Brazil ready to meet growing global demand for food, OECD says

Jeffrey T. Lewis – The Wall Street Journal, 7/01/2015

Brazil is ready to meet rising global demand for food that is coming mostly from Asia, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Wednesday.

Growth in Brazil’s food supply is projected to increase as productivity increases, pasture fields are converted to cropland and livestock production methods become more intensive, the OECD said in report.

Much of the increase in agricultural production in Brazil, the world’s second-biggest supplier of food and agricultural products, can come using sustainable methods, the Paris-based organization said.

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Brazil tries to rebuild relations with U.S. after NSA spying scandal

Jackie Northam – NPR, 6/30/2015

It’s rare that a world leader will cancel a planned state visit to the White House, but that’s what happened two years ago when Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff found out that the U.S. had been spying on her and her top aides.

The Brazilian leader is now trying to let bygones be bygones, and is in Washington, D.C., to visit with President Obama.

Rousseff’s decision to cancel the state visit — with its formal dinners and high-profile meetings — threw a strong and robust bilateral relationship into disarray, says Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas and Americas Society.

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Brazil’s prison system faces ‘profound deterioration’ if youth crime law passes

Bruce Douglas – The Guardian, 6/29/2015

Brazil’s justice minister has described his country’s violent and overcrowded prison system as “terrible” and warned that it will only get worse if congress votes this week to lower the age of criminal responsibility.

José Eduardo Cardozo ordered the early publication of a justice ministry report on prison overcrowding ahead of a vote on Tuesday over legislation which would reduce the age of criminal responsibility from 18 to 16 for serious offences involving violence.

The new statistics show that Brazil’s prison population has doubled in the last 10 years and now contains more than 220,000 inmates over its capacity. Lowering the age of criminal responsibility will add up to 40,000 more inmates to the system, Cardozo said.

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The mythology of racial democracy in Brazil

Ana Lucia Araujo – Open Democracy, 6/22/2015

Brazil’s government has taken important steps to combat racial inequalities over the past two decades. Afro-Brazilian populations nevertheless remain socially and economically excluded, continuing patterns that began with legal slavery.

Brazil has been in the news a great deal of late, especially in association with the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The most popular images involve football, carnival, samba, sunny beaches, and tanned women in bikinis. Less well known is the history of slavery and racism, which continues to have a profound impact upon Brazilian society.

Brazil has the dubious distinction of having imported the largest number of enslaved Africans—more than five million—of all countries of the Americas. The slave trade from Africa to Brazil was outlawed in 1831, but an illegal trade continued until 1851 before being outlawed for a second time. In contrast, legal slavery persisted until 1888, making Brazil the last country to abolish slavery in the western hemisphere. Today, 53 percent of the Brazilian population self-identify as black or pardo (brown, or mixed race). These terms as established by the Census refer to colour and not ancestry.

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Brazil senators flee Venezuela attack

BBC News, 6/19/2015

A group of eight Brazilian senators on a visit to Venezuela to meet a jailed opposition leader say they had to flee after their bus was attacked.

The Brazilian opposition politicians were trying to meet Leopoldo Lopez, who is in jail accused of inciting violence during protests. The group said the bus was stoned as it travelled from Caracas airport.

Brazil’s foreign ministry says it will seek an explanation from the Venezuelan government. One of the senators, Ronaldo Caiado, tweeted: “Our bus was under siege; they were beating and trying to break it. I filmed them throwing stones against the bus.”

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Brazil passes femicide law to curb domestic violence

Donna Bowater and Priscilla Moraes – Al Jazeera America, 5/10/2015

RIO DE JANEIRO — “My best hope is that he dies,” the tall, slight and articulate 45-year-old speech therapist said calmly of her husband. “I know that he can kill me.”

The woman, who asked not to be identified, had gone to the courts in Rio de Janeiro to seek protection from her husband of 22 years.

After her husband suffered a psychiatric breakdown in 2001, she said, he became violent and threatened to kill her, their daughter and himself. “I learned that between him and me, it’s me first,” she said.

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Brazil’s tough laws on violence against women stymied by social norms

Melanie Hargreaves – The Guardian, 5/12/2015

As the negotiations continue towards agreeing a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) to come into effect next year, tackling gender inequality remains high on the agenda.

The current draft of the SDGs contains a standalone goal on the issue, which includes a specific target to “eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation”.

It’s a welcome move – and certainly more hard-hitting than the gender equality requirements of the millennium development goals, which saw donor countries target aid at education and health in developing countries, while ignoring other areas crucial to women’s rights, such as countering gender-based violence.

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