Brazil minister says no plans to cancel Rio Games

Stephen Wade – Associated Press, 02/05/2016

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian organizers have reiterated they have no intention of canceling the Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of the outbreak of the Zika virus, with Sports Minister George Hilton saying the topic “is not in discussion.”

Hilton issued a statement Thursday saying he “lamented material and opinions in the press” speculating that South America’s first Olympics might be called off.

“The Brazilian government is fully committed to ensure that the 2016 Rio games take place in an atmosphere of security and tranquility,” Hilton wrote.

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Rio de Janeiro becomes first city in Brazil to ban Uber

The Guardian, 9/30/2015

The city that hosts next year’s Olympic Games has become the first in Brazil to ban the use of smartphone-based ride-hailing applications like Uber.

Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes on Tuesday signed legislation recently passed by Rio’s city council banning Uber and similar technologies from operating in the city.

“Uber is forbidden,” Paes said after signing the bill. “We are open to discuss the matter, but it is forbidden.” Uber drivers who ignore the ban can be slapped with fines of nearly $500.

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The Child Preachers of Brazil

Samantha Sapiro, New York Times, 6/12/2015 

It was fall in Brazil, and rain drizzled under a gray moon. The faithful were beginning to arrive at the International Mission of Miracles, a Pentecostal church in the poor and working-class

14preachers_ss-slide-KN5J-superJumbo city of São Gonçalo, 10 miles from Rio de Janeiro. In front of the church, which was located between a supermarket and an abandoned lot, a banner staked in the muddy ground advertised a young girl named Alani Santos, whose touch could heal.

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A Little Bit of Luck Is Pricier as Levy Targets Brazil Lotto

David Biller – Bloomberg, 6/10/2015

It just got more expensive to try your luck in Brazil after the lottery fell victim to Finance Minister Joaquim Levy’s austerity measures.

Brazilia1200x-1ns wanting to win a 50 million-reais ($16 million) jackpot in Wednesday’s Mega-Sena lottery drawing will have to pay 40 percent more to play than they did three weeks ago. That’s because the government raised ticket prices on May 24 to boost funding for everything from social programs to the Olympic Committee ahead of next year’s summer games in Rio de Janeiro.

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The Betrayal of Brazil

Michael Smith, Sabrina Valle, Blake Schmidt – BloombergBusiness, 05/08/2015

In mid-2013, Brazilian federal police investigator Erika Mialik Marena noticed something strange.

Alberto Youssef, suspected of running an illicit black-market bank for the rich, had paid 250,000 reais (about $125,000 at the time) for a Land Rover. The black Evoque SUV ended up as a gift for Paulo Roberto Costa, formerly a division manager at Brazil’s national oil company, Petrobras. “We were investigating a money-laundering case, and Petrobras wasn’t our target at all,” says Marena. “Paulo was just another client of his. So we started to ask, ‘Why is he getting an expensive car from a money launderer? Who is that guy?’”

Marena had spent the previous decade building cases against money launderers, and Youssef had been a perennial target. He’d been arrested at least nine times for using private jets, armored cars, clandestine pickups by bagmen, and a web of front companies to move illicit cash. But Youssef had been spared serious jail time by testifying repeatedly against other doleiros, Brazilian slang for specialists in laundering unreported cash.

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Brazil struggles with drought and pollution as Olympics loom large

Matthew Wheeland – The Guardian, 5/4/2015

Amid what is normally considered the rainy season, Brazil, the home of the Amazon River, is suffering from a historic, punishing drought.

In a country accustomed to ample water supplies, neighbors are turning against neighbors and hoarding water as taps run dry while businesses close and protesters take to the streets. Some have even speculated that São Paulo, one of the world’s largest cities, is failing.

The costs of a drought are many – water rationing, fines for consumption and constraints on agriculture and industrial production. But for Brazil, a water shortage also leads to another problem: more than 75% of Brazil’s power comes from hydroelectric sources, making it second only to China in reliance on hydroelectric power.

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Brazilian torture survivor Ines Etienne Romeu dies

BBC News, 4/28/2015

The only survivor of a torture centre where the Brazilian military regime interrogated opponents in the 1970s has died at the age of 72.

Ines Etienne Romeu memorised the names of her abusers and the location of what became known as the House of Death in Petropolis near Rio de Janeiro. Her testimony for Brazil’s Truth Commission was key in exposing human rights abuses under military rule.

In 2003 she survived an attack in her home that left her unable to speak. The intruder was never identified.

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