Brazil scrambles to ready 2016 Olympics

February 19, 2014

Paul Kiernan & Matthew Futterman – Wall Street Journal, 2/18/2014

Brazilian officials are racing to prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games, hoping to avoid the embarrassment suffered this month by their counterparts in Sochi, Russia, as a number of projects are behind schedule.

With little more than two years remaining before Rio de Janeiro is set to host the Summer Games, the 15 projects comprising Rio’s Deodoro Sports Complex—where events including canoe slalom, fencing, pentathlon and shooting will be held—have yet to be fully defined. Only four of the total 52 construction projects outlined last month by the Public Olympic Authority are complete.

Organizers of the Rio event have a chance to learn from this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, where construction delays led to spiraling budgets and some unwanted publicity from visitors who arrived to unfinished hotel rooms. Jean-Claude Killy, chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s coordinating commission for Sochi, said this week that the planners for the 2016 Games don’t have a “tenth of a second” to waste.

Read more…


Former IMF fiscal affairs director says Brazil may loose fiscal compass

September 23, 2013

Estado de S. Paulo, 09/21/2013

Brazil’s primary budget surplus lost value as an indicator of the situation of the country’s public accounts, assessed economist Teresa Ter-Minassian, who believes the country is in danger of “loosing its fiscal compass” due to the accounting maneuvers used to try to keep the indicator within the official target.

Teresa, former director of fiscal affairs for the IMF, criticized the exclusion of expenses and the use of extraordinary revenues to increase the value of the indicator. “The budget surplus accounts for a universe that is becoming smaller and smaller,” she stated.

Read full article in Portuguese here.

 


Brazil’s “midde class,” and the protests

August 15, 2013

Vincent Bevins – Folha de S.Paulo, 08/13/2013

Back in March, in the alternate universe of pre-protest Brazil, I posted this – “What is ‘middle class’” - on this blog, on the 40 million people who have entered the ‘new middle class’ recently and how very different they are from the ‘old’ middle class and international definitions of the term. Partially as a result, the BBC asked me to take part in a round table debate on Brazil’s middle classes, its discontents, and the role they’ve played in the demonstrations that have swept the country since June.

Since I am on vacation, I thought posting this link would be an easy way to supply content for those people who who bizarrely care what I think about these things. Oh, and the debate also features former Finance Minister Mailson da Nobrega, Alexandre Schwartsman, and Lucia Nader, executive director of the Conectas human rights organization.

Below are some small points I want to make about the protests more generally, somewhat as a correction to some of the other international coverage.

Read more…


Brazil admits need to improve on stadium delivery

August 9, 2013

Associated Press, 08/09/2013

Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo says Brazil needs to find a way to speed up the completion of the six stadiums still being built for the 2014 World Cup.

Mr Rebelo on Thursday said Brazil learned from the Confederations Cup that it has to do a better job to guarantee the stadiums are finished by the December deadline established by FIFA.

Only two of the six venues needed for the warm-up tournament played earlier this year were completed by the initial deadline set by football’s governing body.

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Brazil trial over plane crash that killed 199

August 8, 2013

BBC News, 08/08/2013

A former director of the Brazilian Civil Aviation Agency has gone on trial in Sao Paulo over the deaths of 199 people in a plane crash six years ago.

Denise Abreu and two TAM Airlines senior employees have been accused of neglecting air transport safety by allowing the jet to land in heavy rain on the recently resurfaced runway.

The Airbus A320 passenger jet overshot the runway at Congonhas airport.

Read more…


Analysis: Pope’s Brazil visit raises red flags for World Cup, Olympics

July 30, 2013

Paulo Prada & Anthony Boadle- Reuters, 07/28/2013

A string of organizational flaws during the visit of Pope Francis to Brazil that put him at risk and stranded thousands of visiting faithful has deepened concern about the country’s ability to host the upcoming World Cup and Olympic Games.

Even Rio de Janeiro’s mayor gave himself a failing grade in organizing World Youth Day, a biennial gathering of young Catholics that on Sunday drew some 3 million people to a seaside mass delivered by the pope on Copacabana beach.

The city, said Eduardo Paes in a radio interview on Friday, “scored closer to zero than ten.”

Read more…


The Olympic curse

June 26, 2013

Juliana Barbassa – International Herald Tribune, 06/25/2013

I arrived in Istanbul in mid-May, planning to stay for a few weeks and take advantage of the distance to write about Rio de Janeiro, where I live.

From my studio apartment downhill from Taksim Square, I could see the minarets of the old city and the ferries plying the Bosporus. Some of the ships bore red banners that said, Istanbul 2020: Bridge Together. The city is campaigning to host the summer Olympics that year.

This caught my eye. Rio is preparing for the 2016 Games, and before I left the city those five colored rings were already visible everywhere. And already, delicate questions have surfaced about many of the construction projects that will be undertaken in preparation for the Olympics, as well as for the 2014 World Cup. There’s the refurbishing of the Maracana stadium, which is grossly over-budget. And there’s a court case over a shady privatization scheme that would hand Brazil’s best-loved soccer pitch over to a private consortium — the same consortium that conducted the project’s feasibility study.


Analysis: Brazil riots raise questions over sporting mega-events

June 26, 2013

Brian Homewood – Reuters, 06/25/2013

Brazilian anger against the cost of staging the World Cup could undermine the argument that host countries benefit from sporting mega-events as they become too big for most countries to handle.

UEFA’s idea of splitting the Euro 2020 championship into mini-tournaments hosted in 13 different countries could be one of the alternatives which organizers could follow in the future, analysts say.

Brazil has been hit by a wave of nationwide protests as it hosts the eight-team Confederations Cup, a dry-run for next year’s World Cup which will be staged in 12 different cities.

Read more…


Brazil: 250K protest against government corruption

June 24, 2013

Bradley Brooks – Associated Press, 06/23/2013

A quarter-million Brazilians took to the streets in the latest a wave of sometimes-violent protests that are increasingly focusing on corruption and reforming a government system in which people have lost faith. A new poll shows that 75 percent of citizens support the demonstrations.

The turnout in Saturday’s protests was lower than the 1 million participants seen on Thursday and there was less violence. But in the city of Belo Horizonte police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who tried to pass through a barrier and hurled rocks at a car dealership. The city of Salvador also saw demonstrations turn violent.

The protests have become the largest public demonstrations Latin America’s biggest nation has seen in two decades. They began as opposition to transportation fare hikes, then became a laundry list of causes including anger at high taxes, poor services and World Cup spending, before coalescing around the issue of rampant government corruption.

Read more…


Brazil’s Mr Firefighter

June 24, 2013

Gabriel Elizondo – Al Jazeera, 06/24/2013

Diogo de Santana has the very long official title of Executive Secretary of the General Secretary of the Presidency of Brazil.

But on a practical level you can call him Mr Firefighter, because lately he’s been responsible for trying to cool the heat of protest burning all over the country.

Protesters invaded parts of the National Congress, nearly overtook the foreign ministry, and were only kept at bay from the Palacio do Planalto – Brazil’s presidential palace – by an array of army police and lots of tear gas. All that in just one day last week.

Read more…


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