Renata Giraldi Reporter Agência Brasil
Brasília – After visiting Cuba, president Dilma Rousseff went to Haiti where she announced greater cooperation in reconstruction of infrastructure damaged in the 2010 earthquake, professional training, agriculture and health. Many cooperation projects will be run jointly with Cuba. It was announced that Brazil will also participate in the construction of a power plant on the Artibonite River, located 60 kilometers from the capital. The plant, generating 32 megawatts (enough to supply electricity to 250,000 homes), should be built at a cost of $2.5 million, is expected to become a symbol of Brazilian assistance to Haitian development.
Dilma emphasized that Brazil will continue to be an active participant in efforts to make Haiti a viable country economically and politically. She declared that it was essential that international assistance go beyond military action [and it was announced that Brazil will reduce the number of troops it has in the UN Haitian Stability Mission]. Dilma emphasized the need for social assistance, saying that Brazil will make its experience with combating hunger and extreme misery available to Haiti.
Another issue discussed with Haitian authorities was the situation of Haitian immigrants who have been arriving at Brazil’s borders by the thousands. The subject is considered enormously important in Haiti. The Haitian ambassador in Brazil, Idalbert Jean-Pierre, declared in emotional remarks that he was very satisfied with the decision by Brazil to issue 1,200 visas to Haitians who were in Brazil without requiring them to have jobs and to permit 100 visas per month to be issued in Port-au-Prince.
The ambassador went on to discuss a matter that deeply concerns Brazilian authorities, as well. “These Haitian immigrants spend somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000 to make the trip to Brazil. By Haitian standards that is an enormous amount of money. To make the trip they put themselves in debt for the rest of their lives. Most of them are at the mercy of coyotes – people who deal in a form of human traffic. What kind of salaries will they get in Brazil? It is a terrible situation. It is so bad that the only person who can understand the desperation of these people is another person in the same situation,” declared the ambassador after he visited the states of Acre and Amazonas where the Haitians have been entering Brazil.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Social Development and Hunger Combat announced that it will release R$900,000 for the states of Acre and Amazonas so they can provide assistance to Haitian immigrants. It is reported that there are 4,600 Haitians in Amazonas and 1,400 in Acre. It should be recalled that on January 19, the Ministry of Health released R$1.3 million for Acre to be used in health care for Haitian immigrants.
Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English
Luana Lourenço and Paula Laboissière Reporters Agência Brasil
Porto Alegre – On Thursday, January 26, president Dilma Rousseff and seven ministers of state will participate in a special session (“Fórum Social Temático (- FST”), at the World Social Forum in the capital of Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul. The session will discuss the international financial crisis, public policy to combat poverty and guidelines for Brazil’s participation in the United Nations Sustainable Development Conference – Rio + 20 - which will take place in Rio de Janeiro in June.
The World Social Forum was created in 2001 as a kind of developing nation counterpart to the World Economic Forum in Davos with the idea of working toward a “a better possible world.”
Although the Forum is apolitical, Brazilian government authorities have been a constant presence. Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attended all the Social Forums in Brazil, so Dilma is continuing a tradition. In 2011, she did not attend but was represented by her top administrative aide, Gilberto Carvalho (“Secretaria-geral da Presidência”).
This year Dilma will be accompanied by minister Gilberto Carvalho; and the ministers of Human Rights (“Secretaria de Direitos Humanos”), Maria do Rosário; Environment (“Meio Ambiente”), Izabella Teixeira; Social Development and Hunger Combat (“Desenvolvimento Social e Combate à Fome”), Tereza Campello; Policies for Women (“Secretaria de Políticas para as Mulheres”), Iriny Lopes; Agriculture (“Agricultura”), Mendes Ribeiro; and Racial Equality (“Secretaria de Políticas de Promoção da Igualdade Racial”), Luiza Helena de Bairros.
It is estimated that some 30,000 people will participate in the FST that ends on Sunday, January 29.
This year Dilma Rousseff will not attend the World Economic Forum in Davos although Brazil is the focus of a number of events there. She will be represented by the Foreign Minister, Antonio Patriota, and the minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Fernando Pimentel.
Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English
Alana Gandra Reporter Agência Brasil
Rio de Janeiro – The electricity produced by Brazil’s two nuclear power plants, Angra 1 and Angra 2, set new records in 2011. The total amount of electricity generated was 15.644 million megawatts (MWh). The two plants also set individual records in 2011: Angra 1 generated 4.654 million MWh and Angra 2, 10.989 million MWh.
Angra 1 is 30 years old and Angra 2 has been operational for a decade. Both plants are operating at 100% of capacity at the moment, generating 3.17% of all electricity in Brazil (91% of Brazil’s electricity is produced by hydroelectric power plants).
