A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘brazil

[NEWS] Some Wednesday links

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  • The Associated Press notes the hostility in many American communities to Muslim cemeteries.
  • Bloomberg explores the revival of watchmaking in East Germany’s Saxony, and touches on the new two-day public work week in Venezuela.
  • Bloomberg View notes Japan’s rising levels of poverty, looks at the politicization of the Brazilian education system, and examines potential consequences of Pakistan-China nuclear collaboration.
  • The CBC reports on the difficulties of the Canada-European Union trade pact, reports on the conviction of an Alberta couple for not taking their meningitis-afflicted child to medical attention until it was too late, and notes that an American-Spanish gay couple was able to retrieve their child from a Thai surrogate mother.
  • MacLean’s examines how Karla Homolka ending up shifting towards French Canada.
  • The National Post‘s Michael den Tandt is critical of the idea of a new Bombardier bailout.
  • Universe Today notes a paper arguing that, with only one example of life, we can say little with assuredness about extraterrestrial life’s frequency.
  • Vice‘s Noisey notes how Prince and Kate Bush ended up collaborating on “Why Should I Love You?”.
  • The Washington Post reports on a study suggesting that root crops like the potato were less suited to supporting complex civilizations than grains.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Centauri Dreams considers, among other things, studies of Alpha Centauri.
  • D-Brief talks about the unexpected chill of Venus’ poles.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares a photo of the San Francisco shoreline.
  • Far Outliers notes the rare achievements of Michael the Brave.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the recent finding by an American court that transgendered students are protected.
  • The LRB Blog reports on the nuitards.
  • Marginal Revolution notes some of the singular failure of the Brazilian economy over the past century.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer wonders why some people apparently call Russia and North Korea the 51st states.
  • pollotenchegg maps election results onto declared language in Ukraine.
  • Savage Minds starts a series on decolonizing anthropology.
  • Torontoist celebrates the tenth anniversary of Type Books.
  • Transit Toronto notes upcoming repairs to Ossington.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on Russian fears that the Russian economy might be doomed to stagnate.

[NEWS] Some Wednesday links

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  • The Australian Financial Review warns that Brazil should try to avoid the trajectory of Italy from the 1990s on in falling prey to Berlusconi-like populism.
  • Bookforum looks at the very early history of word processing for writers.
  • Bloomberg View suggests that an inflexible China is on its way towards a Japan-style slump.
  • CTV News reports on despair among Newfoundlanders after the province’s new budget.
  • The Financial Times notes how allegedly hiding a billion dollars’ worth of debt cost Mozambique significantly with the IMF.
  • Foreign Policy looks at the distancing between the United States and Saudi Arabia under Obama.
  • Kate Beaton at Hark A Vagrant considers the implication of Dagger’s frankly unwearable uniform.
  • Mashalla News reports on Portuguese-speaking communities in Lebanon, product of migration by Brazilians of Lebanese background.
  • New York‘s Jonathan Chait is critical of Sanders’ approach as he is losing, while Vox visits Sanders’ upstate New York stronghold of Ithaca.
  • Australia’s SBS looks at immigrants whose ancestral countries no longer exist. How do they identify?
  • The Toronto Star looks at the impact of climate change on the agriculture of the Prairies.
  • Wired notes the struggle of Pinterest to move on from being an American platform to being a global one.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • The Boston Globe‘s Big Picture reports on the scene from Palmyra after the expulsion of ISIS.
  • James Bow links to a documentary on the search for Planet Nine.
  • The Dragon’s Tales speculates that the ability to enter torpor might have saved mammals from the en of the Cretaceous extinction.
  • Honourary Canadian Philip Turner discovers the Chiac dialect of the Acadians of the Maritimes.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Afrika Bambaataa has been accused of molesting young boys.
  • Language Hat reports on the renaming of the Czech Republic “Czechia.”
  • Marginal Revolution notes Singapore has a graciousness index.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on Australia’s upcoming elections.
  • pollotenchegg maps the 2012 elections in Ukraine.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer explains how American investment in the Philippines was made impossible, so as to avoid welding that country to the US.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a paper examining contraception and abortion among the Czechs and Slovaks in recent decades.
  • Towleroad notes Ted Cruz’ disinterest in protecting gay people.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the scale of Russia’s demographic problems, report the debate on whether Russia will or will not annex South Ossetia, and suggest Russia is losing influence in Central Asia.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World predicts the end for Dilma Rousseff.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Crooked Timber takes issue with the idea of navies to keep sea lanes open.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper speculating how Planet Nine formed.
  • Geocurrents shares slides examining the Brazilian crisis.
  • Joe. My. God. reports on the Colombian constitutional court’s approval of same-sex marriage.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money wonders what will happen to the North Korean army’s soldiers in the case of state failure.
  • maximos62 notes the historical influences of Chinese and Indonesians in Australia, particularly in the north of the country.
  • pollotenchegg maps the shifting distribution of the Ukrainian population from 1939.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer talks about, among other things, the New York City accent.
  • Understanding Society looks at the ideologies and institutions which will help improve life in rural India.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Russia’s problems with dealing with its past and observes that the West did not want the Soviet Union to disintegrate.

