Monday, May 30, 2005


São Paulo Gay Parade

The São Paulo Gay Parade had, according to the organizers, 2.5 million attendants.
Observers from the Guiness Book were present and, if confirmed, these figures will make the São Paulo event the largest GLS Parade in the world.

The Parade was absolutely peaceful, like in previous years. It is estimated that 700,000 tourists visited the city.
Several booths were assembled to collect signatures in favor of a draft of law which legalizes the civil union between persons of the same genre. Such draft already exists, but it´s dormant in the Congress; if 1,200,000 signatures are collected, the draft will gain priority, and will have to be voted sooner.


Weekly magazines

faith is healtyIsto É #1859 coverpage is: "Faith is healthy".
"Whichever the religion, doctors and scientists admit that spiritual practices help prevent and heal several diseases like hypertension, depression and even cancer".

Época #367 brings the results of a survey showing the profile of the Brazilian today. Based on a few other regional surveys, this work comments on the habits of Brazilians, regarding work, leiseure, love and sex, etc.

the Bomb ManThe cover of Veja #1907 reads "The Bomb Man".
That is a reference to Roberto Jefferson, Federal Deputy, suspicious of being involved with a network of corruption inside the Federal government.
Veja brings new charges against Jefferson; besides the Post Office, Jefferson would have people acting illegaly in the Brazilian Re-Insurance Institute.
Veja also suggests that not only the PTB, Party of Jefferson, but also the very Worker´s Party (Party of the President Lula) would be involved with corruption. The name Bomb Man is a reference to the destructive power that Jefferson (and whatever he knows about corruption inside the government) can have against Lula.

Friday, May 27, 2005


Ronaldo wants vacation

Ronaldo, from Real Madrid, was summoned to defend the Brazilian team at the Confederation Cup, to be played in Germany this coming August.
Because this is an official tournament, endorsed by FIFA, the Brazilian Confederation CBF decided to bring its full force to Germany; only Cafu and Roberto Carlos (rumours say that because of their ages) were released.
This tournament will happen during the vacation period of the European season; Ronaldo says that he has been a long time without vacation, and would like to take a rest this year.
Wanderley Luxemburgo, coach of Real Madrid, and Roberto Carlos, his team fellow, support Ronaldo; read here.

The problem is that the Brazilian Confederation takes this tournament much more seriously than the players. Not only Brazil never won this Cup, but also never had a more than mediocre participation; hence, the interest of the Brazilian Confederation in a good performance this year.
On the other hand, the players want to save themselves for the World Cup 2006, which will happen just one year from now. The Confederation Cup doesn´t bring enough projection for already famous players.

Americo Farias, a director of CBF, openly threatened Ronaldo, saying that "players who want to defend Brazil in a World Cup must be available to defend the team at anytime".

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Probing Comission was created

Yesterday, the President of the Congress declared to be created a Probing Comission to investigate corruption in the Postal Service company.
The Comission will be composed by Senators and Deputies; in Portuguese, the Comission is called Comissão Parlamentar Mista de Inquérito.
The Government tried hard to prevent the Comission; all the newspapers yesterday mentioned the efforts of Ministers to persuade Deputies and Senators to remove their signatures from the document that supports the CPI; however, many members of Worker´s Party and other ally parties maintained their support.

The Government still sees conspiratory theories behind the Comission.
Now, the Government will use other tactics to slow down investigation. First, they will use all the thirty days allowed by law to appoint the representatives in the Comission; then, by carefully choosing representatives who are experienced and who faithful to the government, the hope is that the investigations will not so deep and wide as to cause scandals.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Another Minister will be investigated

The Supreme Federal Court accepted the denounce against the Minister of Social Security, Romero Jucá.
Jucá is charged, among other things, of using fraudulent methods to obtain loans from official banks.
Read other charges against Jucá.

Monday, May 23, 2005


Lula to visit Korea and Japan

President Lula will be visiting Korea and Japan this week.
Lula is going to try to increase trading and to attract new investments to Brazil. The entourage includes the Ministers of Finances, Development and Energy, and the governors of Brazilian States of Ceará and Rio Grande do Sul.
Other Ministers were scheduled to travel, but had to stay in Brazil trying to persuade their Party members to not support the Probing Comission of the Correios.


Weekly magazines

corruption in BrazilThe cover of Veja issue 1906 brings the image of a rat and the word "Corrupts".

corruptionEpoca, which is turning five years old this week, also brings the word "Corruption".

Both Epoca and Veja talk about the cases of corruption which gained the headlines the past week: the Post Office affair, the Rondonia affair, and the operation of Federal Police which arrested several people (including Mayors) in the State of Alagoas, charged of stealing money which should go to schools and health centers.

