Monday, February 27, 2006


Weekly Magazines

Only light themes this week. Brazil is getting ready for carnival. Economy and politics slow down.

quality of lifeIsto É: "Quality of Life".
The holiday season is nearly over. Isto É publishes some tips on how to maintain the Quality of Life of vacations even during day to day routine. The article had a contribution from the Brazilian Association for Quality of Life.
The magazine published the following nine rules for a high Quality of Life: take care of the sexual life; have daily pleasures (take a walk, do nothing, skydive, whatever you like); have time for yourself; exercize the body; keep a healthy nutrition; don't demand too much from yourself; see the doctor regularly; keep good relationships; develop the spirituality.

Veja: "Ambition". Veja investigates causes and consequences of why some people are more ambitious (success driven) than others.

Epoca: "Are we all hyper active?". Report on a survey which researched the causes of brain hyper activity.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Brazilian economy grew 2.3% in 2005

IBGE, the official Brazilian statistics Institute, announced today that Brazilian economy grew 2.3% in 2005; in 2004, the growth had been 4.9%.
In 2005, the average growth of the world economy was 4.6%; in Latin American, only Haiti grew less than Brazil, with an expansion of 1.5%.

In 2005, when consumer price indexes closed around the 6% mark, and general indexes closed around 3% (the lowest in decades), the average basic interest rate was 19.5%. Also the dollar, which reached almost R$ 4 in 2002, finished 2005 around R$ 2.20. Tax burden, according to specialists, also increased another bit.

High interest rates, unfavorable currency value, more taxes, less government spendings; all these factors contributed to less investments, less foreigner trading, less spendings.
The number didn't surprise the markets.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Brazilian banks have record profits

The major Brazilian banks had had record profits in 2004. In 2005, they all set new records. The state-run Caixa Econômica Federal and Banco do Brasil, along with private banks Bradesco, Itaú and Unibanco (in this order, the three largest private banks), all reported record gains in financial operations, fees and interest charges.

Bradesco, Brazil's biggest bank, had the biggest profits in Latin America: US$2.566 billion (R$5,514 billion), an increase of 80% over 2004. Bradesco's loan portfolio was worth US$37.7 billion (R$81.1 billion), up 29.2% for the year.

Itau had profits of US$2.444 billion (R$5.251 billion), up 39%. Itau's loan portfolio rose to US$31.511 billion (R$67.7 billion). Unibanco had profits of US$851.8 million (R$1.83 billion).

As for the big state-run banks, Banco do Brasil's profits were up 37.4% to US$1.95 billion (R$4.2 billion) and the CEF had its biggest profits ever at US$1.256 billion (R$2.07 billion), up 46%. Banco do Brasil is a mixed capital corporation (with shares traded in the Stocks, but the government keeps control), whereas CEF is entirely owned by the government.

Monday, February 20, 2006


Weekly Magazines

Gospel according to JudasEpoca: "The Gospel according to Judas".
Época was the only major media news to bring the subject to the headlines.
Being a predominantly Catholic country, Judas is seen as the biggest betrayor in History. Epoca says that documents found in Egypt by a collector may the Gospel of Judas; among other shocking revelations, this Gospel says that Judas didn't betray Christ, that Christ forgave Judas and Judas wouldn't have commited suicide.
The documents are being translated into English, German and French, and are due to be revealed to the world around the Eastern.
Read this Washington Post article about the Gospel of Judas.

Veja: "Plasma or LCD".
The market for TV sets with new technologies is growing fast in Brazil. Veja explains the differences between LCD and Plasma screens. Also, Brazil is about to officially anounce which standard of digital TVs the country will adopt; the choices are American, European and Japanese standards; there are strong lobbies from all groups.
Currently, the standard for analogic TVs in Brazil is PAL-M, a variation from European PAL. Most TVs today, though, are compatible with American NTSC. PAL-M is better than PAL, which is much better than NTSC; colors in NTSC are not realistic and change often - some say that NTSC stands for Never Twice the Same Color.

