Datalogic targets Brazil

July 24, 2014

Sherri Buri McDonald – The Register-Guard, 7/24/2014

As part of its global expansion strategy, Datalogic, an Italian tech company with deep roots in Eugene, has opened a factory in Brazil.

The company has spent $2 million to build the 23,680-square-foot plant in the city of Jundiai, in the state of São Paulo. It will churn out bar code readers, mobile computers and other devices, offer technical assistance and maintenance of the equipment, and serve as a demonstration center for new products, company officials said.

It is Datalogic’s first facility in Latin America.

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Batteries and business in Brazil

July 18, 2014

Jessica Orwig – Physics Today, 7/18/2014

When Italian physicist Alessandro Volta was electrocuting frog legs in the 19th century, he was unaware of how vast and significant his subsequent discoveries would be for science and industry. In 1800 Volta designed the world’s first battery, which is not too different from the one that powers your smartphone today. Amy Prieto wants to change that.

Prieto is an associate professor at Colorado State University’s chemistry department. In 2008 she cofounded Prieto Battery. Today’s batteries are too expensive to produce, and they display “low battery” too soon after charging for Prieto’s liking. That is why she and her company are working toward a novel design that is 10 times more powerful, 5 times longer lasting, and less expensive than any battery on the current market.

“We’re trying to build this dream battery with these pretty amazing attributes. But the way that we make it is also pretty unusual,” says Prieto, who is one of many speakers presenting at this year’s Industrial Physics Forum (IPF) Conference on Industrial Physics in Emerging Economies II at the University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil.

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The half-time verdict

June 27, 2014

The Economist, 6/27/2014

The winners of the football World Cup will not be known until July 13th. But the tournament is already a sporting success. Draws, especially of the goalless variety, have been mercifully rare. Not since 1958 have so many goals been scored per game in the group stage of a World Cup. What about off the pitch?

Start with Brazil’s economy. On the whole, economists agree, big sporting events have negligible impact on output. Money for the infrastructure bonanza beloved of politicians is not conjured from thin air; it is diverted from elsewhere. Productivity dips, too. Holidays have been decreed on some match days to ease pressure on creaking public transport. Before the Brazil-Cameroon game on June 23rd, for example, Brasília was a ghost town; to spare fans inevitable gridlock, public institutions and private firms let workers off early.

The São Paulo Federation of Commerce reckons the output lost as a result could reach 30 billion reais ($14 billion), about as much as all World Cup investment put together. Tourism-related earnings, which the government puts at 6.7 billion reais, will not offset this. For every football fan coming to see his team play a tourist is put off by the crowds and the prices. Business shindigs in popular destinations like São Paulo or Recife, in Pernambuco state, have been cancelled. Gelsa Lima, who runs a food stall at the bus terminal in Natal, capital of Rio Grande do Norte, complains that business is no better than usual. The state tourism secretary’s expectation of a net 300,000 extra visitors this year compared with 2013 looks optimistic.

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Brazil united: the World Cup effect

June 20, 2014

Simon Kuper – Financial Times Magazine, 6/20/2014

It seems to have been Brazil’s left-back Marcelo who came up with the idea. When the national anthem was played before a match, he told his teammates, they should keep singing after the music stopped. It would be a display of patriotism for the fans. It has become a ritual. At Brazil’s matches here, crowd and players belt out the words together a cappella. For a minute, the nation is made flesh.

In many countries, the national football team – with all its virtues and faults – is felt to incarnate the nation. But that’s particularly true in Brazil, football’s superpower. And it’s even truer during a World Cup in Brazil. A vast disparate country is now doing its best to unite around a team of multimillionaire expat footballers.

Looking around the São Paulo stadium during Brazil’s opening match against Croatia, you saw how tricky it is to call Brazil a nation. In this country of endless skin hues, almost all the spectators were white. They were the people who could afford the tickets. São Paulo’s educated classes were also the Brazilians most angry about wasteful spending on the World Cup. A survey carried out by Datafolha just before the tournament found that whereas 51 per cent of all Brazilians favoured hosting the tournament, only 41 per cent of Paulistas did. The crowd in the stadium roared the anthem with defiance, a Brazilian businessman told me. Their message: they loved Brazil despite the government.

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Why Brazil is so much bigger than the FIFA World Cup

June 18, 2014

Mack McLarty and Carl Meacham – Miami Herald, 6/17/2014

Last Thursday, the World Cup kicked off in Brazil, as the host country took on (and beat) Croatia in the opening match. Though Brazilians have not seen a World Cup on home soil since 1950, every four years the country is draped in yellow and green as 200 million people cheer on the national team.

