Promoting ethanol on the international level has been an integral part of the Brazilian foreign policy. And it was no different during the two-day visit of foreign minister Celso Amorim to Algeria early this week. Even though Algeria is a large oil and gas producer and exporter, the Brazilian minister advertised the product to the high-level officials he met with.
The theory is that oil-producing countries need not fear alcohol as a competitor, but rather regard it as a complementary fuel. In the case of Algeria, for instance, if the country would decide to mix ethanol into the gasoline sold in the domestic market, as Brazil does, then it would supposedly free more oil for exports, which would constitute an advantage, as the price of the commodity is sky-high.
It is worth noting that the two countries already sustain some exchange agreements in the area of fuels. For some years now, Petrobras and its Algerian counterpart, Sonatrach, have been studying a partnership in the field of liquefied natural gas, a technology over which Algeria has full command.
If the Arabs will actually show interest in importing ethanol remains to be known, but the fact is that they are already seeking alternative energy sources in order to save more oil for exports.
The countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), for example, have announced heavy investment in the area, as theirs' is the region of the world where fossil fuel consumption grows the most. Petroleum consumption increases at an annual rate of 17% in the Gulf, as against a global average of 4.5%.
For the time being, they seek to use sources such as solar and wind power to supply their cities with electricity, but the logic is the same: the less petroleum and gas they use for themselves, the more one of their most precious export products will last.
AfroReggae, Instituto Sou da Paz, Criança Esperança, and Programa Escola Aberta. These four Brazilian social projects were the highlights of a meeting organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), last week in Bahrain, in the Arabian Gulf, that brought together more than 100 specialists and youths from all over the world to debate on how to protect the youth from contexts of violence and radicalism.
The work carried out in Brazil was presented by UNESCO as a worldwide reference in terms of fighting violence and social inequality among young people.
Established in 1993, the AfroReggae group has counted on UNESCO's support for eight years now for its work in conflict mediation. The Programa Escola Aberta ("Open School program") was created under a technical cooperation agreement between the Ministry of Education and UNESCO. It aims to contribute to the improvement of educational quality and to promote social inclusion by strengthening relations between schools and communities.
In turn, project Criança Esperança ("Child Hope") has been promoted by the Globo television network for 20 years now, a period during which the organization collected over 143 million reais (US$ 89.1 million), invested in more than 4,800 social projects in Brazil.
Within the scope of the project, UNESCO provides a technical and financial follow-up to the Child Hope Spaces ("Espaços Criança Esperança" – ECE), organized by Instituto Sou da Paz, an institute turned to the promotion of peace.
In spite of increased inflation, higher interest rates and a more turbulent international scenario, job generation in Brazil will not be affected. Such was the conclusion reached by market technicians at the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea), after assessing Brazilian labor market trends over the last 24 months.
"The creation of new job positions should remain at significant levels," claims Lauro Ramos, coordinator of the institute's Labor Market Bulletin, in print for 12 years now.
Belief that the turbulence in the world economy should not interfere with the creation of new jobs in Brazil is backed by the fact that the creation of new employment opportunities in different sectors and regions of the country is determined by domestic demand.
The assessment of the Ipea technicians was made based on data from the General Records Office for Employment and Unemployment (Caged), disclosed by the Ministry of Labour, upon announcing a record-high number of new formal employment positions, which exceeded one million during the year.
US$ 342,500. The value resulted from a perfect wedding that took place between the months of January and April this year. The amount pertains to revenues from sales by the clothing industry in the southeastern Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro to the United Arab Emirates. Rio is determined to manufacture a more expensive, more luxurious, more exclusive, higher value-added type of fashion.
And the shopping centers in the Emirates, especially those in Dubai, are precisely looking for those types of products. Those who own the petroleum want the good stuff. The Emirates paid US$ 290.31 per kilogram of clothing purchased from Rio up until April. It was the highest revenue from exports obtained by the state during the period. The figures were supplied by the Federation of Industries of the State of Rio de Janeiro.
Forget about magicians. The Brazilian writer that Brazilians admire the most is Monteiro Lobato, author of the children's and juvenile books that gave birth to the Sítio do Picapau Amarelo (Yellow Woodpecker Ranch), mandatory reading for the kids for many generations now.
The Sítio, which became even better known after it become a TV show, is also singled out as the second most important book in the life of Brazilians (even though it is a set of books). It is second only to the Bible.
The survey, entitled "Portraits of Reading in Brazil" and published toward the end of May, was conducted by request of Instituto Pró-Livro, an organization that gathers publishing houses, book sellers and others interested in encouraging reading in Brazil. Over 5,000 people aged above five were heard.
This was the second edition of the survey. The first survey was held in 2001. The aim is to gain greater knowledge of who are the Brazilians that read and what they have been reading. The information would then be used not only by the publishing market, but also for the creation of public policies for the educational field.
Right after Monteiro Lobato, Paulo Coelho ranks as the second most admired Brazilian writer. Then come Jorge Amado, Machado de Assis, and Vinícius de Moraes.
Last year, on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of Lobato, a native of the city of Taubaté, in the interior of the state of São Paulo, publishing house Editora Globo started to re-launch his complete works.
They total 56 books, 31 of which are turned to children and youths, and 25 target adults. José Bento Monteiro Lobato died sixty years ago, in July 1948, but his characters Emília, Dona Benta, Pedrinho, Narizinho and other inhabitants at the most famous Ranch in Brazil remain alive in the country's collective memory.
Foreign tourists are spending more during their stays in Brazil. In May this year, for example, US$ 426 million entered the Brazilian economy by means of foreign tourist expenditures. According to the Central Bank, the amount is 13.88% greater than the US$ 364 million recorded in the same month of 2007.
The forecast is that by December this year, international tourism should generate revenues of US$ 5.8 billion for the country. Accumulated revenues so far this year total US$ 2.473 billion – a performance 18.07% better than recorded in the same period of 2007 (US$ 2.094 billion) and roughly equivalent to the result for the whole of 2003, when foreign tourist expenditures in Brazil reached US$ 2.479 billion.
An analysis of the fertilizer industry in Brazil shows that production of the raw material is concentrated in the hands of a reduced number of companies. In many cases, a single group controls 100% of production.
A study elaborated by Ali Aldersi Saab and Ricardo de Almeida Paula, of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, shows that the Bunge/Fosfértil Group answers to the production of approximately 76% of Phosphate Rock, 69% of Sulphuric Acid, 97.5% of Phosphoric Acid, 100% of Ammonium Nitrate, 100% of Diammonium Phosphate (DAP), 96% of Ammonium Phosphate, 94% of Triple Superphosphate, 70% of Simple Superphosphate in the Midwest and, along with Petrobras, it holds 100% of the Anhydrous Ammonia production.
The Vale do Rio Doce Company holds 100% of Potassium Chloride production.
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