that the Brazilians did most of the heavy lifting in the destruction of their own democracy. The U.S. military had plans for more, much more, but never had to act because the Brazilian generals did such a good job at coup execution (MercoPress).

ACADEMIC

President Rousseff’s visit to the U.S. last week was a resounding success in at least one important respect: developing the Brazil “Science Without Borders” program. The goal is to increase student exchanges in areas vital to Brazil’s continued development (e.g. engineering, science, IT), to be achieved in large part by a five-year fellowship agreement concluded between Harvard University and the Brazilian government (The Rio Times).

With more job opportunities in the US and other countries, the Science Without Borders programme could lead to an exodus of Brazil’s most talented individuals. And is the 3.6bn reais ($1.9bn) allotted to this programme a good use of resources, given the poor performance of the country’s primary and secondary schools (BBC)?

Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on April 20, 2012 at 10:57 am

ECONOMY

The Brazilian economy is set to grow 3% in 2012 after the modest 2.7% of last year, but following the relaxation of monetary policy it runs the risk of ‘overheating’, according to the IMF World Economic Outlook, WEO (MercoPress).

Borrowing costs have started to fall at last, but the hard part lies ahead, writes The Economist. Anywhere except Brazil, the supposedly cut-price loans it offers would look more like usury. Interest on overdrafts, for example, has fallen from 157% a year to 51%. For Brazilians with recent memories of hyperinflation, an overdraft at 51% a year is an unheard-of bargain (The Economist).

Economic activity in Brazil slipped in February for the second month in a row, the central bank said, in data showing that Latin America’s biggest economy remains stagnant despite interest rate cuts and government measures to spur growth. Brazil has been flirting with recession since the second half of last year as local manufacturers struggle with high business costs and a strong currency (Reuters).

Nomura Securities’ managing director in New York, Tony Volpon, said he believes falling industrial production is the prime suspect behind the poor growth. While consumer demand remains robust, evidenced by strong retail sales growth so far this year (Jan: 7.8% y-o-y, Feb: 9.6% y-o-y), industrial production is running negative, at -3.9% y-o-y as of February. The production of capital goods, in particular, shrank 16% y-o-y, a figure last seen during the height of the financial crisis (Forbes).

Economists raised their forecasts for 2012 inflation in Brazil to 5.08 percent from 5.06 percent, a weekly central bank survey showed (Reuters).

Brazil’s government for next year expects faster growth and a weaker currency than economists forecast, according to the 2013 budget guidelines proposed by the administration of President Dilma Rousseff. The real will trade at an average exchange rate of 1.84 per U.S. dollar, while the economy will expand by 5.5 percent in 2013 (Bloomberg).

Asian investors flush with hundreds of billions of dollars in cash now see Latin America as a top business opportunity, and they’re flooding into manufacturing, construction and other industries, particularly in up-and-coming countries such as Brazil, Peru and Mexico. That’s transforming the lucrative relationship that was based primarily on exporting raw materials to Asia, an arrangement that frustrated governments eager to stimulate their own manufacturing (Washington Post).

Brazil’s weaker than expected February retail sales is not the start of a new trend. Brazilians are still shoppin’ til they’re droppin’ (Forbes).

BUSINESS

Petrobras and mining company Vale, the two biggest companies in Brazil, have signed a memorandum of understanding to pursue joint ventures in various areas. The companies will work together on potassium production, nitrogen fertilizer, thermoelectric, petroleum derivatives, gas, biodiesel and logistics projects (MercoPress).

Nearly six in 10 Brazilian employers say they have trouble filling vacant posts due to a lack of available talent, the highest rate in the Americas, according to a survey by employment services company ManpowerGroup (Reuters).

The board of Portugal’s top cement-maker Cimpor says a takeover offer from Brazil’s Camargo Correa is too low and lacks detail on its plans for Cimpor’s future, but would not recommend to shareholders whether they should sell or keep their stakes (Reuters).

Bombardier Inc’s train unit aims to supply the world’s highest capacity monorails for fast-growing cities in Brazil and India from a factory near Sao Paulo, bucking a trend of flagging industrial investment in Latin America’s biggest economy (Reuters).

