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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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).
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).