News from Brazil

Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on August 31, 2012 at 10:20 am

POLITICS

Brazil’s government unveiled a host of new measures aimed at increasing investment and consumption as it expanded efforts to boost a sluggish recovery in the world’s sixth-largest economy. The latest round of stimulus included cheaper credit for trucks and machinery and an extension of tax breaks for makers of home appliances and automobiles, Finance Minister Guido Mantega told Reuters.

Tony Blair and Bill Clinton were in São Paulo, speaking at an event run by Itaú BBA, a Brazilian investment bank. Sharing the platform was Fernando Henrique Cardoso, whose two terms as Brazil’s president, from 1995 to 2002, overlapped with both visitors’ own periods in office. Ilan The threesome entered a discussion that touched on foreign views of Brazil and Brazilian views of abroad—and what the developed world could learn about handling financial crises from a country that has suffered more than its fair share of them in the past, but is coming through the most recent one much better than most (The Economist).

Brazil is attempting an unprecedented “triple jump” of construction projects — preparing to host the 2014 World Cup soccer championship and the 2016 Olympics while also spending nearly $500 billion on highways and other infrastructure to make an economic leap forward (Reuters).

Brazil’s government is exploring ways to ease immigration rules in order to attract up to 10 times more foreign professionals and help spur economic growth, a senior official told Reuters.

When it was in the opposition, Rousseff’s Workers’ Party decried privatization under President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Thus, Rousseff was careful to say that the government’s new plan did not amount to the p-word. “We are not selling off state assets to raise cash,” she said, describing just one form of privatization (Bloomberg).

Most of the public sector workers in Brazil who had been taking part in one of the country’s largest ever industrial disputes, have called off their strike. The government said the majority of public workers had accepted the offer of a 15.8% pay rise over three years (BBC).

Lula — as he is universally known in Brazil — is back in fighting form. Resurgent in Brazilian politics after doctors recently said that his cancer had gone into remission, Mr. da Silva has begun campaigning for mayoral candidates in Brazil’s largest cities (The New York Times).

By eight votes to two, the majority of the justices of the Supreme Court decided to convict the first politician implicated in the mensalão scandal. João Paulo Cunha (SP), one of the leading names in the PT during Lula’s first term, when he was elected to the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies (2003-04), was convicted on charges of bribery and embezzlement (Folha).

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INTERNATIONAL

Four certified charts of the Falklands/Malvinas Islands dating back to the XVIII century and belonging to the Pedro de Angelis collection of Brasilia’s National Library were given by the Brazilian Foreign ministry to the Argentine delegation currently holding a bilateral meeting in the country’s capital (MercoPress).

Senator Eduardo Suplicy (PT-SP) praised the support of the Union of South American Nations (Unasul) to Ecuador’s government, which shelters at its diplomatic representation in London the Australian Julian Assange, founder of the Wikileaks website, responsible for the leak of secret documents (Federal Senate).

With 8500 kilometers of coastline, Brazil controls an ocean range of 3.5 million square km, known in international law as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which corresponds to the famous 200 nautical miles (370 km). Right there, in a strip of ocean 15 km by 200 km (3,000 square km) a “sushi war” has erupted between Brazilians and Japanese. All because of tuna (Folha).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

DEFENSE & SECURITY

Brazil’s defence industry is booming, fuelled by government incentives to modernize the country’s armed forces and develop a robust, export-oriented military industrial complex. With the world’s sixth largest economy, Brazil was ranked as the eighth largest arms exporter in the 1980s but currently languishes in 30th place, according to industry experts (MercoPress).

EDUCATION & HEALTH

U.S. colleges, holding onto a shrinking lead as the world’s biggest educator of international students, are eyeing a promising new market in Brazil, an emerging economy with big hopes for the future but a shortage of skilled labor (Reuters).

President Dilma Rousseff signed an action bill into law for boosting the number of college graduates from black, indigenous and mixed-race backgrounds (Xinhua).

Brazil’s anti-AIDS program will be expanded to include at least 35,000 more people, a Health Ministry official (Business Week).

 

Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on August 31, 2012 at 10:13 am

ECONOMY

Brazil’s government reaffirmed its expectations for an economic rebound in 2013 after two straight years of meager expansion, though at a slower pace than originally forecast, according to a budget bill (Reuters).

Brazil will likely trim its benchmark interest rate for the ninth straight time to an all-time low of 7.5 percent, drawing a year-long rate-cutting cycle closer to an end as the economy recovers (Reuters).

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

Brazil’s PDG Realty has appointed a new chief executive, tapping Carlos Piani, a manager from Vinci Partners — the private equity firm that provided fresh capital to the struggling home builder (Reuters).

D.E Master Blenders 1753 , which this month surprised investors saying its 2012 results would be hit by fraud, tax and inventory issues at its Brazilian unit, said an internal investigation had not uncovered further material new findings (Reuters).

The number of complaints made by consumers about the quality of services they receive in Brazil has risen sharply over the past year, according to recent figures from the government’s national consumer watchdog, Senacon (Secretaria Nacional do Consumidor, National Consumer Secretariat). Experts say this is partly due to increased expectations in Brazil’s booming, relatively wealthier middle class (The Rio Times).

Brazilians zest for beauty has turned the industry into the world’s third strongest. Since an estimated 40 million people have joined the middle class in the past decade in Brazil, now the world’s sixth-largest economy, the beauty industry is booming and has become the third in importance globally (MercoPress).

Brazil has earmarked 46.7 billion Brazilian reais (about 23 billion U.S. dollars) to build low-income houses, the government gazette Diario Official said (Xinhua).

AGRI ETC.