Portuguese investment company Ongoing Strategy Investments SGPS SA has closed a deal to acquire Brazilian news portal IG, Folha de S. Paulo reported.  IG is the fifth-largest portal in Brazil, with 23.5 million unique visitors in March, the newspaper said, citing research firm Ibope (Bloomberg).

Marriott will add 12 hotels in Brazil, where it currently operates five (Bloomberg).

Brazilian beverage giant, Ambev, announced on Monday that it had entered into a strategic alliance with the Dominican Republic’s biggest company, E. Leon Jimenes SA (ELJ), to form the leading beverage company in the Caribbean. Their combined business operations will include beer, malt and soft drinks in the Dominican Republic, Antigua, St. Vincent and DR, as well as exports to sixteen countries throughout the Caribbean, the U.S. and Europe (The Rio Times).

Chicago-based CareerBuilder is making its first foray into South America with the acquisition of CEVIU.com.br, the largest information technology job site in Brazil (Chicago Tribune).

AGRI ETC.

Dedini SA Industrias de Base, the Brazilian company that builds ethanol mills, has received 20 requests to supply quotes this year to companies considering new production facilities as the industry seeks to meet rising demand for the renewable fuel (Bloomberg).

AVIATION

Embraer , the world’s third-largest commercial aircraft maker, said its order backlog fell to its lowest level in more than five years, underlining doubts about global demand for regional jets. The company delivered 21 commercial planes in the first quarter but booked only 12 new orders in the segment, drawing down its backlog to $14.7 billion (Reuters).

Several international operators have expressed interest in the privatization of Portuguese airline TAP, its chief executive Fernando Pinto said, attracted by its fast-growing routes to South America and Africa (Reuters).

TAM reduced its estimate for an increase in domestic demand for this year to between 7 percent and 9 percent from a previous guidance of 8 percent to 11 percent (Bloomberg).

BANKING & FINANCE

Brazil still doesn’t need to change rules on savings accounts, one of the country’s most popular investments, after the central bank cut its base interest rate to a near all-time low of 9 percent, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said. As falling interest rates drive down returns in most of Brazil’s bond funds, investors are encouraged to move their money into savings accounts known as “poupanca,” which are tax free and pay out a fixed interest of 0.5 percent per month plus a variable rate (Reuters).

State-controlled lender Banco do Brasil said it was cutting interest rates further on consumer and business loans to reflect a central bank rate cut. The move comes a day after Brazil’s biggest lenders Banco Bradesco and Banco Itau cut interest rates to compete with cheaper loans from state lenders Banco do Brasil and Caixa Economica Federal (Reuters).

André Esteves, the chief executive of the Brazilian bank BTG Pactual, was fined 350,000 euros ($457,000) by the Italian financial regulator for insider trading (The New York Times).

BTG Pactual, Brazil’s largest independent securities firm, said that a European regulator’s ruling in an insider trading case against Chief Executive Andre Esteves would have no effect on the bank’s activities (Reuters).

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MINING & STEEL

Brazil’s raw steel production rose 2.2 percent in March from a year earlier to 3.1 million tonnes, driven by flat steel output, according to Instituto Aço Brasil, the industry group representing steelmakers. Rolled steel production grew 3.4 percent from a year before to 2.4 million tonnes. IMports also grew (Reuters).

OIL & GAS

A new prosecutor in the case against Chevron Corp and drilling firm Transocean Ltd for an offshore oil spill said he will seek to suspend the companies’ operations in Brazil, a sign that he may be just as tough on the companies as his predecessor (Reuters).

POWER

Brazil, where solar installations last year were less than 1 percent of those in world leader Germany, is developing policies that may boost rooftop panel sales to $3 billion within 20 years. Homeowners and businesses in Brazil may now trade electricity generated during the day by rooftop solar systems to utilities in exchange for the power they consume at night, under rules announced by the Brasilia-based power regulator Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica (Bloomberg).

MPX and global player E.ON AG of  Germany have signed definitive agreements for the creation of a joint venture that will be the largest private energy company in Brazil. Together, the companies will develop conventional and renewable energy generation projects, as well as engage in supply and marketing activities in Brazil and Chile (EBX).

