Appalachian’s Energy Center will help improve life for Brazil’s catadores

July 29, 2014

ASU News, 7/28/2014

A community-based landfill gas project in Brazil piloted in 2009 by the Appalachian Energy Center located at Appalachian State University will soon become reality.

The Green Methane Committee in Fortaleza/Maracanaú, Brazil, which the Appalachian Energy Center helped form and train, will receive approximately $750,000 from the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment – National Fund on Climate Change to construct a system to collect and utilize methane gas from the Maracanaú Landfill. The Appalachian Energy Center also helped plan this landfill gas collection and utilization system.

The gas will be used at an Energy Park that will be constructed adjacent to the landfill where catadores (Brazilian waste pickers) will gather plastic and glass recyclables from the waste stream before they end up in the landfill, providing more profit for these workers.

Read more…


Though not a ‘diplomatic dwarf,’ Brazil lacks clout

July 29, 2014

Ben Tavener – Al Jazeera America, 7/29/2014

Brazil woke from a foreign policy slumber last week and waded into the world’s most complex geopolitical conflict.

As the number of civilian deaths in Gaza continued to climb to disturbing levels, Brazil’s Foreign Ministry issued a short statement saying it considered the “escalation of violence” between Israel and Palestine “unacceptable” and “strongly condemned the disproportionate use of force by Israel in the Gaza Strip.”

Brazil said it would recall its ambassador in Israel for consultation — an act of protest in diplomatic terms — which effectively fractured ties with Israel. The Palestinians praised Brazil for the strong diplomatic gesture, but Israel’s Foreign Ministry said, “Such steps do not contribute to promote calm and stability in the region,” provide a “tailwind to terrorism” and affect “Brazil’s capacity to wield influence.”

Read more…


Brazil: When To Sell After The Rally?

July 29, 2014

Shuli Ren – Barron’s, 7/29/2014

Brazil’s equity market has had a stunning performance since mid-March. The iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ) has gained around 30% since then. This ETF is up 16.7% this year.

Part of the rally is propelled by optimism in the state-owned sector. Investors bet that high-profile names such as Petrobras (PBR) and Electrobras (EBR) will operate better once a new government is ushered in after the October presidential elections. Last week, Barclays upgraded Petrobras to Buy for this precise reason. Petrobras outpaced the Brazil ETF, gaining 27.2% this year. Electrobras rose 17%. State-owned Banco de Brasil (BBAS3.Brazil) advanced 24%. Brazilian iron ore producer Vale (VALE), whose fate is tied to China, is the only high-profile underperformer, not even breaking even this year.

But some investors are skeptical of the Brazilian rally, asking “when to sell” Brazil. In a report published today, strategist Geoff Dennis suggested the time is “now.”

Read more…


Brazil’s Real Falls as Ukraine Turmoil Saps Emerging-Market Bid

July 29, 2014

Paula Sambo and Filipe Pacheco – Bloomberg Businessweek, 7/29/2014

Brazil’s real dropped the most among major Latin American currencies as turmoil in Ukraine dried up demand for emerging-market assets.

The real declined 0.2 percent to 2.2279 per U.S. dollar at 9:42 a.m. in Sao Paulo. Swap rates, a gauge of expectations for interest-rate moves, increased six basis points, or 0.06 percentage point, to 11.33 percent on the contract maturing in January 2017.

Investors sought refuge in the dollar as the European Union and the U.S. prepared new sanctions against Russia while President Vladimir Putin’s administration formulated its response to international pressure over the conflict in Ukraine.

Read more…


Brazil President will Ask Zero Tariff for Mercosur Partners

July 29, 2014

Prensa Latina, 7/29/2014

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will request today at the 46th Meeting of Head of States of the South Common Market (Mercosur) to apply zero tariff since 2015 to part of the trade with Peru, Chile and Colombia.

An official statement confirmed on Monday the attendance of Rousseff to this summit, in which she will request to forward the enforcement of the agreement of freeing business taxes for those three partner nations of Mercosur.

The agreement to implement the zero rates in the commercial area is sealed and its implementation is scheduled for 2019, but Brazil would like to discuss with the other members its implementation from 2015, emphasized in recent days Antonio Jose Ferreira Simoes, deputy secretary general for South America in the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Read more…


Brazil is set to become the world’s biggest soy producer — and that might be bad news for its forests

July 28, 2014

Gerry Hadden – Public Radio International, 7/28/2014

It’s covered by millions of acres of industrial farms and deep green soy fields. If this year’s harvest — the best in Brazilian history — comes in as expected, Brazil is poised to surpass the US and become the world’s largest soy producer. Soy beans have boosted Brazil’s economy and even brought President Dilma Roussef to Mato Grosso to congratulate farmers in person.

But in a nearby indigenous village, no one is celebrating. The boom in soy production coincided with a spike in deforestation. And Hiparidi Toptiro, an activist from the indigenous Xavante people, says local soy farmers are willing to do anything for a chunk of the forest where the Xavante live.

