News from Brazil

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).

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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).

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