TELECOMS

Telecom company Grupo Oi is stepping up investments to boost its slipping share of a hotly contested wireless market and boost operating profits 45 percent by 2015. Oi said it plans to invest 6 billion reais ($3.3 billion) annually from 2012 to 2015, up from nearly 5 billion reais last year (Reuters).

Brazil Weekly’s Brazil Culture & Regional News

In Brazil on April 20, 2012 at 10:55 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of the REC Sapucaí commercial building, designed by Oscar Niemeyer. The project will be built in Rio, next to the Sambadrome (Skyscrapercity).

BRAZIL WEEKLY’S BRAZIL’S NEXT 10 HOTTEST BUSINESS CITIES

No doubt the biggest and most important business centres of Brazil are the megacities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and do not forget most other state capitals like Belo Horizonte, Salvador da Bahia, Recife, Fortaleza, Curitiba and Porto Alegre.  But Brazil is big and there are plenty of other fast developing cities, not being state capitals. So for a minute forget Sao Paulo, Rio and those other 2014 World Cup host cities and check out Brazil Weekly’s Brazil’s Next 10 Hottest Business Cities.

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

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MINAS GERAIS

Mining group Anglo American said it faced further potential disruption to its $6 billion Minas-Rio iron ore operation in Brazil, although it was hopeful of resuming construction activity on the site (Reuters).

Minas Gerais state is seeking an additional 1.2 billion reais (US$642.83 million) in taxes from iron ore mining company Vale, as the company’s disputes with the government mount over how much tax it should pay on its production (Reuters).

NORTH EAST

The trio that allegedly killed at least two women and ate parts of their bodies may have murdered another five people in northeastern Brazil, police said (Washington Post).

CHS Inc., the largest U.S. grain- marketing cooperative, plans to invest about $250 million in the next three years to expand in regions including Brazil and the U.S. Northwest to meet rising demand overseas. CHS, owned by 1,100 farmer cooperatives and 60,000 growers, plans to buy a port terminal in northern Brazil and build out assets inland in the next couple of years, CHS Chief Executive Officer Carl Casale said (Bloomberg).

Prisoners at a jail in north-eastern Brazil have released all the people they took hostage during a riot. Some 400 prisoners in Aracaju started a revolt over the weekend and were said to be armed with knives and three rifles stolen from a weapons room (BBC).

RIO

While the UPP (Police Pacification Unit) program in Rio has had many successes in the past few years confronting drug trafficking in the favelas, the surrounding metropolitan region has seen crime rates rise as criminals flee the city. The number of arrests in outlying areas like Niterói, São Gonçalo and Duque de Caxias has increased significantly, bringing residents to protest (The Rio Times).

The environmental license for the construction of the Metro Line 4 was approved by the directors of the State Environmental Control Commission (CECA), to build four new stations between Ipanema and Gávea. This clears the way for work to begin in the next two months, and should be completed by December 2015 (The Rio Times).

Nearly 60 archeological sites dating back 6,000 years have been unearthed during construction of a road near Rio, an archaeologist said (AFP).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

SAO PAULO

Sao Paulo state is in talks to buy forest carbon credits from the upper Amazon state of Acre that would allow Sao Paulo state to meet targets for reducing emissions, an official said. Sao Paulo, an industrial powerhouse with 40 million residents, is seeking access to emission cuts in Acre to help it reach its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 98 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2020 from 122 million tonnes in 2005 (Reuters).

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Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on April 13, 2012 at 10:22 am

POLITICS

In a matter of weeks this year, Maria das Graças Foster, a longtime chemical engineer, rose to the top job at Petrobras, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, and Magda Chambriard was nominated to lead the National Petroleum Agency, which regulates Brazil’s oil sector. Placing women in such commanding positions is a priority of President Dilma Rousseff, the first woman to lead Brazil (The New York Times).

Speaking on the world economic crisis during her visit to the United States, president Dilma Rousseff described the situation as one that forced people to search for ways to overcome paradigms and find new opportunities. As for Brazil, Dilma said the growth of the middle class was a stimulus for the country to maintain efforts for economic growth. According to Dilma, by 2018 fully 60% of Brazil’s population will be middle class (Agencia Brasil).

