‘Teachers not footballers’ needed by Brazil

October 1, 2014

Martin Hall – BBC News, 09/30/2014

In the run up to this year’s World Cup in Brazil there were protest banners reading: “Teachers are more important than footballers.” For Brazil, this is saying something. And when Brazilians go to the polls for the first round of the presidential elections this week, one of the main issues will be education.

There is a shortage of some 300,000 primary school teachers. At the other end of the education journey there is space for less than 20% of all students in Brazil’s highly regarded public universities – the rest pay fees for qualifications of variable quality.

In the protests that have swept through Brazilian cities, education is a recurrent theme on placards and in social media. Brazil’s demand for education is driven by both the country’s size and by the sustained economic growth through the presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

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Brazil President Dilma Rousseff, in a close race for re-election, to tour Rio Olympic venues

September 30, 2014

Associated Press – Fox News, 09/30/2014

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff, in a close race for re-election, is touring the main venue for Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 Olympic Games with voting just days away.

Local organizing committee officials say Rousseff will visit the site of the Olympic Park on Tuesday with Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and International Olympic Committee inspectors in town checking progress on the venue construction, which has been slow getting started but now appears to be moving at a quicker pace.

Brazil is spending about $20 billion to prepare the city for the games, a mix of private and public money.

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2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ in numbers

September 23, 2014

FIFA.com, 09/23/2014

FIFA has released an in-depth document detailing the dizzying array of facts and figures that combined to make up the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

Want to know how often Goal Line Technology (GLT) was required? Or how many jobs were created? What about the fastest goal, or the number of HD cameras filming the event? For all these stats and many more, relating both to events on the field and behind the scenes, check out FIFA’s exclusive guide, a few tasters of which are provided below.

5,154,386 attended FIFA Fan Fests in Brazil during the World Cup, with Rio de Janeiro’s spectacular Copacabana site attracting 937,330 – the highest number in any individual city.

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Clashes erupt in Brazil as police evict squatters from high-rise

September 17, 2014

Vincent Bevins – The Los Angeles Times, 09/16/2014

Clashes between police and squatters resisting eviction paralyzed Sao Paulo on Tuesday morning, as streets were emptied and the center of South America’s largest city was filled with tear gas and smoke from at least one torched city bus.

Large-scale demonstrations and street conflicts have taken place periodically across Brazil since June 2013, but had largely subsided since the beginning of the World Cup soccer tournament this June.

Chaos returned on Tuesday, however, after the forced eviction of members of the FLM, or Front to Fight for Housing, one of the many groups living in abandoned buildings in the city’s center. More than 70 people were arrested in the melee.

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Brazil’s Retail Sales Unexpectedly Drop as Economy Sputters

September 11, 2014

David Biller – Bloomberg, 09/11/2014

Brazil’s retail sales surprised analysts by contracting in July, as the central bank signals it will hold interest rates at the highest level since early 2012. Swap rates fell.

Sales declined 1.1 percent after a 0.7 percent increase in June, the national statistics agency said today in Rio de Janeiro. That was the biggest drop since October 2008 and below all estimates from 34 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, whose median forecast was for a 0.5 percent increase.

Brazil’s economy slipped into recession in the second quarter as fast inflation erodes consumer and business confidence. Moody’s Investors Service cut the nation’s credit rating outlook this week, citing “the absence of any signs of a recovery.” With presidential elections less than a month off, economic management has become central to the campaign.

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Brazil begins recovery from World Cup debacle

September 4, 2014

Craig Davis – Sun Sentinel, 09/03/2014

Just say the score, nothing more. 7-1.

It’s enough to send a chill through the bruised psyche of Brazil all over again. It has been speculated that repercussions of the national team’s stunning loss to Germany by that incomprehensible score in the recent World Cup on home soil could even cost Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff the upcoming election and send the economy into a tailspin.

That’s why Friday’s friendly between Brazil and Colombia at Sun Life Stadium is much more than a typical international exhibition. It is the first chance for Brazil to begin the healing process.

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Brazil’s Post-World Cup Tourism Push Calls for More of Everything

September 3, 2014

Diane Brady – Bloomberg Businessweek, 09/03/2014

It’s hard to know whether to envy or sympathize with Brazil’s tourism minister, Vinícius Lages. While the summer’s World Cup brought more than 1 million foreign visitors and about $7.5 billion in revenue, it didn’t avert an economic slowdown or highlight much beyond soccer. With President Dilma Rousseff facing fierce competition from Marina Silva in October’s national elections, it’s not clear that Lages will get much chance to make his mark.

This hasn’t stopped him from crafting a plan to recast Brazil’s tourism brand. His goal isn’t just to play off the World Cup in building buzz for the Rio Olympics in 2016. Lages wants to develop everything from craft-beer tours in Belo Horizonte and foodie-oriented attractions near the Amazon to international student programs.

“I would love to get Richard Branson to help design something here in Brazil,” Lages says during a visit this week to Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. “Look at what he has done with Virgin Galactic.” The fact that Lages hasn’t yet pitched Branson on any aviation-related ideas underscores the fledgling state of his planning.

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