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“The Clampdown Targets WordPress!”

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Acesso ao WordPress pode ser bloqueado no Brasil por ordem judicial: “Access to WordPress could be blocked in Brazil by judicial order!”

Or it could not be.

Counterfactuals have no place in news reporting.

A counterfactual conditional, subjunctive conditional, or remote conditional, is a conditional (or “if-then”) statement indicating what would be the case if its antecedent were true. This is to be contrasted with an indicative conditional, which indicates what is (in fact) the case if its antecedent is (in fact) true.

There is an infinitesimal possibility that an asteroid will destroy all life on earth in my lifetime. Wake me when it gets close enough to worry about.

A lot of nonsense gets written on this subject, I think.

Example: Baguete’s headline on this story is “WordPress Is Blocked in Brazil.”

The tenor of the story, however, is that WordPress “could be” or “might in the future be” blocked in Brazil.

As we all remember from that modal logic seminar in college, all that is, is possible, but not all that is possible necessarily is.

Blogger Marcos predicts “an apocalypse for WordPress in Brasil.”

Globo Voices Online is similarly apocalyptic, citing (in bad translation) another one of those independent citizen bloggers who just happens to bring to bring home a salary from the Clan Marinho — in this case, the editor of a Globo news portal in Ceará:

“Brazil is the country of the “undiscussed”, in every single day it becomes clear that the thing to do is to put tails our between legs, lower our heads and let any authoritarian measures go as though it were something in life, an inevitable “it is God who wants this.”

This has all the hallmarks of an authoritarian clampdown-themed moral panic campaign, which you see a lot of here. Compare

The first report I saw — which does not tell us what the “criminal content” in question is, or confirm that the judicial order in question says what we are told it might say — comes from IDG Now, but is essentially the same as the version run by other news organizations, principally the Folha group (controls the UOL portal) and Globo.

Globo’s G1 portal has a story today on the “protest movement” against the (possible) blockage of the site.

A protest movement against a judicial order that has not been implemented, whose existence has not been corroborated, and whose content is not known.

If it does not materialize, the protesters will no doubt claim their protest forestalled it.

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“Tupi Investors Given Exotic Options”

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Carteira usa opções exóticas: “Fund uses exotic options,” reports Valor (Brazil).

HSBC introduces what I guess you would define as a closed-end guaranteed investment fund (GIF) for Brazilian individual investors, in the form of some sort of “double barrier option,” I think it is.

I have read books on this subject, but the details tend to fade fast from my poetry-major memory.

It looks like an earlier registration form for the fund contemplated an open-end fund (condominio aberto), but I am not sure I understand what I am looking at (and the CVM’s Web site is denying the existence of the SQL server, to boot, as I seek more information.)

I have heard of these sorts of funds, but I vaguely remember them as being offered by insurance companies. I find myself wondering why this is news, in a local context. Are these sorts of products new to the market? What is the back-story that makes this news novel, other than free advertising for a structured investment product?

(I mainly note it as a quick four-finger exercise in translating material on the topic.)

Lançado hoje para os clientes mais abonados, o multimercado HSBC Smart Timing com capital protegido leva em conta o retorno oferecido ao investidor em sete cenários distintos. A estrutura, de 18 meses de prazo, é formada por uma combinação de opções exóticas. Esses papéis dão ao portador o direito, após um determinado período de tempo, escolher se a opção será de venda (direito de vender um papel a um preço definido) ou de compra (direito de comprar a um valor estabelecido).

Launched today for its more well-heeled clients, the multimarket HSBC Smart Timing fund, with guarantees preservation of initial capital, takes into account the return on investment in seven different scenarios. These contracts give the bearer the right, after a certain period of time has elapsed, to decided whether to exercise a put option (the right to sell at a predefined price) or a call option (the right to sell at a predefined price).

Há vários cenários previstos no fundo e cada um oferece um retorno diferente. No primeiro, o Ibovespa não atinge, durante a existência do fundo, a barreira de baixa (-10%) nem a de alta (45%), e encerra o período com alta de até 45%. Nesse caso, o fundo pagará 100% da variação do Ibovespa. No segundo cenário, o índice não atinge nenhuma das duas barreiras, mas fecha com perda de até 10%. Nesse caso, o cliente recebe pelo menos o que investiu.

Various scenarios are contemplated by the fund, each offering a different payoff. In the first scenario, the Ibovespa index does not touch either the lower boundary (a loss of 10%) or the upper boundary (45%) during the life of the fund and closes the period with gains of up to 45%. In that case, the fund pays investors 100% of the appreciation of the index. In the scond case, the index does not reach either of the barriers, but accumulates a loss of up to 10%. In that case, the investors receives at least the original sum invested.

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“Greenspan Tried in Tropical Absentia”

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“It’s all Alan Greenspan’s fault”: Leonardo Attuch interviews William Fleckenstein in
IstoÉ Dinheiro No. 549 about his “best-selling book.” The top-selling book on the subject at the moment is The Trillion-Dollar Meltdown, which is No. 16 on the New York Times nonfiction hardcover list. The book does not figure on the BusinessWeek best-seller list at the moment, either. Attuch may be exaggerating the success of Fleckenstein’s literary efforts.

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Financial Times says Greenspan cannot be blamed”: UOL Economia (Folha Group). Veja magazine recently featured a Greenspan interview on its cover.Greenspan recommended that Veja readers read lots of Ayn Rand.

There is a certain genre of Brazilian journalism whose shtick consists entirely of assigning blame and screaming for a bonfire of the vanities to purge the nation of the guilty. Public debate tends to get reduced to shrill, ham-fisted finger-pointing and -wagging.

There is also a certain genre of Brazilian business and economic journalism that does not actually cover Brazilian business or the Tupi economy.

UOL Economia, for example, is basically U.S. business news cribbed from other news sources and translated into English.

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World Bank: “Stop Shorty Short at the Paraguayan Border”

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Capital flows in the domestic market, last twelve months: investments, divestments, net capital inflows (outflows). Source: Tupi central bank

Gazeta Mercantil reports today:

Washington, 10 de Abril de 2008 – O economista-chefe para a América Latina do Banco Mundial (Bird), Augusto de la Torre, recomenda ao Brasil a criação de barreiras contra o ingresso de investimentos externos especulativos de curto prazo. Embora seja um mecanismo eficiente por um determinado prazo, “em princípio, sou favorável”, disse ele à Gazeta Mercantil.

The World Bank’s chief economist for Latin America, Augusto de la Torre, recommends that Brazil create barriers to the entry of short-term speculative investments. Though it might only work for a limited period of time, “I am in favor of it,” he told the GM.

De acordo com o executivo do Bird, o mecanismo deixaria o Banco Central à vontade para elevar a taxa de juros a fim de controlar a inflação e evitaria que o real se valorizasse ainda mais em relação ao dólar. Ontem, o Fundo Monetário Internacional (FMI) divulgou o relatório semestral revisando para cima a estimativa de crescimento da economia brasileira.

According to the World Bank exec, this would free the Brazilian central bank to raise interest rates with an eye to controlling inflation and avoid having the Brazilian real strengthen even further against the dollar. Yesterday, the IMF released a report revising upward GDP growth projections for Brazil.

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