Brazil’s Newly Contacted Tribe Already Has the Flu, and It Could Wipe Them Out

July 25, 2014

Jason Koebler – Motherboard, 7/22/2014

It has happened many times before, and it’s happening again: Members of apreviously uncontacted tribe that recently made contact with the outside world have gotten sick. Now, they’ve retreated back into the Amazon Rainforest, which is very bad news, as it puts the entire tribe at risk of infection—and possibly death.

Last month, seven members of an unnamed, uncontacted tribe in northwestern Brazil became the first of its kind to interact with the Brazilian government in nearly 20 years after reportedly being driven out of the forest by a traumatic event—perhaps the invasion of their land by illegal loggers in Peru. The tribe had been living in the forest completely uninterrupted and without communication with the world outside of the Amazon Rainforest, which is one of the reasons they’re often referred to as “isolated” tribes.

In any case, each of the seven tribe members got the flu, according to FUNAI, the Brazilian agency that deals with indigenous populations. That’s what happens when uncontacted tribes are contacted, because its members haven’t spent hundreds of years being exposed to the diseases that most people’s bodies have become accustomed to.

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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.

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Brazil Eases Reserve Requirements to Inject $13.5 Billion

July 25, 2014

David Biller and Francisco Marcelino – Bloomberg Businessweek, 7/25/2014

Brazil’s central bank is making available an estimated 30 billion reais ($13.5 billion) with measures including reduced reserve requirements as it looks to boost economic activity.

The bank is allowing as much as 50 percent of time deposit requirements to be used on new loans and the acquisition of loan portfolios, the monetary authority said in a statement on its website today. It also increased the number of banks eligible to sell their portfolios, and those able to use up to 20 percent of reserve requirements to grant loans qualifying under development bank BNDES’s program to sustain investment, known as PSI.

President Dilma Rousseff’s administration is seeking to rein in above-target inflation without strangling growth. Policy makers left rates on hold for the second straight monetary policy meeting ending July 16 following the longest rate-raising cycle in the world, as expectations for 2014 economic growth plummeted. Minutes from the meeting that signaled the bank would leave rates on hold have been “compromised” by today’s measures, according to Andre Perfeito, chief economist at Gradual Investimentos.

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Brazil could meet all its food demand by 2040 without cutting down another tree

July 25, 2014

Mongobay.com, 7/24/2014

Better utilization of its vast areas of pasturelands could enable Brazil to dramatically boost agricultural production without the need to clear another hectare of Amazon rainforest, cerrado, or Atlantic forest, argues a new study published in the journal Global Environmental Change.

Modeling agricultural yield potential, Brazilian researchers from the International Institute for Sustainability, Brazil’s agricultural research agency Embrapa, and the national space research agency INPE find that Brazil could turn more than 30 million hectares of land that is currently pasture over to more productive crops, increasing overall agricultural output.

“Our analysis shows that Brazil already has enough to absorb the largest expansion of agricultural production in the world in the next three decades, without deforesting an additional hectare of natural areas and agricultural livestock areas,” said lead author Bernardo Strassburg, a professor at Pontificia Universidade Catolica (PUC-Rio) and executive director at the International Institute for Sustainability. “The key is to increase productivity of the pasture areas. Today we use only a third of the potential of our pasture, and if we pass this potential and use half of it, in 30 years we could increase the production of meat by 50%, and release 32 million acres for other crops such as soybeans and planted forests.”

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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.”

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Brazil to boost credit to counter economic slowdown

July 25, 2014

Walter Brandimarte – Reuters, 7/25/2014

Brazil’s central bank on Friday announced measures to boost credit in the country’s ailing economy, one week after keeping its benchmark interest rate at its highest level in over two years to fight inflation.

The bank said in a statement it was freeing up an estimated 30 billion reais ($13.5 billion) in the financial system through changes to banks’ reserve requirements.

The move “aims at improving the distribution of liquidity in the economy” given a recent slowdown in credit and relatively low levels of bad loans, the bank said.

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Brazil Leads Latin American Ecommerce Growth, Becoming Amazon’s Biggest Foreign Market

July 25, 2014

Robert Schoon – Latin Post, 7/24/2014

Latin America, led particularly by Brazil, is continuing rapid growth in its online economy, according to a new study by Internet Retailer. And the boom in ecommerce is good news not only for Latin American Internet retailers, but also for some prominent U.S.-based companies as well – especially Amazon.com.

According to the new 2014 edition of the “Latin America 500,” an annual report by ecommerce research and analysis firm Internet Retailer, Latin America, as a whole, remains the world’s second fastest-growing ecommerce market — only trailing behind China. And Brazil is leading the way, thanks to high Internet penetration rates, a booming market for affordable mobile devices, and an increasingly digital culture.

Internet Retailer ranked the top 500 web merchants in Latin America by sales and 128 other data points — like sales growth rates, web traffic, average checkouts, social media prominence, etc. — tracking retailers in 12 of the most digitally active Latin American countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

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Temple in Brazil Appeals to a Surge in Evangelicals

July 25, 2014

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 7/24/2014

It occupies an entire block in this teeming megacity: a 10,000-seat rendition of Solomon’s Temple.

Towering in sharp relief against the graffiti-splattered tenements nearby, it beckons with monumental walls of stone imported from Israel and the flags of the dozens of countries where its owner, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, is nourishing an evangelical Christian empire.

A helicopter landing pad will allow Edir Macedo, the 69-year-old media magnate who founded the Universal Church in a Rio de Janeiro funeral home in 1977, to drop in for sermons. The sprawling 11-story complex features other flourishes, too, like an oasis of olive trees similar to the garden of Gethsemane near Jerusalem, and more than 30 columns soaring toward the heavens.

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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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