Brazil’s 2012/13 soybean crop, which officially starts planting season in two weeks, is expected to reach a record 82 million tonnes, up from 66.4 million tonnes from the drought-parched crop of this year, local analyst AgRural said (Reuters).

Exports of Brazilian ethanol to the U.S. market are likely to grow, while still allowing Brazil to increase its blend of the biofuel in gasoline in early 2013, local sugar and ethanol analyst Datagro said (Reuters).

After a tough first quarter, Brazilian farmers are injecting life back into a stagnant economy at a time when manufacturers and consumers are retrenching (Reuters).

Brazil beef exports reached 5.37bn dollars in 2011, but volume was down 10.8%. Last year was very positive for Brazil beef exports having jumped from 4.8 billion dollars in 2010 to 5.37 billion in 2011, which represents an 11.65% increase according to Abicec, the Brazilian Association of Meat exporting industries (MercoPress).

AVIATION

Bernardo Figueiredo, the president of the recently-created company that will manage R$ 133 billion investments in railways and highways in five years, says the government made a mistake in the first phase of airport concessions (Folha).

AUTOMOTIVE

Car sales in Brazil surged in August to what may be their best month ever, a source with access to registration data said, as customers rushed to take advantage of a tax break they expected to end this week (Reuters).

A Chinese automaker says it’s recalling nearly 12,500 cars sold in Brazil after asbestos was found in engine and exhaust gaskets (Washington Post).

BANKING & FINANCE

Caixa Econômica Federal, Brazil’s largest mortgage lender, will start an investment banking unit in a move to expand into the lucrative business of extending credit to corporations and advising them on capital markets transactions (Reuters).

Brazil’s banks abruptly slowed the pace of loan disbursements in July as caution took center stage among private sector lenders seeking to protect earnings from near record delinquencies and a drop in borrowing costs (Reuters).

Brazil’s central bank is investigating irregular accounting at small lender Banco Schahin after discovering a capital shortfall of some 1.1 billion reais ($543 million), according to a report published by newspaper Estado de S. Paulo (Reuters).

The crowdfunding site Ideame has acquired the Brazilian company Movere in a deal that may prompt more consolidation in this sector in Latin America (The New York Times).

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MINING & STEEL

Vale plans to produce 4.6 million tonnes of coal at its Moatize mine in Mozambique this year as it ramps up production to supply growing demand from Asia (Reuters).

Vale is eyeing US$1.4bn in extra revenues with new copper biotechnology. Vale has been developing technology with the University of São Paulo (USP) to identify bacteria and fungi able to absorb copper particles, aiming to take economic advantage of tailings from mineral processing (Vale).

According to a ranking in Brasil Mineral magazine, MMX is the ninth largest mining company in Brazil. In just two years, the company moved up four places on the list. Besides the increase in company revenues, the jump is also a result of investments of R$ 4.8 billion to expand the Serra Azul Unit, whose operational capacity will increase to 29 million tons/year, and R$ 2.4 billion in the Sudeste Superport, a port terminal that is in an advanced stage of construction in Itaguai, Rio de Janeiro (EBX).

OIL & GAS

An injunction banning No. 2 U.S. oil company Chevron Corp and its drilling contractor Transocean Ltd from operating in Brazil was upheld by a panel of three Brazilian federal judges on Tuesday while charges over a November oil spill are being considered (Reuters).

Brazilian gasoline imports will grow at least fourfold by 2020 to about 1 million cubic meters (264,172 gallons) per month, Folha de S.Paulo reported (Bloomberg).

Petrobras said it will deploy the world’s first floating oil terminal capable of refueling tankers on the high seas (MercoPress).

PORTS & LOGISTICS

Brazil’s Mato Grosso state has all the conditions to be a soy farmers’ paradise: plentiful rains, fertile and affordable land and a potentially navigable river, the Teles-Pires, that winds its way north to the Amazon and out to sea. Yet farmers cannot use the Teles-Pires and instead have to load their crops onto trucks for a two-day, 1,300-mile (2,100-km) journey by road to overcrowded southern ports, where they often wait weeks before loading (Reuters).

POWER

Wind power is now enjoying a new phase of competitiveness in Brazil, with an additional R$ 40 billion in investments expected by 2020. This new phase, which began in 2009, has resulted in the procurement of 6.7 gigawatts (GW) of power, at a price of R$ 100 per megawatt/hour (MWh). The first investments in wind power in the country were made in 2004, with grants from the Alternative Electrical Energy Sources Incentive Program (Proinfa). The goal was to introduce new technologies and renewable forms of energy production, including small hydro power (SHP), biomass and wind power (Portal Brasil).

Brazil Weekly’s Brazil Culture & Regional News

In Brazil on August 31, 2012 at 10:10 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of the 42-floor Magestic commercial tower for Gravataí. With 132,45m the highest building in Rio Grande do Sul state (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.

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CULTURE

The second annual ArtRio in Rio de Janeiro is, a fair spread over 7,500 square meters (80,730 square feet) in four warehouses on Guanabara Bay. It will feature 120 galleries, including David Zwirner and White Cube, as well as events hosted by Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The size and participants reflect a growing interest in the world’s sixth-largest economy (Bloomberg).

“Neighboring Sounds,” Kleber Mendonça Filho’s revelatory debut feature, takes place mostly on a wealthy block in the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife. Identical, gleaming white high-rises — some with fancy names like Vivaldi, Westminster and Camille Claudel — dominate the skyline, obscuring the nearby ocean and also the urban poverty that has been central to Brazil’s social and cinematic identity for decades (The New York Times).

FIFA WOLD CUP 2014

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valke this week began his latest inspection of Brazil 2014 World Cup preparations amid ongoing concerns over delays in stadiums and infrastructure projects (MercoPress).

A record 95,000 people have applied to volunteer at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, soccer’s world governing body FIFA said (Xinhua).

