October 15, 2014
Damian Carrington – The Guardian, 10/14/2014
Covert GPS surveillance of timber trucks by Amazon campaigners has revealed how loggers are defeating attempts to halt deforestation in the world’s greatest rainforest. Raids by law enforcement officers are expected early on Wednesday morning, acting on the evidence handed to them by Greenpeace Brazil.
The activists went undercover in the remote and dangerous state of Pará to secretly place GPS tracking devices on trucks suspected of illegal logging, the first time the tactic has been used. It revealed 200-mile-long journeys deep into protected regions of rainforest to collect logs and return journeys under the cover of night to sawmills in the Amazon port of Santarém, from where timber is exported to Europe, the US, China, and Japan. Satellite and aerial images were also collected and analysed during the hi-tech operation.
Violence has frequently accompanied attempts to expose illegal logging but the leader of the Greenpeace operation told the Guardian he had been determined to succeed.
October 3, 2014
Anna Petherick – Foreign Policy, 10/2/2014
There is a pejorative phrase in Brazil that is occasionally applied to female would-be politicians: They are called “orange candidates.” The phrase’s etymology is juicy, if muddled: By one account, an “orange” was prison slang for a target of fraud, a sucker or a mark. By another, bootleggers injected the fruits with liquor to evade the authorities during prohibition. What both versions have in common is the implication of fraud or alibi — reflecting the assumption that a woman on a list of candidates may have no real influence if her inclusion is merely to inch the party closer to its legally enshrined gender quota.
Yet Dilma Rousseff, the incumbent in this year’s Brazilian presidential election, and Marina Silva, her main competitor, could not be less orange. Though Rousseff was plucked by her illustrious predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to inherit the benefits of his colossal popularity, both she and Marina Silva are the primary authors of their own success. Both were ministers in the Lula government. Both became politically engaged — riskily so — in their youth. While Rousseff made her name as a militant activist in the fight against dictatorship, Silva founded a trade union movement with fellow rubber-tapper and environmentalist Chico Mendes, who was ultimately murdered for these activities. Rousseff’s lymphoma of five years ago, and Silva reoccurring bouts of the infectious diseases she acquired growing up dirt-poor on a plantation, attest to their bravery and determination.
September 30, 2014
Geoffrey Ramsey – Pan American Post, 09/30/2014
It appears that the Brazil observers who stuck with President Dilma Rousseff as the favorite to win the upcoming elections — despite Marina Silva’s rise in the polls — may turn out to be right in the end. Recent surveys have shown the incumbent making a rebound head of this weekend’s first round vote, and suggest she will come out ahead of Silva in a likely second-round matchup.
On Friday, Datafolha released a new survey showing that support for the president in the first round had risen from to 40 percent from 37 percent a week earlier, while Silva’s first-round support fell to 27 percent from 30 percent. In a second round, Datafolha showed 47 percent for Rousseff and 43 for Silva.
Other, smaller pollsters have published figures that seem to support this trend to varying degrees, as Reuters reports. On Monday, polling firm MDA released a survey suggesting that the president would win a runoff with 47.7 percent of the votes, compared to 38.7 percent for Silva. Another survey, by Vox Populi, showed Rousseff beating Silva 46 to 39 percent in a runoff.
September 30, 2014
Julia Carneiro – BBC News, 09/30/2014
The risks faced by Brazilian women seeking an abortion has been highlighted by the brutal death of a 27-year-old woman.
Abortion is only legal under the most exceptional circumstances in Brazil – a traditionally Catholic country.
A recent poll suggested around 79% of the population opposed legalisation but figures suggest that one in five women in the country have had an abortion by the age of 40.