Tagged: Brazil

BRICS nations found bank to rival Western-dominated World Bank and IMF

The so-called BRICS countries agreed to form an international development bank with aspirations to challenge the dominance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa said Tuesday that the New Development Bank will start with $50 billion in capital and $100 billion as a currency reserve fund for liquidity crises…

Still, the BRICS bank, which could add more member nations, represents a bid to expand the influence of the BRICS emerging markets and act as a counterbalance to institutions run by the U.S. and other developed nations…

As developing countries began playing a larger role in the world economy, their leaders repeatedly complained that they have not been given correspondingly larger voices in international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF, both based in Washington. The U.S. typically appoints the World Bank president, and European countries appoint the IMF chief.

“International governance structures designed within a different power configuration show increasingly evident signs of losing legitimacy and effectiveness,” said the official statement signed by the BRICS leaders, who met in Fortaleza, Brazil, on Tuesday. “We believe the BRICS are an important force for incremental change and reform of current institutions toward more representative and equitable governance.”

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma hammered out some of the final details before signing the agreement Tuesday.

Among the terms are that the bank will be in Shanghai, its first president will be from India, and the first chair of the board of directors will be from Brazil…

Analysts expect that other countries – like Indonesia, Mexico or Turkey – will join the bank over time. Certainly, they and their neighbors have no shortage of conflicts with restrictions important to the fiscal bears directing the IMF or the World Bank.

I doubt anyone expects either of the banks under the thumb of the US [and to a lesser extent, the EU] to modernize, to actively support the developing nations in any goal beyond being a source of cheap labor, raw materials, for Western corporations.

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Fundamentalists’ greatest fear – species discovered where the females have penises

Female insects with “penises” have been discovered in Brazil – the first example of an animal with sex-reversed genitalia, scientists say.

Neotrogla females insert the erectile organs into males’ vagina-like openings…The elaborate structure, dubbed a “gynosome”, is used to suck out sperm and nutritious seminal fluids…Copulation lasts an impressive 40-70 hours, the researchers report…

“Although sex-role reversal has been identified in several different animals, Neotrogla is the only example in which the intromittent organ is also reversed,” said lead author Kazunori Yoshizawa from Hokkaido University in Japan.

The female is always on top during copulation – which lasts up to 70 hours…The gender-bending insects were found in a cave in eastern Brazil and represent four distinct species in the Neotrogla genus.

Once inside a male, the membranous part of the female gynosome inflates. It has numerous spines which anchor the two insects together.

When the researchers attempted to pull a male and female apart, the male’s abdomen was ripped from the thorax without breaking the genital coupling…

Who would have expected the AntiChrist to appear as a flying insect? :)

NSA/US spying screwed Boeing out of a multibillion-dollar contract


Click to enlarge – Saab Gripen

Brazil had been struggling for years to decide which company to choose for a $4 billion-plus fighter jet contract, one of the world’s most sought-after defense deals and one that would help define the country’s strategic alliances for decades to come.

But Rousseff, the leftist president known for being sometimes gruff and even standoffish with foreign leaders, was thrilled after a 90-minute meeting in Brasilia on May 31 with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

After Biden’s reassurances that the United States would not block crucial transfers of technological know-how to Brazil if it bought the jets, she was closer than ever to selecting Chicago-based Boeing to supply its fighter, the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

“She’s ready to sign on the dotted line,” one of her senior aides told Reuters at the time. “This is going to happen soon.”

And then along came Edward Snowden.

Documents leaked by the former National Security Agency contractor, released in the weeks after Biden’s visit, ended up enraging Rousseff and completely changing her plans, several Brazilian officials told Reuters.

On Wednesday, she surprised the defense and diplomatic worlds by tapping Sweden’s Saab to supply the jets, a move aides said was made in part as a deliberate snub to the United States.

The decision was one of the biggest and most expensive consequences yet of the NSA revelations, which have strained Washington’s relations with countries around the world.

RTFA. Long with lots of detail. Including official reasons for the change in plans – and excuses from American politicians. All crap.

Boeing would have had the contract, thousands of jobs would have had added security, investors and workers alike would have profited. But, the legitimate anger against indiscriminate spying by the NSA creepshow working away like a horde of criminal elves in every presidential workshop since Reagan – brought a result that shouldn’t have been a surprise. Not since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on Spies, Incorporated under the NSA/United States banner.

Please, don’t kid yourself into thinking this is a one-off. Every US headquartered company that’s trying to export something will be asked by every prospective customer – do your products come with a built-in backdoor for the NSA?

All the paranoid accusations made by Congress since the earliest days of the first Cold War have come home to roost like magnetic chickens.

Indiscriminate nature of NSA’s spying is collapsing

Gringo ears

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden wrote in a lengthy “open letter to the people of Brazil” that he’s been inspired by the global debate ignited by his release of thousands of National Security Agency documents, and that the NSA’s culture of indiscriminate global espionage “is collapsing…”

In the letter, released widely online, Snowden commended the Brazilian government for its strong stand against U.S. spying.