The Senate committee to reform the Penal Code proposed ending criminal punishment for owners of brothels.

The legal experts comprising the panel want to end what they call moral “cynicism” in the current legislation. They say that the ban on brothels only serves to corrupt police officers who extort brothel owners. “The Penal code will no longer be the moral crusader of the 1940s. The ban doesn’t make sense anymore,” says State attorney Luiz Carlos dos Santos Gonçalves, general-rapporteur of the panel, whose goal is to draw up a draft to be submitted to the Congress (Folha).

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INTERNATIONAL

It’s one step at a time in Brazilian-American relations. Read how two American giants are slowly getting to know each other, in The Economist.

President Dilma Rousseff complained about U.S. monetary policy and expressed concern that sanctions against Iran could backfire in a meeting with President Barack Obama, highlighting strains between the Western Hemisphere’s two biggest democracies (Reuters).

Public friendliness belied a sense that the United States, whose once-dominant sway in Latin America is ebbing, and Brazil, the hemisphere’s rising power, still do not see eye to eye on a range of important issues, from Middle East diplomacy to trade with Cuba and Brazil’s ambitions of obtaining a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Read this article in the New York Times.

But the U.S. and Brazil plan to boost trade in cachaca, the South American nation’s distilled sugar cane liquor used to make caipirinha cocktails, and Tennessee whiskey (Bloomberg).

Brazil ranks as the fourth largest source of overseas visitors to the United States with 1.5 million visits in 2011, which represents a 26% increase from 2010 said the State Department (MercoPress).

Science education and training were high on the agenda for President Dilma Rousseff’s first official visit to the US, as her government seeks to tackle a growing problem: the lack of skilled workers in Brazil (BBC).

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed she will be visiting Brazil next week following the Summit of the Americas scheduled for April 14/15 in Colombia. Her trip follows on the Brazilian president visit to the White House where both leaders, Dilma Rousseff and Barack Obama politely but unyielding kept to their positions (MercoPress).

Bolivian President Evo Morales said he was rescinding the contract awarded to Brazil’s OAS to build a road through the Amazon forest, casting further doubt on a project that unleashed fierce anti-government protests last year. Morales partially halted work on the most controversial stretch of the road in September (Reuters).

Brazil has given a clear indication of its intention to attack European export subsidies for poultry-meat the next time Mercosur and the EU meet to discuss a possible cooperation and trade agreement (MercoPress).

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DEFENSE & SECURITY

Embraer, which won and abruptly lost a contract with the U.S. Air Force to supply up to $1 billion in Super Tucano light attack planes to the Afghan government, said that winning the bid again would prove there were no politics involved (Reuters).

Brazil’s chief of the joint staff said the armed forces are set to carry out a joint security crackdown with Venezuela along the 2,850-kilometer border, citing their increased monitoring of the Brazil-Colombia frontier as a model (Insight Crime).

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

President Dilma Rousseff launched an initiative to deepen ties with the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Mercopress).

The Brazilian government wants to increase scientific cooperation with the United States, and wants scholarships with American universities and companies granted through Science Without Borders to make up a fifth of the program (Portal Brasil).

SOCIAL

Brazilian Health Ministry said the obese and overweighted population in the country has increased significantly over the past five years, and the tendency should be closely watched. According to a study issued by the ministry, 48.5% of the Brazilian population was overweighted in 2011, up from 42.7% in 2006. The percentage point of obese people rose from 11.4% in 2006 to 15.8% in 2011 (Xinhua).

Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on April 13, 2012 at 10:22 am

ECONOMY

The Brazilian government will continue to take steps to bolster domestic consumption and ensure the competitiveness of local industries, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said. Mantega also reiterated that the government stands ready to take additional measures to prevent Brazil’s currency, the real, from strengthening too much against the U.S. dollar (Reuters).

Analysts now foresee an annual inflation of 5.06 percent by the end of this year compared with last week’s 5.27 percent prediction (Reuters).