The nuclear power plants are an important part of the state of Rio de Janeiro electricity grid, generating 30% of the electricity the state uses (the nuclear power plants are located in the state at Angra dos Reis).
Sometime at the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016. a third nuclear power plant, Angra 3, is scheduled to go online. At that time, nuclear power will generate 60% of the electricity used in Rio de Janeiro.
As can be seen by crunching the numbers, there is a gap in total Brazilian demand for electricity with the result that hydroelectric and nuclear power plants do not generate all that is needed. The gap, around 5%, is covered by old, expensive and dirty thermoelectric power plants. According to Eletronuclear, the National System Operator (“ONS”) has called on the nuclear power plants for more and more electricity for a very good reason: electricity generated by Angra 1 and 2 costs R$20.41 per MWh, while it costs R$71.31 when generated by a thermoelectric plant.
Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English
The photographer Wilton de Sousa Júnior said on Thursday that the photograph for which he won the International Prize for Journalism King of Spain wanted to "portray" the difficult political moment that the president Rousseff lived in August last year with an image "strong ".
"The president went through a very difficult time. I was looking for a photo that could synthesize this moment," said Wilton Junior Efe, a reference image that Dilma seems to be transfixed by a sword of a soldier in an official ceremony.
The photograph was published in the newspaper "O Estado de S. Paulo" on August 21, 2011 and 31st of the same month in the magazine "Look", which chose it as "the image of the week." The record was made during the ceremony of marlin to 441 cadets at the Military Academy of Agulhas Negras, in Resende, Rio de Janeiro in the south, Dilma days after losing his fifth minister in less than eight months of government, four of them involved in charges of corruption.
Wilton Junior said he planned to do a picture of the sword before the ceremony of the Military Academy, believing that the image could translate a "very strong political image." The jury of the 29th edition of the award, sponsored annually by the Efe and the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID), rated "especially the ability of the photographer to capture a moment of perfect timing which results surprising."
At 37, the photographer said he was "very happy and radiant" for having received the distinction, the first 19 years in his international career after being a finalist in the 2003 Prix Ayrton Senna with a photograph entitled "Urban Hunt". The winner was informed by Efe on the prize by a telephone call when he was in fields covering damage caused by rains last week.
The value of the International Prize for Journalism King of Spain in the photography over $ 7600. Wilton Junior acts as a correspondent in Rio de Janeiro newspaper "O Estado de S. Paulo" since 2001 and also collaborated with the newspaper "Folha Directed", "Journal of Sports" and "The Day".
As a correspondent of the "Estado", participated in coverage as the capture of the murderers of journalist Tim Lopes in September 2002, the Olympic torch relay in Rio de Janeiro in 2004, the visit of Pope Benedict the 16th Sao Paulo in 2007, the World Cup American football and Venezuela's 2007 World Cup to South Africa in 2010.
Isabela Vieira Reporter Agência Brasil
Sapucaia, RJ – The federal highway, BR-393, that has been closed after being partially destroyed by flooding runs through the municipality of Sapucaia. The situation in the region has become critical. Following three days of landslides the latest reports are that 19 people have lost their lives due to the rains, floods and mudslides. At least nine homes in the town of Sapucaia, population slightly over 17,000, have been destroyed and even more homes are in danger of collapsing.
Civil defense authorities have allowed residents access to their homes to remove belongings. They have to go quickly and take only what they can carry.
“I took everything I could: mattress, bed, kitchen utensils,” said Katia Vieira, 38, who will live with relatives. “I couldn’t take the cupboards because they are too heavy.”
Some residents are not as lucky as Katia. They have no place to take their belongings and decided to abandon them. “I am living with my daughter but her home is very small and there is no room for my stuff,” explained Eni Maria da Conceição, 65, who is retired.
And there was João Batista, 68, who said he had lived in his house for 40 years, did not want to leave and had no place to go anyway. But João’s home was interdicted by the authorities and he could not go back there.
Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English – content modified
Danilo Macedo Reporter Agência Brasil
Brasília – Brazil’s minister of Agriculture, Mendes Ribeiro Filho, has confirmed that the US Department of Agriculture has agreed to certify that slaughterhouses and meatpacking industries in the state of Santa Catarina comply with American sanitary standards. This was possible after the USDA recognized Brazilian inspectors as capable of approving pork for export. However, the US has called for more federal meat inspectors (“Serviço de Inspeção Federal – SIF”) in the pork industry.
The USDA decision means that raw pork (in natura), along with cooked and canned pork, can all be exported as long as they go through federal inspection.
