Friday, September 30, 2005


Robert Scheidt: 8 times World Champion in sailing

Brazilian Robert Scheidt won, on September 29th, in Fortaleza, Brazil, the eighth World Championship in sailing, Laser class.
Scheidt is the Brazilian athlete with most international success ever; he won three Olympic medals (two golden and one silver) and is now eight times World champion.
Scheidt is now considering whether or not to change categories, moving to class Star, in search of new challenges.

Read the press about Scheidt championship.
Visit Robert Scheidt official site.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Weekly Magazines

For the first time after several months, none of the major Brazilian magazines talks about the political crisis in Brazil.

scandal in Brazilian soccerVeja 1924 brings an exclusive report: the "Whistle Mafia".
The Police caught a referee who was paid by a group of betters to influence the results of some matches; the betters placed bets on (illegal) internet sites. The referee was paid about R$ 15,000 (about US$ 6,000) per match. The betters didn't bet on odd results; instead, they bet only on the favourite team to win the match, the referee being only an extra insurance.
It is certain that at least eleven matches are under suspicion; the Sports Justice in Brazil will analyse each of the match, and some may be nulled. A few teams which already declared that they intend to go to courts to rectify their situtation.

Isto É says "It is possible to be happy".

middle class outlawsÉpoca brings a report on the "Middle class outlaws".
It is a report about the growth of cases of middle class youngster involved in outlaw activies. Most cases are related to traffic of drugs: xtc, anphetamines are produced in Europe and brought into Brazil by young travellers who distribute the drugs among friends and in parties.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Fernando Alonso becomes world champion in Brazil

Fernando Alonso, from Spain, driving a Renault, finished third at the GP Brazil of Formula One, and, at age 24, became the youngest pilot ever to become champion at this racing category (former younger champion was Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi).
The race was won by Juan Pablo Montoya, and Kimi Raikkonen, who was Alonso's only rival, finished second; Alonso admitted that his strategy was scoring enought points to guarantee the championship.
This was the last time that Rubens Barrichello drove a Ferrari in Brazil; next year, Barrichello will move to BAR. Most Brazilians admire Rubens, even though he had never realized the expectations created since early in his career; it is a consensus among public and media that Rubens has more to gain being first pilot at BAR than being secondary pilot at Ferrari.
Next year, Felipe Massa will take Barrichello's place at Ferrari. As several other Brazilian drivers, Massa was champion in all categories he participated, and is an as big a hope as Barrichello was years ago.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Severino Cavalcanti resigns

Severino Cavalcanti resigned today from his office as Federal Deputy.
The owner of the restaurant which operates inside the Parliament premises, who accused Cavalcanti of demanding bribery to renew the contracts, showed this week copies of the cheque (amount of about US$ 2,000) which was withdrawn by a secretary of Severino. This was considered a very strong evidence of Severino's misconducts, and his impeachment was certain. Severino resigned before being impeached, and maintained his rights to run for a new office in 2006; Severino said "the people from Pernambuco know I am not guilty; I will be back".

The President of the Chamber is powerful. He is the one who can speed up, slow down or completely halt proceedings. He decides which drafts of law shall be voted. He decides if an ethical trial (like the many which currently threaten the allies of government) should be carried on or not.
Severino was elected because, early this year, the government tried to impose a politician which had no acceptance among politicians (the government had not been striken by the corruption crisis yet), called Eduardo Greengalg. The oposition launched another candidate. Cavalcanti managed to gain the votes of the Deputies which were not satisfied with neither of the candidates.

Severino will probably enter Brazilian History as the worst President of the Federal Chamber of all times. He openly admitted that he would employ relatives as his advisors; he obliged Lula to give a job to his son in Pernambuco, as manager of the Health system; he openly blackmailed the government to try to appoint a friend of his to "that Division in Petrobrás which drills wells"; he openly advocated that members of Parliament should have a substantial increase in salaries and perks.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Weekly Magazines

Isto E 1875 publishes on the cover that José Janene, a Federal Deputy, would be involved in cases of corruption when he was a politician in Londrina, his home town, by which he would have collected more than R$ 7,700,000 (about U$ 3,5 million).
Janene is also being investigated of having received money from the current corruption scheme, which involves the Federal Government. He is one of the Deputies who shall be ousted by the Congress.

Veja 1923 makes a reference to the Worker's Party: it was made of glass and broke apieces.
The Party conducted elections this last weekend, to elect the new Directory Board. There is a fierce dispute between leftist sectors, which say the Lula's government betrayed the original ideals of the Party, and the pro-government sector, led by ex-Minister José Dirceu.
Veja describes the History of the Party (which turns 25 years old this year), noting how different the original PT was from the PT in the government.

Epoca 383 asks on the cover: "How far will the clean up go"?
Eighteen Deputies were accused by the Probing Comissions, and are likely to loose their offices. One Deputy (Roberto Jefferson) was already ousted. Two Deputies resigned, to avoid being ousted. The magazine says that a few more Deputies may end up resigning or being ousted.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Central Bank lowers interest rates

Brazil cut basic interest rate for the first time, after 17 months.
The Brazilian Central Bank cut the benchmark Selic lending rate 25 points to 19,5% from a two-year high, 19,75%. The rate reduction, the first in 17 months, follows nine rate increases since September 2004 that stemmed a surge in inflation.
The Brazilian government is forecasting a 3,4% growth in 2005 from a several years high of 4,9% in 2004.
Analysts said that a decline in the annual inflation rate to a 15 month low of 6% allowed the Central Bank to begin reducing the benchmark rate.
Brazil's 19,5% benchmark lending rate is more than double the 9,5% benchmark rate in Mexico and the 3,5% rate in the U.S. Brazil will lower its benchmark rate to 18% by yearend, according to a central bank survey of about 100 economists that was released on September 12.
The interest rate gap between Brazil and other countries has lured money to the country's fixed-income market, sparking a rally in the currency. Brazil's real has gained 25% in the past 12 months, helping slow inflation by reducing the cost of imports.
The Brazilian Central bank has targeted 5,1% inflation this year and 4,5% in 2006.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Brazilian Chamber ousts Roberto Jefferson

