News from Brazil

Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on May 25, 2012 at 10:05 am

POLITICS

Blame it on the U.S.-inspired 2008 financial crisis, but make no mistake about it, the Brazilian government is playing the national economy like a puppet on a string. Since 2008, Brazil has become more like China than like Russia, India or the U.S. Read on about the Chinafication of Brazil at Forbes.

President Dilma Rousseff will be awarded 20,000 reais (10,000 U.S. dollars) compensation from Rio De Janeiro state for being tortured during the country’s 1964-1985 dictatorship, a spokesman for the presidential office said (Xinhua).

Lawmakers approved a constitutional amendment that strengthens punishments for landowners and others who force people into slave-like working conditions, in which thousands of Brazilians are trapped (Washington Post).

Brazil’s president says the nation has nearly doubled its high-speed internet connections in the past year. President Dilma Rousseff says there are now 72 million such connections in Latin America’s largest nation (Washington Post).

President Dilma Rousseff is likely to veto some controversial aspects of a forest bill passed by the Congress last month as pressure mounts against the text days before the country hosts a large UN conference on sustainable development (Reuters).

A symbolic jail, made of PVC tubes, was set up on the beach in Ipanema over the weekend as part of a public campaign to get the Brazilian Supreme Court to judge the case of the “Big Monthly Allowance” (“mensalão”) that was paid to members of Congress for their support at the beginning of the Luis Inacio Lula da Silva administration. A total of 38 people are charged with involvement in the vote-buying scheme (Agencia Brasil).

SUBSCRIBE, IT’S FREE!

You request a free subscription to Brazil Weekly here and get email notifications on updates.

Brazil Weekly is also Facebook. You can like us here and join our group there.

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

And be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here to join.

INTERNATIONAL

Senior Brazilian and Chinese officials said that the two countries should further enhance their strategic partnership in the coming years. Brazil-China ties have witnessed remarkable achievements in recent years, Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer said at a meeting with visiting Chinese official Hu Chunhua, a member of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee (Xinhua).

The Iranian government says it has sacked a diplomat accused of molesting at least four girls at a swimming pool in Brazil. The official, Hekmatollah Ghorbani, was arrested last month following the alleged incident at a sports club (BBC).

Brazil is establishing its place as a “major political and economic actor,” in Angola, Mozambique and in other African countries, with its companies investing in the same sectors as important Chinese and Indian investors, according to researcher Loro Horta. In an article entitled, “The Embrace of the Anaconda: A rising Brazil enters Africa,” published this month in the Latin Business Chronicle, Horta said that the growing Brazilian presence has gone unnoticed, as the focus has been on China and India, which are two other large emerging economies (Macauhub).

Canada’s Mc Cain has suspended production of frozen chip potatoes in Argentina because of the trade barriers which impede exports to Brazil in the framework of a bilateral dispute that is limiting the flow of goods both ways (MercoPress).

Foreign Affairs minister Antonio Patriota revealed that Brasilia is following closely the situation in Venezuela because of the medical condition of President Hugo Chavez, to whom he sent a message of quick recovery (MercoPress).

The defense ministers of Brazil and Turkey met in Brazil last month, where they signed a letter of intent to improve bilateral military ties and increase technology transfers. In an email interview, Oliver Stuenkel, an assistant professor of international relations at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation in São Paulo, discussed the military relationship between Brazil and Turkey (Post Western World).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

An extra 3,000 policemen will help strengthen the security here during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development next month, the Rio state government said (Xinhua).

Boeing and Northrop Grumman have made further moves into the Brazilian market, having announced that they will explore working with two of the country’s manufacturers in agreements made public on 15 May. The agreements come as Boeing continues to push the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter aircraft as a solution to meet the Brazilian F-X2 requirement (Janes).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS


Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on May 25, 2012 at 10:03 am

ECONOMY

Brazil’s unemployment rate unexpectedly declined in April, adding to evidence that the labor market remains tight and may limit the room for more interest rate cuts. Joblessness fell to 6 percent in April from 6.2 percent the month before, the national statistics agency said today in a report distributed in Rio de Janeiro. The number was the lowest ever for April and below the 6.2 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 38 analysts.

Brazil’s growth forecast for 2012 was cut to 3 percent from 3.2 percent by Standard & Poor’s, which cited competition from imports. “Growth in Brazil continues to struggle,” Lisa Schineller, a New York-based analyst with S&P wrote in an e- mailed report. “Brazilian manufacturing remains under pressure from imports” (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s economy grew at a moderate pace in the first months of 2012, the central bank said. The “relative recovery” was fueled by retail sales and robust domestic demand, the bank said (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s government has unveiled a new stimulus package to boost the automotive and other manufacturing sectors, amid concerns over growth (BBC).

New rules from Brazil’s central bank will free as much as 18 billion reais ($8.82 billion) for auto financing as policy makers seek to revive economic growth in the world’s biggest emerging market after China (Bloomberg).

Brazil eased rules for subsidized lending by state development bank BNDES to Vale, Petrobras and Eletrobras, in a move that may help President Dilma Rousseff shield a struggling economy from market turmoil abroad (Reuters).

Brazil’s monthly current account deficit rose sharply in April as the country’s trade surplus faded and profit remittances and foreign travel costs increased, the Brazilian Central Bank said (MercoPress).

The OECD sees GDP expanding by 3.2% this year, the same as it had forecast in its last report in November. The organization raised its forecast for next year to 4.2% growth, from 3.9%. It sees consumer price inflation slowing to 4.9% this year, and accelerating to 5.3% in 2013 (MercoPress).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

DIRECT DATA

Check out the latest economic indicators in English directly at Brazil’s BCB or central bank, the Sao Paulo stock Eechange BM&F Bovespa and Brazil’s statistics institute, IBGE.

BUSINESS

Eike Batista, the salesman of Brazil, is pictures as such in The Economist. Brazil’s richest man is betting on resources and infrastructure. Can he deliver?

