AUGUST 2004 CONTENTS:
 

PSDB, Brazil's Comeback Party
With municipal elections getting near, Brazil's PSDB party is
showing great potential in several state capital mayor races
throughout the country. In Brazil's largest city, São Paulo, the PSDB
candidate José Serra is tied for first place against Marta Suplicy
from the PT. In a run-off election Serra should be the winner.
by Daniel Torres

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Damn the Drummer, Where's the Composer?
For drummer Deppenschmidt to suggest that he be given credit for the Jazz Samba project at this stage in the game, let alone bring suit in a court of law over it is, in my view, a highly debatable issue that flies in the face of the most inescapable element of all: the qualities of bossa nova itself and those of its creators.
by Joe Lopes

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Embraer, a Brazilian Shining Example
Government administrations in Brazil need to get rid of the habit of destroying what their predecessors started, changing names and ideas of projects every time power changes hands. They need to learn that only through decades of continuity successful projects, which will make the nation proud, can be carried out.
by Cristovam Buarque

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William Taught Me All I Needed About Brazil
In the Brazilian Northeast, a land haunted by deserts, the parties, the music, and the poetry never end. You will find many good souls, and you will hear stories about men and women that once walked this land. The people who told me stories that made me weep would make sure that at the end of the day I was smiling.
by Nicholas Arons

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In Brazil, Dictatorship Is Back
Brazil's President Lula is intent on building a brilliant and lasting career. He has proposed the Federal Council of Journalism, to get a better grip on those "coward journalists" who don't have the guts to back projects from his administration. The prototype, for comparison purposes, is the Ethics National Commission… from Cuba.
by Janer Cristaldo

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Brazil: Blame It on Neoliberalism
Brazil is at a crossroads, according to João Pedro Stédile, a leader of Brazil's Landless Movement. For him it was not enough that Brazilians voted against neoliberalism when electing President Lula. Neoliberalism, he says, is still present in the press, in the government, in the universities, even in grade schools and high schools.
by Mauricio Hashizume

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Brazil: More Power to Quilombos
Quilombos are rural Afro-Brazilian communities that originated in the 17th century with the rebellion of African slaves in Brazil. Today there are still more than 1,000 of these groups throughout the country. The government is starting to demarcate and secure ownership of the land to the people who live there now.

by Adital

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Brazil Sees Death Squad in Homeless Massacre
A 2003 study by Brazil's Economic Research Institute Foundation shows that over ten thousand homeless in São Paulo sleep in the city's streets, squares, underpasses, thoroughfares, cemeteries, and shelters. Fifteen of them have been severely beaten while sleeping. Six died and the others are in critical condition.
by Juliana Cézar

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Brazil: A Decade-Long Lynching
In 1993, the weekly magazine Veja made an error, falsely accusing House Representative Ibsen Pinheiro of improprieties he never committed. That article ruined Pinheiro's career and reputation. Eleven years later, another magazine, Isto É, is uncovering the truth. The real story, however, is the conspiracy that lasted a decade.
by Alberto Dines

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Brazil: Lula's Friends Have License to Kill
If Brazil's Central Bank president becomes an insurmountable liability, be it for the series of accusations or not, what does the future hold for him? Should that turn out to be the case he would be named Brazilian ambassador to a country of great magnitude; and he would return to politics in time for the 2006 elections.
by Carlos Chagas

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Brazil Grows Despite High Interests
Some Brazilian economists are optimistic about Brazil's prospects for this and next year. Companies are investing again. For 2005, the key question will be investment. Infrastructure, such as roads, ports, and energy, will demand urgent solution from the part of the government and from Public-Private Partnerships.
by Edla Lula

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Brazil's Quilombos to Become Legal
Brazil's 1988 Constitution acknowledges the rights of quilombo communities, rural villages founded by blacks who were slaves. There are over one thousand of them throughout the country, but only 29 have received property deeds. Quilombos have their own customs, which differ from the rest of Brazil.
by Pedro Malavolta

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Linux Friendly Brazil
Twenty percent of all computers used by the Brazilian ministries are running Linux and other open source software. In a few months this number should grow to 100 percent. Through its Digital Inclusion Program Brazil wishes to democratize the use of computers. Government telecenters are being created throughout Brazil.
by Leonardo Stavale

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Brazil's Doleiros: A Breed in Extinction?
Brazil's Federal Police are in the midst of a national crackdown on doleiros, illegal money changers and sometimes trusted personal bankers. According to police, the doleiros received dirty money in Brazil and sent it abroad. Part of this money returned to Brazil as investments after going through off-shore tax shelters,
by Daisy Nascimento

