«Globo Downplays FIFA Association»

Sonega

Source: Brasil 24/7

Globo, the official broadcaster of the World Cup, has already brought in R$ 1.4 billion in advertising revenues for event coverage.

Despite this, last week TV Globo issued a recommendation to its journalists to avoid “positive spin” on the event.

In a memo circulated among staff, Globo calls for balanced coverage of the championship and asks that irregularities also be covered. These guidelines appear to apply mainly to the staff of the Jornal Nacional. It is no accident that the network’s flagship news program affords daily coverage of delayed public works and the rising cost of stadiums. Continue reading

Alstom Case | Information “Round-Filed” For Years

images-cms-image-000341462

Source: Jornal do Brasil

Federal lawmakers file suit against former attorney-general Rodrigo de Grandis. The parliamentarians demand an explanation for the postponement of a request for assistance from Swiss prosecutors.

The explanation given so far: The documents were filed in the wrong envelope and then lost and forgotten. I kid you not.

Workers Party legislators are due to file suit with the National Council of the Public Ministry (CNMP) this Friday against prosecutor Rodrigo De Grandis on the suspicion that he delayed acting on a request from Swiss authorities regarding the possible involvement of ranking Toucans — Social Democrats — in an international crime scheme. The collaborative effect was intended to examine the formation of a cartel involving Siemens and Alstom in contracts with the commuter railway, the Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM).

The petition comes with the signature of the leader of the PT benches in the lower house, José Guimarães (CE), as well as deputies Ricardo Berzoini (SP) and Edson Santos (RJ). In the document, they ask for a true explanation of the violations of legal principles that a preliminary probe has already revealed. The document requests that if the charges are true, then de Grandis should be held responsible for a crime of omission in the investigation of the the CPTM cartel.

The PT deputies want more information on the fact that de Grandis [literally] buried the case. Deputy Renato Simões (PT-SP) says de Grandis failed to live up to his duties as a prosecutor, disrupting an investigation and refusing to collaborate with the Swiss, an action that needs a better explanation.

This weekend, information published in the press indicates that Rodrigo de Grandis ["round-filed"] the case starting in 2010 — and not just this case. He dragged his feet in eight more cases despite repeated requests for cooperation from the Swiss. The Swiss agency MOP discovered financial transactions by the consultantsArthur Teixeira, Sérgio Teixeira and José Amaro Pinto Ramos, all three suspected of brokering bribes, as well as the  ex-director of the CPTM, João Roberto Zaniboni, suspected of having gotten away with R$ 18.4 million from Alstom.

Folha de S. Paulo and its publisher Otavio Frias were uncharacteristically harsh in a case in which it, too, might be said to have swept a few facts under the rug:

A harsh editorial in the Frias family newspaper, calls the excuse that the file requesting the assistance of Swiss prosecutors looking into a case that involves bribery and the social democratic party.

“No investigation work has been done, then. And the reason given for this act of omission defies the credibility of even the most naive of us. They say they the request from the Swiss was misfiled. Or so says the prosecutor responsible for the case in Brazil, Rodrigo de Grandis,” the editorial says. “Let us not just leave it at that so that the Toucan train can roll on to its all too familiar destination: impunity.”

The Minister of Justice, Cardozo, says de Grandis failed to take action as ordered on several occasions.

Uma nota oficial do Ministério da Justiça, divulgada na noite de ontem, joga por terra a alegação do procurador Rodrigo de Grandis e do Ministério Público de que também teria havido falhas do governo federal na cooperação com autoridades suíças em relação ao caso Alstom, empresa que distribuiu propinas a personagens ligados ao PSDB para obter contratos milionários nos setores de transporte e energia em São Paulo. A equipe de José Eduardo Cardozo esclareceu ainda que o procurador Rodrigo de Grandis foi alertado em diversas oportunidades para tomar providências. Leia abaixo:

Brasília, 1º/11/2013 – Em relação à nota da Procuradoria-Geral da República, o Ministério da Justiça esclarece que não houve qualquer falha na tramitação dos pedidos de cooperação oriundos da Suíça referentes ao denominado Caso Alstom.

Os mencionados pedidos de cooperação foram encaminhados, desde março de 2010, à então Assessoria de Cooperação Internacional da Procuradoria Geral da República (atual Secretaria de Cooperação Internacional). Ressalta-se que este procedimento ocorre com todo e qualquer pedido recebido de países estrangeiros pelo Departamento de Recuperação de Ativos e Cooperação Jurídica (DRCI) e são direcionados à Procuradoria Geral da República para cumprimento.