The glowing image of Brazil rests on an extremely shaky premise: commodity prices. The country has grown largely in concert with surging demand for its stores of oil, copper, iron ore, and other natural resources. The problem is that the global appetite for those commodities is beginning to fall. And if Brazil does not take steps to diversify and boost its growth, it may soon fall with them (Foreign Affairs).

BUSINESS

Out of the world’s five major high-growth economies – Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia – Brazil is ranked the most expensive country to do business in, according to a recent report. The 2012 Competitive Alternatives survey, released by KPMG International, compares locations in more than a hundred cities in fourteen countries around the world (The Rio Times).

José Valledor, president of McDonald’s Brazil since august 2011, says the fast-food company wants to expand as the Brazilian economy grows. The world-known fast-food brand plans on targeting the new middle class (Class C and D) and the mid-sized cities in Brazil in the coming years (The Rio Times).

Brazil is a difficult market to navigate for international luxury fashion brands. But still, Prada, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, DVF and Chanel have all recently launched stores in the country. Business of Fashion goes behind the headlines and speaks with three powerful women with intimate knowledge of Brazil’s fast-changing fashion terrain.

Portuguese conglomerate Semapa has made a proposal to major shareholders in Cimpor to try to keep the country’s biggest cement maker in Portuguese hands rather than see it taken over by Brazil’s Camargo Correa (Reuters).

AGRI ETC.

Brazil’s sugar production should rise 5.3 percent to 38.9 million tonnes in the 2012/13 season that has just started, the government crop supply agency Conab said, up from 36.9 million tonnes in the prior season (Reuters).

AUTOMOTIVE

Brazil has no plans to offer further incentives for automakers, but the government does not rule out taking steps to boost the competitiveness of other industries, Trade and Industry Minister Fernando Pimentel said in an interview. The Brazilian government wants to encourage automakers to invest more heavily in innovation to meet surging demand in the world’s fourth biggest auto market (Reuters).

Brazil’s auto manufacturers will invest 22 billion U.S. dollars by 2015 to improve the sector’s competitiveness, President of the Motor Vehicle Producers Association (Anfavea) Cledorvino Belini said (Xinhua).

AVIATION

Embraer said that Chief Financial Officer Paulo Penido Marques has resigned, forcing the company to fill that post for the second time in a year (Reuters).

US Boeing and Brazil’s Embraer signed an agreement to work cooperatively on aircraft safety, operational efficiency and manufacturing productivity (MercoPress).

BANKING & FINANCE

Gávea is not the only Brazilian asset manager to have attracted the attention of outsiders. But Gávea is the industry’s most gilded name. In Arminio Fraga, the joint founder of Gávea, the firm has Brazilian finance’s equivalent of Shakira—a celebrity whose fame has spread beyond Latin America (The Economist).

Ideiasnet, a Brazilian venture capital company that invests in fast growing tech businesses, has sold its stake in Softcorp, a software distribution company. With over 20 years of market experience, Softcorp is one of Microsoft’s main partners for systems and solutions development in Brazil. The company value paid was R$ 15 million ( US$ 8.25 million) (Ideiasnet).

Brazil’s government toughened its tone and demanded that private-sector banks bolster lending and lower interest rates to add momentum to a still feeble recovery in Latin America’s top economy. But caution on the part of banks such as Itau Unibanco and Banco Bradesco has persisted because of high consumer and company delinquencies (Reuters).

State-run lender Caixa Economica Federal said it is offering cheaper credit to businesses and individuals, following on the heels of aggressive new loan policies from state bank Banco do Brazil. The lender, looking to grow at the twice the pace of Brazil’s non-state banking sector, has set aside 300 billion reais ($164 billion) for new loans this year, up 24 percent from 2011 (Reuters).

Brazil’s five interest rate cuts and the use of 2.5 billion reais ($1.4 billion) of workers’ compensation funds to buy mortgage bonds are breathing life into the home loan market as the government seeks to address a shortage of 6.3 million homes (Bloomberg).

BM&FBOVESPA and the Santiago Stock Exchange (BCS) signed an agreement that sets out the implementation of the Chilean derivatives market at the Santiago Stock Exchange. The agreement provides for the transfer of derivatives market knowledge from BM&FBOVESPA to the Chilean Exchange, encompassing products such as equity, interest rate and FX options and futures. The alliance between the two exchanges began in December 2010 and other strategic projects are in the pipeline, such as connectivity and order routing and market data distribution in particular (BM&F Bovespa).