[NEWS] Some economics and demographics links

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  • Al Jazeera and MacLean’s note that the deportation of migrants from Greece to Turkey, in keeping with the EU-Turkey deal, has begun.
  • Bloomberg notes the impending publication of data on foreign workers in the United Kingdom while observing that British companies are concerned about Brexit.
  • Bloomberg reports on the problematic Israeli housing market, the risk of a real estate bubble in Tokyo, notes Sri Lanka’s interest in getting universal WiFi, suggests Chinese coal exports could doom Appalachia, observes the collapse of Lithuania’s trade with Russia, notes new concerns about Nigeria, looks at Australian concern over Chinese investment despite increasing dependence on said, and expects the collapse of what’s left of the British steel industry.
  • Bloomberg View and the Toronto Star‘s David Olive look at the sad collapse of Brazil.
  • The Toronto Star notes the sale of Québec restaurant chain St-Hubert, and looks at the Facebook poster who helped make French’s ketchup a success.
  • The Chicago Tribune describes the potentially irretrievable state of the suburban Chicago housing market.

[LINK] “Brazil in free fall”

Open Democracy’s Fernando Betancor outlines Brazil’s annus horribilis.

This was supposed to be a triumphal year for Brazil and its President, Dilma Rousseff. The first woman to be elected to that office, Mrs. Rousseff was the protégé and successor to the popular Luíz Inácio (Lula) da Silva; she had inherited in 2011 a government with sound finances, a burgeoning middle class and the opportunity to host the wildly popular World Cup in 2014. This year, Brazil is supposed to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, which would have been the showcase for a modernized country that had successfully escaped the “middle income” trap of developing nations. Instead, the Brazilian economy has been in freefall for almost 8 consecutive quarters, the country is facing a new and frightening pandemic disease, the work for the Olympics is far behind schedule and Mrs. Rousseff’s Administration is being rocked by such horrendous corruption scandals that the Congress is weighing her impeachment. Instead of a triumphal year, Brazil has entered the year of ungovernability.

The political trouble started almost as soon as she had been sworn in for her second term; an investigation in the south of the country led the Federal Police to a known money launderer, Alberto Youssef, who had made a “gift” of a Range Rover to the Director of Supplies of Petrobras, Paulo Roberto Costa. As arrests were made and bargains were struck, the trail led to a clique of corporate executives, middle men and politicos who were engaged in a number of illicit activities including: money-laundering, price fixing, illegal campaign contributions, and bribery, sums totaling over 2.1 billion reais (USD 1.3 billion at 2012 exchange rates). This led to the arrest and indictment of 11 senior executives from four Petrobras suppliers, 3 top Petrobras executives and more than 50 politicians, all but one of them related to the Rousseff coalition. To find so extensive a list of allegedly corrupt public figures, one would have to go to Spain, where there are over 2,000 under varying degrees of indictment. These were not minor officials either; implicated are the President of the Senate, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, the Treasurer of the Worker’s Party, and numerous other Senators and Deputies. The list continues to grow and this Friday, the popular former President Lula da Silva had his house searched by the Federal Police while he was taken into temporary custody to make a declaration.

The implications of this magnitude 9 political quake go far beyond Petrobras or the Rousseff Administration. It highlights the way things are done in the country, the virtual impunity with which major corporations can carry-on their “business as usual” shenanigans and the insignificance of the well-being or wishes of the average Brazilian amongst all the sordidness. In November 2015, a retaining dam burst at an iron mine belonging to BHP Billiton and Brazilian JV partner Vale. The resulting flood of toxic waters, containing fatal concentrations of arsenic, mercury and other heavy metals, flowed down the Rio Doce, killing 17 people and destroying aquatic life for 500 miles until emptying into the South Atlantic, where it has also played havoc with coastal fisheries and ecosystems. The companies have recently agreed to a settlement of USD 1.55 billion in damages, but there will be no investigation of possible criminal negligence in the dam rupture; and while the damages are certainly large, they represent less than one quarter of profit for Vale SA, which earned USD 1.68 billion in the second quarter of 2015 alone.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 23, 2016 at 12:58 pm

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