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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Brazil want Neymar to play at 2016 Olympics in Rio

July 28, 2014

Joe Prince-Wright – Pro Soccer Talk, 7/28/2014

Brazilian superstar Neymar had his World Cup cut short by injury this summer, but he may get another chance to represent his nation on home soil sooner than anyone thought.

According to a report from Brazil on Monday, the 22-year-old winger is in the plans of Brazil’s Olympic coach Alexandre Gallo to be an overage player on Brazil’s roster during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The only issue is that Neymar is expected to play for Brazil at the 2016 Copa America Centenario tournament being held in the U.S. and his involvement in the Rio Olympics could see him miss the start of FC Barcelona’s season in Spain.

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Dour Outlook For Brazil May Be Exaggerated: A Contrarian Take

July 25, 2014

Jim Cahn – Nasdaq, 7/25/2014

With the World Cup having put it in the spotlight, Brazil is getting a lot of critical attention, including reports that the country is unprepared to host the 2016 Olympics. Between those two events are the pivotal October elections, which will determine if South America’s largest country is going to stick with populist policies and price controls or start doing some very unpopular things to mitigate inflation and revitalize the stagnating economy.

Its domestic growth production is restrained in the 2% range, its foreign imbalances have grown, the currency is being hammered and even the often slow-to-react ratings agencies have cut Brazil from BBB to BBB-.

But frankly, it’s not all that bad. In fact, the outlook for certain sectors is quite good, especially consumer goods, finance and infrastructure.

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Brazil to Spend Record $600 Million to Boost Olympic Medal Hopes

July 24, 2014

Tariq Panja – Bloomberg, 7/23/2014

Brazil’s Olympic Committee will spend a record $600 million in an attempt to secure a top 10 medals ranking when the Summer Games take place in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Through a combination of public and private funding, the country will prepare 400 athletes with the aim of as many as 30 medals, 13 more than the the team achieved at London 2012. For that event, Brazil, which was joint 14th place on the total medals ranking, spent $350 million. It was 22nd in gold medals.

Hosting duties gives Brazil responsibility to outperform its previous records, said Marcus Vinicius, director of sport at Brazil’s Olympic Committee.

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Interview: Brazil’s Tourism President on the World Cup Disaster That Wasn’t

July 23, 2014

Samantha Shankman – Skift, 7/22/2014

Statistically speaking, the games attracted one million foreign tourists (far above its 600,000 estimate), added about $13.5 billion to Brazil’s annual GDP, and encouraged the building or renovation of 12 new stadiums.

Although critics inside and outside of the country will continue to debate the economics of the games, Brazil delivered a tourist experience better than expected for anyone who read the news about lack of preparation and riots in the weeks and months prior to the games.

Brazil’s tourism organization Embratur is already looking ahead to 2016 when the country will again host a global sporting events, but its newly instituted president Vincente Neto first talked to Skift about his perspective on the games.

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Rio Olympics organizers can glean lessons from Brazil’s World Cup

July 21, 2014

Mimi Whitefield – Miami Herald, 7/19/2014

Brazil has barely said tchau to the World Cup, but it has no time for a breather. In two years, Rio de Janeiro will be throwing out a welcome mat to the world as host of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Only three countries — the United States, the former West Germany and Mexico — have had such a short turnaround between hosting duties for the two biggest sports events on the planet. In the 1930s, however, both the United States and Germany hosted summer and winter Olympics in the same year.

Despite misgivings about everything from security to transportation to whether stadiums would be finished on time, Brazil managed to pull off a successful FIFA World Cup. That’s a positive omen for the Aug. 5-21, 2016 Olympics and Sept. 7-18 Paralympics.

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Brazil tracks World Cup lessons for Rio Olympics

July 18, 2014

Stephen Fottrell – BBC, 7/18/2014

The World Cup may be over, but in just two years’ time Brazil will once again brace itself for an influx of huge numbers of visitors, sports fans and tourists for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The 2014 tournament has generally been regarded as a success, in the face of many doubts inside and outside Brazil.

So what can the country learn from the experience that can help it to host its next major sporting event? BBC Brasil’s Renata Mendonca looks at the lessons learned and the challenges ahead for Brazil.

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In Brazil, Five Nations Plan Future Together…Again

July 17, 2014

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 7/15/2014

Now that the FIFA World Cup is over in Brazil, it’s back to business in South America’s largest nation. And in the northeastern city of Fortaleza, leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa made more declarations about how they will become a winning team.

There was more talk about creating a development bank to fund projects in each others’ countries, and declarations on teaming up with mega sporting events. The Summer Olympics takes place in Rio in two short years.

Brazil, Russia, India and China have been meeting together for the past six years. South Africa is only a recent partner in what has become an emerging markets G-5 of sorts, with presidents hammering out growth ideas. Historically, the U.S. and former colonial powers in Europe have been the prime source of funding — and still are. But in the last seven years, for instance, China has replaced the U.S. as Brazil’s biggest market, thanks to soybeans and iron ore. And China continues to invest heavily in South Africa mining. Meanwhile, Russia has been touting its growing relationship with Chinese energy companies looking for natural resources and access to new technologies. On balance, however, the BRICS are still beholden to foreign investment from advanced economies, be it portfolio investors or multinationals based in the U.S. and E.U.

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Rio 2016 Olympics organisers confident after Brazil’s World Cup success

July 16, 2014

Owen Gibson – The Guardian, 7/15/2014

High on the eventual success of the World Cup, Rio 2016 organisers have boldly promised that their city’s next major sporting event in two years’ time will be “the Olympics of the Olympics”.

The reference by the mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, to the vow to stage the “Copa das Copas” in Brazil, was perhaps tongue in cheek but the sentiment is deadly serious. “The mistrust we had two months ago is not there. We’re convinced we’ll deliver everything on time. It’s going to be a great party,” he promised.

Yet while a successful World Cup has shifted sentiment about Rio’s lagging progress towards the Olympics in 2016, serious questions remain. Those concerns burst into the open two months ago when the International Olympic Committee vice-president, John Coates, warned Rio was further behind than the notoriously last-minute Athens Games of 2004.

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World Cup Over, Brazil Turns Attention to the Olympics

July 15, 2014

Paul Kiernan – The Wall Street Journal, 7/14/2014

RIO DE JANEIRO—It’s one sports megaevent down, one to go for this Brazilian city, where authorities have little time to savor Sunday’s World Cup final as they now look ahead to the Olympics.

The 2016 Games start in little more than two years, and most of the sports venues, a new subway line, a rapid-bus line and other facilities remain to be finished.

A largely smooth World Cup has given Brazilian officials and the International Olympic Committee a shot of optimism. Despite widespread concern about the country’s 11th-hour scramble to finish some stadiums and other infrastructure, the monthlong tournament was an operational success.

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