Os únicos ofícios que foram encaminhados somente ao Procurador da República, Rodrigo de Grandis, foram seis reiterações dos pedidos iniciais, como forma de cobrar o andamento do pedido, procedimento adotado pelo Departamento.

Considerando este cenário, não procede a informação de que haveria tido falha no envio do pedido.

Jose Dirceu accused de Grandis of politicizing the case

News of an internal investigation of de Grandis is in th papers today: the Folha, the Estadão and Valor. “Rodrigo de Grandis did not comply with requests from Swiss authorities,” reads a subhed in the Folha. “Internal affairs wants to know why Rodrigo de Grandis did not comply with the request for assistance from the Swiss in the Alstom case, read a headline in the Estadão.

No episódio comprova-se mais uma vez a seletividade do Ministério Público nas investigações. E da cobertura da imprensa, que habitualmente dá pouquíssimo espaço ao caso – e nenhum, quando envolve o procurador De Grandis. Já a palavra dele próprio, entrevista, etc… – nada. Habitualmente exibido e falador quando é para atacar a honra alheia, ele agora se esconde da mídia.

Tampouco sua “distração” em relação ao pedido da Suíça, à investigação, motiva menções nos jornais a nomes de políticos e governadores tucanos em cujas administrações se formou o conluio em torno do cartel. Já quando os casos envolvem o PT o nome do partido e de seus integrantes vai para as manchetes, títulos, legendas, chamadas, textos – vai em tudo.

AES Eletropaulo and AES Tietê | Two of a Pair

Eletropaulo

What a coincidence: Here I am reading an article on the business practices of AES Eletropaulo and boom! another transformer explosion like the one that ravaged the motherboard of my other machine — the one that runs on Linux.

Windows users, I cannot understand how you can bear it.

Source:  Brasil de Fato.

One of the practices engaged in by most electrical energy distributors in Brazil to increase profits is for different companies to negotiate buy-sell contracts among themselves.

This is the case with contract signed between distributor AES Eletropaulo and generator AES Tietê, both controled by the American AES Corporation. These are the so-called “billion-dollar’ contracts which, shamefully, have been autorized by ANEEL, the federal energy regulator. Continue reading

Metrogate | “Marked Cards,” Says Folha

bonnerthumb

Source: Folha de S.Paulo

An exchange of e-mails among Siemens executives indicate that companies had prior access to the plans of the CPTM for four auctions held by the state government in 2004 — during the second term of Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) as governor.

A document in the possession of federal antitrust authorities to which the Folha had access show that even before the publication of the conditions for the auction, the companies were already discussing how to divide up the  Boa Viagem program, launched by Alckmin and designed to refurbish, renovate and modernize the trains.

On November 24, and titled “Acquisition Planned by CPTM in Brazil,” an e-mail sent by a Siemens exec detailed how the company wish to divide up the contracts among the major suppliers. The first public announcement of the auctions were not made until two days later.

“The various reforms should go to various suppliers. The main goal of the  CPTM is to assign the complete package to four major suppliers  (Alstom, Siemens, Bombardier and T’Trans). In our case, we can count on  Iesa and  MGE as subcontractors”, the e-mail, signed by executive Marcos Missawa, said.

[Link] The other side: State denies ever discussing project with contractors

Continue reading

Campus Fidei & The Million Man Mass

Campus Fidei in

Campus Fidei in Guaratibe, Western Zone, Rio:

Source: Folha de S.Paulo

Topic: The failure of the Campus Fidei project for hosting pilgrims in the Southern Zone of Rio.

“Campus Fidei,” a 1.32 million square meter tract of land in  Guaratiba, in the Western Zone of  Rio and scheduled site of the closing vigil and mass of World Youth Day, was installed on a clandestine tract of land, according to state prosecutors.

Among the owners of the land is businessman Jacob Barata Filho, according to Christiane Monnerat, the prosecutor assigned to the case.

Filho is the son of Jacob Barata, known in Rio as “The Bus King,” because he owns most of the bus collectives in the city.

The area, an example of the manguezal ecosystem , cannot be subjected to landfill because it lies within an area of environmental protection.

Wikipedia:

Manguezal, also called mangue or mangal, is a costal ecosystem and point of transition between inland and marine environments — a humid zone characteristic of tropial and subtropical regions.

In addition … Continue reading

The Dreamliner and the Brazilian F/A-18

C-390F_Correios_01

Source:  Radar On-line (Veja magazine)

The Planalto Palace has two serious concerns with news of U.S. spying. First and most obviously, the presidential palace wants to know how close the U.S. spy agency got to the offices of the President and her ministers.