He said he’d be willing to help the South American nation investigate NSA spying on its soil, but could not fully participate in doing so without being granted political asylum, because the U.S. “government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak.”

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50,000 km of roads built in just three years in the Brazilian Amazon

Nearly 17,000 kilometres of road were built in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest every year between 2004 and 2007.

Although road-building is a major contributor to deforestation and habitat loss, the way in which road networks develop is still poorly understood.

A new study is among the first to measure the number of roads built in a rainforest ecosystem over an extended period of time. It was published this month in the journal Regional Environmental Change by researchers including two Life Scientists from Imperial College London.

They say studies like this will help combat future deforestation by allowing for more accurate predictions of where it might occur.

Even though roads often occupy less than 2 per cent of a country’s land surface, they may have an ecological impact on an area up to ten times as large. These indirect effects can include changes in air and soil temperature and moisture, as well as restrictions on the movement of animals…

“A number of models currently exist which rely on this knowledge, but there are no good studies of how quickly roads get built and where they go when they are built.

An understanding of road networks is the big missing gap in our ability to predict the future of this region.”

Members of the research team used pre-existing road maps and satellite imagery to track the evolution of the Brazilian Amazon road network over a period of three years, in collaboration with IMAZON, the Amazon Institute of People and the Environment.

They found that road networks spread most quickly in regions with high economic growth, as well as in areas where new settlements were being built. Once a region had an extensive network of roads in place, however, the rate of building slowed down.

Logical? Yes. Why the study, then? You need hard data to ever get those violating environmental standards ever to own up for what they’ve done. As it is, peer-reviewed studies are meaningful to the whole body of science, most courts of law – and damned few profiteering roadbuilders.

Brazil’s government will ditch Microsoft Outlook, create own email

Brazil says it will develop its own in-house email system to strengthen privacy and avoid spying it blames on the United States…The country will ditch Microsoft Outlook and develop its own new, custom platform, CNET reported Monday.

Appropriate payback for Microsoft’s cooperation with NSA slimeballs.

The move comes following revelations that communications between Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her key aides have been monitored by the U.S. National Security Agency.

Rousseff condemned NSA’s spying as a breach of international law in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly last month and canceled a planned visit to Washington in protest.

I have mandated the deployment of a secure email system throughout the federal government,” Rousseff tweeted Sunday, calling it “the first step to expand privacy and inviolability of official messages.”

The new system will run on a cloud platform maintained by Brazil’s Federal Data Processing Service.

The Brazilian government is also reportedly considering laying a new underwater fiber optic cable directly to Europe to avoid routing the country’s Internet connections through the United States.

The turds in the NSA have sparked terrific experimentation in secure systems and apps around the world. Thanks to Ed Snowden and his confirmation of the illicit spying on ordinary citizens by the thugs in Congress and the White House.

The reaction from nations fighting for their independence and sovereignty is another political response to the arrogance of the United States. Our nation’s policies are an embarrassment to any American who believes in freedom and democracy.

Artist feels her knitwear for trees has a positive effect on people

leticia mota knitstrees

Brazilian artists are knitting ornaments to hang around trees and poles in Sao Paulo, the country’s biggest and busiest city.

The BBC spoke to Leticia Mota, one of the knitters, who said she believes the decorations remind “people of their mothers and grandmothers”.

There’s a wee video at this BBC article – gives a bit more about the feelings inspiring the artists.

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff cancels US state visit

Dilma-Rousseff

The Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, has called off a state visit to the US in October after the US spied on her personal communications and those of other Brazilians.

Rousseff’s decision came on Tuesday despite a 20-minute telephone call from her US counterpart, Barack Obama, on Monday night in an attempt to salvage the trip.

In a statement, Rousseff’s office said: “The two presidents decided to postpone the state visit since the outcome of this visit should not be conditioned on an issue which for Brazil has not been satisfactorily resolved.

“The illegal interceptions of communications and data of citizens, companies and members of the Brazilian government represents a serious act which violates national sovereignty and is incompatible with democratic coexistence between friendly countries…”

Relations were hit after the National Security Agency snooped on emails, text messages and calls between the Brazilian president and her aides, as well as the Brazilian state oil giant Petrobras.

The revelations came from documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a US intelligence contractor, and prompted a political uproar in Brazil.

US officials said blah, blah, blahRousseff was not convinced, and said she would act to protect her country.

You know, saying everyone does it is only an acceptable reason among thieves.

Our government officials blather on and on about what the United States stands for, a great beacon of hope and democracy for the rest of the world. If we can’t live up to those standards for our own nation, for our friends and allies, for the people we wish to hold as equal partners in global governance – we’re not setting the standard, we’re diminishing, destroying everything supposedly principled about our standing in the world.