Monday, October 31, 2005


Weekly Magazines

Veja 1929: "Dollars from Cuba to Lula's campaign".
dollars from Cuba
The magazine interviewed Rogério Buratti and Vladimir Poleto, former advisors of Finances Minister Antonio Palocci, when he was mayor of Ribeirão Preto (large city in the interior of São Paulo). Both said that they would have helped Ralf Barquete, also Palocci's ex-advisor, to bring (illegally) a large amount of cash, in dollar bills, from Cuba to the treasurer of the Worker's Party, Delúbio Soares. Buratti says it was US$ 3 million, Poleto says US$ 1,4 million.
The Brazilian legislation forbids a Political Party from receiving funds from any foreigner entity. The infringent Party may be shut down.
The investigation should be difficult, because Ralf Barquete died of cancer last year.

Isto É: "Cease fire is over".
Government and Oposition, who had been quieter the past weeks, went at war again.
The Government charges the PSDB of also being involved with Marcos Valério (Senator Eduardo Azeredo, who acknowledges that his campaign was funded by Valério, but denies any misconduct, was forced to resign from the Presidency of PSDB) and his corruption scheme.
The Oposition charges the government of trying to create smokes and mirrors to hide the corruption and incompetence in Lula's government.

Época: "The New Intelligence". The magazine explains how to activate the mind and improve intelligence.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Leaders of Landless sentenced to jail

Judge Mauricio Ferreira Fontes sentenced yesterday four leaders of the MST - Movimento dos Sem Terra (Landless Movement) to serve ten years in jail, with no bail out. The list of sentenced includes José Rainha Júnior, one of the main leaders of the movement, who has already been arrested in the past.
The charge against them was to occupy and damage private properties. MST routinely invades farms they consider unproductive; while occupying the farms, MST members usually kill livestocks and harvest the crops to feed themselves. When a judicial order comes, they leave the place, but do not respond for the damages.
Only one of the convicted leaders was jailed. Rainha and two others are running. Their lawyers is preparing an appeal.
Read what O Globo wrote about the arrest of MST leaders.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Brazilians reject gun sales ban

On Oct. 23rd, Brazilians had to vote in a referendum, answering to the question: "Should the sales of guns and ammunition be banned?".
Nearly 22% of Brazilians didn't vote (even though it is a duty). About 64% of the voters answered "NO", and 36% answered "YES".
Read what BBC said about the gun sales ban.

Specialists say that the main reason to explain the result is the disbelief of the population in the State, which has not been capable of providing efficient public security services; read this article on O Globo about this (quick registration required).
With this result, the commerce of weapons is legal, but many restrictions apply to those who want to buy a gun: one must be older than 25 y.o., must have a clean police record, must pass in psychological and technical exams, *must prove the necessity of having a gun*. It is still to be regulated how one can prove his necessity of having a gun; some people said (particularly those who defended the NO) that the legislation is already tight enough, having a gun legally is already very difficult in Brazil.
The possession of guns is regulated by Law 10826, Dec. 22 2003. Only one article of the law was put to referendum by the population. All other articles remain in force. This page by the Ministry of Justice presents some FAQ about disarmament in Brazil.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Weekly Magazines

solutions against crimeVeja 1928: "Seven proven solutions against crime".
Veja defended the vote NO in the referendum (meaning: Veja was against the prohibition of sales of weapons).
Now, Veja proposes seven solutions that, much more than the prohitibion, would help combat criminality in Brazil.
Veja proposes: 1) providing professional education to youngsters; 2) arrest criminals and keep them arrested; 3) close bars early and create communitary police; 4) combat corruption in the police; 5) provide training and better equipment to the police; 6) improve the efficiency of Jusice; 7) combat the usage of drugs (instead of the traffic).

Pelé turns 65 years oldEpoca 388: "Pelé tells it all".
Pelé turned 65 years old last Sunday, October 23rd 2005. In an interview to Época, Pelé reveals how he views his life today, and what he plans to do in his soon to come retirement.
It's a very interesting interview, because it touches in many aspects of the private life of Pelé, and he didn't refuse to answer anything. He spoke about his relationships with his sons and daughters ("I didn't care about his education as much as I should have", he said about his son Edinho, who was arrested a short ago for association with traffic of drugs) and his business (Epoca says that Pelé has US$ 40 million in assets, less than Ronaldo, who's got US$ 140 million).
Time permitting, I will make a translation available.