Another priority is to learn the extent of industrial espionage. A major risk, according to palace sources, is the potential violation of confidential information shared during the negotiations over the purchase of fighter jets for the Brazilian air force.

Not coincidentally,  Brasil continues to evaluate three models of fighter: French, Swedish and American.

The American entry is the Boeing F/A-18.

In its most recent “yellow pages” interview, Veja features Boeing’s Jim McNerny evaluating the opportunities present in the Brazilian market, an interview conducted at the Boeing offices in D.C.

Boeing and Brazil’s Embraer signed a memorandum of understanding on June 26 to jointly market Embraer’s medium airlifter, the KC-390 — above.

Veja’s softball interview — a specialty of the house — touches only briefly on the fighter order, but does focus, sympathetically,  on the woes suffered by the Boeing 787a story covered on July 15 by Veja’s business-themed sister publication Exame.

The exec says that all the lithium ion battery problems have now been resolved.

A July 15 story in Exame, however, suggests that the headache persists:

Boeing faces a revealing public test of the carbon-fiber technology used in its 787 Dreamliner after a fire broke out on one of its aircraft at Heathrow Airport, in London.

British investigators say that the lithium ion batteries on the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft probably did not cause the fire, alleviating concerns about the return of the problem that led to the cancellation of Dreamliner flights for more than three months earlier this year, when a battery caught fire and another overheated.

Wall Street and passengers so far seem unconcerned: Boeing shares are expected to stabilize on Monday [July 15] after falling 4.7% on Friday. The airlines are keeping their aircraft flying and passengers in Japan, the jet’s primary market, are not cancelling flights.

Japan is said to be refusing to declare the aircraft flightworthy, regarding which McNerney says,

Safety is critically important to the Japanese, as it is to us. In Japan, there is zero tolerance for safety issues. They are asking for evidence that nothing else is wrong. We will provide the evidence. The situation is totally normal. We have sold 59 aircraft to ten airlines, none of them, so far, Brazilian. But an Ethiopian Airlines  787 is beginning to land in Brazil, in São Paulo and Rio. By year end we will have delivered 110 aircraft.

According to a July 2 story in the Telegraph,

JAL and its rival All Nippon Airways (ANA) both blamed the grounding of their Dreamliner fleets for hitting revenues to the tune of $200m, prompting Boeing to print full-page apologies in major Japanese newspapers. Japan is the single-biggest market for Boeing’s newest aircraft.

Veja closes its yellow pages interview by asking in general terms about what it was like to run a company in a country where corruption is rife — a question the executive deftly avoided, saying, “I would not say that Brazil is dramatically worse” than other countries in this area.

The exec also makes a point of promising that the fighter sale would include the technology transfer demanded by the Brazilians.

The interview bears all the earmarks of a charm offensive — as in the subtitle in which McNerney is quoted as saying, “My response [to news of aviation disasters] is the same as anyone’s. Human tragedy is human tragedy.”

The yellow pages are known for their publicity-driven, hagiographical profiles, and this seems like no exception to the rule. Consider the following ridiculous softball exchange:

Q: Is the 787 an enormous innovation?

A: Without a doubt. It is what the 707 was in its day [launched in 1958, it was the first Boeing commercial jet and the first in its class to achieve commercial success.] The 787 offers airlines improved performance and fuel efficiency, less environmental damage and lower costs. It is a productivity tool.

Q: What are the advantages for passengers?

This follow-on  question lacks a “disadvantages” follow-up.

Exame again, however:

The question is, can the aircraft that caught fire be repaired easily at a reasonable cost? These specific repairs have never been conducted on a operation commercial airliner. That makes the Ethiopian Airline incident the first opportunity for airlines, financiers, and competitors to study a real-life example of how to repair the plane and and how much it will cost.

Diagnosis: a mild case of «autohagiography by proxy» — self-praise and self-defense in a quasi-journalistic genre.

São Paulo | New Songs About Buildings and Food

contru

Source: Artur Rodrigues | O Estado de S.Paulo

To expedite procedures and reduce corruption, Haddad disbands Aprov

Change. The agency, which became known for the scandal involving its former manager, Hussain Aref Saab, was retired yesterday, together with Contru, by the new city Secretary of Licenses, which faces the task of catching up on 25,000 applications.

Whatever happened to Hussain Aref Saab? I thought it was remarkable how little coverage was devoted to his ties with Mayor Kassab and his party.  Then I thought again.

Six months into his mandate, Fernando Haddad (PT) has instituted the Municipal Secretary of Licenses and given it the mission of acting on a backlog of at least 25,000 applications. The first official act of the new agency, headed by architect Paula Maria Motta Lara, is to put an end to Aprov, the Building Approvals office, and Contru, a zoning authority, both of which have suffered  accusations of corruption over the  years.

