Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

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Brazil in the news

February 28, 2010

Every Sunday you will find here the latest news about Brazil published by the international media.

The EconomistThe Money Trail – “Corruption in Brazil: Many corruption scandals stem from the high cost of politics, and unrealistically tight campaign-finance rules”

Financial TimesBrazil to reverse easing as inflation fears rise (you need a free registration to read this)

The New York TimesStronger Fidel Castro Meets With Brazil President

Washington Post US presses Brazil on Iran sanctions

The TimesThe gun-toting boys from Brazil who rule Rio’s ‘Corner of Fear’

BloombergGol Says Brazil Demand to Grow Up to 18% as Economy Expands

Banco do Brasil Plans Capital Boost, May Sell Shares

Brazil May Create Company to Boost Fertilizer Output

Brazil to Build an Additional Million Homes for Poor

Brazil’s January Unemployment Rate Rises to 7.2%

Brazil’s Real Heads for Biggest Advance in World This Month

Brazil February Inflation Rose to Fastest Since 2003

ReutersANALYSIS-Brazil economy well-placed for election year swings

JPMorgan may buy stake in Brazil’s Gavea: report

Brasil Foods export sales plummet in 2009

Brazil’s CSN sees 2010 steel sales up by a third

Brazil cenbank: ready to act to keep stability

Petrobras makes two oil finds in Campos Basin

Clinton seen pushing Iran on Latin America trip

Green Futures magazineRainforest revival: has Brazil turned the tide on deforestation?

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Brazil, 20 years from now

February 24, 2010

From the Chrystal Ball series:

The Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology released today a study that outlines how the country and the planet will (probably) evolve in the next 20 years. Produced by the Centro de Gestão e Estudos Estratégicos, the document offers a time line based on several sources. It is meant to help government plan its future strategies.

Part of its content is easily predictable, considering recent tendencies. But there are some surprises.

Among its main forecasts:

Economy

  • In four years, Brazil will go back to its tradition of successive commercial balance deficits
  • Brazilian Gross Domestic Product will be 925 billion dollars in 2015 (which means, less than our present GDP, around 1.6 trillion dollars. It is not very clear how Goldman Sachs, the original source of this information, came up with this number)
  • Brazil, the brand, will increase its value. The demand for products associated to the country’s cultural diversity will grow

Keep reading

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How to find a husband – the Brazilian way

February 18, 2010

Saint Anthony, the patron of single girls

The biological clock is ticking and Prince Charming is a no-show? You spent Valentine’s day with your Mom? No problem! Try one of these classic Brazilian spells (we call them simpatias) and then go shop for your wedding gown.

  • Buy a small statue of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of single women. Remove Baby Jesus from his arms and tell the saint you won’t return the baby unless you get a boyfriend. You can reinforce your position, keeping Anthony upside down, so he will understand you are not kidding.
  • If you consider yourself very ugly, choose a leaf of espada de São Jorge (a sword-like plant commonly used in Afro-Brazilian cults). Cut it into three pieces and throw them in boiling water for three hours. After the water cools down, wash your face with it, praying to Saint George and asking him to convert the “dragon” into a beauty.
  • Buy a new sharp knife and stick it into a banana tree on June 12th at midnight  (Saint Anthony’s day is on the 13th). The liquid that will drip from the plant’s wound will form the first letter of the name of your future husband. The mother of a friend did this. She was very upset that K appeared – it is rarely used in Brazilian names. Years later she married a visiting German, Kurt.

Keep reading

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So you think you understand Portuguese?

February 10, 2010

Check these three short videos.

The first shows an ice-cream salesman in Praia do Futuro, a beach of Fortaleza, one of the main cities of the Northeast region (seen before on Eyes on Brazil).

The second is a poem recited by a gaúcho (from the Southern state of Rio Grande do Sul) in full regional attire.

The third is a scene of a classic Brazilian movie – “Tristeza do Jeca“. Jeca, the character interpreted by Amácio Mazzaropi in several movies between the fifties and the eighties, is a caricature of the caipira, the illiterate guy from the countryside of São Paulo. In this scene, Jeca is visited by the sons of the landowner,  and we can see the contrast between two worlds and two expressions of the Portuguese language.

Brazil, like any country of large territory, has a huge range of accents. The way we articulate the vowels or the intonation can vary dramatically. In São Paulo, where I come from, we tend to have an Italianate accent, thanks to the huge immigration of Italians in the late 19th and early 20th century. Rio, on the other hand, was the capital of the Portuguese court and kept some characteristics of the language as spoken in Europe.

Also, vocabulary, slang and idioms vary between states, social and age groups or educational level.For example: the fruit known in English as sugar-apple (Annona squamosa, in case you are wondering what’s the scientific name) is called fruta do conde in Rio, São Paulo and the Southern states, ata or pinha in different parts of the Northeast, and araticum in the extreme South state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Now, tell me the truth: could you catch anything said in these videos?

