Brazil’s Shuttered Anti-Doping Lab

Matt Vasilogambros – The Atlantic, 06/24/2016

Rio de Janeiro may not have an anti-doping laboratory for the Olympic Games this summer.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said Friday it was suspending the city’s accredited laboratory from conducting tests on urine and blood samples due to “non-conformity” with the International Standard for Laboratories. The suspension, which took place Wednesday, will remain in place until the Brazilian Doping Control Laboratory “is operating optimally.” WADA did not specify on the lab’s shortcomings.

Announcing the suspension, Olivier Niggli, the incoming director general of WADA, said:

“The Agency will ensure that, for the time being, samples that would have been intended for the Laboratory, will be transported securely, promptly and with a demonstrable chain of custody to another WADA-accredited laboratory worldwide. This will ensure that there are no gaps in the anti-doping sample analysis procedures; and that, the integrity of the samples is fully maintained.”

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Brazil’s Acting President OKs Transfer of $849 Million to Rio de Janeiro State

Paul Kiernan and Paulo Trevisani – The Wall Street Journal, 06/22/2016

RIO DE JANEIRO—Acting Brazilian President Michel Temer authorized on Tuesday the transfer of 2.9 billion reais ($849.0 million) from the federal government to Rio de Janeiro state, which is struggling with a fiscal crisis less than two months before the Olympic Games.

Rio declared a “public calamity” last week as a result of its deteriorating finances, which have forced deep cuts to crucial services such as education, health care and policing in recent months.

According to a presidential decree published late Tuesday, the transfer is to be used for public security during the Olympics and Paralympics, set to be held in August and September, respectively. But according to a communications official in Brazil’s presidential palace, it should free up funds within Rio’s state budget to pay for other obligations.

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W.H.O. Says Olympics Should Go Ahead in Brazil Despite Zika Virus

The Olympic Games should go on as planned, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, and athletes and spectators, except for pregnant women, should not hesitate to attend so long as they take precautions against infection with the Zika virus.

Pregnant women were advised not to go to Brazil for the event or theParalympics. The W.H.O. previously told them to avoid any area where Zika is circulating.

Some attendees may contract the mosquito-borne infection and even bring it back home, but the risk in August — midwinter in Rio de Janeiro — is relatively low, W.H.O. officials said.

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Jaguar Land Rover opens first fully owned overseas plant in Brazil

Costas Pitas – Reuters, 06/14/2016

Luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) opened a new plant in Brazil on Tuesday, its first fully owned facility outside of Britain, as part of an investment announced before car sales began nosediving in the world’s ninth-largest economy.

The Tata Motors-owned automaker joins rivals such as Volkswagen and General Motors in setting up plants in the nation of 200 million people to circumvent high tariffs on imports and meet rules on locally produced content.

JLR first announced its 240 million pound ($350 million) investment in Brazil in 2013 as the market just ended a decade of growth with subsequent interest rate hikes, crumbling consumer confidence and political turmoil pushing down demand.

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When Rio fails, sister city shows sewage cleanup possible

Jenny Barchfield – The Associated Press, 06/06/16

NITEROI, Brazil (AP) — With thousands of liters of raw human sewage pouring into the ocean every second from Rio de Janeiro, August’s Olympic Games have thrust into the global spotlight the city’s spectacular failure to clean up its waterways and world famous beaches. But just across the Guanabara Bay from Rio, the sister city of Niteroi is showing that a real cleanup is possible.

In Niteroi, 95 percent of sewage is treated and authorities say they are on track for 100 percent within a year, even though Rio’s failure to do its part means that sludge still flows in from across the bay. Rio has not only broken promises made to fix its sewage problem in time for the upcoming Summer Games, but the state has been downplaying expectations, even suggesting it might be 2035 before a full cleanup happens.

Niteroi’s success underscores key factors that stand in stark contrast to Rio: privatization of sewage management, major investment in infrastructure and a high level of accountability and collaboration between the city government and the utility to define targets and meet them.

Brazil Olympic Venues Targeted In Corruption Probe

Brad Brooks – Huffington Post, 05/25/2016

Brazilian investigators have expanded their probe into possible corruption around the staging of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August to include all the venues and services financed with federal funds, a lead prosecutor told Reuters.

Federal investigations have previously focused on “legacy” modernization projects not directly tied to the Games but this newly disclosed probe includes Olympic Park and the Deodoro area where Olympic venues are located, federal prosecutor Leandro Mitidieri said.

“It’s not just the physical works we’re looking at – it is contracts for services, security, everything that used federal funds,” he told Reuters from his Rio de Janeiro office late on Tuesday.

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Road to Rio: Brazil’s troubled path to summer Olympics

Carter Dougherty   – Newsweek, 04/17/16

Pinning business woes on a feckless government can sometimes stretch the bounds of logic, but Robert Mangels can make a pretty persuasive case from where he’s sitting in São Paulo.

The CEO of Mangels Industrial, a metalworking company, Mangels steered his family business into “judicial recuperation”—Brazil’s version of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code’s Chapter 11—in late 2013. He then squeaked through 2015 by paying the firm’s creditors on time and paying careful attention to the bottom line.

Mangels, whose business activities include making aluminum wheels for Toyota vehicles and refurbishing steel propane tanks, watched the Brazilian economy begin to crater in 2014 as prosecutors crept ever closer toward implicating President Dilma Rousseff in an unimaginably wide-ranging corruption scandal that has ensnared dozens of Brazil’s senior politicians. To him, cause and effect appear pretty obvious.

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