Santa Catarina is the only Brazilian state that is officially free of foot and mouth disease (the ministry says it has been so since 2001). Next week a list of approved slaughterhouses and meatpackers in the state will be published.
As the US exports as well as imports pork, it is not expected to be a big market for Brazilian exporters. However, the US seal of approval will make it easier for Brazil to export pork to the really big importers: Japan and Korea.
“The opening of the US market is good news. Now the next step will be Japan and Korea,” declared the minister. “The Russian embargo made things difficult for us. With a US stamp of approval we move on to a new stage.”
Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English
Google has updated it’s platform with three major personalized changes. The über-popular search engine is usually the line leader when it comes to the classroom of web development, and this latest release is a huge stepping out.
Basically, Google has combined its search engine with Google+ and PIcassa search. When searching, there will be a person icon; if you click the person icon, it will populate Google+ posts on the topic you’re searching. Let’s say your’re a huge hockey fan. You go to Google and start searching for info about your favorite team. Now, you click the person icon, and all of your friends’ Google+ musings and posts on hockey should also show up. Why do you care what your friends have to say about hockey? As Google explains, “just as in real life, your friends’ experiences are often so much more meaningful to you than impersonal content on the web.”
A quirky cute video was also posted to help illustrate the concept.
It’s super rad, but what is so significant about this? Authorship is being cultivated and promoted. Last June, Google told us, “We know that great content comes from great authors, and we’re looking closely at ways this markup could help us highlight authors and rank search results.” Now with this newest platform modification, they’ve found the way to rank results: authors with the most subject-related content will populate first.
Search, Plus Your World is encouraging the content generators out there to make what they’ve posted search-able, based on their names. Google says this is good for authors, it will give you analytics for your postings, it will also allow you to distinguish and validate your content. Mostly, it’s encouraging more people to create and actually use Google+ accounts.
This was all accomplished by linking together Google with Google+ and Picassa search. Now the biggest search engine can team up with it’s social media platform and photo sharing element. By merging all of three and making web browsing super personalized, it’s could potentially give Facebook a run for its money (if users jump on and take advantage of the technology in the numbers that Facebook has secured users).
“Google has decided that, if it is to beat Facebook, it needed to use its most powerful weapon: its search engine. We knew this was Google’s plan all along, but Google really went all-in on this one.” (Ben Parr, 2012).
Finally, what does this mean for your brand? Facebook profiles are for people and the pages are for entities like brands, corporations or celebrities. Google+ accounts don’t differentiate (yet). And thus, the allure for the businessperson is there. A brand-based Google+ account could theoretically be led right to the browser of potential new customers, if that Google+ account generated quality content (that was properly made search-able) and then fiercely networked.
Some leg work will be involved, but the marketing possibilities seem endless.
In our recent best of 2011 post, we wrote about the plummeting costs of genome sequencing, and just days into the new year another big leap has been taken. Today, Ion Torrent, a division of Life Technologies, made the announcement that it will be launching the Ion Proton Sequencer later this year, a benchtop sequencer that sequences the entire human genome in one day for just $1,000. It is the successor to the company’s PGM (Personal Genome Machine) which was introduced just over a year ago.
Just like with the previous iteration, semiconductor chips form the heart of the machine. CMOS chips are used similar to those found in digital cameras, but that detect chemical changes instead of light. Two such sequencing chips have been announced: The Ion Proton I chip, which is intended for sequencing exomes, has 165 million sensors and will be available mid-2012. The Ion Proton II Chip, specifically marketed for sequencing whole human genomes, has 660 million sensors (about a 50-fold more than the previous leading 318-chip) and will be available about six months later. The Ion Proton OneTouch system will automate template preparation and a stand-alone Ion Proton Torrent Server performs the primary and secondary data analysis. Altogether this means yet another significant increase in speed and reduction of the cost of genome-level sequencing.
ion proton Ion Proton DNA Sequencer Decodes a Human Genome in One Day for $1,000The Ion Proton will be launched mid-2012. The machine itself has tripled in price to $149,000, compared with $50,000 for the PGM. However, after the initial investment the chip and biochemicals to sequence one genome will cost just about $1,000. The Ion PGM sequencer (with the added benefit of functioning as possibly the world’s most expensive iPod dock, a function which the Proton seems to have lost) will continue to coexist as a low-cost solution aimed at sequencing genes, small genomes, panels of genes and performing gene expression profiling. Last but not least, a little gem hidden in one short line in the press release was the announcement that Life Technologies will seek FDA clearance for the Ion PGM platform in 2012 (but not yet for the Proton), so it can be used in a clinical setting for diagnostic use rather than just for research purposes.