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Brazil in numbers

February 4, 2010

From  useful to futile, numbers that help explaining the country.

  • 43% of adults that live in state capitals are overweight.
  • Those who have access to the internet spent 2.8 days connected in the month of September.
  • 9% of the kids born in 2008 were not registered.
  • 473 million reais ( 256.6 million dollars or 184.5 million euros) were collected by the government of the city of São Paulo thanks to driving and parking tickets. 99% of the Brazilian cities have budgets lower than that.
  • 57% of the inhabitants of the city of São Paulo would like to move away (Is this related to the previous number? Maybe).
  • Brazil is the 88th country in the education ranking produced by Unesco. Paraguay and Bolivia are in better shape.
  • 1 in 5 Brazilians that have a formal job works for the public service.
  • President Lula spent 87 days abroad in 2009 – a personal record.
  • 9 in 10 Brazilians have a cell phone.
  • 500 million reais (271.3 million dollars or 195 million euros) will be spent to fix up Maracanã stadium, in Rio, for the 2014 World Soccer Cup.
  • The Brazilian delegation to the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen last December had 743 members. It was three times bigger than the American delegation.
  • 1819 houses and buildings at Brazilian roadsides have been used for child prostitution. It’s one every 27 kilometers.

Source: recent editions of Veja magazine

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Haiti is here

January 13, 2010
Zilda Arns

Zilda Arns

O Haiti é aqui. O Haiti não é aqui” (Haiti is here. Haiti is not here), sings Caetano Veloso. Today this sounds quite prophetic. The catastrophic earthquake that destroyed Haiti – a country that has its own share of misfortunes – had also a big impact in Brazil.

The Brazilian Army coordinates the United Nations Peace Force, created after the huge 2004 rebellion, and keeps over 1,200 men deployed in Haiti. Eleven of them died yesterday. The earthquake also killed Zilda Arns Neumann. This 75-year-old pediatrician, three times nominated for the Peace Nobel Prize, was the coordinator of Pastoral da Criança, a non-profit linked to the Catholic Church that accumulates victories in the fight against child mortality. The Pastoral has 238,000 volunteers, follows closely the health evolution of almost 1.6 million Brazilian children, and has similar projects in 20 countries, including Haiti.

A few Brazilian organizations are working in the after-earthquake effort. One of them is Viva Rio, that transferred to Bel Air, a slum close to Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, their expertise in fighting urban violence. They helped promoting peace treaties, creating a security brigade and teaching capoeira. Now, they are collecting donations. Brazilian government also announced it will send $ 15 million and 28 tons of food to the Haitians.

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You know you are Brazilian when…

January 12, 2010
Fitinhas do Bonfim

Fitinhas do Bonfim

  • You applaud the pilot when the airplane lands. You also applaud the band after the national anthem is played.
  • You wear the national soccer team T-shirt when you are abroad.
  • You watch all the matches of the World Cup among friends and family. Or in your working place, if necessary. The experience includes beer, swearing, crying and insulting the mother of the referee.
  • You wear really pointy shoes with high heels (well, if you are a girl).
  • You are in a foreign beach and you are the only straight man wearing speedos.
  • You drink coffee at least three times a day. Religiously. And you never heard of decaf. Or chicory coffee.
  • You despise the Wright Brothers – Santos Dumont invented the airplane!
  • You have at least one pair of Havaianas flip-flops.
  • You have already worn fitinhas do Bomfim (ribbon supposedly blessed in Nosso Senhor do Bonfim church, in Salvador. You make three wishes while you tie the knots. They will be granted when it gets rotten).
  • You think you can speak Spanish. You pronounce Portuguese words with Argentinian accent and believe Spaniards will understand you. It can be very embarrassing.
  • You learn how to carry your purse in a way nobody will be able to open it or drag it away. You choose fake jewelry that really looks fake. You lock your house with several keys. You take with you the sound system when you leave your car.
  • You have prejudice against Portuguese and Argentinians. Well, it’s sad, but it is a fact.
  • You kiss your acquaintances (of opposite sex) in the face twice when you meet. Women also do the 2-kiss ritual among them.
  • You visit daily the neighborhood bakery. To buy fresh bread. To drink coffee. To have lunch. To buy cigarettes, or ice cream, or a pint of milk, or chocolate. To chat with the chapeiro (the guy who makes warm sandwiches – they are invariably entertaining). To talk to the Portuguese owner. To watch TV (they are fairly common in padarias). To drink cachaça. To put a few chairs in the outside and play samba with your friends (while the girlfriends dance).

Anybody would like to suggest additions?