LOGISTICS

Freight movement on the Brazilian rail network grew by 87.6% between 1997 (the year that sector privatization began) and 2011. According to a study by the National Association of Rail Carriers (ANTF), annual freight movement rose from 253.3 million tons in 1997 to 475 million tons in 2011. Freight movement registered an increase of 5 million tons compared to 2010 (Portal Brasil).

MINING & STEEL

Brazil’s antitrust regulator prohibited steelmaker CSN from increasing its stake in rival Usiminas, heading off a stock-buying spree triggered by Italian-Argentine Techint’s takeover. The regulator Cade also suspended shareholder rights associated with CSN’s stake, such as naming board members (Reuters).

Rio Verde Minerals Development Corp said it got a trial mining permit for its Fosfatar phosphate project in Brazil. The trial mining permit, known as Guia de Utilizacao, is renewable up to 36 months, the company said. Rio Verde develops fertilizer projects, including one potash project, in north and northeastern Brazil (Reuters).

Anglo American had a license for a power line at its Minas-Rio iron-ore project in Brazil suspended. A Minas Gerais state court suspended the license required to install the line. Prosecutor Francisco Chaves Generoso told the court in a civil lawsuit that Anglo failed to fulfill some of the conditions to obtain the permit (Bloomberg).

OIL & GAS

Petroleum output fell 2 percent in February from the previous month to 2.627 million barrels of oil and natural gas equivalent (boe) a day, the country’s oil regulator, the ANP, said. Output was up 6.9 percent from a year earlier, as new producing fields came on line (Reuters).

Cosan is in talks to buy British BG Group’s stake in the gas distributor Comgas, in a deal that would further diversify the Brazilian energy group. The plan raised investors’ concerns about new debts and cost savings and sent Cosan’s shares lower (Reuters).

A Brazilian judge denied an injunction seeking to bar U.S. oil company Chevron Corp and drill-rig operator Transocean Ltd from operating in Brazil after two offshore oil leaks, a federal court in Rio de Janeiro said (Reuters).

Keppel Corp has signed a letter of intent to build five semisubmersible rigs for Sete Brasil for around $4.12 billion, paving the way for what will be the biggest-ever deal for the Singapore firm (Reuters).

Petrobras said it had found a new offshore reservoir of “good quality” oil located outside the first cluster of discoveries in the Santos Basin presalt (Reuters).

Petrobras has agreed to work with the Argentine government on a new investment plan for Argentina, where one of the Brazilian oil giant’s drilling permits was cancelled, officials said (LAHT).

TELECOMS

Brazil approved plans to hold an auction of airwaves by June 10 for use in fourth-generation wireless networks. The rules for the 4G auction were cleared by the board of Anatel, as the nation’s telecommunications regulator is known. Carriers that win airwaves in the auction must offer the new technology in the six host cities of soccer’s Confederations Cup by April of next year and in the 12 cities holding 2014 World Cup matches by the end of 2013, according to a presentation by Anatel (Bloomberg).

Brazil Weekly’s Brazil Regional News

In Brazil on April 13, 2012 at 10:20 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of the Museum of Tomorrow, designed by Santiago Calatrava, currently under construction in the centre of Rio de Janeiro.

BRAZIL WEEKLY’S BRAZIL’S NEXT 10 HOTTEST BUSINESS CITIES

No doubt the biggest and most important business centres of Brazil are the megacities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and do not forget most other state capitals like Belo Horizonte, Salvador da Bahia, Recife, Fortaleza, Curitiba and Porto Alegre.  But Brazil is big and there are plenty of other fast developing cities, not being state capitals. So for a minute forget Sao Paulo, Rio and those other 2014 World Cup host cities and check out Brazil Weekly’s Brazil’s Next 10 Hottest Business Cities.

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FIFA WORLD CUP

Brazil Senate won’t consider controversial World Cup bill unless Blatter shows up. FIFA President Sepp Blatter is trying to schedule a trip to Brazil to speak at a public hearing about a controversial World Cup bill FIFA wants approved as soon as possible (MercoPress).

