December 4, 2013
Stephen Wade, Associated Press, 12/03/2013
Few things could damage the image of Brazil more than violent street protests during the World Cup.
Demonstrations during June’s Confederations Cup — the World Cup warm-up — caught Brazil’s police and military police by surprise. There will be no surprises this time, on either side.
Brazil’s police are getting training from their French counterparts, and followers of the Black Bloc anarchist movement have announced plans for demonstrations, starting with the opening World Cup match on June 12 in Sao Paulo. A Black Bloc Facebook page lists demonstrations for June 13 in Natal, Salvador and Cuiaba, followed by six more protests in six cities on June 14 and 15. And more are promised.
December 2, 2013
Rob Walker – The Guardian, 12/02/2013
It’s easy to get a sense of how the locals in Natal – one of the venues for next year’s football World Cup – feel about the tournament. “What’s the new stadium like?” I ask a customs officer, in the arrivals hall of the city’s airport. “It must be almost built by now.”
The officer stamps my passport and looks up. “A spacecraft,” she says, deadpan. “It’s like a spacecraft has crash-landed in the middle of our town.”
Few have heard of Natal, in Brazil’s far north-east tip. Think Rio de Janeiro without the bikinis and beach joggers. But if it is unknown now, it won’t be by June 2014: Natal is one of 12 host cities for next summer’s tournament. Rumour has it that England could be playing here in the group stages.
The Arena das Dunas – named after the sand dunes on the nearby coast – looms into view on the drive from the airport.
December 2, 2013
Anderson Antunes – Forbes, 11/28/2013
As many Brazilians are still watching incredulously the imprisonments of the principal figures in the Mensalão (“Big Monthly Payment”) scandal, the scheme in which public funds were used to buy political support for the then-Lula da Silva government and to pay off debts from election campaigns, one of the biggest questions surrounding the imbroglio is: how much money exactly was diverted into the pockets of corrupt officials and politicians?
According to the investigation initiated in 2005 and carried out by Brazil’s Public Ministry, the country’s Federal Police and the Brazilian Court of Audit, the huge cash-for-votes case involved some R$ 100 million ($43 million) siphoned from taxpayers’ money. No wonder why Brazil’s Attorney General Roberto Gurgel called it “the most daring and outrageous corruption scheme and embezzlement of public funds ever seen in Brazil.”
And that could just be the tip of the iceberg. A 2010 study by the FIESP (the Federation of Industries of Sao Paulo State, in its acronym in Portuguese), the average annual cost of corruption in Brazil is between 1.38% to 2.3% of the country’s total GDP. The World Bank lists Brazil in its database with a GDP of $2.253 trillion as of 2012, while the OECD expects Brazil to grow 2.5% this year.
November 22, 2013
Brian Winter & Cesar Bianconi – Reuters, 11/22/2013
Seen from Brazil’s modernist, glass-walled presidential palace, 2014 looks like a minefield.
The economy, already sputtering, will probably slow even further. A downgrade of Brazil’s credit rating seems possible, if not likely. The World Cup of soccer, which Brazil will host in June and July, could end up revealing to billions of TV viewers the shoddy government planning and transportation bottlenecks that have frustrated investors here for years.
To top it all off, leftist President Dilma Rousseff is up for re-election in October – meaning if any of those things go horribly awry, she might lose her job.
November 18, 2013
Raul Juste Lores- Folha de S. Paulo, 11/14/2013
The exchange program between students in Brazil and the U.S. experienced the largest increase in history during the past academic year.
The number of Brazilians studying in America universities grew by 20 percent between 2012 and 2013, and the country comes in 11th place in the ranking of foreigners in the American higher education system.
Brazil experienced the second highest growth in terms of top destinations chosen by American college students who study abroad, a 16.5 percent increase in a one year period, second only to Japan, where high growth is due to a sharp fall last year after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
Read full article in Portuguese here.
Open Doors 2013 Report on International Educational Exchange
November 6, 2013
Legendary Brazil striker Ronaldo says next year’s World Cup will be a “beginning for change” in his country.
Soccerex cancelled its football conference due to be held in Rio next month, blaming “ongoing civil unrest”, although the State of Rio and World Cup organisers dispute that reason.
But Ronaldo said: “The latest polls show that 90% of Brazilians are in favour of the World Cup.
“We need to use this World Cup to call for more investments.”