Isto É: "Mommy, don't go to work".
Mothers in Brazil, like everywhere else, have to conciliate career and children education. Isto É published a report ont his matter.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Petrobras announces record profits

Petrobras, the largest corporation in Brazil, announced yesterday that their profits in 2005 reached R$ 23.7 bn, up from R$ 16.8 bn in 2004.
Considering that the exchange rate on Dec. 31st was US$ 1 = R$ 2.34, that profit converts into a little more than US$ 10 bn. This was, again, the biggest profit of a Latin America corporation; Petrobras had also had the biggest profit in LA in 2004 and 2003.
The increase in profit had two main reasons: the increase in production of oil and gas (1.9 million barrels of oil a day, up from 1.8 million in 2004) and the increase of oil prices in the international market.
Petrobras is traded in the Stocks Exchange, but the Federal Government still retains control. Since after Petrobras lost the monopoly, in 1998, the company has been following market practices; one consequence of this is that gasoline prices in Brazil now follow international prices; in Feb. 2006, one liter of gasoline costs about US$ 1.1 (varies from State to State).
Read more: article by O Globo (in Portuguese)
Article by Reuters (in English)

Friday, February 17, 2006


Supreme Court: Judges must dismiss relatives working with them

Last year, the newly created National Council of Justice determined that Judges could not appoint their own relatives to occupy trusting position in their own courts (most civil servants in Brazil must go through an admission process; only the servants in trusting positions may be freely appointed, in the cases determined by law).
This decision by the CNJ was acclaimed by Brazilian population. It was not uncommon to see a Judge employing his wife, sons, daughters, in-laws and parents to occupy positions in his staff, under the argument that "he should trust that person". The salaries of such positions are usually high, and because the boss is a close relative, the jobs are far from being physically or mentally demanding.
Many (most) Judges disputed the NCJ decision. Of course, nobody said they wanted to increase the familiar income, but that the decision was an interference in the free functioning of the Judiciary Power. Many Courts refused to comply with NCJ, alleging they were waiting for a final decision from the Supreme Court. On Feb. 16th, the Supreme Court sentenced that the NCJ decision must be obeyed; ten Justices voted, nine in favor of the NCJ, one (Marco Aurélio) against.


Rolling Stones and U2 in Brazil

The Rolling Stones will be playing in Copacabana on February 18th; this is the third time the band will perform in Brazil (they had been here in 1995 and 1998).
The good thing is that this time the show will be for free for the audience; the city of Rio de Janeiro paid (so say the rumors) US$ 500,000 for the show.
There will be only one performance, starting around 10 pm (Rio de Janeiro time), right on the beach of Copacabana; organization expects 1.5 million attendants. Globo, the largest Brazilian media group, will broadcast the show live on TV (and probably on the internet).
From BBC: The Stones' Love Affair with Brazil; BBC says that Mick Jagger had a son with Brazilian model Luciana Gimenez; thanks to this affair with Jagger, Luciana became somewhat famous and is now hostess of a not much popular TV show; visit her website.

Another big band playing in Brazil is the U2, which will perform two shows in the Morumbi stadium, in São Paulo, on the 20th and 21st of February; actually, only one show was scheduled, but because of the high demand another day was arrange.
It was difficult to organize the selling of the about 75,000 tickets for each show (read BBC); this blog informs that people were lining up in front of the gates since Friday, the 17th, to secure a good place to watch the show; also, the blog says that tickets were being sold in the black market for R$ 500 (about US$240), which is more than the monthly Brazilian minimum wage (currently at R$300).
TV Globo will also broadcast the show live (possibly in the internet as well).

Monday, February 13, 2006


Weekly Magazines

Rolling Stones in Brazil
Istp É: "Rolling Stones".
The Rolling Stones will play in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on February 18th. The magazine recalls the History of the band, which played in Brazil in 1995 and 1998.

Epoca 404: "Who said that Lula was dead?"
A survey shows that President Lula is recovering his popularity ratings; Lula started 2005 as favorite to the 2006 elections; along the year, with the succession of corruption cases, Lula lost much of his popularity.
According to the survey, published by Epoca, if Lula and José Serra (the runner up in the 2002 elections) were candidates, there would be tied (there is a slight advantage to Serra, but within the margin error).

Veja: "The Truth about Diet and Health".
Veja lists which kinds of food are healthy for each kind of people.

Monday, February 06, 2006


Weekly Magazines

FHC : PT is dishonestIsto É #1894: "FHC: The Ethos of PT is Stealing".
Isto É published an interview with ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
FHC criticized the government of Lula and his Party, the PT. According to FHC, Lula wants to compare results in economic and social fields, in an attempt to hide the many denounces of corruption and dishonesty.
To FHC (and many other people, btw), Lula seems not to care whether or not his Ministors and advisors are caught in corruption acts; in the past (while not in government), PT used to say that they were the only honest Party in Brazil; today, they say that "there are no evidences" (in their eyes) of corruption.
The interview, as expected, caused turmoil among the government leaders, but no judicial action was taken.

Veja #1942: "Clash of Civilizations"
The magazine discusses the causes and effects of the current state of war between the Western world and the Muslim world.

Epoca: "Depression"
An article about depression. Epoca discusses pros and cons of different treaments, like prozac and meditation.

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