Batista, who agreed to sell a $300 million stake in his EBX Group Co. to General Electric Co. , is looking to offer another $500 million stake by September, he said yesterday. The deal with GE follows the sale of a $2 billion stake in EBX to Mubadala Development Co. last month and shares of units to EON AG and to International Business Machines Corp. earlier this year (Bloomberg).

General Electric Co. also plans to invest 500 million reais ($245 million) through 2018 in a Brazilian research center to develop energy and transportation infrastructure technologies (Bloomberg).

General Electric Co. is also in talks with EBX Group to build a plant at Superporto do Acu, the port controlled by Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and may make a decision this year (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s billionaire Klein family hired Citigroup Inc. and Arion Capital to advise on a plan to buy out Cia Brasileira de Distribuicao Grupo Pao de Acucar in retailer Via Varejo SA for as much as 3.5 billion reais ($1.71 billion) (Bloomberg).

General Mills Inc agreed to buy Brazilian food maker Yoki Alimentos SA for about 1.75 billion Brazilian reais ($857 million), as it seeks a greater foothold in Latin America (Reuters).

After more than a decade of legal maneuvering that culminated in a bitter boardroom fight, France’s Casino is finally taking control of Brazil’s biggest retailer, Pão de Açúcar. The question on investors’ minds: Can Pão de Açúcar continue its impressive recent growth with the French now calling the shots, rather than its longtime Brazilian chairman Abílio Diniz, who lost the battle for control (Reuters)?

Sequoia Capital is expanding to South America. The venture capital firm plans to send one of its partners, David Velez, to Brazil in July to head up its regional office, likely in São Paulo (New York Times).

The “Geeks on a Plane” project (yes, that’s really what it’s called), is an invite-only tour for startups, investors and executives to learn about burgeoning technology markets worldwide. Organized by 500 Startups, a Silcon Valley firm that helps fund emerging tech companies, the tour brought 42 tech insiders last week to Sao Paolo, Brazil (CNN).

AGRI ETC.

GraalBio Investimentos SA, the biofuels unit of closely held Graal Investimentos SA, plans to build five plants in Brazil that produce ethanol from sugar-cane residues. The first facility, planned for the state of Alagoas, is expected to start operating in December 2013, GraalBio said (Bloomberg).

The drought that has been affecting Brazil’s northeastern state Bahia for the past months can damage up to 40 percent of the agricultural production in the region (Xinhua).

A delay in harvesting the sugar cane crop in Brazil will see the world’s largest producer lose market share in China, set to be one of the season’s biggest importers, as Thailand increases its shipments to the Asian nation (Business Week).

AVIATION

Embraer SA, the world’s fourth- biggest planemaker, is boosting efforts to sell more jets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa as the European debt crisis saps demand in the manufacturer’s biggest market. European revenue made up 35 percent of Embraer’s first- quarter total, the most of any company in Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Embraer’s regional-jet orders in Europe dwindled to five in the period, down from 20 a year earlier.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG will focus on growth at existing units, the head of the airline’s business in Spain and Portugal said, a week after other executives at the German company said it may look at bidding for TAP. International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, the owner of British Airways and Madrid-based Iberia, has repeatedly expressed its desire to buy TAP. Avianca Taca Holding SA Chief Executive Officer Fabio Villegas said on April 13 that Avianca Brasil, an airline held separately by his company’s owner, is also “interested in analyzing” TAP’s sale (Bloomberg).

Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA, Brazil’s second-biggest airline, is accelerating reductions in jobs and flights to avoid falling further behind Tam SA, whose pending acquisition will create the world’s largest carrier by market value. Fuel-guzzling jets and a struggle to raise fares underscore Gol’s challenges, said Pedro Galdi, SLW Corretora de Valores e Cambio analyst. Gol was the lone Latin American airline with a first-quarter loss, and the only one with a negative operating margin in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

A number of announcements by Brazilian airlines in past weeks have shown the industry is set for yet more expansion plans in terms of international flights, with more Brazilians visited the U.S. and Europe than ever before. TAM and GOL, Brazil’s two biggest airlines, have both revealed their intention for more international services after submitting the plans to the National Civil Aviation Agency, ANAC (The Rio Times).

BANKING

Banco do Brasil SA took the No. 1 spot among equity underwriters for the nation’s share sales this year for the first time after almost doubling assets in three years and opening brokerages in Singapore and New York (Bloomberg).

SUBSCRIBE, IT’S FREE!

You request a free subscription to Brazil Weekly here and get email notifications on updates.

Brazil Weekly is also Facebook. You can like us here and join our group there.

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

And be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here to join.

MINING & STEEL

Vale SA, the world’s biggest iron-ore producer, said it’s in talks about opening a second trans- shipment facility for mega-ships in Asia as it struggles to gain access to Chinese ports. South Korea is among locations under consideration, Global Marketing Director Claudio Alves told reporters (Bloomberg).

Australia’s Crusader Resources Ltd. plans to invest $400 million in a gold mining project in Brazil’s northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte (Reuters).

ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, has suspended a $1.5 billion Brazilian expansion plan for lack of demand, Benjamin Baptista, president of the company’s Brazil unit said (Reuters).

Steelmakers Usiminas and Gerdau SA said they would not bid for ThyssenKrupp’s stake in the CSA steel slab mill outside Rio de Janeiro, amid growing signs that any sale of the $5 billion two-year old plant will be at a loss for its German parent (Reuters).

OIL & GAS

Repsol YPF SA said an area off the coast of Brazil it’s exploring with partner China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. contains the equivalent of at least 1.25 billion barrels of oil (Bloomberg).

BG Group Plc. plans to spend about $30 billion to expand oil and natural gas output in Brazil by 2025, an investment expected to provide the British energy company with about a third of its future worldwide output, a top BG executive in Brazil told Reuters.

Brazil Weekly’s Brazil Regional News

In Brazil on May 25, 2012 at 10:02 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of a multi-use complex on the Cruzeiro site for Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais (Source).

SUBSCRIBE, IT’S FREE!

You request a free subscription to Brazil Weekly here and get email notifications on updates.

Brazil Weekly is also Facebook. You can like us here and join our group there.

