Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Category

This Brazilian public does not deserve the Olympics

August 17, 2016

The Brazilian public is failing. It has no apparent understanding of the celebration of endeavour that the Olympics is supposed to be. They have little concept of “fair play”. The booing of competitors by the Brazilian public is a real stain on the Rio Olympics. They booed some teams at the opening ceremony. They booed the Swedish women’s football team last night when they beat Brazil on penalties. They booed Matt Kuchar in the golf tournament.

They booed at every event. They booed athletes, cyclists, boxers, swimmers – and any opponent of a Brazilian competitor in any sport.

Maybe the Olympics have cost too much. Maybe the handling of the green diving pool was proof of incompetence. No doubt the Olympics as an organisation is endemically corrupt. Retroactive penalties for alleged doping in the 2008 games is childish. Russian doping may be widespread but there is no justification for collective punishment. But the audience also has standards to meet.

The Olympics should be about endeavour and not just results.

But the Brazilian public have been contemptuous about endeavour. Booing a runner who came last in her heat as she struggled across the finish line after achieving the best time of her career was beyond the pale.

I have been to Brazil many times and the hospitality and friendliness is out of this world. Notwithstanding the street crime in Rio and Sao Paolo which is nasty and brutish. But this Brazilian public has proven to be immature, with little appreciation of “fair play” and have not lived up to my expectations. Every Russian participant was booed. They even booed the French pole vaulter because he was beaten to gold by a Brazilian. The Brazilian public shamed themselves.

They have not been an audience deserving of  the Olympics.


Blitzkrieg on the football field – Superblitzingsmarticrushingvirtuosity

July 9, 2014

Brazil 1 – Germany 7

The match: Rout, embarrassment, master-class, depressing, exhilarating, staggering, bewildering, astonishing, awesome, disaster, historic, crazy, unbelievable, blitzed, farce …….

Germany: Rampant, masterful, ruthless, spectacular, skillful, superb, organised, brilliant, fast, memorable, unprecedented, clinical, triumphant, virtuoso, smart ……

Brazil: Crushed, humiliated, crumbled, swamped, shell-shocked, disgraced, heart-broken, dismantled, thrashed, shameful, farcical…..

There is a shortage of words and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious will not do.

Superblitzingsmarticrushingvirtuosity perhaps.


Few high points as World Cup kicks-off

June 13, 2014

We are off.

An own goal, a disputed penalty and two mediocre shots elevated by poor goal keeping.

The real battle going on within FIFA but off the pitch. Football fever muting the social unrest in Brazil.

Not a very noisy or musical crowd.

But Brazil won as they should have and Croatia can’t complain. Tradition has been upheld and the hosts have won the opening game.

No vuvuzelas.




German football team builds its own resort in Brazil for the World Cup

December 16, 2013

The construction program for the 2014 Brazilian World Cup venues is well behind schedule. A number of deaths have occurred at the various construction sites. Two workers were killed when a crane collapsed onto the roof of the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo in November. Another was killed at the Palmeiras arena in Sao Paulo which is/was to be a training ground for some of the teams. The latest accidents were at the Arena Amazonia in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas. The Arena is scheduled to host four group stage matches during the competition. Two deaths on Saturday bring the death toll at this Arena to three. A 23 year old construction worker was found dead and is said to have suffered a heart attack. (At 23!) Another worker fell 35 meters after a cable snapped. Work is so far behind at most sites that accelerated, 3-shift programs are being conducted to catch up. Inevitably safety procedures are being given less priority. Some have refused to work and a general strike over safety standards has been called for and further threatens the schedule. Less than a month away from the Dec. 31 FIFA-imposed deadline for Brazil to deliver all 12 of its tournament venues, half are still unfinished, with three of those having no realistic shot of wrapping up before February.

Hotels and transport arrangements are also behind schedule.

TelegraphThere have been disputes and delays to the new light rail vehicle system in another host city, Cuiaba, while in the north-eastern settlement of Natal, mobility projects had to be abandoned and redesigned because of a shortage of time.