With 10 months to go to the Confederations Cup and as the countdown starts to the 2014 World Cup, Brazilian officials said on Monday that they will not tolerate fan violence (AFP).

AMAZON

Work will resume on a multi-billion dollar dam project in the Amazon after Brazil’s Supreme Court overturned a previous decision to halt construction (BBC).

The board of directors of the BNDES approved R$ 1.05 billion in financing for Norte Brasil Transmissora de Energia S/A. The funds will be allocated to implement the collector transmission line in Porto Velho (state of Rondônia) – Araraquara 2 (state of São Paulo), approximately 2,300 km long, which integrates the Rio Madeira transmission system and which will be operational in the first half of 2013. The BNDES’ support also includes social investments in the region (BNDES).

While environmental campaigns have, for decades, focused on Brazil’s Amazon, today in South America, it is the enormous expanse of Amazonian forest outside Brazil, in a moon-shaped arc from Bolivia to Colombia and east to French Guiana, that is facing its most serious threat (Washington Post).

BRASILIA

Public security authorities in Brazil’s capital city of Brasilia have asked for help from federal police to fight a wave of violent crime that is alarming residents (Washington Post).

RIO

Let’s stop kidding ourselves: Rio will never be safe. The violence can only be contained, and only through random good fortune (The New York Times).

On the first Saturday of each month, Feira do Rio Antigo – a famous antique fair in Rio- sets root at Rua do Lavradio, in Lapa. This centennial street is home to historic houses, bars and antique shops, and on the day of the fair, it also offers a relaxed programming for anyone who wants to know the history of the city and have fun without spending any money. Feira do Rio Antigo runs from 10 am to 6 pm and is free (Rio Official Guide).

Outside investors are increasingly entering pacified favela communities ready to do business, and a new program called “Comércio Legal” (Legal Trade) is helping. In July, São Carlos and Macacos held an “afternoon of entrepreneurship”, where representatives from financial institutions, micro-entrepreneurs and local business people gathered together to discuss future possible economic growth through incentives and lines of credit (The Rio Times).

Brazil’s government has announced the revival of a $16.5 billion high-speed  railway project that would link Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. The National Agency of Terrestrial Transport, or ANTT, published the details  of the process for awarding the contract (Fox News).

SAO PAULO

A notary in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo has sparked controversy by accepting a civil union between three people. Public Notary Claudia do Nascimento Domingues has said the man and two women should be entitled to family rights (BBC).

Rio de Janeiro residents sarcastically say that São Paulo natives love to wait in line. It’s hard to find anyone who likes lines. But the fact is that those living in the country’s biggest city have become specialists in lining up. There are many lines, and they are everywhere (Folha).

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on August 24, 2012 at 10:07 am

POLITICS

Brazil has become one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world, with one in four adults self-employed in some manner. Small businesses create two out of three jobs in Rousseff’s private sector–Brazil’s unemployment rate is an envious 5.8%–and 49% of entrepreneurs with companies less than 42 months old are women; the global average is 37%. In bustling São Paulo alone, 1.8 million small-business owners ply their trades, wares and ideas. Power Woman Dilma Rousseff is Brazil’s Entrepreneur-In-Chief (Forbes).

Forbes magazine ranked German Chancellor Angela Merkel the most powerful woman in the world for the second year in a row in the annual list dominated by politicians, businesswomen and media figures. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton placed second, followed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, making the top three spots unchanged from last year (MercoPress).

President Rousseff has in recent weeks deepened her embrace of the business world while playing hardball with her leftist base, a bold shift she hopes will protect public finances while providing a needed jolt of investment for Brazil’s lackluster economy (Reuters).

The ministry overseeing Brazil’s new $66 billion infrastructure plan was also ground zero for a spectacular corruption scandal last year in which officials allegedly demanded 5 percent kickbacks on highway construction projects and then pushed carts down the hallways to hand out the cash (Reuters).

One of two senators in Brazil who were stripped of their positions for corruption will reimburse 234 million dollars in public funds he embezzled in the late 1990s (MercoPress).

Brazil will offer 15.8 percent salary increases to striking civil workers, newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo reported, citing union official Josemilton Costa (Bloomberg).

Employees at Itamaraty, Brazil’s Foreign Ministry went on strike in demand of salary hike after the Planning Ministry refused their initial demands (Xinhua).

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INTERNATIONAL

The city of Buenos Aires is seeking approval from the local legislature to take a loan of about $216 million from Brazil’s development bank BNDES to acquire 120 new subway cars (Bloomberg).

Conectas, a Brazilian human rights NGO plays a key role in an ever more sophisticated and heated debate about what role Brazil should play vis-à-vis human rights in the world. Brazil’s decision to promote the idea of the ‘Responsibility while Protecting’ (RwP) has turned Brazil into a potential agenda-setter in the debate about R2P, no doubt one of the most important questions of our time (Post Western World).

Brazil is now considered to one of the international community’s largest contributors to the World Food Program (WFP). In 2011 the Brazilian government has donated over 300,000 tons of food to 35 countries. In addition, Brazil is considered to be one of the leading nations in supporting humanitarian aid (Portal Brasil).

As part of the ongoing “Operacion Trapecio” (Operation Trapeze), Brazilian Federal Police eradicated 100 hectares of coca crops, the raw material for cocaine, in the Peruvian Amazon, near the tri-border area where Brazil, Peru and Colombia intersect (Insight Crime).

