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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘brazil

[NEWS] Some Monday links

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  • Al Jazeera notes the rivalry between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, observes claims of persecution by evangelical Christians of followers of traditional African religions in Brazil, notes that separatism is unpopular in Scotland’s border regions, considers the problems of a beetle theme park in the penumbra of Japan’s Fukushima, looks at a Palestinian-American model, and considers rap music in Iran.
  • The Atlantic notes how events have vindicated the American Congress’ Barbara Lee, the only person not to vote in favour of granting unlimited war-making powers to the American presiden after 9/11, looks at the existential problems of Yiddish outside of ultra-Orthodox communities, and examines Stephen King’s thinking on how to teach writing.
  • Bloomberg notes the water problems of Detroit, looks at proposals to give Scotland home rule and Euroskepticism among the English, considers claims that Scotland might need huge reserves to back up its currency, notes ways sanctions threaten oil deals with Russian companies, examines Poland’s natural gas issues and those of the rest of central and southeastern Europe, notes Ukraine’s exclusion of Russian companies from a 3G cellular auction, notes the reluctance of Scottish banks to support an independent Scotland, and observes how domestic protectionism in Argentina is boosting Uruguay’s beef exports to Europe.
  • The Bloomberg View argues that it should be possible to cleanly break up even established nation-states, is critical of what Colombia is doing to Venezuelan refugees, argues that the achievements of social insects like acts are irrelevant to more complex beings like us, and suggests Britain has no place to criticize China over Hong Kong.
  • CBC notes the strength of Inuit oral history following the discovery of one of the Franklin Expedition’s ships, notes that the type of cancer that killed Terry Fox is now highly curable, and notes NDP leader Thomas Mulcair’s proposal of a $15 an hour federal minimum wage.
  • The Inter Press Service notes Uzbekistan’s fear of Russia motivating a look for eastern allies and suggests that an anti-discrimination law can worsen the plight of sexual minorities in Georgia.
  • MacLean’s notes that Mexican economic development is good for Canada, looks at Catalonian secessionism, and suggests that a new EI tax credit won’t help Canadian business boost employment.
  • Open Democracy looked at the likely outcome of Crimean elections under Russian rule.
  • The Toronto Star revisited the unsettled state of affairs in the Central African Republic.

[NEWS] Some Monday links

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  • Al Jazeera notes controversy over a proposed women-only beach in Turkey, suggests that Iraqi Sunnis are ready to fight against the Islamic State while observing Germany’s arming of the Kurds, notes the decision of France to halt its delivery of warships to Russia, warns of general concern in the Netherlands about Islamic State activism, notes the existential issues of a relatively declining American evangelical Christianity, and notes African immigration to Brazil.
  • Bloomberg suggests Russia wants to prevent Ukraine from integrating with the West, notes the strengthening of European Union sanctions against Russia, observes that Berlin has outstripped Rome as a tourist destination, examines Filipino insecurity vis-a-vis China, and looks at the booming Tokyo property market.
  • Bloomberg View, meanwhile argues that there is a job shortage not a “stagnation vacation” in developed countries, warns that right now closer links with NATO would harm Ukraine, and favours the strengthening of the European Union’s eastern perimeter.
  • MacLean’s notes NATO’s reorientation away from Afghanistan towards containing Russia.
  • National Geographic and Universe Today about both skeptical about reports of a meteorite impact in Nicaragua.
  • PBS notes a very unusual triple–possibly quadruple–star system.
  • Reuters notes Thailand’s efforts to encourage Chinese tourism.
  • Universe Today notes that planets in binary systems are more common than once thought and looks at the difficulties of landing Philae on its target comet.

[LINK] “Inside the Brazilian all-woman village desperate for men”

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The Telegraph‘s Harry Wallop describes in the National Post how the Brazilian village of Noiva do Cordeiro, located in Minas Gerais, has a shortage of men. (Selective male migration to larger centres seems to be the main issue at hand.)

The village of Noiva do Cordeiro is nestled in Belo Vale, which translates as “beautiful valley.” And it is not hard to see why.

About 300 miles north of Rio de Janeiro, in south-east Brazil, the valley is dotted with groves of thick-skinned, sweet tangerines, banana plants, and ipe trees covered with bright yellow flowers.

But it is not just landscape that catches the eye in Noiva do Cordeiro. It is the inhabitants. Or, specifically, its women.