Accommodation is also a concern with a shortage of hotels in Rio de Janeiro and Recife, according to the Brazilian Association of Hotel Industries (ABIH). This week, workers at Rio’s Gloria Hotel, which is due to open before the World Cup, told Jornal do Brasil that the renovations were falling well behind.

But the German Football Association is not taking any chances. Winning the Cup is a serious business and they do not place much confidence in the assurances that facilities will be ready. They could not find the hotels to pass muster. So they are taking matters into their own hands and are building their own resort for their players. Der Spiegel writes: Unable to find a suitable location to set up shop in Brazil during the upcoming 2014 World Cup, the German football team has decided to simply build its own. The remote beachside camp will “help minimize strain” on players, the team manager says”.

A digital rendering of the luxurious beachside retreat provided by the German Football Association.

A digital rendering of the luxurious beachside retreat to be provided by the German Football Association.

The team’s beachside “resort” will be located in the sleepy village of Santo André in the state of Bahia, population just around 1,000, the paper wrote. It’s the first time in history that the German team has built its own World Cup facility from scratch, it added.

Coach Joachim “Jogi” Löw, his players and the team’s staff will spend the tournament living in 13 houses, with a soccer playing field and press center about a kilometer away. An airfield just 15 kilometers off will facilitate travel to the match sites.

Bild reports that the construction site entrance already bears the colors of the German flag — black, red and gold.

The location of “Camp Bahia” is “very remote,” Bild added. Some 30 kilometers away from the Porto Seguro resort area, most travelers get there via an old ferry across the Joao de Tiba River.

BRICS is losing BIS as the financial crisis bites

August 20, 2013

Emerging markets have the fundamental problem that their own domestic markets – while promising – are not large enough yet to raise the finances needed to drive their entire economies. They are critically dependent upon foreign investment. And now as funds return to the dollar, India, Brazil, South Africa and other emerging markets are feeling the global financial heat – and some of the heat is intense enough to cause some currency meltdowns.

The Indian economy is shrinking in real terms. Currency controls are on the way though the Indian government is – as usual – doing too little too late. Sovereign ratings of these countries are likely to be degraded which will reduce foreign investment further and raise the cost of foreign borrowing. A vicious downward spiral could ensue.

BRICS is losing BIS.

Economic Times:

A fierce selloff in many emerging currencies shows no sign of abating as the expected withdrawal of US monetary stimulus prompts investors to shun markets seen as riskier because of funding deficits, slowing economies and inflation. 

The rupee fits that bill, as do the Indonesian rupiah, the South African rand and theBrazilian real. The rupiah plunged to four-year troughs on Monday while the rand lost another 1 percent to bring year-to-date losses to almost 17 percent against the dollar. 

Brazil’s real extended last week’s fall of more than 5 percent fall to trade at its weakest level since March 2009 even as the central bank sold nearly $3 billion worth of currency swaps, which are derivatives that mimic an injection of dollars in the futures market. Like the rupee, it has been hammered by doubts over the efficacy of policy actions to stem the rout. 

The rupee and the real, respectively, have been the worst performers in Asia and Latin America since late May when the Fed first signalled that it may begin winding down its monetary stimulus this year. India’s currency has lost 13 percent against the dollar this year while the real has plunged 15 percent in the same period. 

A decline in the Fed’s bond purchases will push government debt yields higher, which should raise the attractiveness of the dollar and dollar-denominated assets. In Brazil, the currency weakness has complicated policymakers’ efforts to rein in inflation, leading many investors to bet the central bank may speed up the pace of monetary tightening next week.  

In India, the rupee’s sell-off threatens to drive Asia’s third-largest economy towards a full-blown crisis. 

“Our primary concern is that the policy authorities still don’t ‘get it’ – thinking this is a fairly minor squall which will simmer down relatively quickly with fairly minor actions,” Robert Prior-Wandesforde, an economist at Credit Suisse in Singapore, wrote in a note on the Indian currency on Monday. 