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

And be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here to join.

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.

MEDIA

Forbes announced the introduction of its twenty-second international edition, Forbes Brazil, in partnership with BPP LTDA, the publisher of Billboard in Brazil. The new edition is scheduled to launch on July 31st, 2012, in the Portuguese language and distributed throughout Brazil (Marketwatch).

The BBC will launch its first high-definition channel in Brazil next Monday. For now, BBC HD is in included only in cable TV Net’s Top HD package (which costs some R$ 140 a month) and will have subtitles in most programs. By the end of the year, the BBC wants to have its HD channel transmitted by other operators (Folha).

FIFA WORLD CUP

Just two years before the start of the 2014 World Cup, Brazil has broken ground on barely half of the planned infrastructure projects that it’s touting as the soccer tournament’s biggest legacy (Bloomberg).

The Brazilian government informed that only five percent of the infrastructure projects of 2014 FIFA World Cup had been completed (Xinhua).

Former Fifa president Joao Havelange has been discharged from hospital in Brazil after recovering from a serious infection. The 96-year-old was taken to hospital in Rio de Janeiro two months ago with septic arthritis in his ankle (BBC).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

AMAZON

Brazil said it was working hard to stop illegal logging in Amazon rainforest land inhabited by the ethnic Awa people, a group said to be threatened with extinction. “The Brazilian state must accomplish this task with the utmost determination and we are working hard on it,” Maria do Rosario, the minister in charge of human rights, told foreign reporters (AFP).

NORTH EAST

The Brazilian state of Pernambuco was once known for its vast plains of parched dirt and roving bandits called cangacos, who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. Today, an economic boom has given locals good reasons to stay put, and large numbers of Brazilians are even making their way north in search of a better life (Los Angeles Times).

RIO

Petrobras is in talks to buy land in Rio de Janeiro to expand its headquarters, Veja magazine said (Bloomberg).

Part of another building crumbled to the ground in Centro, stressing the dire need for attention for much of the aging infrastructure of Rio de Janeiro buildings. A building belonging to the Bola Preta Association (Cordão da Bola Preta), partially collapsed in the corner of Rua do Lavrádio and Rua da Relação, in the Lapa section of Centro (The Rio Times).

Work on the Hotel Gloria, owned by Eike Batista, is still continuing. Here are some renders of the interior.

The 4th Civil Chamber of the State Appellate Court of Rio de Janeiro confirmed the validity and effectiveness of the acquisition of Hotel Rio Palace, in Rio de Janeiro, by the BHG Group, overturning the first-instance ruling by the 6th Corporate Court of Rio de Janeiro, thereby rejecting the supposed preference rights of Nova Riotel and confirming BHG’s acquisition (BHG).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

SAO PAULO

Commuters sat in lines for more than three hours, protests broke out at a train station, and angry voters promised revenge as Brazil’s biggest city entangled itself in a record traffic jam, highlighting how the country’s infrastructure has failed to keep pace with economic growth (Reuters).

The Mercadão is a laboratory of the edible, spanning all of the city’s most important ethnic cuisines and displaying an incredibly colourful array of fruits and vegetables. It opened on 25 January 1933, and was located alongside the Tamanduateí and Anhangabaú rivers, which in pre-automobile days were the farm-to-market highways. The areas around the market have long since gone to seed, but the market itself recovered from its nadir in the 1970s and was completely restored in 2004 (Time Out).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on May 18, 2012 at 9:46 am

POLITICS

Brazil’s government must start to confront the country’s weaknesses. A 3.5% growth rate may seem lavish by Western standards, but it is below both what Brazil needs to be to continue recent social gains—and what it could be. Some of the sources of the faster growth of recent years may now be exhausting themselves (The Economist).

President Dilma Rousseff plans to cut and simplify taxes for electricity producers and distributors, two senior officials told Reuters, as part of a strategy to reduce Brazil’s high business costs and stimulate its struggling economy.

President Dilma Rousseff is facing one of the defining moments of her presidency as pressure builds on her to veto a bill that would open vast protected areas of forests to ranching and farming, potentially reversing Brazil’s major gains in slowing Amazon deforestation (The New York Times).

The Library of Congress will award the $1 million John W. Kluge Prize for lifetime intellectual achievement in the humanities and social sciences to Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who had a distinguished international career as a scholar before twice being elected president of Brazil (The New York Times).

President Dilma Rousseff has launched a raft of social programmes for low-income families with young children.

Ms Rousseff said she would expand the popular social programme Bolsa Familia created by her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Families with children under six living in extreme poverty will get $35 (£22) a month for each family member. The government said the programme would benefit 18 million people (BBC).

A freedom of information law has taken effect in Brazil, challenging an embedded culture of secrecy and bureaucracy. Proponents, including President Dilma Rousseff, said the measure is nothing short of a revolution for a system that has kept tight control over information for decades (MercoPress).

Brazil said it has shelved plans to build new nuclear power stations in the coming years in the wake of last year’s Fukushima disaster in Japan. The previous government led by former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had planned to construct between four and eight new nuclear plants through 2030. But the energy ministry’s executive secretary, Marcio Zimmermann, was quoted as telling a forum that there was no need for new nuclear facilities for the next 10 years (AFP).

SUBSCRIBE, IT’S FREE!

You request a free subscription to Brazil Weekly here and get email notifications on updates.

Brazil Weekly is also Facebook. You can like us here and join our group there.

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

And be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here to join.

INTERNATIONAL

Brazil escalated a growing trade fight with Argentina by throwing up extra bureaucratic obstacles to import certain perishable products, a senior government official told Reuters, imperiling its involvement in a major regional trade group.

A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit says that Brazil is among the worst at coping with the language barrier of the English-speaking world of business, and that deals are being hindered because of it. Experts are warning that, with increased international interest in businesses based in Brazil, the need to break down the barrier has never been more acute (The Rio Times).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

President Dilma Rousseff has inaugurated a truth commission to investigate rights abuses, including those committed during military rule. The four previous living presidents since democracy was restored in 1985 also attended the ceremony in Brasilia. The commission will examine the period from 1946 to 1988, but a military-era amnesty means there will be no trials (BBC).