Newsroom, Yara Aquino and Carolina Pimentel Reporters Agência Brasil
Brasilia – On Saturday (January 7) the Ministry of National Integration released a note rebutting accusations that the minister, Fernando Bezerro Coelho, had shown favoritism in releasing funds to members of Congress and his family, given certain political parties privileged access to posts in his ministry and that there was a case of nepotism in a regional development corporation run by the ministry (specifically the “Codevasf”) that was headed by the minister’s brother.
Backing up the ministry’s note was another from the office of the Presidential Chief of Staff (“Casa Civil”) this weekend declaring that there was no “irregularity” in the minister’s brother being the acting head of the regional development corporation, Codevasf. According to Casa Civil, under the statutes of the corporation and norms from the oversight agency (“Controladoria-Geral da União”), the minister’s brother was acting as president because he was the senior member of the board of directors. The note goes on to point out that a new Codevasf president was nominated some 50 days ago to substitute the minister's brother. According to the note, after the normal confirmation process the appointee will take office.
On Wednesday, January 4, the Chief of Staff, Gleisi Hoffman, had emitted a note denying reports that she had received orders from president Dilma Rousseff to oversee the liberation of resources for the prevention of natural disasters. “Minister Fernando Bezerra is and continues to be responsible for the execution of projects and programs at the Ministry of National Integration,” said the note.
All this follows articles in the O Globo and O Estado de S Paulo that the minister had sent 90% of the funds available for disaster prevention to his home state of Pernambuco. With heavy rainfall causing dikes to burst, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and hundreds to be left homeless, in the state of Minas Gerais, the newspapers reported that president ordered the Casa Civil to look into the matter.
Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English
Marcos Chagas Reporter Agência Brasil
Brasília – Haitians have been entering Brazil illegally from Bolívia and Peru (in other words, somehow they are traveling from the Caribbean to the other side of South America and then somehow making their way hundreds of kilometers inland in order to come into Brazil through Acre, the country’s most western state). Therefore it is not surprising that the Acre secretary of Justice and Human Rights, Nilson Mourão, says most of them arrive exhausted and psychologically wrecked by the long voyage. Mourão says the Haitians are being exploited (physically, financially and even sexually) in Bolivia and Peru by the people responsible for this illegal underground railroad (known as coyotes – “coiotes”). The secretary says he has documented evidence of abuses but can do nothing as it happens in another country. Reportedly the Haitians pay between $1,000 and $1,500 to be taken to the border with Acre. Most of them arrive in the Bolivian city of Cobija and cross into the Brazilian city of Brasileia.
At the moment there are officially 1,250 illegal Haitians in the border town of Brasileia. “Psychologically they arrive as basket cases,” says secretary Mourão, “and many are sick with disease, as well.” The state simply does not have the necessary resources to deal with so many people with such dire problems, says the secretary. Mourão observes slyly that there are now more illegal Haitians in his state than there are Brazilian soldiers in Haiti as part of the UN stabilization mission.
[background note: Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake exactly two years ago, January 2010. Just another setback in a very long tragic history that made it into the history books with the arrival of Columbus in 1492. Within 25 years the native Taino Amerindian population had been decimated. In 1697, the Spanish ceded the French the western third of the island of Hispaniola that later became Haiti. With an economy based exclusively on slave labor and mindless exploitation of natural resources, Haiti became the richest colony in history, producing half the world’s coffee and a third of its sugar. But this was possible only by harshly exploiting human resources as well, as the planter-rulers preferred to work their slaves to death (which happened in ten to fifteen years) and buy new ones as it was cheaper. The result was history’s largest slave rebellion beginning in 1791 and finally ending in Haitian independence in 1804. At a terrible price. Haiti had to fight to stay independent three times: first, against the planter-rulers and French soldiers, armed by the United States, where George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, president and secretary of state, respectively, and both slave-owners, were appalled by the slave revolution; second, against the British who were trying to take advantage of momentary French disadvantage to gain control of the rich colony, its fertile lands and slave labor force; finally, the Haitians faced Napoleon, eager to recapture the colony and restore slavery. Gaining independence cost Haiti around half of its population – many died, of course, but many fled the country as well – and left the economy (fields, mills and towns) in ruins. The United States and the European powers were deeply disturbed by the successful slave revolt in Haiti. The specter of free slaves haunted them so much that the United States only recognized Haiti in 1854; before that, in 1825, the French made the Haitians pay for the freedom they had won on the battlefield: payments that for years gobbled up close to 30% of the new government’s revenues. It is not surprising that the 200 years of Haitian independence have been marked by violence, with most governments operating on the principle of military force. And so it is not surprising that some Haitians are so desperate they are arriving in Brazil via Acre]
Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English - contains additional information