Bizarre in Brazil: Referee stabs player, crowd beheads referee

July 7, 2013

Of course in Brazil, football fanaticism is quite similar to the religious fanaticism seen elsewhere. But it does not bode well for the World Cup in 2014. After hosting the Confederation Cup – and fairly successfully – Brazil saw the street protests which have had the spending on the World Cup extravaganza in their sights. Along with the corruption that pervades politics and – of course – football. And violence is never far away when football is involved.


Football spectators in northern Brazil decapitated a referee after he fatally stabbed a player for refusing to leave the pitch, officials say.

An angry mob stormed the field during the amateur game in the state of Maranhao and stoned Otavio da Silva to death before severing his head.

Police said the murder was in retaliation for Mr Silva stabbing player Josenir dos Santos.

One man has been arrested over the killing and investigations continue.

The incident took place on 30 June in the remote town of Pio XII, but news of the event has been slow to emerge.

The state’s Public Safety Department said it started when the referee and Mr Santos got into fist fight after the player was sent off but refused to leave the pitch.

Map of Brazil

Mr Silva then pulled out a knife and wounded Mr Santos, who died on his way to the hospital.

The player’s friends and relatives rushed onto the field, stoned the referee to death and dismembered his body, the department said in a statement.

Financial Times accused of lying and shoddy journalism

May 10, 2013

Despicable when a newspaper of the stature of the Financial Times has to resort to this kind of shoddy journalism.

This is from Svenska Dagbladet (my free translation):

You are an Embarrassment Financial Times!

It must be deplored that some reporters cold-bloodedly invented information about the new WTO Director Roberto Azevedo.

The day after the World Trade Organization had chosen the Brazilian diplomat as new head a major article was published in the prestigious Financial Times. It began with a detailed description of how Azevedo appeared  when he came out of the WTO headquarters in Geneva at 18.30 on Tuesday night to meet a large press contingent. “He came out of the headquarters and met an expectant press gang outside,” writes the paper’s two reporters. The report continues on how Azevedo was quiet and did not say anything. But his happy facial expressions and his smile revealed that he had been elected.  A smile that was also used in the title:

The FT Headline: “Sealed with a smile: how Brazil got its man Azevêdo into the WTO”

By Claire Jones in London and Joseph Leahy in São Paulo Last updated: May 8, 2013 9:26 pm

The Brazilian candidate betrayed his success with a smile.

Just after 6.30pm local time on Tuesday evening, Roberto Azevêdo made his way out of the World Trade Organisation’s Geneva headquarters to find an expectant press pack gathered outside.

The Brazilian ambassador to the WTO remained silent. But his cheery expression was a giveaway: minutes earlier, Mr Azevêdo had been told he had secured the nomination to replace Pascal Lamy. With that, he capped an almost five-month campaign by Brazil that saw him visit 47 countries and join President Dilma Rousseff in key meetings with global leaders as she lobbied on his behalf. … 

The Svenska Dagbladet continues:

Not just embarrassing, it was just not true.

Azevedo did not come out of the WTO headquarters.

Nor was he silent, nor did he smile and  he certainly did not meet any press contingent. He was not even there!.

He sat and waited nervously with Brazil’s UN delegation several kilometers away.

The only one who received the news at WTO headquarters was Brazil’s deputy ambassador Estanislau Amaral.

I know this along with all the other journalists with certainty because we were there.  We saw Amaral hurrying out, spoke briefly with him, saw him go off in his official car. No Azevedo in sight. Moreover a picture of Azevedo was sent on Twitter at that moment  was sitting in his office in a completely different part of town with his wife Maria.

The FT journalists were not even there.

One sat in London, Claire Jones, and one in Sao Paulo, Joseph Leahy.  They invented the story that implied their presence and to provide a personal touch.  Not a very good journalistic idea for a magazine that should be concerned about its credibility and its reputation.