But in an attempt to “nationalize” Bolivia’s anti-drug policy, Evo Morales’ government does not accept the participation of Brazilian agents to destroy plantations of coca, the raw material to produce cocaine and crack, as intended by Brazil’s Federal Police (Folha).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

On the eve of three major events that are to take place in Brazil, the Ministry of Defense has announced that the Armed Forces will take part in planned security arrangements. The announcement refers to the visit of Pope Benedict XVI, the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013 and the World Cup in 2014. It is intended the Navy, Army and Air Force will act as reinforcements in improving security in all strategic areas (Portal Brasil).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

SOCIAL

A grandmother whose birth date could not be confirmed, Dirce Navarro de Camargo controls Sao Paulo-based conglomerate Camargo Correa SA, which has interests in cement, electricity and Havaianas flip- flops. Her net worth is $13.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. She is the 60th-richest person in the world, and doesn’t appear on any other international wealth ranking (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s weak performance at the London Olympics is due to the lack of quality of Brazilian schools, said senator Cristovam Buarque (PDT-DF). The senator mentioned the three aspects he believes are the pre-requirements for success at the Olympic Games: large population, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and good schools where sporting talents are discovered (Federal Senate).

Brazil might be the leading economy in Latin America and has had a significant performance in reducing poverty in recent years, but it still remains among the countries with he highest inequality in the region together with Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia, points out the UN-Habitar report (MercoPress).

The Brazilian new middle class pay their bills and like to keep their names clean. Brazil National Confederation of Store Managers, CNLD, and the Credit Protection Service, SPC, report that payment delinquency was down 5.6% in July. At the same time the two organizations revealed that over the last five years indebtedness in Brazil has risen 20% annually (MercoPress).

 

Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on August 24, 2012 at 10:07 am

ECONOMY

Foreign direct investment in Brazil surged to a 1-1/2-year high in July, defying slowing growth in the domestic and global economies and fully covering a shrinking current account gap (Reuters).

Brazil’s top economic policy-making body allowed development lenders to sell notes to investors in the local debt markets, in a move that might help finance 133 billion reais ($65 billion) in infrastructure spending for the coming years (Reuters).

Fitch believes the funding for a set of infrastructure projects in Brazil hinges on choices the government will make to facilitate an efficient procurement process and spur the use of private equity and debt investment supported by financial programs and incentives from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) (Reuters).

Brazil’s economic activity climbed in June at its fastest pace since March 2011, suggesting that the world’s sixth-largest economy has bottomed out after a yearlong flurry of government stimulus (Reuters).

Inflation in Brazil rose slightly more than expected in the month to mid-August, as the fading effect of tax breaks on automobiles failed to compensate for higher food and services costs (Reuters).

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

The Economist analyses the antitrust law in Brazil. The competition watchdog gets teeth…

Brazilian online fashion retailer Dafiti said that it would receive $45 million from J.P. Morgan Asset Management in a cash-for-equity deal that underscores investors’ appetite for the country’s fast-growing Internet market (Reuters).

Brazil state postal service Correios plans to move into mobile telephony by the second half of next year, when it may begin selling phone plans and buying bulk airtime from existing operators (Reuters).

Brasil Brokers Participacoes SA, the country’s largest real estate broker by contracted sales, is completing due diligence in two acquisition targets and plans to buy as many as three more companies this year as part of a strategy to expand in the secondary housing market (Bloomberg).

The Internet may already feel mature in America, but growth remains to be had in Brazil. While Brazilians already spend $13 billion a year online, only 40% of the population is regularly connected to the Internet. Forrester predicts that sales figure will grow at a brisk 18% annual clip. That’s what is drawing American entrepreneurs and U.S. venture capitalists, too (Forbes).

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) launched the Strategic Program for Software and IT Services in São Paulo. The ‘IT Maior’ program seeks to develop the Information Technology (IT) software and services sector. With investments of approximately R$ 500 million planned for the period 2012-2015, ‘IT Maior’ is structured around five pillars: economic and social development, international positioning, innovation and entrepreneurship, scientific, technology & innovation, and competitiveness (Portal Brasil).

AGRI ETC.

Brazil could emerge as the world’s top soybean producer in 2012/13 as high prices encourage plantings while the worst drought in 56 years devastates crops in the U.S. Midwest, the International Grains Council said (Reuters).

Brazil, the world’s top chicken meat exporter, scaled back poultry output in July as the spike in grain prices crimped margins and hurt producers’ cash flow, the head of the country’s poultry association, Ubabef, said (Reuters).

Brazil, the biggest ethanol producer after the U.S., will have to import the biofuel if authorities raise the mandatory level mixed into gasoline this year, according to commodity processor and trader Bunge Ltd. (Bloomberg).

New Zealand’s first branded lamb shipment to Brazil is scheduled to arrive at the port of Santos in the middle of next month and be available at 120 stores in Sao Paulo and to diners in restaurants and hotels throughout the country (MercoPress).

AVIATION

Marked improvements to Brazil’s newly-privatized airports, including São Paulo’s main International Airport, Guarulhos, that were auctioned off earlier this year for R$24.5 billion, have yet to be seen on the ground. New operators officially took over last week at three main international airports – in Brasília, São Paulo (Guarulhos) and Campinas (Viracopos) – from state-run airport operator, Infraero (The Rio Times).

A major air show in Sao Paulo over the weekend turned the spotlight on the robust health of Brazil’s general aviation market, which is thriving despite the global economic slowdown (TTR Weekly).

The participation of the private sector in exploiting the airport sector from now on must focus on smaller airports, moving from 400 thousand to 1 million passengers a year (Folha).

BANKING & FINANCE

A flagging outlook for hard commodity prices and rising state intervention are forcing Brazilian investors to step up the search for financial assets overseas, weighing on the nation’s equity market, executives at Itaú Asset Management said (Reuters).

Itaú Unibanco Holding , Brazil’s largest financial conglomerate by market value, set a date to buy out Redecard in a bid to protect the card payment processor’s position in an increasingly competitive industry (Reuters).