JeffersonBy a margin of 313 votes for and 156 against, the Brazilian Chamber decided that Roberto Jefferson should loose his office (any decision should be taken by the absolute majority of the 513 Federal Deputies, i.e., 257 votes were necessary).
With the decision, Jefferson lost his political rights for eight years; only in 2015 will he be allowed to run for any political office.
This time, Jefferson was condemned by a political jury. He was charged of accusing other Deputies without presenting evidences, which was considered an anti-ethical behaviour. The Comission of Ethics proposed the expelling of Jefferson, and the Federal Chamber endorsed the proposal.
Jefferson is still being investigated by the Probing Comissions. The conclusion of these Comissions, if crimes are involved, are sent to the Public Prosecution, which may file a criminal suit against Jefferson.
In his last speech, Jefferson thanked all his staff which accompanied him for nearly 24 years, and said that the Congress should spend more efforts in investigating the Executive Power, where, according to him, the focus of the crisis was.
Read Bloomberg's comments on the matter.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Weekly Magazines

Brazilian economy is stronger than the crisisVeja 1922 reads: "Stronger than the crisis". The magazine says that, despite all political turmoil, the Economy keeps showing positive results (inflation decreasing, foreigner commerce growing, perspectives of reduction in interest rates).

Both IstoE 1874 and Epoca 382 show Severino Cavalcanti on the cover page. Last week, Veja published that Severino would have asked money to a restaurant owner in order for him to keep running the business in the premises of the Congress.
On Friday, the owner confirmed, before a Comission, that he paid money to Severino; he described in details how Severino demanded an upfront amount (R$ 40,000) and then monthly payments (R$ 20,000). Severino will probably loose his office.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Paulo Maluf is arrested

Paulo MalufPaulo Maluf, one of the oldest Brazilian politicians, was arrested by the Brazilian Federal Police.
Maluf and his son Flavio were arrested charged of having tried to corrupt a witness.
Maluf started his political career during the dictatorship regime. He was first appointed (by the military) mayor of the city of São Paulo, in the early 70s. Late 70s, he was appointed governor of the State of São Paulo. In the 1980s, he was a Federal Representative. From 1992 to 1996, he was again (this time, by election) mayor of São Paulo. Paulo Maluf was usually referred to as "a politican who steals, but gets things done"; he was responsible for the construction of several roads, bridges and other infrastrucutre, but he always had to respond to accusations of dishonesty.
Prosecutors found some evidences that, during this last term as mayor, Maluf would have negotiated high contracts with large building companies; the companies would be given the contracts at a price way above normal, and in turn would pay briberies to Maluf. The evidences, however, were not enough to put Maluf in jail.
Last week, the police recorded conversations between Maluf, his son Flavio and a dollar dealer in São Paulo, who had the incumbence of sending all the illegal money to banks abroad. In the conversations, Maluf and Flavio offered money to the dealer, provided that he didn´t tell the truth to the authorities.
Maluf was so arrested under the charge of trying to corrupt a witness and obstruct the Justice. The dealer, questioned by the Police, confirmed that he sent millions of dollars to banks outside of Brazil.

Monday, September 05, 2005


Weekly Magazines

IstoÉ 1873: "It´s time to cut heads".
The Investigatory Comissions have been working for nearly two months now, and the names of Representatives who will be expelled are already in the press. The Comissions will propose, in a first moment, that eighteen Deputies loose their offices.

Época #381 brings a photo of the President of the Deputies Chamber, Severino Cavalcanti, and the title "Operação Abafa". This term is used in Portuguese to describe the action of hiding the dirtiness under the rug.
Severino gave interviews suggesting that the Representatives being accused should receive lighter penalties (as light as just a censur) for having received illegal money.

Severino Cavalcanti is also on the cover of Veja.
Veja obtained documents showing that the owner of a restaurant which operates in the premises of the Federal Parliament paid, during a few months, a bribe of R$ 10,000 to Cavalcanti. During that period, Cavalcanti was Secretary of the Federal Chamber, and as such he was in charge of signing and renewing the contracts which allow the operation of restaurants and other services inside the Chamber.
Veja says that the contract was supposed to be finished, and a new bidding to take place. The owner paid the money and Cavalcanti allowed the contract to be renewed.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Brazil wins and qualifies to the World Cup 2006

Brazil won Chile by 5 x 0 today (Sept. 4th) and is qualified to participate in the finals of the World Cup in Germany, 2006. Brazil maintained its tradition, and is the only team to have participated in all finals of the World Cups.
Brazil played with Dida, Cafu, Lucio, Juan, Roberto Carlos; Emerson, Ze Roberto, kaká; Robinho, Ronaldo and Adriano. This is probably the basis of the team which will be in Germany.
Coach Parreira has a "problem", though. He will have to find a place for Ronaldinho, from Barcelona, who didn´t play today because he was suspended. Speaking to Brazilian TVs, Parreira admitted that, out of five players (Kaká, Robinho, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Adriano), only four will play at the same time.
Brazilian fans, who were very happy with the performance of the team, dream with a team where all the five above mentioned will play together.

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