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Brazil Vows Better Care to Blacks
Municipal and state administrators of the Brazilian Federal Health System are gathering now in Brasília, Brazil's capital, to discuss the health care given to blacks by the government. To deal with Brazil's recognized racism, the Lula administration has created the Secretariat for the Promotion of Social Equality.
by Juliana Andrade

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Brazil's Piracy, a Cultural Challenge
Cigarettes top the list of illegal merchandise sold in Brazil. Around 32 percent of the cigarettes sold there are contraband or counterfeit. The fiscal harm caused by illegal cigarette sales alone amounts to US$ 1.2 billion annually. Authorities believe legislation alone will not solve the problem. Brazilians need a new mindset.
by Juliana Andrade

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Left Unchecked Lula Would Muzzle Brazil
Three recent proposals by Brazilian President Lula have caused uproar in Brazil. The first would create a Federal Counsel of Journalism to police journalists' activities. The second would establish a National Agency of Movies and Audiovisual. And the third would prohibit certain government officials from speaking to the press.
by Richard Hayes

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A Note to Lula: Haiti Is in Brazil
If the Brazilian President really thought football would bring peace he should have arranged for the match to be staged closer to home. The favelas in Brazil can easily be as wretched as the shantytowns in Haiti. Furthermore, Brazilian soldiers are available to maintain order in Haiti, none are around to do likewise in Brazil's favelas.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Guaranis, Brazil's Original Owners
Brazil's Guarani Indians were displaced by modern agriculture in the '70s. They were moved to one of eight Indian reservations that had been set up at the beginning of the century. The reservations were located near cities, in keeping with the conventional wisdom of the time that what the Indians needed was to be "civilized."
by Spensy Pimentel

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Brazil: A Bill for Reining In the Media
The Brazilian government is threatening to create an institution, which would be able to prevent journalists from working. They forget that the Brazilian Constitution considers working an unalienable right, which can only be suspended by a judicial sentence. It's a farce. Every government since Ramses II hates criticism.
by Carlos Chagas

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Brazil to Expropriate Slave Owners
More than 6,400 Brazilian workers have been freed from slave- like work conditions since the beginning, 18 months ago, of a national operation to crack down on slave work. Now the Brazilian Congress is debating a bill that would change the Constitution in a way that those guilty of having slaves would lose their land.
by Juliana Andrade

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Bull Time in the Brazilian Economy
While inflation in Brazil shows signs of abating, the figures for industrial production are up. Last week's forecast of 5.76 percent annual growth in industrial production grew to 5.95 percent, and growth expectations for this year's GDP now stand at 3.92 percent, in comparison to 3.57 percent one month ago.
by Stenio Ribeiro

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Brazil's Lula, the Dictator's Apprentice
The series of allegations that is making Brazil's rulers lose sleep was once welcome and encouraged by oppositions to the former administration, who viewed the disclosures as fruits of legitimate "investigative journalism." Journalists don't need to be protected by the Executive. They need protection from the Judiciary.
by Alberto Dines

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Coffee Profit Is Up in Brazil
According to the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, the coffee market has shown signs of recovery this year. 13.9 million sacks were exported between January and July, compared to 14.2 million sacks during the same period last year. Although this year's export volume was less, revenues were up US$ 232 million.
by Nádia Faggiani

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Lula Confident in Brazil's Recovery
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva believes that his country has begun a new cycle of recovery and growth. Newspapers' headlines seem to confirm this. For Lula , exporting is essential for Brazil to obtain financial resources and, mainly, to protect the domestic economy from fluctuations in the global market.
by Gabriela Guerreiro

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Brazil Gets a Hint from Venezuela
Brazilian legislators want to introduce a Venezuela-style referendum into the Brazilian electoral legislation. The idea was brought back to Brazil by two House Representatives who went to Venezuela as part of a delegation of international observers during the popular referendum that decided to keep current President Chávez in office.
by Ellis Regina

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Brazil's Gun for Cash Drive Is a Hit
Brazilians who own unregistered weapons must turn them in or register them by December 23. Brazil's Disarmament Statute determines that illegal bearing of weapons is a crime without bail. The country is now promoting a disarmament campaign. In one month, more than 50,000 guns have been surrendered to police.
by Juliana Andrade

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Brazil Cracks Down on Amazon Predators
A Brazilian government operation in the Amazon, in three weeks, has confiscated 1,500 cubic meters of lumber, 2,000 liters of fuel, 40 power saws, 2 tractors and one truck. The effort coordinated by Brazil's Environmental Protection Institute should reduce deforestation in the operation's area by 60 percent.
by Bianca Estrella

