Brazil News

Comments about the latest news from Brazil. Unusual stories or mainstream items.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Playstation 3 rocks - or rock

This happened to a guy in Brazil who ordered a Playstation 3 from a popular online retailer in the country - Submarino -, similar to Amazon. After trying to get his product delivered and failing for few weeks, he gave up when he was finally mailed a Playstation 3 box, with a rock inside. Fortunately he managed to get his money back, but he'll certainly think twice before ordering from them again. Check some of the pictures on his blog.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Alagoas health in chaos

The state of Alagoas, in Northeastern Brazil, has decreed a State of Emergency in its public health system, after a strike by doctors entered its third month. The local authorities are now authorized to hire nearly 250 people to replace some members of the health staff on strike that resigned en masse. The decision takes place after the population started feeling the effect of the long strike. An 18-month-old child died after receiving no treatment, and the main emergency room in the state has started registering several deaths caused by infection due to overcrowding.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Five-star cell treatment for businessman

A businessman jailed for kidnapping and witness cohersion has a better treatment in jail than the overwhelming majority of honest citizens living in Brazil. Alfeu Mozaquatro not only has access to cable TV in his own cell, but also may receive up to five visits a week from family and friends, and can order food from restaurants to be delivered to the prison where he's spending his five-year sentence.

His 'benefits' are even registered in an official document signed by the prison's director. In an interview to a Brazilian news outlet, the director admits that the businessman is given privileges, but says he sees no harm in allowing him to watch DVDs and the news. However, he can't explain why the 39 other people incarcerated at the same prison do not have access to the same treatment.

Brazilian authorities are investigating the case, and may soon put an end to the businessman's five-star dream retreat.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Politicians will have fewer chances to change parties

The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies (Lower House of Congress) approved the law for party fidelity on Tuesday. According to the bill submitted for approval, politicians will be allowed to change parties only within a 30-day period, which will take place 2 years and 11 months after starting the mandate. Those who choose to change parties outside of this allowed period could be prevented from participating in elections for up to four years. The bill, which was approved by 292 votes against 34, still needs to be approved by the Senate to become law. In recent years, it has become common for politicians to change parties frequently in the country, in order to achieve certain political favors.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Company is sued for not allowing employee to use the toilet

A telemarketer has successfully sued the company where she worked for R$ 6,800 (roughly US$3,500) for not being allowed to go to the toilet during working hours. The only time she was allowed to go to the restroom was during her five-minute break, which happened once a day. Because of this limitation, the woman developed a urinary infection, and not even after a medical professional recommended that she be allowed to go to the restroom more often she was allowed to do so by the company.

The company rejected the accusations, but the judge in charge of the lawsuit argued the signs of the abuse were clear. In her sentence, judge Ivone Queiroz pointed out that "employees are not machines but human beings, and they should be treated as such."

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Amazon deforestation rate down, still high

Brazilian authorities announced that the rate of deforestation in the Amazon dropped nearly 25 percent between 2005 and 2006. However, this number cannot be taken separately from the data for the other years of Brazilian president Lula's administration. According WWF-Brazil - part of the World Wide Fund for Nature network -, nearly 85,000 square kilometers were deforested in the Amazon between 2002 and 2006, the first term of Lula's mandate, a record when compared to previous administrations.

The CEO for WWF-Brazil, Denise Hamu, admits that the decline in the deforestation rate from 2005 to 2006 is positive, but complains that the country still lacks a longer-term project for the Amazon to include protection and development at the same time.

In 2007, the number of forest fires in the Amazon has already increased 39 percent in comparison to the same timeframe last year. To make matters worse, no new conservation unit was created by the Federal Government this year, although several are ready and need only a signature to be officially implemented.

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Cigarette companies are also sued in Brazil

The two largest manufacturers of cigarettes in Brazil - Souza Cruz and Phillip Morris - are being sued by the Sao Paulo State Public Attorney's Consumer Department Office. According to an article on the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper this Monday, the companies are being sued for the damage caused to millions of people by the consumption of tobacco products.

The final value of the indemnization, if any, should be set by a judge, but if similar cases in the US are taken into account, it could end up resulting in more than a billion dollars. According to the article, the lawsuit asks the companies should repay the government - at the Federal and State levels - for the treatment of diseases caused or made worse by the consumption of cigarettes.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Can this man really see the future?

A Brazilian man who says he predicted the two latest airplane crashes in the country is being questioned by experts, according to the Folha News website (in Portuguese). Jucelino Nobrega Luz has achieved notoriety in certain Web circles in Brazil with his predictions, but lost many would-be believers when he wrongly predicted that Pope Benedict XVI would suffer an attack - he didn't -, or when he said Brazilian president would not be reelected last year - he was. Mr. Luz says the Vatican took protective measures after receiving his letter alerting to the possible attack, and argues that some of his predictions may not become true, this being the reason for Mr. Lula's election win - alongside an alleged fraud in the voting process, according to him.

This same man had already claimed he sent a letter to the White House years before the Iraq War saying where Saddam Hussein would be hiding years later, after a US invasion to the country. For that prediction he tried, unsuccessfully, to demand the reward from the US authorities for information leading to the former dictator's arrest. He also said he predicted the Gol Airlines crash last September over the Amazon, and last month's crash in Sao Paulo with a TAM Airlines aircraft. He shows letters that were supposedly sent to the airlines, but the companies have not commented whether they received them before the accidents or not, as Mr. Luz claims. He says he registers all letters with a notary public before sending them, but experts that have seen the letters say the text in some of them appear to have been changed, which could indicate that Mr. Luz registered one letter prior to the accident and showed another after confirmation of what has happened.

The fortune-teller is at it again, saying that another air crash will take place on October 29, killing about 600 people. All we can do is wait to see if he's right, or see what kind of excuse he'll give for the tragedy not taking place.

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