Videos of police crimes spur Brazilians to confront a longtime problem

August 5, 2014

Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 8/5/2014

The footage of the two officers chilled viewers of the prime-time Brazilian TV show “Fantástico.”

Filmed by a camera in the front seat of their patrol car, the video obtained by the program showed the police officers after they picked up three teenage boys on June 11 in central Rio de Janeiro — an area afflicted by street crime and violent muggings often perpetrated by teenage boys. The officers had driven the boys to a nearby forested, hilly area; the video captured them nonchalantly discussing “discharging the weapon a little.”

The camera switched off when they parked the car in an isolated area. By the time it started recording again, one boy, 15, lay shot and left for dead. A second boy, 14, had been shot and killed. The third boy, 15, had been released before the shooting.

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Brazil Make Progress With Preparations

August 5, 2014

Morning Star, 8/5/2014

Rio 2016 organisers admit they cannot afford to indulge in the luxury of leaving preparations for the Olympics and Paralympics to the last minute.

Two years before the Games, which start on August 5 2016, Rio 2016 communications director Mario Andrada said the preparations are now back on schedule after numerous delays.

Senior IOC figures have declared Rio as further behind than even Athens was at a similar stage before the 2016 Olympics but Andrada says there has been a well-timed wake-up call earlier this year.

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Brazilian Web Provider Fined $1.6 Million For Selling Browsing Data to Advertisers

August 4, 2014

Ed Taylor – Bloomberg BNA, 8/4/2014

In a first-of-its-kind enforcement action in Brazil, the Justice Ministry recently fined the country’s largest telecommunications company Oi $1.6 million for invading the privacy of subscribers to its broadband Internet service by without consent tracking their Web usage and selling the information to behavioral advertisers.

Amaury Oliva, director of the Justice Ministry’s Department of Consumer Defense and Protection (DPDC), told Bloomberg BNA July 28 that the department began to investigate Oi in 2010 based on allegations it had partnered with Phorm Inc.—a U.K.-based online advertising company—to develop a program to monitor Internet activity.

Phorm was at the heart of investigations by U.K. and European Union officials regarding the use of Phorm tracking software in trials involving the U.K. telecommunications company BT.

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Brazil Exports First Military Drone: Flight Technologies FT-100 Horus Heads To Unnamed African Country

August 4, 2014

Angelo Young – International Business Times, 8/4/2014

The first Brazilian-made tactical drone is headed to Africa before the end of the year, says São Paulo-based FT Sistemas S.A., one of the country’s larger producers of unmanned aerial vehicles. The company wouldn’t say which African country is buying its FT-100 Mini-UAV, or for what purposes.

“The Horus FT-100 was designed in conjunction with the Brazilian Army . . . to be used in typical applications of short range performed by platoons, companies or even battalions,” the company said in its announcement (in Portuguese) from July 28. It didn’t mention the value of the deal. Brazil is emerging as a major player in the sale of modern military equipment in emerging and developing markets that can’t afford equipment developed by major players, like Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) or Britain’s BAE Systems plc (LON:BA).

“The UAV market remains dominated by the US and Israeli defense contractors, but other nations have been heavily investing in the technology especially for more cost-effective, less technologically advanced solutions,” said IHS Jane’s Defence Industry.

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Israel Faces Latin American Backlash

July 31, 2014

Robert Kozak – The Wall Street Journal, 7/30/2014

Bolivian President Evo Morales on Wednesday labeled Israel a “terrorist state” and announced that Israelis need visas to visit, the latest in a series of measures Latin American countries have leveled against Israel for the violence in the Gaza Strip.

Criticism of Israeli policies has come from some parts of the world. Latin American countries have stood out by coordinating a range of diplomatic measures, including recalling their ambassadors for consultations and issuing sharply worded statements, political analysts said.

“Israel doesn’t guarantee the principle of respect for life, and the basic right to live in harmony and peace in the international community,” Mr. Morales said Wednesday in a speech in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba. There was no immediate Israeli response to Mr. Morale’s accusations or Bolivia’s decision to require that Israeli visitors apply for visas.

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Brazil grants refugee status to 532 Syrians

July 31, 2014

World Bulletin, 7/31/2014

Brazil has approved a record number of refugee applications, including for 532 Syrian nationals, the country’s National Committee for Refugees has announced.

Some 680 applications for refugee status were approved on Wednesday alone, more than all applications given the green light in 2013 the committee, which is linked to the Brazilian National Justice Secretariat, said.

The raft of new approvals – the first since a new resolution simplified procedures set out by the country – means the Brazilian refugee population grew to 6,588, an estimated 10 percent increase.

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Activists in Brazil are fighting to protect the environment — and their lives

July 30, 2014

Gerry Hadden – PRI, 7/29/2014

908. That’s the number of environmental and land-reform activists assassinated worldwide between 2003 and 2013, according to a study by the NGO Global Witness. The number might shock you, but perhaps even more shocking is that nearly half of those murders — 448 — took place in one country: Brazil.

What is it that makes Brazil the most dangerous place in the world to be an activist?

You’ll find clues in the story of Guarabana Bay. The bay, just minutes from downtown Rio’s world famous beaches, is a study in pollution and filth. Dark sludge cakes the shoreline. Garbage floats everywhere. It’s so bad that some sailors set to compete here in the 2016 Summer Olympics are warning colleagues not to let this water touch their skin.

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