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“Abril Will Separate Church and State”

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Brazilians rate the performance of their press low, in terms of “honest and accuracy,” according to the BBC-Synovate survey in question. They rate the relative priority of press freedom and social stability about the same, with a slight edge to the latter. Brazil is among those countries where respondents tended to find their news media lacking in accuracy and impartiality due to the undue influence of special interest groups on news reporting.

The two principal requirements for working in a significant number of Brazilian newsrooms currently are: (1) The physical stamina needed to produce various articles per day; and (2) blind obedience, and a willingness to accept informal, illegal, and substandard working conditions. —“Why It Sucks to Be a Brazilian Journalist”

The Brazilian journalist does not feel free to write. More than just having to follow the editorial line of the publications they work for, the complaints principally have to do with coercion by political or business groups. –“A Profile of the Brazilian Journalist”

AdNews (Brazil), via Projeto Brasil: Musical chairs in the executive suite at the Editora Abril, Brazil’s largest magazine publisher, I believe it is, by number of titles and circulation.

Notable: A stated commitment — eventually — to “the separation of Church and State” (editorial and the business side.)

The publishing house with ambitions to grow into a multimedia group (it has a cable TV joint venture with Telefónica and sold a 30% stake to South Africa’s Naspers, who reportedly bring Internet expertise (and Afrikaans) to the table) recently rolled out a new corporate code of conduct. See

I was recently talking to a former Abril employee about the dimensions of the jabaculê (payola) problem there. Extremely colorful, but too anecdotal to mean much or warrant an interview. Besides, the former Abril employee is a penitent Magdalen, and ashamed of his or her misspent youth.

The new Abril code of conduct reportedly limits the value of gifts to employees, including journalists, to R$100.

Standard limit on gifts to journalists at other world-class news organizations: R$0, or, at today’s exchange rates, let’s see here, divide by about 1.68: US$0

A Abril divulgou nota na qual comunica mudanças na presidência da Editora. A partir de janeiro de 2009, Jairo Mendes Leal assumirá o cargo de presidente, enquanto Roberto Civita passará a se dedicar exclusivamente às funções de presidente do Conselho de Administração e Editor. Jairo responderá ao presidente do Grupo Abril, Giancarlo Civita. A função da VP Executiva é extinta. Até o próximo ano, Jairo atuará como vice-Presidente executivo e lidera, juntamente com Roberto Civita, a implementação do novo desenho organizacional, cujo principal objetivo é unificar e integrar suas áreas. Roberto Civita e Giancarlo Civita (Presidente Executivo do Grupo Abril), anunciaram a indicação de Mauro Calliari para ocupar o cargo de Vice-Presidente de Planejamento Estratégico e Novos Negócios do Grupo Abril.

Abril has published a press release communicating changes in the executive suite. Starting in January 2009, Jairo Mendes Leal will take over as president, while Roberto Civita will devote himself exclusive to his duties as Chairman of the Board and editor. Jairo will report to the president of the Abril Group, Giancarlo Civita. The role of executive VP will be eliminated. Until next year, Jairo will continue in his post as Executive VP and will collaborate with Roberto Civita on a reorganization of the company that aims at unifying and integrating its various divisions. Roberto and Giancarlo announced that Mauro Calliari has been hired as VP of strategy planning and new business at the Abril Group.

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Tempest in a Tupi Teapot Dome? Priming the High-Pressure Content Pipeline

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“Petroleum agency director says he was authorized to reveal the mega-reserves; Lima rebuts criticisms of his making the discovery public and denies he is subject to the authority CVM. Tutty Vasquez: Discovery may be bigger than Lula’s ego.” Funny: I personally heard Lima say that none of the information he said was not already on the public record. Another Brazilian Rashomon effect seems to be forming, like pancadas de chuva over the mat’atlantica. In an unrelated story, the terrorist menace.

Oil and gas discoveries in the Santos Basin seem to have unleashed a yellow-journalistic gusher that far exceeds the already impressive proven capacity of Brazilian content pipelines for the pumping of hysterical noise and toxic sludge.

Live on Tropical Bloomberg today, for example, was the president of the Brazilian National Petroleum Agency (ANP, from its acronym in Portuguese), Haroldo Lima — of the Communist Party of Brazil and a former member of the Ação Popular guerrilla movement, which might make him unpopular with the Ivy League legacy admission boys from the embassy in Asunción, you would tend to guess — explaining remarks quoted by the Reuters news agency yesterday about the potential of the Carioca Field, a second potential “megareserve” discovered during ongoing exploration of deep-water areas of the Santos Basin.

On which see also

In the Estado de S. Paulo, meanwhile, the top headline yesterday: “Oil Royalties Unleash an [orgy, bender, wild party] [PT-Br farra] of Public-Employee Hiring in the Municipalities Benefited.”

Today (above): “Lima Says He Had Authorization to Reveal Data on Carioca Field; Says He Is Not Subject to the Securities Regulator.”

Mr. Lima, questioned by senators on live TV today, engaged in quite a bit of loud, indignant yelling before apparently being advised (very sensibly) to calm down by his counsel, then said that he in fact “revealed” nothing.

The gist: All of the information discussed by Lima in his remarks to an industry conference had already been published by World Oil magazine in its February issue. The column in question is here. Pretty nerdy stuff, with nice but very complicated infographics. At least I know now that “subsalt” is the term used by the experts on the subject. Add to glossary.