But the past year has seen a changing Brazil — and the Brazilian World Cup experience is changing with it, revealing long-fermenting questions over Brazil’s future.

The coming weeks will see stadiums full of Brazilians singing every word of their national anthem. Traffic jams in São Paulo will look like checkerboards of Brazilian flags, with car hood after car hood draped in the banner. And as you walk past bars in every major host city, you will hear countless play-by-play analyses of the day’s matches.

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Brazil’s largest city may ration water this year, utility says

April 9, 2014

Paulo Whitaker – Reuters, 4/9/2014

Sao Paulo may have to ration water this year if reservoir levels are not replenished, Brazil’s largest water and sewage utility said, an increasing possibility as the southeast region heads into its dry season.

Worries of a water shortage in the metropolis of some 20 million that will host the soccer World Cup opening match on June 12 have increased amid dry weather this week, and the city’s main source of water, the Cantareira reservoir, was at just 12.7 percent of its capacity as of Wednesday.

Economists worry that water rationing or shortages could take a toll on Brazil’s fragileeconomy, which is expected to grow just 2 percent this year, and a shortage in Brazil’sbusiness hub would add to the challenges facing President Dilma Rousseff, who is expected to be re-elected in October.

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Violence tests Brazil ahead of World Cup

February 5, 2014

Loretta Chao & John Lyons – The Wall Street Journal, 2/4/2014

A wave of headline-grabbing violence in Brazil’s two biggest cities, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, is reviving concerns about security during soccer’s World Cup, which begins here in June.

Among the incidents, that came to light on Tuesday: Police are investigating an armed attack Sunday on the son of São Paulo state’s law-and-order governor. Some suspect it was an assassination attempt by a criminal gang.

Elsewhere in São Paulo, which will host the cup’s opening game, at least one public bus was burned by vandals on Monday night, bringing the total number of buses burned to 30 so far this year, officials say. Social scientists say the practice is a form of protest by youth in the city’s poor slums against heavy-handed police tactics and other societal ills.

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Brazil letter carriers get police escorts

February 4, 2014

Latin American Herald Tribunal, 2/4/2014

The increase in violence in the Brazilian city of Campinas prompted a court order for police to escort letter carriers.

With 3.5 million inhabitants, Campinas is the second-largest city in Sao Paulo state, where 4,439 people were slain last year.

Though murders are relatively common in the richest, most populated state in the country, Campinas stands out for its unequaled violence, a recent example being the killing of 12 people on the same night of Jan. 12.

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São Paulo paves new drug treatment path in Cracolândia

February 4, 2014

The Pan-American Post, 1/27/2014

After years of São Paulo officials employing forced treatment and other heavy-handed tactics to fight the city’s crack epidemic, Mayor Fernando Haddad is trying a new approach. But his attempts to implement a health-based, humane line of attack against crack abuse are being challenged by state police, who favor more orthodox law enforcement practices.
Earlier this month, Haddad announced a strategic shift in the city’s battle with rampant crack cocaine use in the central slum popularly known as Cracolândia.  He unveiled “Operation Open Arms,” a new program which provides housing, food and work opportunities to those living on the streets in the neighborhood. Inspired by the success of similar programs in the Netherlands and Canada, participants will receive roughly $6.50 USD a day in exchange for cleaning parks and other public places. They will also be given meals, medical care and group housing in local motels, according to G1. Giving up drug use is not a condition for participating in the program, though participants will be encouraged to do so and will have greater access to addiction treatment programs.  Some 300 people have been enrolled in the program thus far, and were moved into motels after their improvised shelters were demolished on January 14 and 15.
While Haddad has touted the program as a bold embrace of harm reduction-based treatment, some are skeptical of the program. As the Christian Science Monitor notes, many view it simply as an attempt to temporarily clean up the city’s streets in time for the World Cup. Several drug treatment experts who work in Cracolândia told the CSM they are doubtful that the program can offer a long-term solution to crack addicts.
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World Cup riots in Brazil trigger riots and arrests

January 27, 2014

Damien McElroy – The Telegraph, 1/26/2014

Demonstrations against the World Cup descended into street riots in Sao Paulo on Sunday as a Brazilian anti-inequality protest movement started a campaign against public spending on sports extravaganzas.

Cars were burnt in the streets, shop fronts were vandalised and bank windows were smashed as Brazilian chapters of the worldwide radical activists Anonymous called for support for “Operation Stop the World Cup”.

Police clashed with the crowd of up to 2,500 in running battles that at one point forced bystanders to seek refuge from the fighting. The protest forced the Sao Paulo authorities to call off an event to mark the city’s 460th anniversary.

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