Study finds Brazil’s state to be tax-guzzling, inefficient

April 22, 2014

Thalita Carrico – The Financial Times, 4/22/2014

You cannot stay one day in Brazil without hearing someone complain about high taxes and poor public services. According to this narrative, the prices of everything from cars to beauty products are inflated by opaque taxes even as the nation struggles with sub-standard hospitals, inadequate public transport and other services.

Now a study from a consulting company, Brazilian Institute of Planning and Taxation (IBPT), seems to bear out the common perception about Brazil’s tax burden. It ranked Brazil last in a list of the 30 countries judged by taxation versus quality of services.

Topping the list was the US, Australia and South Korea. Among emerging markets, Slovakia ranked 11th and Uruguay 13th. Surprisingly, even Argentina, with its problems with inflation and chaotic economic policies, ranked higher than Brazil.

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Brazil World Cup host city police back to work bu number of slaying people climbs to 39

April 22, 2014

Merco Press News, 4/22/2014

Union and official sources said officers were back at work after last week’s strike, which was marked by looting, robberies and the slaying of at least 39 people, according to official numbers.

But local newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported on Sunday that an extra 16 homicides took place during the night from Friday to Saturday and then three more on Sunday, raising the death toll related to the police strike to 58 people and raising security concerns ahead of the soccer World Cup.

Military police from the state of Bahia went on strike a week ago to demand pay raises and a “new model to manage public security.” The police force eventually lifted the measure on Thursday after a meeting between union leaders and state authorities, but the two-day strike and the violence that followed sparked concerns as Brazil prepares to host the World Cup in less than two months.

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Brazil and Argentina clash over auto-export restrictions: top level mission heads for Buenos Aires

April 22, 2014

Merco Press News, 4/22/2014

According to the president of the Automobile Manufacturers Association from Brazil, Anfavea, Luiz Moan, President Dilma Rousseff instructed Minister of Development, industry and foreign trade Mauro Borges to organize a round of urgent formal talks with Argentina to discuss the issue.

“During the meeting with President Rousseff we explained that Argentine measures in the first quarter of 2014 have meant a drastic drop of 32% in automobile exports to Argentina, which is a great blow for the industry” said Moan who added he spent three hours talking about the issue with the Brazilian head of state.

Moan also recalled that Brazil and Argentina signed a memorandum of understanding last March to try and generate financial mechanisms to promote bilateral trade.

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Brazil tourism forecast cools for World Cup

April 21, 2014

Claire Rivé-The Rio Times, 4/15/2014

The tourism sector in Brazil has had to adjust their inflated estimates concerning the expected influx of tourists during the FIFA World Cup in June and July this year, leading to big discounts on local and international flights and accommodation during the tournament.

Following a disappointing 2014 Carnival period, slow bookings for the World Cup has made many of the country’s biggest tour agencies and airlines reduce their prices by up to ninety percent during June and July.

Demand during the World Cup month doesn’t look likely to reach the Ministry of Tourism’s estimated 600,000 foreign visitors and many Brazilians uninterested in the event are also seeing the nation-wide school holiday as an opportunity to dodge the madness and take family holidays to other destinations.

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Brazil turns to drones to protect Amazon

April 21, 2014

Joe Leahy – The Financial Times, 4/21/2014

Brazilian municipalities are turning to drones as they prepare to implement a tough new law designed to save the Amazon from total deforestation.

Municipal authorities in the Amazon region, the biggest of which covers double the size of Scotland, are looking to use drones to map properties and monitor whether farmers and others are maintaining the minimum of forest cover required under the new forest code.

“With the acquisition of a drone, we would have a better result, we would have a panoramic view of how this process of recuperation is progressing,” said Gercilene Meira, a specialist with the state environmental secretariat in the municipality of Alta Floresta, in Mato Grosso state. “We have done some tests using balloons but it was not sufficient.”

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Easter deaths spark Brazil protests near Rio

April 21, 2014

BBC, 4/19/2014

Residents of a poor neighbourhood near the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro have set fire to vehicles in protest at the deaths of two people in incidents involving the police.

One of the victims was outside a church with his family on Good Friday when he was hit by a stray bullet.

He was caught up in a shootout between police and suspected drug dealers.

Amnesty International says some 2,000 people die every year in Brazil in careless and violent police actions.

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Brazil has a lot riding on its World Cup team’s outcome

April 21, 2014

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro – NPR, 4/17/2014


We’re about to hear why sports is not always just a game. Brazil is the spiritual home of soccer, and this summer, the country’s hosting soccer’s biggest tournament. So, what happens if Brazil loses? Here’s NPR’s Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: Imagine the moment: the crowds are cheering, the stadium – soccer’s most iconic, the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro – is packed. The world is watching on flickering screens everywhere. It’s the final, when all of the money, all of the hard work is finally going to pay off for Brazil – except it doesn’t. Brazil doesn’t win the World Cup. Stay with me. There’s a reason for this thought experiment, because history.

MARCELO BARRETO: In 1950, when Brazil lost the World Cup, that was a real tragedy. Some very serious sociologists believed that was the defining moment of Brazilian society.

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Healing the scars of Brazil’s domestic violence victims

April 21, 2014

Marina Estarque – Deutsche Welle, 4/21/2014

The beatings and the cuts are burnt into Jaqueline Santos Oliveira’s skin. Her scars remind her of the violence she experienced at the hands of her partner. But that’s not the end of the trauma: the stigma associated with her scars continue to haunt her in public. People look at her strangely, she says.

According to figures from the authorities, every second Brazilian woman has been subject to domestic violence in their lifetime. In 70 percent of the cases the violence comes from the husbands or partners of the victims.

In Sao Paulo, the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery (SBCP) has now teamed up with the non-governmental organization “The Bridge” to offer victims of domestic violence an opportunity to receive free plastic surgery. Jaqueline Santos Oliveira and Roseneide Fernandes da Silva were two of the first women to receive treatment under the plan.

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Brazil’s foreign policy stance leaves it in wings on global stage

April 21, 2014

Joe Leahy – The Financial Times, 4/20/2014

This month, Brazil marks a particularly grim moment in its history. Fifty years ago, the country’s military took power in a coup that ushered in two decades of brutal dictatorship.

President Dilma Rousseff, who as a young leftist guerrilla fighting the generals was jailed and tortured, marked the occasion with a speech at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão airport earlier this month.

Shedding a quiet tear, she cited a song by the bossa nova artist Tom Jobim, “Samba do Avião”, that recalls the emotions of a Brazilian landing in Rio, saying the lyrics were about exiles returning home with the end of the military regime.

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World Cup to kick up prices in inflation-weary Brazil

April 21, 2014

Alonso Soto – Reuters, 4/21/2014

As if worrying about unfinished stadiums and overcrowded airports wasn’t enough, the upcoming football World Cup will give Brazilian policymakers another headache: an inflation spike.

The arrival of roughly 600,000 foreign tourists for the month-long tournament that starts in mid-June will likely cause substantial increases in the prices of airline tickets, restaurant meals and hotel rooms.

Those three areas account for about a tenth of the weighting of Brazil’s benchmark IPCA consumer price gauge. That could spell trouble for President Dilma Rousseff as the inflation rate is already at 6.19 percent.

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