I am watching Tropical Bloomberg’s coverage of the flap right now, which is very competent, as usual, and gives everybody plenty of time to say their piece. None of that selective quotation out of context crap.

President Lula is quoted by some Tupi news agencies as calling Mr. Lima’s remarks “precipitous” or “hasty.” Hugo Chavez’ joke earlier in the year about President Lula’s becoming “an oil sheik” are being dredged up as well.

As always, when lots of voices are shrieking at the top of their lungs at the same time, it is hard to know where to focus your attention first — this is precisely the point of organized shrieking on the “noise machine” or “echo chamber” model — but it seems to make sense to begin by reality-testing the official clarifications requested by the securities regulator, alongside the original Reuters report and the transcript of Mr. Lima’s remarks today.

The Petrobras regulatory disclosure published today:

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“Rio Governor Will Veto Militia Legalization Proposal”

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Extra (Globo, Rio de Janeiro), April 12: “State lawmakers approve legalization of militias.” The headline is a little tendentious, but there does seem to be that risk.

The most significant aspect of this attempt (by the DEM deputy) is that it indicates the degree to which these illegal armed groups have extensive political connections.

Cabral diz que vetará proposta de polícia comunitária: Rio de Janeiro governor Cabral says he will veto a proposal to create a “community police” force.

On which see also

The report is from A Tarde (Salvador, Bahia), whose emergence as a paper with national project, but with a Northeastern point of view, is an interesting story for media watchers to watch .

O governador do Rio, Sérgio Cabral Filho (PMDB), disse hoje que não pretende levar adiante a proposta do deputado estadual Natalino José Guimarães (DEM) de criar uma polícia comunitária com a mão de obra de policiais civis, militares e bombeiros aposentados – numa estrutura que lembraria a de milícias, grupos armados que dominam favelas. “Já mandei uma mensagem para a Alerj (Assembléia Legislativa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro) pedindo para que esses policiais aposentados sejam utilizados em atividades nos batalhões. Fora isso, o projeto que vier eu veto”, afirmou Cabral.

Rio de Janeiro governor Cabral said today he has no intention of going forward with a proposal by state lawmaker José “Natalino” Guimarães (DEM-PFL) of creating a “community police” using retired state judicial police, military police troopers and firemen — in a structure that recalls the armed “militias” that dominate shantytowns. “I have already sent a message to the state assembly requesting that these retired police be used to do work at the battalions. Aside from that, I am going to veto the bill,” he said.

Natalino was arrested on charges of running protection rackets and black market businesses and having people whacked.

As was his brother and another family member, and a military police trooper known as “Batman.” The protection racket apparently referred to itself as “the Justice League.”

You hardly ever hear local analysts comparing this sort of thing with, for example, the Colombian CONVIVIR program. I find the resemblances striking.

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The Vila Maddá Morning Milkshake (With Net Delay)

boi zebu (bos indicus): One end is moo, the other (in about 50% of cases) milk.

This morning business report delayed by our falling off the network for several hours for some reason.

Provider: NET Serviços cable broadband, whose motto seems to be “why deliver five 9s when one 9 is plenty? They will never know the difference.”

After (1) a major media panic campaign earlier this year over the quality and safety of Brazilian milk production, and (2) amid a dramatic pre-Doha war of words between Brazil and the European Union over the sanitary certification of edible Brazilian bovines, and (2) just as Parmalat emerges from that scandalous bankruptcy here and starts raising funds to get back in the game, a frenzy of M&A in the domestic dairy industry.

See also

A specimen deal announced today, apart from the headline-making acquisition of Leitbom by GP Investimentos, in the Bovespa’s Plantão Empresas corporate actions newswire:

“Em cumprimento ao disposto no artigo n. 157 da Lei 6.404/76 e na Instrucao CVM n. 358/02, a Monticiano Participacoes S.A., companhia aberta, com sede na cidade e estado de Sao Paulo, na Rua Pamplona, 818 – conjunto 92, inscrita no CNPJ/MF sob o n. 09.191.251/0001-75 (a “Companhia”) e GP Dairy I, LLC, sociedade devidamente constituida e existente de acordo com as leis do Estado de Delaware, Estados Unidos da America (“GP Dairy”), vem comunicar a alteracao no controle da Companhia, em decorrencia de operacoes societarias aprovadas pela Assembleia Geral Extraordinaria ocorrida em 14 de abril de 2008, por meio das quais a GP Dairy, se tornou detentora de 99% do capital votante e total da Companhia. Nao ha intencao da GP Dairy, dentro de um prazo de um ano, a contar da presente data, em requerer o cancelamento do registro de companhia aberta da Companhia junto a Comissao de Valores Mobiliarios.”

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The Globalization of Disclosure: What We Have Here Is Failure to Commun’cate

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I have been reading a lot of annual reports lately, in Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

I occasionally also work as a translator of these things, which is why, in addition to an interest in business news for its own sake, I try to keep on the state of the art in business translation as well.

The state of the art in business translation leaves a great deal to be desired. Especially here in Brazil.

In Embratel’s 2007 report, for example — in which no expense has been spared to produce a side-by-side English translation with a very, very snazzy design — the concept of “packet switching” becomes “package commuting.”

And things get worse from there.

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