That is because the majority of the village’s residents are female and as gorgeous as the bougainvillea plants that blossom in the valley. This area of Brazil is famous for producing great beauties. More than that, many are single and in search of love.

Nelma Fernandes, 23, had pleaded: “Here, the only men we single girls meet are either married or related to us; everyone is a cousin. I haven’t kissed a man for a long time. We all dream of falling in love and getting married.”

Written by Randy McDonald

September 2, 2014 at 7:28 pm

[LINK] “Brazil Coffee Output Set for Longest Decline Since 1965″

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Bloomberg’s Marvin G. Perez and Morgane Lapeyre share the bad news.

A prolonged drought in Brazil has already claimed about half of Jose Francisco Pereira’s coffee crop. Next year could be even worse as the country heads for the first three-year output decline since 1965.

“Everybody is praying for rain,” said Pereira, general director of Monte Alegre Coffees, a grower with 2,500 hectares (6,280 acres) based in Alfenas, Minas Gerais, that forecast this season’s harvest at 45,000 bags, down from 82,000 last year.

Production in Brazil, the world’s top grower, may drop as much as 18 percent to 40.1 million bags when the harvest ends next month, the National Coffee Council estimates, after a 3.1 percent slide last year. With damage worsening before the start of spring in the Southern Hemisphere, the council said farmers may collect less than 40 million bags in 2015, creating the longest slump in five decades.

Citigroup Inc. forecast Aug. 21 that a global production deficit may last into 2016 because of the shortfall in Brazil, which accounted for 36 percent of world supply last year. Futures that have gained more than any other commodity this year may rally 15 percent further by the end of December, to $2.25 a pound, a Bloomberg survey of 18 analysts showed. The surge is forcing buyers including J.M. Smucker Co., maker of Folgers, the best-selling U.S. brand, to raise retail prices.

“The market is vulnerable to the upside given all the problems in Brazil,” Donald Selkin, who helps oversee $3 billion as chief market strategist at National Securities Corp. in New York, said yesterday. “People are anticipating tighter supplies and are waiting for more dramatic weather developments.”

Written by Randy McDonald

August 28, 2014 at 7:46 pm

[NEWS] Some Saturday links

  • Al Jazeera America argues that depending on cars will hurt Newark’s urban renaissance, notes the emerging Indian-Israeli alliance and the import of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in sectarian communities in Northern Ireland, looks at the slowly reviving film industry of Côte d’Ivoire, chronicles the human rights issues of LGB Ukrainians and of Christian sects in the Caucasus, examines the legacies of German immigration in Brazil, and looks at the shantytowns of Mongolia.
  • Al Jazeera examines Russia’s Eurasianism, notes emergent water shortages in Syria, looks at the reaction of Sephardic Jews to a new Spanish citizenship law that would give them access to Spain, and chronicles the persecution of the Ahmadiyya in Pakistan.
  • Bloomberg notes that sanctions on Russia may hurt the Greek economy, notes the collapse in wages for young people in southern Europe, and looks at Germany’s serious impending demographic issues.
  • BusinessWeek looks at Tinder’s shabby treatment of a female co-founder, examines the stagnant economy of Thailand, looks at hospitals which mine credit card data to predict their future patients.
  • CBC notes with disappearance of anonymous public WiFi in Russia, takes a look at the consequences of the shutdown of the McCain potato processing plant in Borden-Carleton, points out the ongoing collapse of a caribou herd on the Québec-Labrador border, shows the sad toll of the Air Algérie plane crash in Québec, and notes that Vancouver’s aquarium can no longer breed cetaceans.
  • Global News looks at the impact of Air Algérie’s disaster in Montreal.
  • MacLean’s suggests Canada is not immune to an American-style housing crash, argues that the Canadian job market is weaker than it appears, and reports on the claims that restrictive American immigration policies could work to the benefit of Canada.
  • National Geographic notes some surprisingly social cephalopod populations and looks at naming ceremonies for some gorillas in Rwanda.
  • NPR reports that some big data firms claim Snowden’s data release has given terrorists ideas as to how they can be quieter, and notes some Ivoirien cacao farmers who taste
  • The New York Times notes the closure of an Upper East Side restaurant priced out by rising rents.
  • Reuters observes the worsening demographics of Italy.
  • Transitions Online takes a small-scale look on the effects of emigration in Uzbekistan.
  • Universe Today looks at how some Martian canyons were formed by different water releases.
  • Xinhua notes how emigration from Portugal has become mainstream.