Military rule spanned 21 years, from 1964 to 1985. More than 400 people were either killed or disappeared, while thousands were tortured. As the commission gathers for the first time, there is discomfort among some in Brazil’s military over what they perceive as an attempt at revenge by an ideologically-biased government. President Dilma Rousseff was herself arrested and tortured during the dictatorship (BBC).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

SCIENCE

Brazilian investments in research and development will go from 1.2% to 1.8% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) until 2012, said minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Marco Antônio Raupp, at a public hearing held by the Committee on Science, Technology, Innovation, Communication and Computer Science. And half of such future percentage, according to the minister, should come from private investments (Federal Senate).

Reflecting the growing interest in Brazil – Canada’s third-largest trading partner in the Americas –30 presidents of Canadian universities recently participated in a delegation to that country organized by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. The aim was to promote Canadian excellence in research, highlight Canada’s academic “brand” and encourage the formation of strong linkages between Canadian and Brazilian postsecondary institutions (Brazil Institute).

How do a $1,700 monthly scholarship, a three-floor apartment, free medical assistance and return-home trips to Brazil sound? School never sounded so good! These are some of the selling points the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), is using to attract Brazilian students. Located in Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer, KAUST aims to become one of the world’s Top Ten technology universities by 2020 (Folha).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

SOCIAL

Brazil’s Supreme Court voted unanimously to permit a quota system that would favour Afro-descendants in entering universities, ending an eight-year legal battle (MercoPress).

Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on May 18, 2012 at 9:46 am

ECONOMY

For Brazil’s government recent weeks have brought some long-awaited victories. The overvalued currency has weakened to two reais to the dollar, from its peak of 1.54 last July. At 9% the Central Bank’s policy interest rate is near to historic lows and should fall further after President Dilma Rousseff’s brave decision to cut returns on government-backed savings accounts. Neither, though, was enough to reverse a recent shift in mood against Brazil (The Economist).

Senior members of Brazil’s government now believe the economy will expand less than the official 4.5 percent forecast this year and are bringing internal projections more into line with private-sector estimates of about 3 percent growth, four officials told Reuters.

Brazil’s payroll job growth accelerated in April from March, the biggest monthly jump so far this year as struggling industries showed signs of recovery that could boost a lackluster economy. The economy added a net 216,974 payroll jobs in April, the Labor Ministry said, compared with an upwardly-revised 141,000 in March (Reuters).

Brazil’s government-controlled prices for gasoline will not be raised even after the country’s currency hit its weakest level since 2009, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said (Reuters).

Brazil’s finance minister, Guido Mantega, reiterated his opinion that the appreciating U.S. dollar will increase the competitiveness of Brazilian industry. Speaking at the finance ministry, Mantega said that the current exchange rate, just under US$1 to R$2, allowed local products to remain cheaper than imported goods subsequently boosting national production (The Rio Times).

Brazil’s central bank will begin publishing board members’ votes on interest rates, a move that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says could inhibit board members from going against President Dilma Rousseff’s desire for lower rates (Bloomberg).

DIRECT DATA

Check out the latest economic indicators in English directly at Brazil’s BCB or central bank, the Sao Paulo stock Eechange BM&F Bovespa and Brazil’s statistics institute, IBGE.

BUSINESS

French retailer Casino Guichard Perrachon took a key step in its plan to take control of Grupo Pão de Açúcar, stripping its estranged partner in the company of the right to name most of the board members at Brazil’s largest retailer (Reuters).

Eike Batista plans to sell a stake worth up to $1 billion in his EBX investment holding company which has assets in energy, mining and engineering firms, to two foreign investors, the O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper said (Reuters).

Reports last week that Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, 30 and born in Brazil, had renounced the American citizenship he gained as a teenager led to considerable criticism that he was skipping out to avoid taxes. He has become a permanent resident of Singapore, which levies no capital gains taxes (The New York Times).

According to the World Bank’s 2012 annual global report “Doing Business”, which evaluates the ease of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, and paying taxes, Brazil ranked 126th this year out of 183 countries. On average, it takes 13 procedures and 119 days of work to start a business in Brazil. And construction permits demand an average 17 procedures and 469 days to finally get authorised. French chef Pierre Cornet-Vernet could never imagine it would take him 11 months to open his confectionery story Paradis in Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana neighbourhood (BBC).

AGRI ETC.

Meatpacker JBS SA has sold one of its two units based in San Jose, Argentina, the company said. The unit was sold for 16.5 million dollars to a group of local cooperatives and the provincial government, which will run the operation (MercoPress).

AVIATION

Deutsche Lufthansa AG is considering a bid for state-owned carrier TAP SGPS SA to strengthen its position in South America and protect its partnership with a key member of the Star Alliance (Bloomberg).

American Airlines said it wants to operate 17 additional weekly flights between the United States and Brazil. It has asked for governmental approval for a second daily flight from New York Kennedy to Sao Paul, beginning Oct. 1, an increase in flights from Miami to Recife and Salvador on Nov. 15 and a second daily flight from Miami to Rio de Janeiro on Dec. 15. (Dallas News).

AUTOMOTIVE

As automakers rush to demonstrate leadership on environmental issues, green has become marketing gold. The latest proof came from General Motors, which said that it expected an engine plant under construction in southern Brazil to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification (The New York Times).

BANKING

Votorantim Finanças, the investment holding company that controls Brazil’s Banco Votorantim, said in a statement that it is “fully committed to its position as a shareholder and to the bank’s future.” Banco do Brasil is considering buying out Banco Votorantim, the third-biggest Brazilian private sector lender, Reuters reported (Reuters).

Itaú BBA last week won a coveted role on Facebook Inc’s IPO advisory team, becoming one of 33 banks that will underwrite one of the most eagerly awaited stock market debuts ever (Reuters).

Banco Modal SA, the Brazilian lender trying to become a full-service investment bank, is in talks to buy the Brazil subsidiary of Portugal’s Banif SGPS SA (Bloomberg).