One of the world’s leading banks, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has been authorised to operate in Brazil (MercoPress).

The BNDES posted a net income of R$ 2.7 billion in the first half of 2012. In a period marked by the instability of financial markets and the weak performance of the stock markets, the fixed income segment was the main factor that contributed to the result (BNDES).

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ENERGY

Countries have built wind energy as a complement to their existing power infrastructure, but in few places does the natural setting make wind so much “the perfect partner” for hydroelectric power as Brazil, the Global Wind Energy Council said in a report on regulatory frameworks for the country’s emerging wind industry. That is nature at work, with the wind cycle complementing Brazil’s rainy season by blowing strongest during the dry season (Energy.AOL).

MINING & STEEL

Brazil’s state development bank, BNDES, will lend 3.9 billion reais ($1.93 billion) to iron ore miner Vale SA to boost logistics capacity by 30 percent in the north of the country where its biggest mine is situated, the bank said (Reuters).

A bill presented to Brazil’s Congress seeks to create an independent mining regulator with the power to auction mineral rights, set minimum investment levels and cancel concessions for companies that violate contracts, a draft seen by Reuters showed.

OIL & GAS

Petrobras and IBV Brasil completed drilling a well in the country’s offshore Sergipe-Alagoas Basin, striking oil and confirming the extent of a previous discovery in the same area. The well, drilled on a prospect known as “Barra 1″, is in the BM-SEAL-11 block off Brazil’s northeastern state of Sergipe and is 10 kilometers southeast of “Barra”, the first discovery in the block (Reuters).

BP Plc, the energy company that paid $3.2 billion last year to start exploring off the coast of Brazil, plans to sell its only producing oil field in the country (Bloomberg).

 

Brazil Weekly’s Brazil Regional News

In Brazil on August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of the Praça Uberaba Shopping Center for Uberaba, Minas Gerais (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 POLL

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CULTURE

The cacophony of Brazil’s economic boom served as inspiration for the director Kleber Mendonça Filho, who decided to give his first feature film, a winner of prizes at festivals in Europe and the United States, the enigmatic title “Neighboring Sounds” (The New York Times).

FIFA WORLD CUP 2014

FIFA launched the Volunteer Program for the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup in Salvador (capital of the state of Bahia, Brazil’s northeast region). Those interested in working in the mega sporting events may register on the FIFA website – FIFA.com (Portal Brasil).

TOURISM & TRAVEL

Companies operating in the tourism sector recorded an increase in sales of 18.3% in 2011. Around 87% of business owners expect further expansion in 2012. The mood of optimism among the 80 largest companies in nine segments was observed by the Annual Survey of the Tourism Economic Environment (Pacet), undertaken by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation at the request of the Ministry of Tourism (Portal Brasil).

AMAZON

The Supreme Court has ordered the release of an Amazon rancher convicted in the 2005 killing of Dorothy Stang, an American nun and rain forest activist (The New York Times).

NORTH EAST

Bunge Ltd., the world’s second- largest oilseed processor, is looking into expanding its logistics assets in northern Brazil, the new “agricultural frontier,” Pedro Parente, the company’s country head, said (Bloomberg).

RIO

The local Rio economy is enjoying a large injection of funds from the state’s shipbuilders, as local content rules and strong orders from Petrobras, Brazil’s semi-public oil company, put pressure on suppliers. The shipyards are currently pumping around R$2 billion into the purchase of materials, equipment and services from local suppliers in the state (The Rio Times).

Leme remains the understated neighborhood among the popular beach-side famous foursome of Zona Sul (South Zone); in the shadow of Copacabana, Ipanema and Lebon. Sharing the long stretch of sand with Copacabana, and banked behind by mountains and favelas, there has not been much room to grow in the past (The Rio Times).

Violent clashes between rival Brazilian soccer fans left one dead another seven injured in Rio de Janeiro (Xinhua).

Rio de Janeiro drug dealers are saying no to crack and appear planning a ban on the destructive drug (Washington Post).

The Port of Rio de Janeiro will receive around R$ 3 billion in investments by 2016, which should increase its capacity by 80%. The announcement was made today (Aug. 20) by the State Government. The funds will come from the private sector and all three levels of government (Federal, State and Municipal). The program, entitled “21st Century Port of Rio”, includes dredging Guanabara Bay to receive larger ships, construction of a pier to expand the passenger terminal, and the renovation and construction of highways, railways and cargo terminals in the port area (Portal Brasil).

SAO PAULO

Brazil’s biggest city is experiencing one of its driest spells in years after more than a month with almost no rain. The National Meteorological Institute says in the past month just one-hundredth of an inch (0.3 millimeters) of rain has fallen on Sao Paulo. The average for this time of year is 1.5 inches (38 millimeters) (Washington Post).

The annual Salão de Arte brings art, antiques, jewellery and rare books together in one art fair (Time Out Sao Paulo).

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Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on August 17, 2012 at 10:49 am

POLITICS

Facing headwinds, Dilma changes course. The government announces plans to privatise infrastructure, and disappoints striking bureaucrats (The Economist).

A moment of truth for Dilma. The president needs to do more to tackle the “Brazil cost”, writes The Economist in another piece.

The host nation of the next Olympics had a mixed outing in London and is hoping that a surge in spending on athletes and facilities will ensure it makes the top 10 medals table in 2016 on home soil in Rio de Janeiro (Reuters).

President Dilma Rousseff plans to set a minimum retirement age for private sector employees to limit its future pensions deficit, said a government official with knowledge of her decision (Bloomberg).

