Brazil’s real: how low can it go?

Joe Leahy, John Paul Rathbone – Financial Times, 02/08/2016

When Dilma Rousseff attended the 2016 opening session of Brazil’s congress this week, she appealed to lawmakers to approve tax increases to tackle a widening gap in the country’s public finances.

Most critically, the president called for the reintroduction of a tax on financial transactions, known as the CPMF, that was abandoned in 2007 after objections from business. Opposition congressmen booed her.

But with Brazil reporting a budget deficit last year that was the biggest among emerging economies except for Saudi Arabia at over 10 per cent, unpopular measures are needed to save the country from a deepening fiscal hole, analysts say

The Heat: Brazil at a Crossroads

Paulo Sotero, Lucrecia Franco,  Ligia Maura Costa, Bernardo Sork, Fabio Ostermann – CCTV, 01/28/2016

Political upheaval, economic downturn and corruption scandals: Brazil is at a crossroads.

So, what’s the way forward for a Latin American giant in crisis? 2015 was not Brazil’s easiest year. Several widespread protests across the country called for change. Confidence in president Dilma Rousseff reached a record low. A scandal at state-run oil conglomerate Petrobras exposed corruption. All while the economy stagnated and began a free fall. 2016 hasn’t started off much better either. For a Brazilian perspective, from Rio de Janeiro, The Heat was joined by CCTV America’s Lucrecia Franco. To discuss the current political and economic climate: Ligia Maura Costa is a professor of legal studies at Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo. Bernardo Sorj is a professor of Sociology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. To discuss Brazil’s future and the youth movement: Fabio Ostermann is one of the founders and a former coordinator of Movimento Brasil Livre. Paulo Sotero is director of the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

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Zika Virus: Rousseff Tells all Brazilians to Stamp out Mosquito Breeding Grounds

The Guardian, 02/03/2016

President Dilma Rousseff has called on all Brazilians to join a “mega-operation” against the Zika virus later this month that will attempt to destroy the breeding grounds of the mosquitos that carry it.

The mass mobilisation on 13 February will involve hundreds of thousands of personnel from the armed forces as well as public officials in a house-to-house campaign to identify and eradicate the stagnant waters where the parasites thrive.

“This is a struggle to protect our families, a struggle that should unite all of us,” Rousseff told the nation on Wednesday in a televised address that was broadcast on all of the main TV and radio channels.

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Brazil’s Congress reconvenes, mired in pessimism

Silvio Cascione -Reuters, 02/02/16

Brazilian lawmakers return from their annual recess today with an overwhelming list of work to do as the country sinks into a broadening political, economic and health crisis.

And yet expectations about their actual capacity to make 2016 a better year than 2015 could hardly be smaller.

While there is little consensus on the measures needed to fix Brazil’s budget, deputies and senators are set to spend much of their political energy this year arguing about if and how President Dilma Rousseff should be impeached – and a whole new program of economic reforms could be started from scratch.

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Rousseff Poised to Win on Impeachment, Lose on Brazilian Economy

Arnaldo Galvao – Bloomberg Business, 02/01/2016

Embattled Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff may get a new lease on political life when legislators return to work Tuesday to discuss impeachment proceedings against her. Just don’t expect much help from them on the economy.

Following a six-week recess, much of the fervor surrounding the political crisis has died down, and with it the drive to oust Rousseff. Yet with consumers and businesses battered by a deepening recession, legislators have little appetite for the spending cuts and tax hikes administration officials say are needed to restore investor confidence. That’s especially true ahead of municipal elections in October, party leaders and political analysts said in interviews.

The mood could still sour against Rousseff and upset her chances to stay in office if discord increases within the ruling coalition, unemployment surges or the corruption probe that has rattled Congress expands further. But even the politician who stands to benefit the most from the president’s ouster, Vice President Michel Temer, says the mood in Congress has shifted away from ousting Rousseff, according to the G1 news site

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Exclusive: Brazil Says Zika Virus Outbreak Worse Than Believed

Anthony Boadle, Lisandra Paraguassu, 02/02/2016

Brazil’s top health official said on Monday that the Zika virus outbreak is proving to be worse than believed because most cases show no symptoms, but improved testing should allow the country to get a better grip on the burgeoning public health crisis.

Health Minister Marcelo Castro told Reuters that Brazil will start mandatory reporting of cases by local governments next week when most states will have labs equipped to test for Zika, the mosquito-borne virus that has quickly spread through Latin America. The virus has no vaccine or cure at present.

On Monday, the World Health Organization declared the Zika outbreak to be a global emergency, a decision that should help fast-track international action and research priorities.

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Brazil authorizes forced entry to private property to fight Zika

Pedro Fonseca, Reese Ewing – Reuters, 02/01/2016

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff authorized health officials to enter private properties by force if necessary in an effort to control the spread of the mosquito-borne virus Zika, which the government has dubbed an “imminent danger to public health.”

The presidential decree was published in the government’s official gazette on Monday and allows the forced entry by health officials into public and private properties if they have been abandoned or the owners are not present.

Officials are looking for breeding grounds for mosquitoes that can carry the virus, which has spread rapidly over the Americas and particularly in Brazil. The World Health Organization is meeting on Monday to decide whether to declare a global emergency.

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