LOGISTICS

Maersk Line, the container-ship division of Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S , plans to raise its Latin American cargo rates by as much as 30 percent this year to stanch losses and pay for 16 ships being built for the region (Reuters).

MMX, the mining part of the industrial conglomerate EBX owned by Brazil’s richest man, Eike Batista, is entering the final phase of construction of its iron ore export port in Itaguai, on the Sepetiba bay in the state of Rio de Janeiro, 75 km southwest of the city. The port, dubbed the Sudeste Superport, is due to start operations at the beginning of 2013, shipping an expected twelve million tons of iron ore in its first year. The port’s total capacity is fifty million tons, with the option of being expanded to 100 million tons (The Rio Times).

SUBSCRIBE, IT’S FREE!

You request a free subscription to Brazil Weekly here and get email notifications on updates.

Brazil Weekly is also Facebook. You can like us here and join our group there.

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

And be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here to join.

MINING & STEEL

Manabi SA, an iron ore startup which wants to build a mine, pipeline and port, said that its board has applied to the Brazilian securities regulator for approval to sell stock in Brazil, Canada and the United States (Reuters).

Vale, is not excluding Chinese shipowners from transporting its iron ore and remains open to selling its huge dry bulk carriers to them. A senior Vale official met the China Shipowners’ Association to smooth relations after Chinese industry officials said the miner stopped hiring vessels from some firms in retaliation for Beijing’s ban on its ships (Reuters).

ThyssenKrupp could sell Brazilian and U.S. mills that have saddled Germany’s biggest steelmaker with heavy losses, refocusing the group on its core European business after several years of delays and damaging cost overruns. ThyssenKrupp will offer its Brazilian plant to its partner Vale, which owns about a quarter of the slab-producing CSA plant venture, but will also talk to possible buyers in Asia (Reuters).

OIL & GAS

Bolivia’s state energy company YPFB plans to negotiate three new contracts with Brazil’s Petrobras to explore natural gas fields in the southern province of Tarija (Reuters).

Brazil’s state-led oil company Petrobras said that first-quarter profit fell 16 percent as losses on refining, as well as rising operational and exploration costs, ate into growing revenue. Results, though, beat analysts estimates (Reuters).

Vale SA, the world’s largest iron-ore producer, hired Bank of Nova Scotia and Citigroup Inc. to sell its oil and natural gas assets in Brazil as it focuses on metals production. The Rio de Janeiro-based company’s stakes in the oil fields, located both within Brazil and offshore, may be worth as much as $1 billion (Bloomberg).

REAL ESTATE

Cyrela, Brazil’s No. 2 homebuilder, posted a 59 percent jump in first-quarter earnings, breaking with a string of disappointing results in the industry as cautious growth and a focus on existing stock helped boost sales (Reuters).

Homebuilder PDG Realty has finished the rapid expansion that made it the country’s biggest and is now cutting expenses to improve profitability at its current size, the company’s chief executive said (Reuters).

Brazil Weekly’s Brazil Regional News

In Brazil on May 18, 2012 at 9:44 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of a new high standing project for Henri Dunant street in Sao Paulo’s Brooklin area (Skyscrapercity).

SUBSCRIBE, IT’S FREE!

You request a free subscription to Brazil Weekly here and get email notifications on updates.

Brazil Weekly is also Facebook. You can like us here and join our group there.

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

And be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here to join.

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.

MEDIA

Max Payne used to be a cop in New York, but after his wife and infant daughter were killed, he set off on a murderous quest of vengeance. He ended up running down some of those responsible, but he never outran the guilt that plagued him for failing to protect those he loved most. Max drank away a few years in Hoboken ratholes. He took a lot of pills. And now, near the end of the line, he has ended up in Brazil’s biggest city, supposedly looking after the wealthy Branco clan: the industrialist, the trophy wife, the cokehead younger brother and the various members of their retinue (The New York Times).

Businessmen Roberto Medina and Eike Batista announced that they have become partners to expand Rock in Rio brand’s business by launching a new series of products, such as comic books and clothes, and taking the festival to North America and Asia. Medina said: “Batista represents a new moment in Brazil, the energy and transparency that we need, so I went after him.” Medina, the creator of Rock in Rio, also said Batista bought 50% of the company responsible for the festival (Folha).

FIFA WORLD CUP

Brazil’s sports minister is dismissing delays in stadium construction for the 2014 World Cup and says construction work in the northeastern city of Salvador will be completed in time for next year’s Confederations Cup (Washington Post).

AMAZON

As Brazil braces for president Dilma Rousseff’s forthcoming decision on whether to sign or veto recent legislation that would alter the country’s Forest Code, rights groups are decrying a surge in illegal land grabs that is wrecking environmental havoc and threatening vulnerable tribal populations (National Geographic).

MINAS GERAIS

BHG S.A. , Brazil Hospitality Group, will begin managing the Hotel Presidente, in Uberlândia, the largest city in the Minas Gerais triangle region on May 22, 2012. This is the Company’s first operation in the state of Minas Gerais (BHG).

RIO

Wary of price-gouging ahead of the World Cup and Olympics later this decade, Brazil’s government said on Wednesday it had convinced hoteliers in Rio de Janeiro to lower skyrocketing rates ahead of a major U.N. summit next month (Reuters).

Antiques may not be the first thing that come to mind when one thinks of shopping in Rio, but before tiny bathing suits, Carnival and football (soccer), the city was one of the world’s busiest ports. Wealthy and soon-to-be wealthy European traders settled in the area and brought their aesthetic with them, and this influence can be found in some of the wares they left behind, now sold in shops, stalls, and fairs throughout the city (The Rio Times).

The exhibition Mostra Carioca, at Rio’s Museum of  Modern Art (MAM), features works by some of the biggest names in contemporary Brazilian art.  Covering a variety of artistic techniques, and curated by Luiz Camillo Osorio, all the pieces are part of the museum’s own collection (Rio Official Guide).