[LINK] “Colonies Turned Creditors”

I came across a brief article at Ozy by Pooja Bhatia noting that prosperity in former colonies is leading to the reversal of traditional patterns of post-colonial dominance. The effect is perhaps biggest in the case of Portugal, which is the smallest and poorest of the former imperial powers and has (in Brazil and Angola) larger and richer colonies. Spain, too, is noteworthy: Spanish-speaking America is much more populous than Spain, and has in aggregate a bigger economy.

In recent years, investors from Angola, former colony of Portugal, have bought significant chunks of Portuguese companies. Spanish officials are urging their counterparts in South and Latin America to come invest — never mind the conquest. And an exodus of bright young Portuguese is seeking opportunity abroad — often in erstwhile Portuguese colonies like Brazil, Angola and even East Timor.

It’s a significant reversal from decades past, when former colonies went begging their former masters for investment, aid and trade preferences, while stomaching the brain drain of their best-educated graduates. Now the roles have reversed, at least in some quarters. Some former colonies have become emerging markets, logging fast rates of growth, while the erstwhile imperialists are scrambling to stay afloat in the global recession.

Nowhere has the reversal been as dramatic as in Portugal and Angola. The former colonizer expects its economy will shrink 1.8 percent this year, while Angola, fat on diamonds and oil and Chinese love, grew nearly 12 percent annually from 2002 to 2011.

To be sure, the phenomenon is neither widespread nor particularly thoroughgoing. The Democratic Republic of Congo remains mired in terrible conflict, while its former overlord, Belgium, enjoys relative peace and absolute wealth. And for all the Indians snapping up real estate in the United Kingdom, hundreds of millions of Indians still struggle well below the poverty line. Angola’s riches, meanwhile, are concentrated among a handful of oligarchs, including the daughter of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who is worth some $3 billion. (She’s got a half-billion-dollar chunk of a Portuguese media company.) Moreover, the country’s relationship with Portugal got testy just last month, with dos Santos complaining that Europeans were casting aspersions on the ethics of Angolan investors.

But nowhere are northern countries’ woes on better display than in the reversal of migration patterns. Migrants tend to vote with their feet. Since widespread decolonization in the mid-1950s, they’ve tended to stream from global south to global north, often to the imperial motherland. After India’s independence from Britain, for instance, Indians tended to immigrate to “Commonwealth” countries, for instance, while Haitians often went to Francophone ones like France, French-speaking Canada or Belgium, and Angolans headed for Portugal.

The flow appears to be reversing — at least in Portugal and perhaps in other places. Since the start of the financial crisis in 2008, young Portuguese have been streaming not only to wealthier European countries but also to former Portuguese colonies like East Timor, Brazil and Angola.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 25, 2014 at 7:34 pm

[LINK] “Argentina Once More on the Map, Invited by BRICS”

Fabiana Frayssinet’s Inter Press Service article suggesting that Argentina might join the BRICS club of emerging economies caught my attention. I wonder if it will actually change much, mind, apart from being a signal of the country’s reintegration with the global financial network. Noel?

As Argentina starts to mend fences with the international financial markets, the emerging powers that make up the BRICS bloc invited it to their next summit. This could be a step towards this country’s reinsertion in the global map, after its ostracism from the credit markets since the late 2001 debt default.

For now, there is no letter “A” in the BRICS acronym, which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. But in Buenos Aires speculation is rife about whether it should be called BRICSA, ABRICS or BRICAS, if Argentina is admitted.

The invitation for President Cristina Fernández to participate in the group’s sixth summit, scheduled for Jul. 15 in the northeast Brazilian city of Fortaleza, is seen as another sign that Latin America’s third-largest economy may be incorporated, after India, Brazil and South Africa indicated their interest.

[. . .]

The formal invitation to Fernández was issued by Russia, which also thus confirmed its support.

“I think this shows that Argentina is fully inserted in international relations, not ‘isolated from the world’,” Nicolás Tereschuk, a political scientist at UBA, told IPS. “It simply doesn’t toe the line with the policies of the central countries at just any cost or in any circumstances, as it used to do at other times in its history.”

Argentina’s invitation from BRICS came almost simultaneously with the May 28 announcement of an agreement reached by the Fernández administration and the Paris Club, which this country owed 9.7 billion dollars since the default 13 years ago.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 24, 2014 at 7:27 pm

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