Church corruptionIsto E 1858 published a denounce against the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (Universal Church of the Reign of God). This is the largest and fastest growing Evangelic Church in Brazil; they have affiliates in many countries (including USA); it was founded and is led so far by Edir Macedo. Their believers elected a few Representatives in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate.
Isto E published documents showing that Marcelo Crivella, priest of the Church, nephew of Macedo´s, Senator for the State of Rio de Janeiro, conducted several irregular operations involving the funds of the Church.
The money collected from donations would have been sent illegally to the Cayman Islands, and would have returned illegally for the purchase of TV Record, one of the many broadcasting companies which belong to the Church.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Government tries to stop Probing Comission

The opposition parties managed to obtain support among Deputies and Senators to establish a Probing Comission to investigate the corruption in the state owned Postal Service company (see entry of May 16th below).

The Government alleges that the Police and the Public Prosecution are already doing their jobs, and therefore a Probing Comission wouldn´t be necessary.
The Government is trying to persuade Deputies and Senators who signed in for the Comission to retreat their support. This article by O Globo says that the government is using the federal budget to convince Deputies; this happens because in Brazil the government has flexibility to execute the budget.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Central Bank increases interest rate

The Central Bank of Brazil increased the basic interest rate from 19.5% to 19.75% per year.
Read the note of Central Bank of Brazil about interest rates.

The graph below shows the curve of the interest rates since the beginning of government Lula.

interest rates in Brazil

The Central Bank and the market forecast an inflation for 2005 of about 6.3%, above the inflation target, of 5.1%; this would be the main reason to lead to the increase in rates.

Brazil has, by far, the highest real interest rate in the world (real interest rate = nominal rate - inflation). According to O Globo, Brazil has a rate of 13.6% per year, while the second highest, Turkey, is just 6.6%.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Turmoil in Rondonia over a tape showing corruption

On 16th May, Brazilian TV exhibited contents of a video tape showing State Deputies trying to blackmail the Governor of Rondonia.
Besides trying this blackmail, the Deputies managed to get an injunction to prevent the exhibition of the tape in the State of Rondonia.
Revolted, the population besieged the Parliament and the Tribunal in Rondonia.
Read more about corruption in Rondonia.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Gender Gap Survey

A study by the World Economic Forum showed that, among 57 countries surveyed, Brazil ranks 51st in what concerns equality of opportunities between men and women.
Read more here.

Monday, May 16, 2005


France wins I World Cup of Beach Soccer

France won yesterday, May 15th, the first World Cup of Beach Soccer, played in Copacabana, Brazil.

Brazil won many World Championships of beach soccer; click here to read more.
However, this was the first time that FIFA endorsed this sport, and hence this was the first time that a World Cup was organized.

In the final match, France beat Portugal in the penalties decision, after a tie 3 x 3 in the match.
Brazil, which had been defeated by Portugal in the semi-final, won Japan and finished 3rd.
Brazil played with its full force, but was beaten by a better Portugal. Romário, who is about to retire from professional football, started his career as a beach player; he says that he is willing to play the coming editions.
Read report by o Globo about the I World Cup of Beach Soccer.


Cover of weekly magazines

Época brings an article about the affair Ronaldo and Cicarelli.

The cover of IstoÉ reads: "Forget about aging". Inside, a report about new products and therapys which promise to rejuvenate men and women up to ten years.

The cover of Veja brings a photo of a famous Brazilian actor, Raul Cortez, who fought and won a battle against cancer. The report mentions the progress of science in the battle against the disease, showing several cases where the number of cured patients increased.
However, the most important report of Veja is not on the cover: Veja obtained recorded video-tapes which shows a Director of the Brazilian Post Service blatantly accepting bribing and talking about corruption.
As it happens with most State owned companies, the Board of Directors is appointed by the President of Republic, by indication of political parties; in this case, the Director was indicated by the PTB (Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro).
The Director was recorded putting R$3,000.00 cash into is pocket. He went on to say that this money would go to the Party; that the President of the Party and all other dignitaries were aware of the "contribution"; that all other people indicated by the Party to other state-companies would do the same.
The bribe was being paid because a company wanted to become a seller of services to the Correios; Brazil has a strict legislation regarding government contracts, but the Director said that corruption could make things easier. The tape was recorded by this same company, which setup a sting to denounce the corruption.
Full report at Veja issue #1905, May 18th 2005.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Garotinho is condemned for electoral crime

The couple Rosinha Garotinha (governor of State of Rio de Janeiro) and her husband Anthony Garotinho (ex-governor of the same State) were condemned yesterday by Judge Denise Appolinária for having commited electoral crimes.
In the elections for Mayor last year, the Garotinhos were giving support to the candidate of their Party, PMDB, to the government of the city of Campos (this is the city where Garotinho gained political projection, and winning here was a matter of honour to him).
According to the Judge, Garotinho used public resources to try to gain votes for his candidate (which, in the end, was not elected). Garotinho gave away food baskets, school kits, citizen-checks (a welfare assistance aid regulated by law); moreover, they promised to sell houses for R$1, to potential electors; furthermore, about R$ 318.000 (over US$ 100,000) in cash were found at the headquarters of the Party, which should be used to pay for votes.
Read articles about Garotinho here and here.

