Brazil’s senate clears second austerity bill

Paulo Trevisani & Djania Savoldi – The Wall Street Journal, 5/27/2015

The Brazilian Senate on Wednesday approved a controversial bill meant to save taxpayer money by reducing pension payments to widows.

The measure is part of a broader effort to reduce the government’s high debt levels, which are threatening the country’s investment-grade rating.

The vote is a victory for President Dilma Rousseff and comes less than a day after Congress cleared another bill that reduces unemployment benefits. Together, the bills will save some 15 billion Brazilian reais ($4.8 billion) in taxpayer money, government officials say.

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Brazil’s senate clears second austerity bill

Sepp Blatter says FIFA must police itself

Sam Borden, Andrew Das, Dan Bilefsky – The New York Times, 5/28/2015

Sepp Blatter, the president of world soccer’s governing body, acknowledged the “unprecedented and difficult times” for his organization on Thursday and said it must do a better job of policing itself, but he largely avoided taking responsibility for the actions of “a tiny minority” arrested in a corruption inquiry this week.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the annual congress of the members of FIFA, the governing body, Mr. Blatter initially struck a somber tone after the arrest of several top soccer officials during a dawn raid at a luxury hotel here on Wednesday. Mr. Blatter, who was not directly implicated in the indictment from the United States Department of Justice (which is seeking extradition of the executives detained on their request) or a separate investigation announced by Swiss authorities, said he knew that many soccer observers “hold me ultimately responsible for the actions and reputation of the global football community, whether it’s the destination of the hosting of a World Cup or a corruption scandal.”

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Sepp Blatter says FIFA must police itself

Is Nike the unidentified company in the FIFA bribery case?

Matthew Townsend, Tariq Panja – Bloomberg Business, 05/27/2015

Nike Inc. said it’s cooperating with authorities on the same day the U.S. unsealed charges saying an unidentified sportswear company took part in bribing a Brazilian soccer official for a sponsorship agreement.

The deal described in an indictment of FIFA officials mirrors one obtained by Nike. The charges refer to a U.S. company that signed a partnership with the Brazilian federation in 1996. Nike, based in Beaverton, Oregon, announced its decade-long pact with Brazil that year.

“Nike believes in ethical and fair play in both business and sport and strongly opposes any form of manipulation or bribery,” the company said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. “We have been cooperating, and will continue to cooperate, with the authorities.” Nike, which isn’t named in the indictment, declined to comment on the allegations.

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Is Nike the unidentified company in the FIFA bribery case?

Soiled by oil scandal, Brazil’s model is primed for makeover

Juan Pablo Spinetto, Anna Edgerton, Sabrina Valle – Bloomberg Business, 05/27/2015

Oil was to be the elixir of Brazil’s dreams to build a formidable economy, promote industrial development and fund a more generous welfare state even as it attracted billions in private global investment.

Instead, crisis and disappointment in the oil sector are beckoning Brazil’s leadership to move — if grudgingly — toward more deregulated industries and to temper the government’s hand in using state-run companies to forge broader economic policy.

Which helps explain why, as her second term takes shape, some of President Dilma Rousseff’s ministers have jettisoned the statist language of her first four years in office and those of her popular predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Instead, they are floating some liberal notions more in keeping with the pre-Lula years.

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Soiled by oil scandal, Brazil’s model is primed for makeover

China to invest $50b in Brazil infrastructure

BBC, 05/15/2015

China is planning to invest up to $50bn (£32bn) in Brazil for new infrastructure projects.

The deal is due to be signed by banks from both countries during a visit by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang to Brazil next week.

The money will go towards building a railway link from Brazil’s Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast of Peru to reduce the cost of exports to China.

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China to invest $50b in Brazil infrastructure

Brazil, Peru, China plan trans-South American railway

Anadolu Agency, 5/9/2015

Brazil, Peru and China are working on an outline agreement to create a new railway that would cross South America, the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported Tuesday.

The train line would cross the continent, linking Brazil’s Atlantic coastline with the Pacific Ocean in Peru, and in part boost commodity exports.

Preliminary reports estimate the Transoceanic Railway would cost at least $10 billion, and the Brazilian government hopes Chinese businesses will bid for sections of the project.

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Brazil, Peru, China plan trans-South American railway

Under pressure from Brazil, Venezuela announces legislative elections for end of the year

MercoPress, 5/11/2015

Pressure has been mounting on the populist President Nicolas Maduro to set the date for the 2015 parliamentary elections. The scheduled vote comes as a severe economic downturn has eroded Maduro and the chavista regime popularity, leading to speculation in some quarters that the election may not be called at all.

“Where are they getting this idea that we won’t have elections?” Tibisay Lucena said in an interview with the Televen television channel.

“From the start of this year, we’ve said that this is an electoral year. We can say that in the last quarter of this year we’ll have the elections. We’re going to announce it very soon.”

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Under pressure from Brazil, Venezuela announces legislative elections for end of the year