Brazil police arrest Worker’s Party treasurer Joao Vaccari Neto

April 15, 2015

Rogerio Jelmayer, Luciana Magalhaes – The Wall Street Journal, 04/15/2015

Brazil’s federal police arrested João Vaccari Neto, the treasurer of Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party, or PT, as part of an investigation of alleged corruption involving contracts between state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA PBR 1.95 % and construction firms.

Mr. Vaccari is accused of receiving “irregular donations” from companies for the party, according to a federal police spokesman. The spokesman didn’t elaborate on the allegation and said more details would be given at a news conference later Wednesday.

A Workers’ Party spokeswoman wasn’t immediately available for comment.

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Brazil police force squatters from intended Olympics luxury hotel

April 15, 2015

The Guardian/AP, 04/14/2015

An operation to remove squatters from a building planned as a hotel for the 2016 Olympic games erupted into chaos on Tuesday as Brazilian police stormed in and squatters set the structure alight.

The more than 100 squatters had agreed to leave of their own accord, but as they filed out of the imposing former apartment building, police in riot gear charged, sparking pandemonium. Squatters set two fires inside the building, and firefighters battled flames as police chased some of the squatters and their supporters through the streets.

“It didn’t have to end this way; they were already leaving,” said Joao Helvecio de Carvalho, an attorney with the state public defender’s office. “The police’s use of force was disproportional … They didn’t need to act in that way.”

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Brazil’s president names progressive lawyer to Supreme Court

April 15, 2015

Reuters, 04/14/2015

President Dilma Rousseff nominated a law professor close to leftist social groups on Tuesday to sit on Brazil’s Supreme Court as it begins to investigate dozens of ruling coalition politicians for corruption.

If confirmed by the Senate, Luiz Edson Fachin, a civil law expert from Parana state, will take the seat of Joaquim Barbosa, the former chief justice who retired last year after leading Brazil’s highest-profile political corruption trial to date.

Rousseff, who was narrowly re-elected last October, has been criticized for taking more than eight months to fill the 11th seat on the top court that will play a key role in a widening probe into a bigger scandal involving graft and political kickbacks at state-run oil company Petrobras.

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Rio 2016: dead fish wash up in Olympic lagoon

April 14, 2015

Marilia Brocchetto – CNN, 04/14/2015

The bad news for Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Olympics keeps coming after scores of dead fish appeared in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon.

With just over a year to go before the city hosts the Games’ rowing and canoe competitions, officials with the legislative assembly of Rio de Janeiro Monday launched an investigation into the causes of death both in the lagoon and in other lakes and bays in the state in which this phenomenon has occurred.

The group will work in partnership with the State Environmental Institute (INEA) and the Secretariat of State for the Environment.

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Mark Zuckerberg meets with Brazil’s president at the 7th Summit of the America’s, in Panama

April 14, 2015

Anderson Antunes – Forbes, 04/11/2015

Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff met Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Friday during the 7th Summit of the Americas, which is being held in Panama City. A picture of the meeting was released by Brazil’s Presidency press office. The image shows the politician side by side with Zuckerberg, wearing a jersey that contains Facebook’s logo and Brazil’s flag, given to Rousseff by the billionaire.

The meeting took place just a few days after the launch of a new program by Brazil’s government aiming to tackle cyber security and human rights violations on the Internet in cooperation with a private initiative. Facebook is among companies teaming up with the South American nation on the program through its Internet.org non-profit organization, set to launch at the summit. Internet.org aims to bring connectivity to everybody, particularly to low-income communities that have traditionally been deprived of the technology.

 

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Another huge and open iron mine is carved out of Brazil’s rain forest

April 14, 2015

Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 04/13/2015

The line of trucks and four-wheel-drive pickups threw up clouds of red dust as it snaked up the hill on the wide dirt road. From the top, Brazilian rain forest stretched out into the distance. Before it, a vast quadrangle was being carved out of the slope by an army of machines, a scar of red earth in the green hills.

S11D, as this project is unceremoniously known, is an open-cast iron ore mine being dug out of this corner of the Brazilian Amazon, in the state of Para. Brazil’s mining giant, Vale, says the mine was designed for minimum environmental impact and maximum profitability. It is to start operating next year and by 2018 will be producing nearly 100 million tons annually of some of the purest iron ore in the world — a lifeblood for Brazil’s pallid economy.

But environmentalists argue that S11D could destroy rare savannah ecosystems found in two lakes on top of rich iron ore deposits. Dozens of caves that potentially contained evidence of ancient Amazon habitations have been lost. This grandiose $17 billion project is emblematic of a very contemporary, Brazilian dilemma: Can the country develop its rich natural resources without causing irreparable damage to its environment and history?

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An escalating corruption scandal rocks Brazil

April 14, 2015

Mary Anastasia O’Grady – The Wall Street Journal, 04/15/2015

Former Brazilian presidential candidate Aécio Neves speaks for a lot of his compatriots when he says President Dilma Rousseff’s Workers’ Party (PT) used stolen funds to defeat him in Brazil’s runoff presidential election in October.

In an interview in Lima last month I asked Mr. Neves—who is president of the Social Democracy Party of Brazil (PSDB)—whether he lost the election because the socialism of the hard-left Ms. Rousseff had greater appeal to Brazilians than his more market-oriented platform.

He denied the possibility. He lost, he told me, because of “organized crime.”

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