More than 100 abandoned buildings in Rio de Janeiro are in such poor condition they are at risk of collapsing, the head of a regional engineering agency said after part of a two-story building crumbled in the Olympic city’s colonial downtown (Washington Post).

SAO PAULO

Brazil, with a population of 190 million and a major contributor to international economic growth, is bidding to host EXPO 2020 in order to strengthen and broaden its relations with all nations around the world. Sao Paulo is the world’s 9th most populated and the 10th wealthiest city. With its cosmopolitan dimension comprising more than 70 different ethnic and religious communities, the city views EXPO 2020 as an opportunity to consolidate its leading role in the internationalization of the Brazilian economy to become a continental crossroad for people and trade. Check out the website.

Centro Cultural de Sao Paulo celebrates its 30th anniversary of the opening of what is now one of the biggest and most important cultural venues in the city, which over the years has hosted countless cultural activities, from art and photography exhibitions, to film festivals, theatre, performing arts and live music (Time Out).

Sao Paulo is the most attractive city for investments in Latin America, followed by Santiago de Chile and Mexico City according to the latest results from a paper by Colombian and Chilean experts. The Sao Paulo leadership according to the ‘Atractividad Index for Urban Investments’ in 2012 was a joint work from the Colombian University of Rosario Centre for Competitive Strategies (Cepet) and the Business Intelligence Office IDN from Chile (Investe Sao Paulo).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

SOUTH

Latest census indicates there are more foreigners living in Florianópolis than “Manezinhos”. The Greater Florianópolis Region (GFR), which includes the cities of São José, Palhoça, Governador Celso Ramos and Biguaçu, boasts a population of 421,240, according to the Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute (IBGE); however, only 48.29% were actually born here (Floripa Times).

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on May 11, 2012 at 11:18 am

POLITICS

In Brazil, groups of armed agents fly around the country by helicopter, pounding on doors and instilling fear in the hearts of those who break the law. They’re not the police – they’re from the tax agency. The Federal Revenue Service, which has gained global renown for its tough and creative tactics, will be one of the most important keys to Brazil’s economic prospects in 2012. President Dilma Rousseff is counting on the agency’s tax-collecting prowess to help her government meet ambitious budget targets without smothering the country’s suddenly brittle economy (Reuters).

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva resumed his political schedule, after recovering from a four-month-long cancer treatment. Walking with the aid of a cane, Lula attended a seminar on Brazil-Africa cooperation, organized by Brazil’s Development Bank (BNDES) (Xinhua).

SUBSCRIBE, IT’S FREE!

You request a free subscription to Brazil Weekly here and get email notifications on updates.

Brazil Weekly is also Facebook. You can like us here and join our group there.

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

And be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here to join.

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

INTERNATIONAL

Brazil is emerging as an international power for the first time in history, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said. Brazil’s rapid economic growth and recent achievements put the country in a position of prominence on the international arena, he said in a Senate hearing (Xinhua).

Brazilian government officials said they are worried about high prices and low availability of hotel rooms in Rio de Janeiro during a high-profile United Nations summit scheduled for next month. Recent research by Reuters suggests rooms are listing for at least five times the normal rate the following week.

Brazil’s economy isn’t growing quickly enough because of its focus on commodities and rising regional protectionism, the European Union’s trade chief said. “Unfortunately the future looks less bright than before,” European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in a speech at the Royal Academy in Brussels. “Brazil should be proud of the enormous progress it has made in recent years, but must also know it cannot sit still if it wishes to move to the next stage of its development” (Bloomberg).

Brazil received a record number of foreign tourists in 2011, according to figures released by the Ministry of Tourism. The number of foreigners increased 5.3 percent to over 5.43 million, beating the previous record of 5.36 million visitors from overseas, set in 2005 (The Rio Times).

Officially, there are about 50,000 British-based Brazilians, although some community groups say the true number could be four times as high. Generally, they moved here when economic times were tougher in their homeland, braving the inhospitable climate for the chance of better job prospects. But now that Brazil has overtaken the UK to become the world’s sixth-biggest economy, many of them are feeling “saudades”, or homesickness for Brazil (BBC).

Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota praised the “great political convergence” between Argentina and Brazil and assured that any existing problems related to the bilateral trade “do not tarnish this very strong reality” (MercoPress).

Former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso said that Mercosur “needs to be reborn but with a real integration spirit among its members” leaving behind such ambitions as the mirror of the European Union (MercoPress).

Brazilian billionaire André Esteves has launched the biggest private equity fund for Africa, promising to raise at least $1billion for investments in areas such as energy and infrastructure (Forbes).

The president-elect of France, François Hollande, and Russian president Vladimir Putin, confirmed that they would attend the U.N. Rio+20 conference for sustainable development that will take place in Brazil in June (Folha).

The European Parliament decided to cancel travel plans for the Members of the European Parliament that were going to participate in Rio+20, due to high travel expenses. The decision was made by the coordinators of the European Environment Commission, who explained that the cost of sending deputies to Brazil would be too high, and unjustifiable in a time of crisis (Folha).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

Aircraft maker Embraer said it is pressing ahead with a new bid for a U.S. Air Force contract to supply 20 light air support planes to Afghanistan, despite concerns that the results of a prior competition would not be considered (Reuters).

A helicopter from Brazil’s Military Police crashed in the central-western state of Goias, killing eight people aboard. The crash site is about 30 km from Piranhas city. Among the victims is Aparecido Souza Alvez, the murder who killed seven people two weeks ago in the Goias state, police sources said (Xinhua).

The Brazilian navy successfully tested an Exocet MM40 missile totally designed, developed and manufactured in the country by Avibras and with the support from the European group MBDA, partly owned by BAE Systems (MercoPress).

Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on May 11, 2012 at 11:17 am

ECONOMY

Inflation in Brazil should be tamer in the next three months than it was in April, central bank president Alexandre Tombini said, suggesting higher prices are unlikely to interfere with looser monetary conditions (Reuters).

