News from Brazil

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on October 7, 2011 at 11:23 am

POLITICS

President Dilma Rousseff’s biggest challenge in coming months will be to deal with growing discontent over persistent inflation and austerity measures as the fallout from global financial turmoil hits Latin America’s largest economy. Read about the key political risks in Brazil at Reuters.

The Senate unanimously approved the so-called “Bolsa Verde” program. The proposal establishes the Support Program on Environmental Conservation, which concedes a trimestrial benefit to the poorest families who adopt environmental conservation actions (Federal Senate).

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INTERNATIONAL

Brazil and the European Union must take concerted action to calm markets fearful of global contagion resulting from Europe’s debt crisis, leaders from both sides said (Reuters).

Harsh austerity measures will make Europe’s economic woes even worse, President Dilma Rousseff said (Fox News).

The fifth EU-Brazil Business Summit took place in Brussels, Belgium on 4 October 2011. BUSINESSEUROPE, the National Confederation of Industry-Brazil (CNI) and EUROCHAMBRES put forward a pragmatic and ambitious agenda of issues, aimed at promoting trade and investment across the two economies. High level business leaders discussed cooperation in vital economic areas, such as innovation, financial services, investment opportunities, energy and climate change (EUBrasil).

EU-Brazil bilateral relations date back to 1960 when diplomatic relations were established (2010 marked the 50th anniversary). The 1992 Framework Co-operation Agreement established the legal basis for cooperation. Relations are strong, with regular high level visits, political dialogue, cooperation in a wide range of areas and consultations in the margins of major multilateral events. EUBrasil has an overview.

President Dilma Rousseff pledged to raise investment in Bulgaria, her ancestral homeland, in renewable energy, aviation and the oil industry (MercoPress).

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing a EUR 500 million loan to the BNDES of Brazil for projects in the renewable energy sector supporting climate change mitigation. The objective of this operation is to support investments that generate environmental benefits with respect to combating climate change. The majority of the schemes will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by generating renewable energy. Other schemes may focus on increasing energy efficiency, including in industrial applications, the heating and cooling sectors and in power generation or support investments for climate change adaptation (BNDES).

Brazil looks set to strike a blow against international anti-piracy treaty ACTA, with a bill under discussion in the country’s parliament that sets out a civil rights-based framework for the internet (thinq).

Undersecretary-general for Asia of the Brazilian External Relations Ministry, Maria Edileuza Fontenelle Reis, said that Brazil wanted to boost bilateral trade and investment in Indonesia, its key partner in the Southeast Asia region, in the near future as economic cooperation between the two countries was very much complementary (The Jakarta Post).

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DEFENSE

Brazil’s defense minister has reignited speculation about a multi-billion-dollar fighter jet deal by saying his country is in “urgent” need of new combat aircraft despite this year’s budget cuts. The French Dassault’s Rafale fighter, the U.S. Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Swedish Saab’s Gripen NG have long been in stiff competition for the estimated $4-7 billion contract, as Brazil has postponed a final decision (Defense News).

In proportion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Brazil spends less in defense than the other countries that initially integrated the Brics – Russia, India and China. The information was presented by the minister of Defense, Celso Amorim, during a public hearing on the subject promoted by the Committee on External Relations and National Defense (CRE) (Federal Senate).

Aerospace and defence group EADS is open to teaming up with France’s Thales to win a border surveillance contract in Brazil potentially worth 7.5 billion euros ($10.1 billion) over five years (Reuters).

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EDUCATION

Quacquarelli Symonds, an education consultancy, published the first regional ranking of Latin American universities, combining measures of reputation, research output, academics’ qualifications and staff-student ratios. Of the 200 top universities, 65 are in Brazil, 35 in Mexico, 25 apiece in Argentina and Chile and 20 in Colombia (see table for the top ten). The University of São Paulo (USP), the richest and biggest university in Brazil’s richest state, came top (The Economist).

SOCIAL

Thousands will go untreated unless Brazil steps up production of essential drug.Médecins Sans Frontières calls on the Brazilian government to ensure its state-owned drug company steps up production of the only drug for Chagas disease, which affects 10 million people in Latin America (The Guardian).

The Brazilian government department for policies for women took action this week against a series of lingerie ads by brand Hope, starring supermodel Gisele Bündchen, which it deemed “offensive and sexist”. In the ads, titled Hope teaches, the model gives her husband bad news such as “honey, I’ve crashed the car” or “honey, I’ve reached the credit card limit … both mine and yours” – first fully dressed (which they teach viewers is wrong), then wearing tiny lingerie (which, according to Hope, is right) (The Guardian).

Brazil’s stand-up comics lead social revolution against powerful elites. New breed of comedians enjoy wave of popularity for pushing boundaries and challenging nation’s reputation for deference (The Guardian).

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