Countdown begins for Brazil elections

September 18, 2014

CCTV America, 09/17/2014

It’s down to the wire in next month’s presidential election in Brazil. Incumbent Dilma Rousseff is battling her main rival Marina Silva. For the third time, the candidates appeared in a televised debate. As CCTV America’s Paulo Cabral reports from Sao Paulo, they know the slightest misstep could make a huge difference in what’s expected to be a close election.

The third televised debate was organized by Brazil’s Catholic Church. Clergymen and journalists from religious media asked the questions. And while the questioners were different, the main issues were not. As they did in the previous debates, the candidates talked about health, poverty, the economy and political reform.

President Dilma Rousseff stayed on message,focusing on her government’s accomplishments. Her main challenger is socialist candidate Marina Silva. Polls show the two women will likely square off in second round runoff in a race that’s too close to call.

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Brazil denies blocking Africans’ entry to guard against Ebola

September 11, 2014

EFE – Fox News Latino, 09/10/2014

Brazilian immigration authorities denied Wednesday that they are blocking the entry of African immigrants due to fears that they might be carrying the Ebola virus, which has killed nearly 2,300 people in West Africa since March.

The Federal Police, who are responsible for border control, responded to press accounts that their agents are blocking the entry of immigrants from Africa in the Amazonian state of Acre, on the border with Peru and Bolivia.

“Immigration control in the state of Acre is functioning normally and there is no order to restrict the access of Africans to the national territory,” the Federal Police said in a statement. The force said that it will adopt the necessary disciplinary measures if it is verified that any of its agents have engaged in “irregularities” while handling African immigrants.

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Illegal Gold Miners In Brazil Destroying Amazon, Indigenous Tribes At Risk

September 10, 2014

Kitco News – Forbes, 9/10/2014

Illegal gold mining is by no means a new phenomenon, but it has been getting more and more attention with gold’s decade-long bull run.

In the past, the focus on illegal gold mining has been more about the money countries are losing, but the spotlight is how starting to shift to the impact of these illegal practices on the environment.

At the moment, the Amazon rainforest, Earth’s largest rainforest, is seeing a growing number of illegal miners operating within it, causing environmental damage and disrupting Indigenous tribes living on government protected land.

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Exclusive: Volkswagen spied on Lula, other Brazilian workers in 1980s

September 5, 2014

Brian Winter – Reuters, 9/5/2014

Volkswagen AG spied on Brazilian union activists in the 1980s and passed sensitive information about wage demands and other private discussions to the country’s military dictatorship, according to newly uncovered documents seen by Reuters.

The company covertly monitored its own workers as well as prominent union leaders of the era. One of VW’s targets was Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who went on to become Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010 and remains one of its most influential politicians.

The documents were recently discovered in government archives by a special “truth commission” that, at the request of Brazil’s current president, Dilma Rousseff, is investigating abuses that occurred during the 1964-1985 regime.

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Religion and gay rights take center stage in Brazil elections

September 4, 2014

Mauricio Savarese – RT, 09/04/2014

Three weeks ago the 2014 Brazilian presidential elections were set to be the most boring ever. It has all changed since centrist candidate Eduardo Campos died in a plane crash and was replaced by environmentalist Marina Silva, who is now seen as the favorite to win.

Polls suggest incumbent Dilma Rousseff would lose to her in a likely runoff by 10 points. It is even worse for the opposition’s Aecio Neves, who is almost 20 points behind for the first vote on October 5th. It is so shocking that the talk about the economy and political support is insufficient to affect the newcomer.

That is probably why the focus of the campaign has shifted towards the role of religion and gay rights. All three candidates are doing their best in these two topics to score some points with undecided voters – and that means to be considerate to religious leaders and homosexual activists. It is clearly a difficult task, since most religious leaders in Brazil are much more conservative than Pope Francis, and gay movements are very vocal against their critics. Brazil is the nation with the most Catholics on Earth – about 70 percent of its 200 million inhabitants – and presidential hopefuls with a decent shot are always religious (or say they are).

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Brazil’s Maternal Milk Banks Model for Globe

September 4, 2014

Jenny Barchfield – Associated Press, 09/04/2014

Thirty years ago, poor Brazilian women were paid for their breast milk, leaving their children at risk of malnourishment. Equipment at the few milk collection centers was so costly it limited the country’s ability to expand the program’s reach.

That has changed dramatically, thanks in part to Joao Arigio Guerrade Almeida, a chemist who has turned the Brazilian Milk Bank Network into a model studied by other countries and credited with helping slash infant mortality by two thirds.

“Brazil is really the world leader in milk bank development,” said Dr. Lisa Hammer, a University of Michigan pediatrician who was part of a team visiting the Rio de Janeiro-based network last week.

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Brazil: Candidate Marina Silva’s Dubious Position on Gay Marriage, Abortion

September 3, 2014

Tihomir Gligorevic – InSerbia News, 09/03/2014

The Evangelical Christian candidate for the Brazilian presidency, Marina Silva, revealed a measure to amend the constitution in order to allow same-sex marriage in a recent debate but immediate attacks by the nation’s religious institutions and fellow politicians have led her to clarify her opinions on the topic.

Just before the first presidential debate, Silva was surging. According to a survey published by the Datafolha Institute on Friday, the aspiring candidate had not only overtaken formerly-second-placed Aécio Neves but had even caught up with incumbent Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party (PT).

Silva, of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), was tied with Rousseff at 34% each according to Datafolha, signalling a massive surge for the latecomer as just two weeks ago, the same institute’s prior poll showed Rousseff in first place with 36% of the vote while Silva was behind Neves (21%) with 20%. In the new poll, Neves of the center-right Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB) has slipped to third place with 15%.

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