Isto É: "The risk of a super-epidemy". A report about the bird flu, with its potential effects in Brazil and the world.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Central Bank cuts interest rate

The Central Bank of Brazil cut today the basic interest rate in fifty basis points, to 19.00 % per annum.
Projected inflation for the next twelve months is between 3 and 6%. Brazilian real interest rate is still, by far, the highest in the world.
Because of this high rate, the influx of hot money is high, and the real grows stronger and stronger against the dollar. This week, the Real course is around R$ 2,30 per dollar.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Weekly Magazines

Celso Daniel murderingVeja 1927: "A Ghost Daunts PT".
A long report about the murdering of Celso Daniel, ex-mayor of the city of Santo André, near São Paulo, and important affiliate of PT, Worker's Party.
Daniel was killed early in 2003, when he was mayor. He was kidnapped and showed up dead two days ago. Initial investigations concluded that it was a common crime: murderers were arrested and would have confessed the crime.
However, over time, a growing aura of mistery surrounded the crime.
First, it was found out that the man who was driving the car when Daniel was kidnapped, a long time friend of Daniel's and owner of bus companies in Santo André, was involved with a corruption scheme; some people, including the brothers of wife of Celso Daniel, charged that ex-friend of having ordered the murder, because Daniel would be cracking down on the scheme. Furthermore, these people accused some high members of PT, including ex-Minister José Dirceu, of not only being aware of the scheme, but also of being beneficiary of the proceeds of the scheme.
Then, for a few months, there was a clash over the way the investigations should go: the Worker's Party clearly defended the conclusion of a common crime, and wanted to close the case; the family defended the hypothesis of political crime, and wanted further investigation.
And last, the strangest part: since the murdering, seven witnesses related to the case have been killed. One of the confessed murderers was killed in prison. Waiters who would have served the mayor at the night of the crime were killed. Last week, a forensic doctor, who, against superior orders, said that the mayor had been tortured before being shot (which would evidence that murderers wanted him to say something, which, according to the police, is an evidence of political crime), appeared misteriously dead at his office (police will investigate whether he was murdered or commited suicide).
Against all evidences, PT refuses to recognize the murder as a political crime (BTW, in 2003, right after the murder, before denounces of the involvement of PT, Lula and other leaders said the case was clearly a case of political crime) and the charges of corruption in Santo André (which, if existing, would operate in a similar scheme to the much more covered federal scandal).

Isto É: "How to keep healty spending less money"

Época: "Stress x Heart". How the daily stress is harmful to one's heart.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Drought in the Amazon

The Brazilian Amazon is seeing the worst dry spell in 60 years.
Read this excellent report, by the Times, about drought in the Amazon.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Outbreak of aftose fever in Brazil

The Ministry of Agriculture confirmed today that an outbreak of aftose fever was detected in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul. The disease does not affect humans, but spreads very easily among cattle. In consequence, more than 30 countries have already halted imports of beef from Brazil (Brazil is the largest beef exporter in the world).
Rumours published by the Brazilian news go that the Ministry of Agriculture Roberto Rodrigues declared that he had alerted about this risk about a year ago; the then Minister of Planning, Guido Mantega, would have refused to release more funds to prevent the disease.
Read more.


Weekly Magazines

Nature limitsVeja 1925: "The Earth and its Limits". The magazine mentions several examples where man is abusing Nature, pushing beyond limits.

myths about weaponsEpoca 386: "Ten myths about weapons".
The magazine continues the report of previous week, bringing information about the Referendum on disarmament which will happen on Oct. 23rd.

Isto É: "Seven reasons to vote NO, Seven reasons to vote YES". Also a reference to the referendum.

Friday, October 07, 2005


A river and a bishop: a new Constitutional Amendment is on its way

People often ask why the Brazilian Constitution is amended so often (48 amendments since October 5th 1988).

The Federal government decided to invest a massive amount of cash to divert the course of River São Francisco. This river is the most important in the Brazilian northeast; in a semi-arid zone, where most rivers dry out during the drought season, the São Francisco is a blessed source of water, for human drinking, farms and power generation.
The project is controversial. Among several parties who disagree with the project (mostly from States which would loose part of the water flow), there was a bishop from Cabrobó, in the interior lands of Pernambuco.
The bishop started a hunger strike which lasted for about eleven days. He wanted the President of the Republic to halt the entire project, for "further discussions".
On October 6th, the President sent a Minister to talk to the bishop. The bishop was persuaded by the Minister, and finished his hunger strike. Read a BBC report on the case.
What did the Minister promise to the bishop? (see report by O Globo) : 1) Further discussions (before the project is started). 2) A personal meeting with the President. 3) A Constitutional Amendment, by which the government commits to invest R$ 300 million (about US$ 140 million) per year over the next twenty years to revitalize the river.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Weekly Magazines

disarmament in BrazilVeja 1925: "7 reasons to vote NO".
On October 23rd, Brazilians shall vote in a referendum about disarmament.
The question to be answered is "Shall the commerce of weapon and ammunition be prohibited in Brazil?".
Veja was the first (and so far, only) big media source to defend the vote for NO. The magazine cites statistics and other juridical reasons to defend the idea that the prohibition would bring more harms than benefits to Brazilian society.

Época also brings a report about the disarmament, with the title "Understand it, before voting". The magazines lists the pros and cons of each option, without taking a clear position.

IstoÉ brings a report about "The Drama of the First Job". The magazine describes how young workers are having more and more trouble to find their first jobs.

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