News from Brazil

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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