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In Brazil, Good News Is No News
For sure, Brazil's government would take pleasure in installing its own peculiar form of dictatorship. Marxism has always run in the veins of the Workers' Party. It's in the DNA. Not by chance, every so often, ghostwriters for President Lula, the Supreme Ignoramus, find room to insert a Stalinist author amidst his fastidious speeches.
by Janer Cristaldo

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Brazil: Impasse Between EU and Mercosur
Representatives of the Mercosur and the European Union are feeling frustrated after negotiations between the two economic groups broke up. The expectation of a week of intense debate ended up not coming true. The meeting terminated ahead of schedule. The next meetings are set to take place in September.
by Ana Paula Ferrari

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A Pact in Brazil to End Slave Labor
It is estimated that there are still at least 25 thousand people working under slave conditions in Brazil. Workers are recruited in the country's poorest areas and are taken to work in distant rural properties. They often are unable to free themselves from debt to leave. Besides, there are armed thugs to prevent workers from fleeing.
by Juliana Andrade

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Brazil's Plans to Develop the Amazon
One of the major problems in the Brazilian Amazon is land- holding: 24 percent of the land is privately owned; 29 percent are protected areas, which include Indian territories. The remaining 47 percent are public areas, devolved or disputed, in which deforestation, illegal occupation, and squatting are rampant.
by Marina Domingos

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Brazil Wants Less Criminals in Jails
The number of inmates in Brazilian jails has risen from 114,000 in 1992 to 300,000 this year. Brazil's Minister of Justice, Márcio Thomaz Bastos is calling for a change, so that alternative sentences can be used more frequently, reducing the population of prisons. by Stefan Barth

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Brazilian Ivan Lins Back in the USA
Brazil's singer-composer Ivan Lins is not much of a showman,
but he has a lot of charisma, which definitely helps him carry the show. He is also the writer of many huge hits. Some of them were recorded by artists such as The Manhattan Transfer, Sarah Vaughan and many others. The inclusion of most of those pleased everyone.
by Ernest Barteldes

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Brazil Puts Biodiesel in Its Tank
Brazil is encouraging the cultivation of castor-oil plants and dendê palms in the poorest regions of the country in order to produce biodiesel. According to the Brazilian government, this program might generate over 150 thousand jobs in 2005. Biodiesel can also be used to generate electricity in isolated communities.
by Ana Paula Marra

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High Death Rate for Businesses in Brazil
Every year, 470,000 new businesses open in Brazil, but 43 percent will close their doors before their third anniversary. The main reason they do not survive is weak management skills resulting in a shortage of working capital and other financial problems, along with unsound or nonexistent market knowledge.
by Stefan Barth

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Brazil Cracks Coffee Genome
With the success of the Coffee Genome Project, initiated in February, 2002, Brazil becomes the leader in genetic research on the beverage. Mastery of the genetic code will make it possible to develop more productive varieties, capable of tolerating climatic variations resisting the attacks of pests.
by Maurício Cardoso

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Brazil: Lula's Popularity Rebounds Slightly
A new survey in Brazil found that 45 percent of Brazilians believe that the economy is improving their quality of life. As for income, 15.9 percent said their income had increased over the last six months, while 31.4 percent said their income fell. And 66 percent don't think this is a good time to go shopping.
by Keite Camacho

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Brazil Now Wants to Change the World
After a government-financed campaign whose motto was "The Best of Brazil Is the Brazilian," the Lula administration is turning its gaze overseas. The new motto now is "We Can." President Lula says that he wants to show the world, that an affectionate gesture can do more than cannons and machine guns.
by Mylena Fiori

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Brazil's Bugland, a No-Man's Land
In Brazil's Republic of Bugland anything-goes rules. The whistle blowers of scandals don't run on some moral or civil duty sense. In general, they are akin to the accused. The press is seduced into taking a lead role in the political process and drawing benefits offered to those who seek to nibble a portion of power.
by Alberto Dines

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Brazil Calls Army to Battle Deforestation
Deforestation of the Amazon destroyed over 23.7 thousand square kilometers of forest last year alone. The Brazilian government is counting on its Armed Forces to fight this problem. Through the end of 2005, the Brazilian Army should receive US$ 6.10 million to underwrite its operations in the Amazon region.
by Maurício Cardoso

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Public Pension Is Breaking Brazil
A huge pension bill has made Brazil one of the most indebted in the world. The average age of retirement and life expectancy after retirement in Brazil is 54 and 20.2 years respectively, compared with 63.8 and 15.8 years in other countries. To finance this, taxes in Brazil are twice as high as the Latin American average.
by John Fitzpatrick

