New research shows nearly three-quarters of Brazilians are in favor of continuing the Bolsa Família, an anti-poverty program that gives cash to families in return for ensuring their children attend school and are vaccinated. Most Brazilians, sixty percent, would rather pay more taxes and have better universal health and education, the research showed.
On a sticky December morning, Justine Arena explains to a student that appropriate small talk for an international conference call must not include “How is Mr. Obama?”
“No politics,” says the 36-year-old English teacher/entrepreneur in her client’s plush office in a wealthy neighborhood.
Her student is no sullen teen, but the Latin America director for a multinational automaker.
Still, it’s clear who’s in charge here.
“What about ‘how is your mother?’” asks the student.
“Nothing personal either,” Arena says somewhat sternly. “Stick to the weather.”
She is one of a growing group of former Brazilian immigrants who have come home, drawn by economic growth and a job market the US and Europe can no longer offer. The 2010 census showed that from 2005 to 2010, 174,000 Brazilians returned to their home country, nearly twice as many as between 1995 and 2000.
Brazilian working mothers earned, on average, eleven percent less than women without children in 2009, according to new research. The ‘motherhood penalty,’ as sociologists call it, has increased considerably in recent years: in 1992 working mothers earned four percent less than their childless peers.
Federal Police said Friday they had arrested six people in Brasília and São Paulo for alleged involvement in a corruption ring, in yet another case to veer uncomfortably close to former President Lula. In total, eighteen people – including Lula’s former assistant – are under investigation for influence peddling, bribery, conspiracy and forgery in connection with the scheme, which allegedly saw government approvals given to businesses in return for bribes.
Protectionism made news again in Brazil recently, when Finance Minister Guido Mantega announced that Brazilian firms could avoid a 30 percent tax increase on the auto industry by improving fuel efficiency, using Brazilian-made parts and investing in Brazilian research and development. Foreign automakers without a manufacturing plant in Brazil will be subject to the tax hike, Vejanoted.
The program is designed to encourage innovation in technology and fuel efficiency, Mantega argued. Any negative effect on foreign imported cars, he said, was merely collateral damage.
It’s no surprise he is feeling a little defensive.
BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – President Dilma Rousseff will meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron this Friday morning, as he arrives in Brazil for a trip that will include visits to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. On the table during Friday’s bilateral meeting will likely be science, technology, the Olympics and “an intensification of economic and commercial ties,” a spokesperson for the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, Itamaraty, said by telephone Monday.
BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – The mensalão case, dubbed the “trial of the century,” moves into its most politically significant phase this week with the Supreme Court examining the allegations of vote buying by the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers’ Party, PT). Now Marcos Valério has claimed in an incendiary interview with Veja magazine that the scheme reached into the highest levels of the government.
BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – Brazil is the world’s second largest consumer of cocaine and crack, behind only the United States, and accounting for twenty percent of the worldwide market for cocaine and its derivatives, according to study released Wednesday.
Following months of strikes by broad swathes of public sector workers, from university professors to customs officers, the majority of workers on Tuesday accepted the government’s offer of a 15.8 percent pay-rise over three years. Federal Police unions however rejected the offer and opted to continue the labor strike action.
The Supremo Tribunal Federal (Supreme Court, STF) released an Amazon rancher Regivaldo Galvão, sometimes known as “Taradao,” who was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to thirty years of prison in May 2010 for his involvement in the February 2005 death of Sister Dorothy Stang, a nun and rainforest activist in Anapu, Pará.