Brazil Could Save Its Atlantic Forests for Just $200 Million a Year

August 29, 2014

Douglas Main – Newsweek, 8/28/2014

The forests surrounding some of Brazil’s biggest cities, like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, are home to a dizzying variety of life, with iconic species like golden lion tamarins (pictured above), maned three-toed sloths and red-tailed parrots. A total of 2,200 species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians are found in Brazil’s Atlantic forests, and nearly 200 types of birds live there and nowhere else.

But these forests are disappearing as farmers clear them for agriculture and as towns spread outward; less than 15 percent of the original forest cover remains.

The good news is that scientists have calculated that it would cost a relatively small amount to pay the area’s farmers to protect their own land by not developing it. By their estimate, it would cost Brazil $198 million annually—or 6.5 percent of what the country currently spends on agricultural subsidies—to preserve enough land to harbor a sustainable level of flora and fauna, the scientists wrote in a study published today (August 28) in the journal Science.

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Brazil Vows Water Supply Is Under Control as Basins Dry

August 28, 2014

Vanessa Dezem – Bloomberg, 8/28/2014

The state of Sao Paulo is facing its worst drought in eight decades, threatening the water supplies for 20 million people — but you wouldn’t know that by asking Brazil’s elected officials.

Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin, who is seeking re-election in October, has been minimizing the crisis for the region, which includesSouth America’s largest city. The reaction is a far cry from the response in drought-stricken California, where Governor Jerry Brownhas declared a state of emergency and residents are being fined for watering their lawns.

Sao Paulo state is already rationing water for more than 2 million people in 18 cities. The capital city’s main reservoir is now at only 12 percent of capacity, according to the water utility Cia. de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo, known as Sabesp. While the utility received a warning at the end of July that it risks running out of drinking water in 100 days, officials vow the situation is under control.

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São Paulo: the biggest, strongest start-up ecosystem in Brazil

August 27, 2014

Jonathan Moules – Financial Times, 8/26/2014

The TechnoLatinas, as South America’s digital founders are collectively known, have a strong presence in the financial capital of Brazil.

São Paulo has the largest and most powerful start-up ecosystem in this most populous of South American countries, with a spread of companies from early stage to more established.

As the main financial centre of Latin America, it hosts almost all the offices of multinational corporations present in the region. There is also a big opportunity locally in terms of market size, thanks to São Paulo’s population of 11.8m.

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Ermirio de Moraes, head of Brazil’s Votorantim for decades, dies

August 25, 2014


Guillermo Parra-Bernal – Reuters, 8/25/2014

Antonio Ermirio de Moraes, the businessman who helped forge Brazil’s largest industrial conglomerate, died in São Paulo after battling Alzheimer’s disease for more than a decade. He was 86.


Ermirio de Moraes, who reportedly owned about 25 percent of Grupo Votorantim, died late on Sunday of heart failure, a source with knowledge of the situation told Reuters. In a statement, Grupo Votorantim said his burial will take place in São Paulo’s Morumbi cemetery on Monday.

Forbes Magazine recently recalculated his net worth to about $3.9 billion, down from $12.7 billion last year, after uncovering an ownership split at the conglomerate. The rest of Grupo Votorantim is controlled by two of his siblings and their heirs, according to Forbes.

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New species of non-venomous snake discovered in Brazil

August 20, 2014

Odisha Sun Times, 8/20/2014

Scientists from four Brazilian institutions have announced the discovery of a new species of non-venomous snake that inhabits the savannas in the central part of the country.

The new serpent has been dubbed Atractus Spinalis and belongs to the Dipsadidae family, found in several countries of the Americas and some Caribbean islands.

The snake was found and identified by scientists of the federal universities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, who carried out their studies in collaboration with researchers from the Brazilian National Centre for Research and Conservation of Reptiles and Amphibians, and with the support of the Boticario Group Foundation for Nature Protection.

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China Touts Its Importance In Brazil

August 19, 2014

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 8/18/2014

Chinese diplomats in São Paulo reminded the locals just how important that country is to Brazil.  And doesn’t Brazil know it.

Four years ago, China became Brazil’s leading trading partner, surpassing the U.S..  So far this year, Brazilian companies, led by commodities exporters, shipped $28 billion worth of goods to China compared to $20 billion to the U.S.

The two BRIC economies “should further advance current ties to make the partnership a model for interaction between developing countries,” Chinese Consul General Chen Xi reportedly said in São Paulo on Aug. 11 during an event to celebrate the 40th anniversary diplomatic ties between China and Brazil. The ceremony was co-hosted by the City Council of Sao Paulo and the Brazil-China Friendship Association. It was attended by about 200 that included entrepreneurs and Chinese and Brazilian officials, the China Daily reported from Brazil’s biggest city.

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Marina Silva injects charisma into Brazil’s presidential campaign

August 18, 2014

Samantha Pearson – Financial Times, 8/18/2014

Marina Silva has made a habit of escaping death. Growing up in a poor family of rubber tappers in the Amazon jungle, she survived bouts of malaria and hepatitis. Polluted water also left her with metal poisoning. As a campaigner against deforestation she later faced death threats from ranchers, who in 1988 murdered Chico Mendes, her close friend and Brazil’s celebrated environmentalist.

On Wednesday last week she cheated death again. She was meant to be on the private jet that crashed near São Paulo in bad weather, killing Eduardo Campos, the presidential candidate, but she changed her plans at the last minute.

The harrowing experiences have turned the 56-year-old into a frail, slightly hunched woman, often seen with dark circles under her eyes. But her battles with death as well as poverty and illiteracy have also strengthened her iron-like resolve, transforming her into a likely leader of the world’s second-largest emerging market.

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