Brazil’s central bank has “total autonomy” to decide on monetary policy without interference from other areas of government, the bank’s chief said in response to a newspaper editorial. Alexandre Tombini, who has led an aggressive rate-cutting cycle in Latin America’s top economy, was responding to an editorial from local newspaper Estado de S. Paulo that claimed the bank had lost its de-facto autonomy to set interest rates (Reuters).

Automobile production and sales in Brazil fell in April from March, as inventories climbed to their highest level since the global financial crisis of 2008, raising the specter of idling production lines and continued weak industrial output (Reuters).

Brazil’s efforts to boost economic growth with the most aggressive interest rate cuts are driving away investors, reducing equity valuations to five-year lows and fueling the world’s biggest currency tumble. MSCI Inc.’s Brazil Index has dropped to the cheapest level since 2006 versus global shares as investors pulled $869 million from the nation’s mutual funds this year, the only country among the four largest emerging markets to post outflows, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and EPFR Global. Brazil’s debt handed foreign investors the worst losses since September last month (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s real is going the other way. Strengthening since the financial crisis of 2008, it is now in the process of weakening, most of it by design. The local currency has gone from a strong point of around R$1.68 in late February to R$1.975 on Thursday morning.  Currency speculators think it’s going to 2.20, but can a weaker real save Brazilian industries (Forbes)?

Brazil’s use of installed industrial capacity fell for a second consecutive month in March, despite a continued recovery of industrial sales during the period, Brazil’s National Confederation of Industries, CNI, announced (MercoPress).

SUBSCRIBE, IT’S FREE!

You request a free subscription to Brazil Weekly here and get email notifications on updates.

Brazil Weekly is also Facebook. You can like us here and join our group there.

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

And be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here to join.

BUSINESS

Braskem, Latin America’s largest petrochemical company, posted net income of 152 million reais (77.4 million) for the first quarter, down 50 percent from the same period a year before (Reuters).

Braskem is looking to switch its U.S. polypropylene plants onto feedstock from shale gas as the cost of crude oil derivatives hurts profits. Chief Executive Carlos Fadigas said the company is nearing a decision on whether to build its own plant processing propane from natural gas or form a joint venture with a guarantee to buy the project’s output (Reuters).

Construction group Camargo Correa said it would offer cash to take over Portuguese cement maker Cimpor and would preserve the company’s name and strategic outlook (Reuters).

Activity in Brazil’s services sector grew strongly in April, led by near record-high business confidence, underpinning an economy hit by weak manufacturing output, a survey showed (Reuters).

AGRI ETC.

Brazil’s 4 billion-real ($2.1 billion) drive to revive sugar-cane production has faltered as government bureaucracy and a curb on foreign loans choked credit needed to finance planting. Cane refiners, who also grow the crop, couldn’t complete paperwork in time to qualify for loans from the state development bank known as BNDES before the main planting season ended last month, said Maurilio Biagi Filho, president of the ethanol producer Grupo Maubisa. In March, the government imposed a tax on overseas borrowing to stifle capital inflows that are boosting the currency (Bloomberg).

Sugar output in Brazil’s Center South, the world’s largest producing region, dropped 35 percent in the second half of April as mills delay the start of crushing after prices plummeted (Bloomberg).

JBS SA, which became the world’s largest beef producer through more than 10 acquisitions in the past five years, said it wants to make more purchases as it bets on increased profit margins in the beef sector (Bloomberg).

AVIATION

Chile’s LAN Airlines said it was launching the share swap offer that would complete its takeover of Brazil’s TAM to create LATAM Airlines Group, the largest carrier in Latin America and one of the world’s biggest airlines (Reuters).

Gol Linhas Aéreas committed to a smaller fleet for the next three years, as part of a plan by Brazil’s second-largest airline to control costs after posting its third loss in a year. The airline said it was cutting routes by as much as 2 percent this year after 8.2 percent growth in 2011. The combined fleet of Gol and recently acquired Webjet unit will also shrink from 150 planes last year to 138 at the end of 2012 (Reuters).

Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras SA, the Brazilian airline startup founded by David Neeleman, plans to hire about 300 flight-crew members this year as its fleet expands while competitors retrench (Bloomberg).

BANKING & FINANCE

Net income at Caixa Econômica Federal surged 46 percent in the first quarter as Brazil’s largest mortgage lender ramped up lending, underscoring the growing clout of state-controlled banks (Reuters).

MINING & STEEL

Brazil’s highest court suspended the payment of about 24 billion reais ($12.4 billion) in back taxes by mining company Vale, handing the world’s largest iron ore producer a temporary victory in a dispute with the government (Reuters).

Vale has stopped hiring vessels from some Chinese shipping firms in retaliation for Beijing’s efforts to keep the miner’s huge ships out of the country, traders and industry sources said (Reuters).

Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, said returns on $3 billion of investments in Brazil “have not yet come” because of “unbelievably high” energy costs (Bloomberg).

OIL & GAS

Petrobras said it had signed a $1.7 billion deal with local industrial construction companies Odebrecht, OAS and UTC Engenharia for the supply of oil platforms (Reuters).

REAL ESTATE

Homebuilder Gafisa expects its recent turnaround attempt to pay off soon, after posting a narrower first-quarter loss as it scaled back new projects in response to a year of delays and cost overruns (Reuters).

TELECOMS

Luca Luciani, head of Brazil’s second biggest wireless phone group TIM Participacoes, who has been embroiled in an investigation into irregular SIM cards, has resigned, the group’s parent company Telecom Italia said (Reuters).

Brazil Weekly’s Brazil Regional News

In Brazil on May 11, 2012 at 11:16 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of the Palhano Business Centre for Londrina (Skyscrapercity).

SUBSCRIBE, IT’S FREE!

You request a free subscription to Brazil Weekly here and get email notifications on updates.

Brazil Weekly is also Facebook. You can like us here and join our group there.

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

And be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here to join.

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

FIFA WORLD CUP

Brazil’s Senate approved a set of rules needed for the country to host the 2014 soccer World Cup, including the lifting of a federal ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks in stadiums during the tournament. Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s largest brewer, extended in October its beer sponsorship for the FIFA World Cup through 2022. The legislation now needs to be signed by President Dilma Rousseff (Bloomberg).