The Garotinhos are going to appeal. If the sentence of the Judge is connfirmed by a Superior Tribunal, they will be forbidden to run for any political position until 2007.
Anthony Garotinho is an important potential candidate to Presidency in 2006. Besides having his wife as governor of Rio, Garotinho is a leader among the Evangelists in Brazil. Recent surveys have shown that Garotinho may be the difference between Lula winning or not a re-election for Presidency.

Friday, May 13, 2005


President of Central Bank to be prosecuted

Last year, some of the major Brazilian magazines found evidences that the President of Central Bank, Henrique Meirelles, would have commited two crimes: sending money from Brazil to USA via illegal channels; giving false statements to the Electoral Justice and to the Brazilian IRS, so as to, at the same time, run for the Chamber of Deputies (to which he was elected, but had to resign to take office at the Central Bank) and not to pay taxes in Brazil.
Late last year, President Lula issued a Provisional Measure, giving to the President of Central Bank the status of a Minister. As such, Meirelles could only be prosecuted by the Supreme Court, and not by the first entry of Justice. The opposition disputed the Measure, but the Supreme Court declared it to be constitutional.
As soon as the Measure was issued, the Attorney General (the only competent party in such cases) required the prosecution of Meirelles. Yesterday, the Supreme Court agreed with the prosecution; the Court authorized the breaking of fiscal and banking secrecy of Meirelles.
The opposition asks for Meirelles demotion or resignation, at least while investigation lasts. President Lula says he won´t dismiss Meirelles, and Meirelles says he won´t resign.

The report by o Globo on this subject is here:
President of Central Bank of Brazil to be prosecuted

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Ronaldo and Cicarelli break up

The PR staff of both parties declared: Ronaldo and Daniela Cicarelli are no longer a couple.
They met in June of last year. They got married in February. Daniela got pregnant, but suffered spontaneous abortion two weeks ago.

From the start, the affair generated several rumors. Cicarelli prevented Ronaldo from meeting old friends. Close relatives of Ronaldo´s were not invited to the wedding, by imposition of Cicarelli. According to this report, Ronaldo was upset because Daniela met ex-boyfriends in a party, and also because "Daniela was talking too much about money". MireiaOther rumors say that Ronaldo would be seeing Spanish model Mireia Canalda (photo).
After the marriage, Ronaldo remained in Madri, and Cicarelli in São Paulo, where she presents a program at the local MTV. They would meet only when their busy schedules permited. Daniela was alone when she suffered the abortion.

Rumors now talk about what Daniella will get out of the marriage.
It´s known that a pre-nupcial contract was signed.
Some rumors go that, according to the contract, Daniela will have only one (large) apartment.
Other rumors say that Daniela will have Euros 4.5 million.


The Brasilia Declaration

At the end of the Summit, countries signed the Declaration of Brasilia.
Main points of the Declaration: support to the Palestinian cause (including the retreating of Israeli troops from Arab areas); support to democratization in Iraq; support to Argentina, in its pretention of sovereignity over the Falkland islands.
Check out the full text, in several languages, of the Declaration of Brasilia.

In an interview, President Lula was asked whether the presence of non-democratic Arab countries would have prevented the Declaration from mentioning more explicity the need of Democracy everywhere in the world. President Lula answered that the definition of Democracy was relative, and, as such, a mention to one-sided view of Democracy could not be imposed to the other parties.
Read more about the repercussions here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Summit of Arab and South American countries

Today, in Brasilia, President Lula will open the Summit of Arab and South American countries.
The Summit aims at improving commercial and diplomatic relations among the countries.
To attend the Summit, the Chiefs of Arab countries imposed tight security measures; this caused the traffic system of Brasilia to collapse, and the civil servants were dismissed from work today.
The Summit will last today and tomorrow only.

Monday, May 09, 2005


Cover of weekly magazines

The cover of Veja is a report about "Life after Death"; the Espiritism is growing in Brazil, and a few personalities are mentioned as believers of this religion. Veja brings also an article about a survey made by order of the President of the Supreme Court, Nelson Jobim which should be the most complete portray of the Judiciary System in Brazil; according to Jobim, the survey should put apart the cases where inefficiency is due to lack of resources, and where it is due to a bad management.

Época brings a potential scandal in the cover; the headline is "Laws for Sale in Brazil". The case: Fiat, the Italian based car maker, was owing several hundred millions to the Brazilian Revenue Service (Receita Federal); Fiat lost all appeals, in administrative and Judiciary courts. Then, according to Época, Fiat hired lawyers with connections inside the Receita, and these lawyers and connections managed to come up with a Provisional Measure which would provide amnesty to debtors in the Fiat´s situation. With this, Fiat saved R$ 643 million; the report says that the lawyers and the then sub-chief of Receita were paid R$ 12.8 million. Read the Época´s article: Laws for Sale in Brazil.

Isto É main article talks about how to be a competitive profissional in today´s corporative life.

Friday, May 06, 2005


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