The senate in Brazil last week passed a bill that requires prestigious federal universities to reserve fifty percent of their places for public school students, and increases the number of spaces allotted to black, mixed-race and indigenous students. It is expected that President Dilma Rousseff will ratify the law next week (The Rio Times).

The defence of one of the main accused at Brazil’s “trial of the century” claimed at a hearing before the Supreme Tribunal (Supreme court) that former president Lula da Silva (2003/2010) was who ordered the bribes scheme to buy votes in Congress (MercoPress).

In 2010, in a first trial run, some 1.1 million voters used the new biometric identification technology. This year the testing will be expanded. Technicians from the Federal Election Court (“Tribunal Superior Eleitoral – TSE”) have recommended testing biometric voting machines (“urnas biomêtricas”) in 117 cities in various states as part of preparations for their use in this October’s midterm (“eleições municipais”) elections (Agencia Brasil).

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INTERNATIONAL

The announcement made by the president of Paraguay, Frederico Franco, that his country would not be willing to keep “giving” to Brazil the Paraguayan part of the energy produced by the binational hydroelectric power plant of Itaipu was debated during a meeting at the Committee on External Relations and National Defense (Federal Senate).

The government in Brasília should seriously take on the challenge of helping Paraguay transform into an economically and politically stable neighbor and partner. Instead of applying a political quick fix, a broader strategy is necessary to avoid unforeseeable disruptions that could pose strategic threats to Brazil’s national interest: Approximately 350,000 Brazilian citizens live in Paraguay and Brazilian investments, mostly in the agricultural sector, are growing. The country needs a Brazilian Marshall Plan (Post Western World).

Britain has made an official offer to help Brazil prepare for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. In an open letter the British consulate in Rio said it was ready to share its experiences gained from the London Games and help leave Brazil a lasting legacy (Xinhua).

Brazil’s foreign ministry has voiced its deep concern after two Brazilian citizens were dragged from a local prison in Bolivia and burned alive. A foreign ministry statement urged the Bolivian authorities to carry out a “swift and rigorous” investigation (BBC).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

Brazil’s defense industry has expanded 236 percent in the past four years to 12 billion reais ($5.9 billion) in annual spending, according to the Defense Ministry (Bloomberg).

The Brazilian Army and Iveco signed a contract for the purchase of 86 VBTP MR wheeled armoured personnel carriers known as Guarani. President of Iveco Latin America, Marco Mazzu, said that he was proud to participate in the “renaissance of the defence industry in Brazil” (MercoPress).

The Brazilian government will spend 1.17 billion reais (579 million U.S. dollars) on the security of the FIFA World Cup 2014, state news agency Agencia Brasil said (Xinhua).

Embraer Defense and Security delivered the first EMB 145 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) class of aircraft to the Government of India, in a ceremony held at Embraer’s headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil (Embraer).

Amazonas, the first of three BAE Systems built Ocean Patrol Vessels being delivered to the Brazilian Navy, departed the UK for Rio de Janeiro this week after her crew completed a rigorous program of Flag Officer Sea Training with the Royal Navy off the South coast of England (MercoPress).

SOCIAL

In Brazil, where natural childbirth fell out of favor years ago, more than half of all babies are born via cesarean section, a figure that rises to 82 percent for women with private health insurance. But that trend may be turning around in a country with one of the highest cesarean rates in the world (Washington Post).

From gyms to hair salons, travel agencies to home appliance stores, “everyone wants to dance with the new middle class,” a recent opinion article in the Folha de S. Paulo daily said. The metamorphosis is largely the product of a decade of mostly solid economic growth and an array of cash-transfer social programs that pay Brazilians a stipend for meeting social goals, such as keeping their kids in school (Washington Post).

Forbes magazine launched this week in Brazil (as Forbes Brasil) and what  better way to kick things off in the country that’s minting new millionaires and billionaires every day than by publishing the very first list of the Richest Brazilians? The ranking includes 74 individuals and families, most of whom can call themselves billionaires in Brazilian currency (Forbes).

 

Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on August 17, 2012 at 10:48 am

ECONOMY

Brazil’s infrastructure needs are huge. So is the job of attracting private capital (The Economist).

Brazil’s government  unveiled measures to lure up to $133 billion reais in private investment for road and rail projects, part of a new state-led effort to improve the country’s aging and overburdened infrastructure (Reuters).

An investment plan that commodities giant Brazil will announce in the coming weeks to boost capacity at its clogged sea ports could exceed 30 billion reais ($15 billion), a source involved in the plan’s development told Reuters.

Retail sales in Brazil posted a surprising jump in June, evidence that the country’s consumers remain ready to support a broad economic recovery in coming months (Reuters).

Brazil’s economy added a net 142,496 payroll jobs in July, the labor ministry said, more than the previously reported 120,440 jobs added in June (Reuters).

Brazil’s Banco Central (Central Bank, BC) has revealed that foreign investors have dramatically reduced the amount of capital they are investing in Brazil: a forty percent drop has been registered in the first six months of 2012. Investments from overseas plummeted from US$12.4 billion to US$7.5 billion in the first half of 2012, in comparison with the same period in 2011, according to BC data (The Rio Times).

But a stable economy, a burgeoning domestic market and huge untapped reserves of natural resources have led foreign investors to become increasingly interested in Brazil as an investment destination although there are challenges to sustaining this attractiveness according to Ernst & Young’s first annual Brazilian Attractiveness Survey (MercoPress).

Brazilian federal staff strike extends affecting airports, ports and foreign trade. The Brazilian economy is slowing down and civil servants are threatening to intensify the several weeks strike to protest government policy that they allege is appealing to savings in salaries and working conditions to address the situation (MercoPress).

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

Investors have lost their appetite for Brazil in recent months, as costs have risen and growth has stalled. Suddenly, profiting from the country’s bountiful natural wealth and burgeoning middle class looks harder. Billionaire Eike Batista’s fortune is also dwindling (The Economist).