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Brazilians Ashamed of Being Brazilian
In the land of the non-blue-eyed-blondes, blue-eyed-blonde model Gisele Bündchen, is the sole source of unrelenting adulation amongst Brazilians. Anything or anyone that creates an illusion that Brazil is part of Europe or the US is highly valued. Anything that reminds Brazilians of their own roots is rejected.
by Alan P. Marcus

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Brazil's Answer to Digital Inclusion
The Brazilian government plans to install 6,000 computer centers around the country by the end of 2007. If this target is met, 18 million low-income Brazilians will have access to the Internet. To save money Brazil will forgo Microsoft Windows and other paid software and adopt instead free software like Linux.
by Gabriela Guerreiro

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Brazil's Plan to Sell Out the Amazon
The Brazilian government is getting ready to put the Amazon for sale. Foreign companies will be able to bid. Multinationals and even governments of rich countries will buy almost the totality of the soon to be privatized territory, thus anticipating in decades their domination and internationalization.
by Carlos Chagas

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Brazil's Lula, the Generous African
Cape Verde, which cannot meet its meager US$ 2.5 million debt obligation, had it forgiven. This miserable sum doesn't pay for a twentieth of Brazil's new presidential jet. In Gabon, Lula again extended courtesy with his fellow citizen's hat. He managed to pardon the US$ 36 million Gabonese debt. Such generosity.
by Janer Cristaldo

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Brazilian Media's Art of Bullying
The Brazilian press continues to play an undignified role. Above all, because it deals with information in a non-critical fashion. The press is only concerned with the content of the allegation not how the news leaked. Amidst the haste to report the charge, the way in which the gun was loaded and the shot fired is left aside.
by Alberto Dines

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Troubled Waters at Brazil's Central Bank
Aside from a possible change of command of the Central Bank, there are no pending factors that would immediately alter the market's favorable view of Brazil. The invasions of private property, even when deaths result, and the gradual taking over of all government agencies by the PT, do not seem to draw attention overseas.
by Richard Hayes

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Manipulating the Number of the Jobless in Brazil
How many unemployed people do we have in Brazil? And those who wish to work but cannot get a job? 12 million people, 13 million, 14 million, perhaps more? How about the 60 million Brazilians who live under the poverty line, surviving on half minimum wage? Most of them don't even have an informal job.
by Carlos Chagas

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Brazil Competing with the World's Worst
Brazilian indignant ex-ministers say that Brazil does not have 109,113 illiterates. There are only 106,057. The difference can signify that Brazil's Human Development Index would not trail the island of St. Lucia's and Romania's; it would instead follow those of Suriname, Bosnia, Albania and Tonga.
by Cristovam Buarque

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Small Victory in Toothless Brazil
The World Health Organization says that up to the age of 12 children should only have three cavities. In Brazil, the average has now reached 2.8. But there are other less honorable numbers: 30 million Brazilians have never been to a dentist, 60 million do not brush their teeth and 8 million have lost all their teeth.
by Caio d'Arcanchy

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Brazil Hails WTO Agreement
Brazil is celebrating the results of the just-concluded Geneva World Trade Organization talks. Brazilians are pleased that the rich nations will eliminate agricultural export subsidies. The WTO document, however, does not determine when the elimination of subsidies will commence, nor how it will be implemented.
by Carolina Pimentel

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Brazil, a Nation Without Heroes
Brazil produces saints at a higher rate than the Catholic Church, which requires that he/she has performed at least two miracles. In Brazil no miracles are necessary. As soon as we entered into a new century, two ruffians who fought for the destruction of our country are made into two people who built our history.
by Janer Cristaldo

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WNBA Champion Prefers Brazil's Olympic Team
At 35, Brazilian basketball player Janeth Arcain has won most contests in her professional life, ranging from the São Paulo State tournament to the Brazilian championship to four WNBA titles in the United States. She has never won an Olympics gold medal, however, and hopes to change this in Athens, this year.
by Luis Waldmann

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Brazil Fever in Manhattan
Brazilian parties have been popping up in various locations throughout New York City. The latest one is called Samba at The Gallery and it tries to catch the spirit of Brazil featuring Brazilian music, food, and other attractions. The club has few Brazilians in attendance and the crowd is made up of mostly young Manhattanites.
by Ernest Barteldes

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Brazilian Amazon Gets Help from Science
Brazilians scientists have been discussing ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Amazon. According to one researcher, it is possible, with intelligence, science, and technology, to conserve the functioning of Brazil Amazon's ecosystems and reverse the process of forest destruction.
by Maurício Cardoso

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