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AMAZON

Manaus has grown in the ensuing decades. The population is now about 1.8 million, almost doubling in size since 1990. With Brazil’s healthy economy, the city is booming once again. Many major multi-national technology manufacturers, like LG, Samsung and Philips, have a presence here and their business is swelling the population further. The increase in workers in the city led to the decision to build a bridge over the Amazon to open up the south bank of the river to development (BBC).

ESPIRITO SANTO

The Port of Rotterdam Authority, the state of Espirito Santo, the municipality of Presidente Kennedy and project developer Terminal Presidente Kennedy (TPK) signed an agreement in Vitória, Brazil for the development of Porto Central, a new port in Brazil. The so-called ‘greenfield port’ still has to be built and will be located in the extreme south of Espirito Santo state, to the north of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. It will be an industrial port on deep sea water for handling oil, gas, offshore services, dry bulk and general cargo (Port of Rotterdam).

RIO

Government and police officials are developing new anti-corruption measures, spurred in part by recent events in Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone). A UPP (Police Pacification Unit) is slated to be installed in Rocinha this year, but in addition to the increase in crime since pacification began, police in the favela are now under investigation for corruption (The Rio Times).

Residents of Rio’s outer neighborhoods are set to reap the benefits from major new transportation links scheduled to be completed in time for the 2016 Olympic Games. Many areas will see vast improvements now that the city has secured R$1.63 billion (US$1 billion) to finance the construction of the BRT Transbrasil bus line and the Central LTR (Light Rail Transit) system (The Rio Times).

The city of Rio offers some of the best shopping there is, and the options are only increasing with the growth of the ultra-wealthy luxury market, as well the middle class. With the broadening consumer’s taste, shopping “vintage” is also a growing niche, and as usual the Cidade Maravilhosa has many hidden gems for those in the know (The Rio Times).

The Botanical Garden, in the city’s south side, is an opportunity for visitors to enjoy a quiet walk along alleys and avenues filled with thousands of different species of Brazilian trees, plants and flowers, some of them virtually extinct (Rio Official Guide).

Rio de Janeiro motel owner Secundino Lema is gearing up for a different kind of guest in June when thousands of visitors will be in his city to discuss the future of the planet. The erotic chairs that usually grace the rooms in his three establishments, Hawaii, Skorpios and Serramar are going. But the mirrors on the ceiling and jacuzzis are staying. Mr Lema, along with other owners of Rio’s 320 “love hotels”, is stepping in to help the authorities fill a huge need in the Brazilian city – the chronic lack of accommodation (BBC).

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SAO PAULO

The 5th International Architecture Biennale of Rotterdam (IABR) will kick off on April 19th, with – as always – strong participation from Sao Paulo. The exhibition ‘Fazendo Cidade em São Paulo’ shows the results of IABR Atelier São Paulo. This atelier developed a Map of Opportunitiesfor both the entire city and the territory of study, Cabuçu de Cima. The map indicates existing potentialities and how these may trigger a process of negotiations of possible forms of development and use of this territory. From 19.06.12 – 12.08.12 in MCB – Museu da Casa Brasileira, São Paulo (IABR).

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on April 6, 2012 at 10:14 am

POLITICS

While congressional allies have bristled at moves to establish her authority like ousting Juca, cutting earmarks and sacking ministers accused of corruption, they have paid off with the public. Rousseff’s approval rating in a March poll released yesterday was 77 percent, the highest of any leader in the Group of 20. They have also helped create a political identity separate from her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Bloomberg).

Thousands of industrial workers gathered in Sao Paulo this week to protest the loss of manufacturing jobs in Latin America’s largest country, reflecting mounting pressure to protect an economic boom seen as threatened by policies in the United States and China. After a decade of speedy economic growth powered by selling basic commodities to Asia, Brazil has become an expensive country to live in, and the complex goods produced by well-paid workers cannot compete with cheap imports from China (LA Times).

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INTERNATIONAL

U.S. companies hope a White House meeting between President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will energize an economic relationship seen performing below its potential and lay the groundwork for future trade talks. Two-way trade last year totaled about $74 billion, compared to $503 billion between the United States and China (Reuters).