Shareholders of  logistics company LLX, part of a conglomerate owned by billionaire Eike Batista, voted in favor of his proposal to delist the company by repurchasing its shares traded on the Sao Paulo stock exchange, the company said in a filing to the securities regulator (Reuters).

Brazilian power distributors will install about $670 million of smart meters a year from 2014 after the electricity regulator mandated the technology for all new installations (Bloomberg).

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AGRI ETC

Petrobras and Vale SA are discussing a partnership to produce palm oil and biodiesel in the northern state of Para (Bloomberg).

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AUTOMOTIVE

While automakers in Brazil commemorate the growth in sales, the brands of vehicles without factories in the country experience another month of declining business. The sales of companies associated with Abeiva (importers’ association) declined 41.5% in July in comparison with the same month of 2011, with 10,740 units. In comparison with June, the loss was 4.1% (Folha).

AVIATION

Embraer has seen clear signs of recovery in the U.S. executive aviation market, but global demand for business jets remains flat as uncertainty in Europe and a lingering inventory of used aircraft stifle a rebound, the head of Embraer’s executive jet division said (Reuters).

Latam Airlines Group SA, the world’s most valuable carrier created by Lan Airlines SA’s tie-up with Tam SA, said it can operate profitably in a market as “unbelievably expensive” as Brazil and meet savings goals (Bloomberg).

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MINING & STEEL

Vale SA, the world’s No. 2 mining company, wants to participate in auctions for new Brazilian railway concessions, the company’s chief executive, Murilo Ferreira, told reporters in Brasilia (Reuters).

Brazil will overtake Australia and regain its position as the world’s top iron ore exporter in 2017 after a giant new Amazon mine owned by Vale SA starts operations, Vale’s investor relations chief said (Reuters).

OIL & GAS

Chevron, the No. 2 U.S. oil company, has appealed against an injunction banning it and its drilling contractor Transocean Ltd from operating in Brazil while civil and criminal charges over an oil spill last November are judged (Reuters).

Petrobras plans to back Chevron Corp and Transocean Ltd in their fight against an injunction that could bar them from operating in Brazil, Jose Formigli, Petrobras’ exploration and production chief, said (Reuters).

OGX Petroleo e Gas SA , Brazil’s second-largest oil company by market value and one of the company’s owned by Eike Batista, said  it plans to invest about $1.2 billion in 2013, down from more than $2 billion in 2012, as it shifts to production of oil from exploration (Reuters).

Petrobras, which operates the BM-S-8 block south of Rio de Janeiro in the Santos Basin, said in a securities filing that the group’s Carcará prospect has shown 400 meters (1,312 feet) of continuous and connected oil reserves with excellent porosity and permeability (Reuters).

Shipbuilder OSX Brasil SA and construction group Mendes Junior won a contract worth more than $900 million from Brazil’s state-led oil company Petrobras to install the oil processing equipment on two oil production ships, OSX said (Reuters).

Brazil is considering an increase this year in the amount of ethanol added to gasoline, Energy Minister Edison Lobao said, a move that could boost Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s earnings (Bloomberg).

TELECOMS

The next big blackout? A swamped mobile-phone network could choke Latin America’s biggest economy (The Economist).

Brazil Weekly’s Brazil Regional News

In Brazil on August 17, 2012 at 10:45 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of the future interior of the Gloria Palace Hotel in Rio. The historic Gloria Hotel, an icon of Brazilian hospitality, celebrated its 90th anniversary on August 15. Now known as the Gloria Palace Hotel, it is currently in the middle of a revitalization process being carried out by REX. With operations scheduled to start in the first half of 2014, the project will restore the sophistication and tradition of this Rio de Janeiro luxury hotel, which is located in one of the city’s most charming neighborhoods, Gloria.

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 2014

In less than one year Brazil will play to host to the Confederations Cup football tournament, the traditional warm-up event for the World Cup, which will take place in the country in 2014. By next June organisers need to have six stadiums ready for the two-week event, as well as the surrounding infrastructure and communications network in place (BBC).

AMAZON

Animals living in patches of rainforest cut off from bigger expanses of jungle by farms, roads or towns are dying off faster than previously thought, according to an academic study (Reuters).

Environmental researchers restated the importance of a sustainable production in the Cerrado (savannah) biome. The statement was made during a public hearing at the Joint Committee on Climate Change, dedicated to debate action regarding to climate changes in the Cerrado (Federal Senate).

A Brazilian federal court ordered to suspend the construction of the world’s would-be third largest dam until affected indigenous communities get a hearing in Congress. The controversial 11,000-megawatt dam, being built at a cost of 9.4 billion U.S. dollars, is located in northern Brazil’s Belo Monte Amazon region (Xinhua).

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RIO

It’s Rio de Janeiro’s turn! Brazil’s photogenic, chaotic and traffic-choked former capital has just four years left as it prepares to match London’s happy and well-organised Olympic games. A large number of Brazilian officials, starting with President Dilma Rousseff, visited the London games to pick up tips. But they stress that Rio faces different challenges (The Economist).

As the calm settled over London’s Olympic Stadium after closing ceremonies, the pressure was mounting in Rio de Janeiro, host of the 2016 games (Reuters).

No favela can claim greater historical importance than Rio’s first — Morro da Providência — yet Olympic construction projects are threatening its future (The New York Times).

New construction scheduled for a complex of police stations, combined with announcements of the reinforcement officers and UPPs in Zona Norte (North Zone), has set the stage for an increasing police presence in the area. As the London Olympic Games end, international attention has shifted to the progress of Rio’s infrastructure and security programs in preparation of the 2016 Olympics (The Rio Times).