They could learn from what happened with journalists at Bloomberg this week. Two journalists in Prague published an article on the Czech National Bank one minute ahead of an embargo. It caused Bloomberg’s news director in Washington to hit the roof, take the next plane to Prague and and fire them on the spot.  Journalistic reliability is “extremely important” was the explanation.

“White Pimpernel” cat arrested for assisting planned prison breakout in Brazil

January 5, 2013

Two years ago we heard about the drug smuggling pigeons at a Colombian jail, and now comes news of a cat heavily implicated in assisting a planned break-out from a Brazilian prison!! The cat was caught red-handed on New Years day! The arch-criminal has so far refused to speak and all 263 prisoners are suspect. It is not known if the cat is the ring leader or merely an accomplice.

It has been over 5o years since since I read Baroness Emmuska Orczy’s novel of the arch prison escape arranger during the French Revolution – The Scarlet Pimpernel – but this verse is for forever etched in my memory:

We seek him here, we seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven?—Is he in hell?
That demmed, elusive Pimpernel.

A prison guard holds a cat that has objects wrapped around his body with tape at a prison in Arapiraca in this handout photo obtained by Reuters on January 5, 2013. A cat carrying a saw and a mobile phone was 'detained' as it entered a prison gate in northeast Brazil, Brazilian media reported on Saturday. Prison guards were surprised when they saw a white cat crossing the main gate of the prison, its body wrapped with tape. A closer look showed the feline also carried drills, an earphone, a memory card, batteries and a phone charger. REUTERS-Superintendent General of Prison Administration shows -Handout

White Pimpernel: Reuters

Reuters: A cat carrying a saw and a mobile phone was “detained” as it entered a prison gate in northeast Brazil, Brazilian media reported on Saturday.

Prison guards were surprised when they saw a white cat crossing the main gate of the prison, its body wrapped with tape. A closer look showed the feline also carried drills, an earphone, a memory card, batteries and a phone charger.

All 263 detainees in the prison of Arapiraca, a city of 215,000 people in the state of Alagoas, are considered suspect in the plot, which is being investigated by local police.

“It’s tough to find out who’s responsible for the action as the cat doesn’t speak,” a prison spokesperson told local paper Estado de S.Paulo.

The cat was taken to an animal disease center to receive medical care.

The incident took place on New Year’s day but was first reported by national media on Saturday

Lula’s legacy in Brazil being badly tarnished by new corruption scandals

November 25, 2012

Influence peddling and other forms of political corruption are not of course restricted to Brazil or just to the developing countries. It is just a lot more sophisticated in the US and japan and Europe. But more mud is being flung and a great deal of it is now sticking to former President Lula’s period of office in Brazil.

Reuters reports:

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, moving quickly to nip a new scandal in the bud, ordered the dismissal on Saturday of government officials allegedly involved in a bribery ring, including the country’s deputy attorney general.


Following Indian MMRCA success, Dassaut’s Rafale also tipped for Brazil

February 13, 2012
Dassault’s success in being selected as the lowest bidder for the Indian MMRCA competition with the Rafale aircraft seems to be having a significant impact in other deals. The Rafale is now the most likely winner of the Brazilian contract for 36 aircraft. The aggressive pricing by Dassault and the active (and very effective) lobbying by the French government is a potent combination. The Rafale has not yet been sold outside France and the Indian and Brazilian deals are critical for the future export life of the Rafale.
In Brazil the Rafale is competing against Boeing’s F-18 and Saab’s Gripen. Though Saab is also desperately looking for export orders for the Gripen, it is unlikely that it can afford to drop its prices by the levels that Dassault obviously can. Boeing on the other hand is not so dependent on the Brazilian orders and is unlikely to drop its price by very much – especially since they will not wish to disturb the already very high price levels they enjoy for exports to the Middle-East. And that probably leaves the Rafale sitting very pretty.

Svenska Dagbladet reports (freely translated):


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