Rousseff’s visit is more than symbolic. It should represent the beginning of a new American policy toward Brazil previously marked by benign indifference. Yes, the U.S. has recognized Brazil’s role as the new energy axis of the Western Hemisphere, and earlier this decade it acknowledged our partnership around the development of renewable biofuels, but something different arises today. The outmoded vision of Brazil is being replaced by a more realistic and cooperative approach (Miami Herald).

Renouncing its uranium enrichment rights would overnight catapult Brazil into a position of global leadership on the most urgent security challenge facing the international community. And Brazil’s leadership would inevitably shape the context for any future discussions about Brazil’s permanent membership on an expanded United Nations Security Council — one of its longstanding ambitions. Read Bernard Aronson’s interesting opinion in the New York Times.

After just over a century of amicable relations, Brazil has decided to cool its relationship with Iran. Gone are the days when Brazil’s leader, President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva (2002-2010), worked hard to strengthen Brazil’s partnership with Iran, defending Iranian interests, sharing and learning from similar policy experiences over cafezinho (CNN).

United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos praised Brazil’s response to natural disasters such as floods and mudslides (Xinhua).

Uruguayan president Jose Mujica arrived in neighbouring Brazil to discuss with his peer Dilma Rousseff trade expansion, productive and energy complementation and above all opening Mercosur to third countries in search of new markets (MercoPress).

India and Brazil decided to step up efforts to push the UN reforms, particularly the Security Council and signed half a dozen agreements in areas ranging from science and biotechnology to cultural exchanges (MercoPress).

In search of expansion for economic and trade relations, the Governments of Brazil and India have adopted a strategic partnership encompassing health, education, science and technology, defense, agriculture, social and environmental programs. President Dilma Rousseff said during a visit to New Delhi, India, that the goal is to increase the negotiated amount of US$ 9.12 billion in 2011, to US$ 15 billion by 2015 (Portal Brasil).

Chicago is opening international sales offices in Brazil, Germany and Japan — and bringing in the brightest minds in international tourism to find out which attractions need to be enhanced to attract visitors — in a move to achieve Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s goal of attracting 10 million more visitors by 2020 (Sun Times).

Brazil wants emerging economic powers to rally around a single candidate to lead the World Bank as developing nations strive to bolster their influence at the global lender, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said (Chicago Times).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

The U.S. Air Force said it would amend, rather than re-do, the terms of a potential $1 billion competition to supply light attack planes to Afghanistan. The Air Force last month abruptly terminated the contract with Sierra Nevada for 20 Super Tucano light attack planes, after it discovered inadequate documentation for the award while preparing for the Hawker lawsuit.  The incident has been big news in Brazil, where government officials were caught off guard by Washington’s cancellation of the plane order. The issue may come up when Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff visits Washington next week (Reuters).

With Brazil’s pride hurt by Washington’s heavy handed public diplomacy there are new signs that Dilma could resist renewed White House pressure to buy Boeing during her other than state visit and opt for the Rafale or possibly save face and put the whole matter on hold (Huffington Post).

SOCIAL

To have sex with young girls, said Brazil’s highest criminal court on March 27th, is “immoral and reprehensible”. But a man who had sex with three 12-year-olds in 2002, it decided, had committed no crime. The judgment has provoked uproar. A congressional committee said it violates children’s constitutional rights, perhaps opening the way for referral to the supreme court. The government will seek to reverse the ruling’s effect (The Economist).

The gritty transactions of the drug trade take over in city neighbourhoods that hum with legitimate commerce by day. Throngs of stupefied buyers crowd around dealers before skulking away behind the telltale glow of cigarette lighters. These are not the images that Brazil wants to project (Reuters).

STUDY IN BRAZIL

Overseas students have the opportunity to study in Brazil by means of an agreement of the Ministry of External Relations (MRE) and the Ministry of Education (MEC) with public (federal and state) and private universities. The objective of the government action is to provide qualification opportunities for citizens of developing countries that maintain educational and cultural agreements with Brazil (Brasil.gov.br).

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