Switzerland’s EcoSolifer planning solar-panel factory in Brazil

Vanessa Dezem – Bloomberg Business, 7/22/2015

EcoSolifer AG, a Swiss solar company, is planning a panel plant in Brazil as the country seeks to develop a domestic supply chain for photovoltaic components.

The company is evaluating locations now for a facility that will assemble imported cells into about 80 megawatts of panels a year, said Bruno Zacharias, head of the company’s operations in Brazil.

Brazil has less than 35 megawatts of solar capacity, an insignificant part of its power supply. It’s seeking to promote wider use and has introduced policies encouraging manufacturers to open factories. Zacharias said his plant will also start producing cells within five years, the most important component, something none of his competitors is doing.

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Brazil’s vanishing business fliers wooed with rare onboard wi-fi

Christiana Sciaudone – Bloomberg Business, 7/22/2015

As Brazil’s deepening recession keeps many business fliers at home, discount airline Gol is trying to grab market share with a rare amenity in Latin America: Wi-Fi.

Taking a domestic flight in Brazil means having to forgo checking e-mail, long after Internet access became standard on all major U.S. carriers for most trips. For busy executives, even the 45-minute hop between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro can be excruciating when forced offline.

The technology upgrade is part of Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA’s effort to snag more of the country’s dwindling band of corporate passengers. Carriers prize those travelers because they tend to buy costly, last-minute tickets — and Gol’s average fare per kilometer flown is the lowest in Brazil.

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Oil spills from Petrobras pipeline into Brazil coastal area

Jeb Blount, Marta Nogueira and Rodrigo Viga Gaier – Yahoo News, 6/19/2015

Oil spilled from a pipeline linking a main Atlantic Ocean terminal with a refinery near Rio de Janeiro on Friday, Brazil’s state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said.

The spill contaminated a coastal wetland area and leaked into the ocean, a spokesman for the union representing employees at the refinery said.

The narrow coastal region where the spill occurred is in Rio de Janeiro’s Costa Verde or “Green Coast” – one of Brazil’s most beloved tourist regions and home to one of the last stands of the endangered Atlantic-Forest ecosystem.

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U.S. and Russia vying to supply Brazil with commercial satellites in space partnership

Fox News Latino, 6/17/2015

The United States is vying with Russia to play a strategic role in helping Brazil launch commercial satellites from the Latin American nation’s base near the equator, setting up another potential area of dispute between Washington and Moscow.

With Brazil ending in February its decade-long partnership with the Ukraine to develop a launch vehicle at the Alcantara base, on its northern Atlantic coast, sources close to the government in Brasilia told Reuters that President Dilma Rousseff is expected to choose a partner in the coming months.

Rousseff is expected to factor in a number of issues in making her decision, including the quality of technology offered and Brazil’s diplomatic relations — a matter of importance as Rousseff visits the White House on June 30.

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Brazil’s cybercrime free-for-all: many scams and little punishment

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro – NPR, 6/15/2015

Brazil can boast many superlatives: the biggest country in South America, which is home to the the world’s biggest rain forest, which is home to the world’s biggest snake.

And now Brazil can claim to be a world leader in Internet fraud. It may not seem intuitive to associate Brazil with cybercrime, but the country was an early adapter of online banking and that helped create opportunities for online theft.

Most schemes have targeted other Brazilians but now they hit farther afield in places like the United States.

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Exclusive: Russia, U.S. competing for space partnership with Brazil

Anthony Boadle and Brian Winter – Reuters, 6/15/2015

The United States and Russia are competing for a strategic role in Brazil’s plan to launch commercial satellites from its base near the equator, opening up a new theater in their rivalry for allies and influence.

Brazil’s government expects to choose a partner to help provide technology in the coming months, three sources with knowledge of the deliberations told Reuters.

Brazil partnered with Ukraine over the past decade to develop a launch vehicle at the Alcantara base on its northern Atlantic coast. But Brazil ended the program in February, saying that Ukraine’s financial problems left it unable to provide rockets as promised.

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Why Brazil Put Its Military In Charge of Cyber Security

Robert Muggah and Misha Glenny – Defense One, 1/13/2015

Brazil has embraced the digital age with more gusto than most. It is one of the top users of social media and recently signed-off on a bill of rights for the Internet, the Marco Civil. The country is also a leader in the development of online banking with more than 43 percent of web users engaging such services, and can be proud of a thriving software industry, including some world class companies.

But as computer users around the world are beginning to grasp, the spread of the digital world has its dark side. Alongside all the great things the Internet offers, not least new forms of political and economic empowerment, it brings some very serious threats.

Brazilians are waking up to the reality of online scams, hacking, espionage and digital surveillance. And while the government is taking cyber malfeasance seriously, it may have seriously misinterpreted the nature and significance of those threats and, as a consequence, the best way to tackle them.

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