One of the appeals to traveling in Brazil is the rich diversity and heritage pervasive in the relatively young country. In Rio de Janeiro, authorities have established a series of cultural sites intended to explore the city’s former unfortunate role as the world’s largest African slave market in the Nineteenth Century (The Rio Times).

The organizers of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janerio said that having the athletics stadium named after disgraced former FIFA president Joao Havelange wouldn’t tarnish the image of the Games (Xinhua).

Art Rio is in its second edition and promises to set a new record. The number of people who came to last year’s event, and the amount of displays and collections are not the only numbers that make the event superlative; its scope and impact is present in the various angles of Art Rio. The aim is to bring the city up to an international level as one of the most creative cities in the world, as expressed by this year’s slogan: Rio is art. All the time. Everywhere (Rio Official Guide).

A fire in Rio de Janeiro has gutted an apartment that housed what experts say is one of the largest and best private art collections in Brazil. The fire hit the home of collector and gallery owner Jean Boghici (Washington Post).

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SOUTH

The government of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul is planning to invest about 25 million dollars in restructuring animal health protection in the state and electronically identifying every beast in its 13 million cattle herd, in a project designed to provide a full traceability system (MercoPress).

Brazil Politics & Regional News

In Brazil on August 10, 2012 at 10:25 am

POLITICS

President Dilma Rousseff continues to enjoy high popularity as Brazilian consumers remain largely unfazed by a recent economic slowdown and very optimistic about their country’s future. About 57 percent of those polled said they thought Rousseff’s government was either “great” or “good,” according to the survey by the National Transport Confederation, or CNT. That was up from 49 percent in the CNT’s last poll, released in August 2011 (Reuters).

The Brazilian government unveiled a big nationwide plan to help lessen the impact of natural disasters and improve risk management. Brazilian authorities have earmarked 18.8 billion reais (9.3 billion U.S. dollars) for the program, known as the National Plan for Risk Management and Response to Natural Disasters, which aims to improve government performance in disaster prevention, response and monitoring (Xinhua).

Six years after tougher laws were introduced in Brazil to stiffen the punishment for spousal abuse, thousands of women across the country continue to suffer from domestic violence each day, the government said (Xinhua)

The Brazilian Senate has approved a bill that reserves half the places in the country’s prestigious federal universities to state school students. African-Brazilian Senator Paulo Paim said most Brazilians would benefit as only 10% of students graduated from private schools. President Dilma Rousseff is now expected to sign the bill into law. But the measure has attracted criticism, as it also sets up quotas based on racial background (BBC).

It’s not unusual for Latin American countries to prosecute politicians for real or imagined corrupt practices: in fact, most new governments go after their political rivals from preceding governments as soon as they can. But Brazil is doing something much more noteworthy: it is prosecuting prominent leaders of the ruling party (Miami Herald).

As a truth commission begins examining the military’s crackdown on the population during a dictatorship that lasted two decades, Brazilians are riveted by chilling details emerging about the painful pasts of both their country and their president (The New York Times).

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INTERNATIONAL

Mexico could overtake Brazil as Latin America’s number-one economy in 10 years, according to research by economists at Nomura. Mexico could become a ‘jaguar’ economy, similar to the fast-growing ‘tiger’ economies of East Asia, if its newly-elected government succeeds in kick-starting lackluster growth with ambitious economic reforms, Nomura said (Reuters).

Guinea said it launched an investigation into violence near a large iron-ore mine project as a report seen by Reuters showed photos of five people rights groups said had been killed by security forces during a protest. The clashes between security forces and villagers demanding jobs took place last week in Zogota, where a joint venture between Brazil’s Vale, the world’s second largest mining company, and Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz’s BSG Resources (BSGR) is seeking to build iron an ore mine (Reuters).

Paraguayan interim President Federico Franco criticized that Venezuela’s recent entry into the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) had converted the trade bloc into a social club (Xinhua).

Brazil rejected claims that it received Paraguay’s share of energy from a joint hydroelectric plant for free. “There is no giving away. It is bought. This energy does not come to Brazil for free,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tovar Nunes said, adding that its purchasing of Paraguay’s excess energy was permitted in the Itaipu treaty signed in 1973, in which the two countries agreed to build the Itaipu dam of the power plant (Xinhua).

Brazil is the only country that in the last ten years has benefited from Mercosur with an intra-zone trade surplus of 36.8 billion dollars while the other three full members, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay have accumulated huge deficits in the same period, according to Argentine economist Orlando Ferreres a regular columnist from La Nacion with graduate studies in Harvard (MercoPress).

The array of aid projects and loans recently extended to African countries points both to Brazil’s ambitions of projecting greater influence in the developing world and to the expanding business allure of Africa, where some economies are rapidly growing even as parts of the continent still grapple with wars and famine. The charm offensive is paying off in surging trade flows between Brazil and Africa, growing to $27.6 billion in 2011 from $4.3 billion in 2002 (The New York Times).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

Brazil has reinforced its southern borders with 9,000 additional troops as the fifth stage of an ongoing crime-busting operation. The security reinforcement, officially named Operation Agatha 5, started on Monday and will last for 20 to 30 days along the nation’s borders with Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay. The troops were backed by several helicopters, patrol ships, jets and armored vehicles (Xinhua).

Embraer Defense and Security has delivered four light attack and tactical training A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to Indonesia’s Air Force at a ceremony held in its facility in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo, Brazil. Indonesia is the first operator of Super Tucano in the Asia-Pacific region (Embraer).

The strike declared by the Brazilian Federal Police is beginning to cause difficulties at international airports, delaying the crossing of visitors to neighbouring countries and some organized pickets have been marching in front of federal government offices (MercoPress).

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