News from Brazil

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).

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