“Throughout our lands, people show up wielding false deeds to the area,” Toptiro says.  “And they have begun to plant soybeans inside our lands. They pay off one of our villages with a little money, which complicates the relationship between all of us in the reserve. “ He calls it dividing and conquering with trinkets.

Read more…


Brazil-Israel ties: it’s not all samba

July 28, 2014

Samuel Feldberg – i24 News, 7/28/2014

Not only civilians have been the victims of violence in the Middle East. This week, diplomatic relations between Brazil and Israel suffered a severe blow when the Brazilian ambassador to Israel was recalled for consultations and the Brazilian foreign ministry condemned the “disproportionality” of Israel’s reaction to Hamas’ hostility.

The cover of the largest Brazilian weekly said: “Blackout in diplomacy” – silence over Russia’s downing of a passenger airline and kind treatment of Cuba’s dictator show the moral bankruptcy of President Dilma’s government.

Is this a new development or, like recurring rounds of violence in Gaza, a repetition of what we already saw in the past? Should we be surprised by the unfriendly positioning of a country that bears significant responsibility for the 1947 UN vote that created the State of Israel?

Read more…


Economy In Gutter, Brazil More Expensive Than Europe

July 28, 2014

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 7/27/2014

Brazil’s economy might be growing near zero, and it’s currency isn’t as strong as it was in the heyday of the U.S. housing bubble of 2008, but that hasn’t stopped the country from becoming more expensive than the entire euro zone. In fact, according to The Economist magazine’s latest edition of the Big Mac index, Brazil’s currency is overvalued, and is third behind mega rich nations like Norway and Switzerland.

Brazil is the most expensive emerging market nation, and the locals are feeling it.

According to the magazine’s Big Mac index, the Brazilian real is overvalued by 5.86% as of July 23, more so than it was in 2009.  The Brazilian real is worth R$2.23. But it used to be a lot stronger. In July of 2008, it hit a strong R$1.55.  Despite a weaker currency, Brazil’s cost of living is on the rise.  For those living there, it’s a cause of frustration.  This is still very much a country where roads flood in the rain in major cities like São Paulo, and World Cup and Olympic quality cities like Rio de Janeiro have a whopping 500,000+ living in squalor in hillside slums.  The views are nice, but the poverty, the crime, the violence and the lackluster government services to those stuck there remain a national embarrassment.

Read more…


Brazil Can Put Safety and Justice at the Heart of Global Development

July 25, 2014

Robert Muggah – The Huffington Post, 7/24/2014

The future of global development policy is being hotly debated in New York over the coming months. Governments from 193 countries are negotiating the form and content of the so-called Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. These new benchmarks will replace the eight Millennium Development Goals that expire in 2015. Most diplomats agree on the importance of including core development priorities into the future SDGs including ending poverty and hunger, ensuring healthy lives and quality education, and guaranteeing access to water and energy. Many also believe that peace, security and justice, controversial and difficult to measure though they may be, must be explicitly recognized as development priorities in their own right.

The SDGs are about much more than achieving a diplomatic consensus. Starting next year, they will serve as a road-map for driving development around the world, including the world’s poorest countries. Like the remarkably successful MDGs before them, they will incentivize governments to establish forward-looking benchmarks, monitor progress, and provide critical signals about the health of our planet. They matter fundamentally. And yet the SDGs will stumble if they do not account explicitly for some of the most intractable roadblocks to development, including violence, injustice and corruption.

Most of the world’s governments are plugging for a new and improved global development agenda that puts the safety, legal entitlements and basic rights of people at its center. During discussions at the United Nations, government representatives from most member states argued in favor of including peace and justice as goals together with targets that reduce violent deaths, end abuses against children, promote access to justice, prevent corruption, and enhance transparency. They are determined to pull the billions of people trapped by warfare and criminal violence from harm, be they in rich or poor countries.

Read more…


To Brazil’s consternation, hordes of young Argentines make themselves at home after World Cup

July 25, 2014

AP – Fox News, 7/25/2014

Lucas Bazan Pontoni rifled through his pockets for the 45-cent lunch fee as he stood in line at a downtown soup kitchen. When he came up short, an acquaintance sprang for the government-subsidized meal.

One of about 160,000 Argentines who flooded into Brazil for the World Cup, Pontoni hardly fits the image of deep-pocketed foreigners who dropped around $3 billion in Brazil during the monthlong tournament. The 23-year-old actor is broke, and he has no immediate plans to return home almost two weeks after Germany beat Argentina in the July 13 final.

“Brazil is amazing, and I want to stay,” said Pontoni, who had been camping out in Rio’s Sambadrome Carnival parade grounds, lunching at soup kitchens and searching for an odd job to cover bus fare to see northern Brazil. “It could be weeks or months or longer. I’m going to see where life and the road take me.”

Read more…


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,377 other followers

%d bloggers like this: