Brazil Congress defies Rousseff by boosting pension payments

Arnaldo Falcao and Mario Sergio Lima – Bloomberg Business, 7/08/2015

Brazil’s Congress approved legislation that raises government expenditures on retirement benefits, setting up a showdown with President Dilma Rousseff’s administration that opposes spending increases.

Senators on Wednesday voted in favor of the proposal that lifts retirement payouts every year by the same formula used to calculate minimum-wage hikes. The lower house last month introduced the measure as an amendment to a bill that increases the minimum wage. The minimum-wage bill and measure on pension payments now go to Rousseff, who is expected to issue a veto.

That would be her second veto this year of a bill that increases government expenditures. Last month she vetoed legislation that allowed Brazilians to receive a higher pension at a younger age, replacing it with stricter requirements for collecting retirement benefits.

Read more…

New laws threaten Brazil’s unique ecosystems

Phys.org, 11/6/2014

Brazil’s globally significant ecosystems could be exposed to mining and dams if proposals currently being debated by the Brazilian Congress go ahead, according to researchers publishing in the journal Science this week.

The new report by a group of Brazilian and British researchers comes in the wake of Brazil’s recent presidential elections. It warns that new legislation could pose a serious threat to protected areas, weakening Brazil’s international status as an environmental leader.

One of the proposals of particular concern is the call to open up 10% of the most strictly protected areas to mining. In a new analysis, the research shows that at least 20% of all Brazil´s most strictly protected areas and reserves for indigenous people overlap with areas that have been registered as under consideration for mining. In addition, many of the river systems associated with protected areas will be influenced by the construction of large hydroelectric dams.

Read more…

Apple Pulls Secret App in Brazil After Judge’s Request

Katie Nelson – Mashable, 8/23/2014

Days after a Brazilian judge requested in a preliminary injunction that the Secret app be removed from the Apple App Store and Google Play store, Apple has removed the virtual confession forum from the App Store in Brazil.

Secret is an app that allows users to anonymously share their most intimate confessions with other people browsing the app. Paulo Cesar de Carvalho, the presiding judge, argued that the app is an agent of online bullying and therefore detrimental to the public. He ordered that the app be removed from both Apple’s and Google’s app stores within 10 days (starting on Wednesday), with a fine of $9,000 per day tacked on if the order is ignored after that period.

Legally, any apps sold through a country-specific App Store are under the jurisdiction of that country’s government, according to the App Store guidelines. Brazilian law forbids anonymous expression in chapter 1, article 5, section 4 of its constitution.

Read more…

Brazil’s Luiz Ruffato: “We must defend freedom under any circumstance”

Simone Marques – Index on Censorship, 7/21/2014

While researching Brazil’s legislation called the biographies’ law, Index on Censorship’s Brazil contibutor Simone Marques spoke to award-winning Brazilian author Luiz Ruffato, whose works include acclaimed novel They Were Many Horses.

Index: By defending the idea of controlling of literary works, such as biographies, wouldn’t some Brazilian artists be executing the role of a censor?

Ruffato: This is a paradoxical subject, because these artists live from the public image they built. People do not buy only a song or a film, people also buy the exposition of this artist. And the moment he becomes a public figure he is no longer a private figure. If this person is no longer a private figure, it is possible that he may have his own life scrutinised. I do not see any problem with that. I think anyone can manage their own life the way they feel like. Whoever wants to write a biography about me can keep calm. They will find absolutely nothing that may dishonour my image. But if they did find something, it would be okay, because I am exposing myself, I am living off that, I am somehow using my public image to make money. Therefore I think that when you move into this public world, you must be aware of that.

Read more…