AMAZON

The revolt on the banks of the Madeira River, the Amazon’s largest tributary, flared after sunset. At the simmering end of a 26-day strike by 17,000 workers last month, a faction of laborers who were furious over wages and living conditions began setting fire to the construction site at the Jirau Dam (The New York Times).

Brazil is deploying 500 troops, a field hospital and three Navy ships to help people hit by some of the worst flooding in decades in the Amazon. Rivers began overflowing their banks in March and some 70,000 families have so far been left without shelter. Local officials say dozens of communities are in a critical state as a result of the heavy rains (BBC).

A former Brazilian police officer sentenced for involvement in the killing of 19 landless protesters in the Amazon has been arrested 16 years after the massacre. Colonel Mario Colares Pantoja was sentenced to 258 years in jail in 2002. He had managed to remain free until now while he appealed against his sentence. But a judge in Brazil’s northern Para state said the appeals process was exhausted, and ordered his and a fellow officer’s arrest (BBC).

CEARA

BNDES approved R$ 358 million in financing for the construction of four wind farms in the state of Ceará. The projects comprise the Trairi Project, which will have a total installed capacity of 115.4 MW and will begin operations in January 2013. The wind farms, consisting of Special Purpose Companies, are controlled indirectly by Tractebel Energia S.A. and directly by Energias Eólicas do Nordeste S.A (BNDES).

RIO

The municipality of Maricá is situated on the coast of Rio de Janeiro State just about twenty kilometers away from Niterói, and only about sixty kilometers (forty miles) north from the city of Rio. Not only does Maricá provide residents with plenty of calm and tranquility, but the small city and long coastline offers a variety of rental and purchase options much more affordable than in Cidade Maravilhosa (The Rio Times).

For most travelers in Rio, an idle dip in the waters along the sweeping sandy beaches of Zona Sul (South Zone) is enough ocean to make the trip, and a few more might find their way on a surfboard. For those looking to get into some deeper waters though, Marina da Glória is the next port of call (The Rio Times).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

SAO PAULO

The percentage of people in São Paulo who have fallen behind in making installment payments rose to 21.8% in April, up from 18.5% in March (Agencia Brasil).

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on May 3, 2012 at 11:55 pm

POLITICS

On April 25th Congress launched an inquiry into Mr Cachoeira’s political influence. It has convened an investigative committee that can look into or summon to testify anyone it wants, and has access to confidential bank, tax and phone records. So far it has named three federal deputies and two governors (as well as Mr Torres) as subjects of interest. It also plans to investigate Delta, a big Brazilian construction firm. One of the company’s former managers is now in jail after appearing in the wiretaps (The Economist).

Another day, another Brazilian sleaze scandal. At least, that’s what many foreign readers may be thinking. But the corruption case of Carlinhos Cachoeira stands out for its sheer scale – and the power his colluders apparently wielded. Cachoeira — a businessman known in the international press as “Charlie Waterfall” – has been in prison since March, accused of running illegal gambling operations and other offenses (Bloomberg).

For former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, corruption has increased in relation to what there was in his government. The “housecleaning” of President Dilma Rousseff is important, but he says “she may not be assessing the political risk that she is running.” “The Brazilian Congress is stronger than you think. If you do not have some ability to understand the role of Congress in the Brazilian system, you can get hurt,” said Fernando Henrique (Folha).

President Dilma Rousseff said she was appointing deputy Brizola Neto (PDT-RJ) as the new minister of Labor because she was certain he “would make a great contribution to the country.” She also thanked the former minister, Carlos Lupi, and the acting minister, Paulo Roberto Pinto, for their help in selecting the new minister (Agencia Brasil).

By the time midnight Monday, April 30, rolled around, a final total of 25,244,122 million Brazilians had sent in their 2012 income tax returns. That, at exactly 11:59:59 pm, was the official deadline. Almost all returns are filed via internet nowadays in Brazil (Agencia Brasil).

SUBSCRIBE, IT’S FREE!

You request a free subscription to Brazil Weekly here and get email notifications on updates.

Brazil Weekly is also Facebook. You can like us here and join our group there.

You can also follow Brazil Weekly on Twitter at brazilweekly.

And be very welcome to join the Brazil Weekly networking and discussion group on Linkedin: Click here to join.

INTERNATIONAL

Not everyone is confident about Brazil. Andres Oppenheimer, the Argentine-born American columnist for the “Miami Herald” and an expert on Latin America, has long been a skeptic. Oppenheimer quotes former president of Peru, Alan García, who jocked that the Brics –the world’s emerging powers made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa– would soon become the Rics, an anagram for the same group minus Brazil. He concludes that Brazil is a “temporarily disoriented giant”. Read Kenneth Maxwell´s opinion in Folha.

It might not seem that way when walking down the streets of Manhattan or Miami, but Brazilians are leaving the United States behind and heading home. A decade ago, places like Little Brazil near 42nd Street in Manhattan were loaded with Brazilian restaurants and shops selling everything from calling cards, to cameras to cheap cell phones and souvenirs.  Today, Little Brazil is a shadow of its former self. The Brazilian restaurants are either half empty, or more full with tourists looking for a sugar-bombed caipirinha, than the Brazilians who live there. (And their picanha is nothing like the real thing. And come on, Pitu? Quem faça caipirinhas com Pitu? Ninguem.) (Forbes).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

The Brazilian armed forces have begun an operation in a vast area of the Amazon to tackle drug trafficking, logging and illegal mining. More than 8,500 troops are taking part in Operation Agata 4. They will be patrolling an area that stretches some 5,000km (3,100 miles) along Brazil’s northern border (BBC).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

SOCIAL

More than half of Brazilians over 55 suffer from high blood pressure, according to a major new national health survey.”This data shows how high blood pressure has become a main health issue in this new Brazil, which has more elderly and obese people than before,” says Brazil’s Minister of Health Alexandre Padilha (Folha).