The closing of these offices comes as part of a restructuring program that plans to staff up with civil servants from two underused city departments, Parsolo (…) and Cadastro Setorial (…), which are also being dismantled.

The objective is to divide these human resources among specialized coordinating agencies: Residential Use (Resid), Institutional Services and Uses (Servin), Industrial and Commercial Usage (Comin), Public Housing (Parhis) and Special Activities and Security of Usage.

Although she explains the changes in terms of operational considerations, the incoming secretary says she is happy to do away with Aprov, which gained fame from the scandal involving its former chief, Hussain Aref Saab, who accumulated a fortune of 125 real properties during his tenure.

“With everything that happened, Aprov became synonymous with the worst possible scenario. Our decision was to say, “There will no more Aprov, forget that story because now there is a new municipal secretary.”

As a weapon against corruption, Paula will rely on reducing procedural delays, and said she had found cases lying around unattended since 2002. “What you saw in the cases (of corruption) we discovered were promises to expedite paperwork. “At present, it is normal to see cases that have waited five years or more. There is a mountain of paperwork. The atmosphere lacks the urgency of an office with people waiting,” she adds. Her goal is to comply with the Código de Obras — The Building Code — which provides for finalization of applications within 90 days.

Regarding the six month delay in establishing the new structure, Paula blamed bureaucratic issues: It was necessary to approve the enabling legislation for the creation of the new office, which was part of a legislative package with 11 other topics. In the meantime, Paula worked out of the office of the housing secretary, with no support except for a driver, and says the number of procedures stuck in the system at Aprov decreated  from 7,500 to 4,600,

With the new coordinators, Paula knows that the mayor will be keeping a sharp eye on the approval of «social interest housing» — the mayor has promised to build 20,000 units. Another bottleneck is the lack of a licensing program for night clubs. On Sunday, the Estado reported that, of 58 party spots  it monitored, 30 were operating without a license.

[...]

Electronic processing. Another mission to accomplish by year’s end is to reactive the electronic system adopted by ex-Mayor Gilberto Kassab, which had many problems and was suspended. For the time being, the process remains a pen and paper affair. The incoming secretary says she is also organizing amendments to the 1992 Building Code. The idea is to assign more responsibility — and punishment — to those responsible for construction projects …

It will be nice it if works out. Earlier administrations, now in the opposition, provided significant bureaucratic relief in some areas with the Poupatempo program. Haddad is an ambitious technocrat with a briefcase full of master plans. We shall see how well he can cope with the fractious municipal assembly and the state, the latter of which belongs to the national opposition.

Coverage | Rating Port Reports

Porto de Santos - Fotografias antigas

Via Observatório da Imprensa

By: Rolf Kuntz

Translate: C. Brayton

The Brazilian government is busy trying to stimulate the modernization of and competition among the ports, the stated goals of Provisional Measure 595, approved by a final vote in Congress on May 16.

Brazilian ports are among the best in the world at processing iron ore but occupy 35th place in the handling of containers, according to a study executed by FIRJAN and reproduced in the May 19 edition of O Globo.

To stimulate competition, however, it will be necesary to multiply access routes to various terminals, the Estado de S. Paulo warned in an article published the same day.

The contrast between coverage by the Folha and O Globo is striking: the Folha refers insistently to the current “chaos” as O Globo looks forward to an advance in the rankings, as follows.

Brazilian ports are experiencing a paradox. In port terminals for the export of iron, Brazil leads the world rankings in first, second and fifth place. Among ports that handle containers, it falls to 35th place, bringing up the rear in a study released by FIRJAN, the Rio de Janeiro industrial federation. Investments in increased capacity, modernization of equipment and improvements in electronic cargo handling could elevate Brazil to 17th place within three years. This leap, according to experts, could be favored by the MP dos Portos, approved last week in Congress.

Returning to the Estado analysis and its prognosis of “chaos”:

“The lack of alternative routes ends up overloading the southern and southeastern coastal ports, while other ports are practically idle.  In the area of grains, nearly two-thirds of production for export leaves the country through Santos (SP) and Paranaguá (PR). The rest is divided among 16 terminals scattered along the coast,” the article said.

With these articles, the two newspapers enriched the reader’s understanding one of the hottest and complex issues of the week, the vote on the Provisional Measure of the Ports. The major news organizations made a mighty effort over the course of that week to follow the voting in the two houses of Congress. Moreover, they took the trouble to explain the issue in detail and demonstrate to readers how important it was.

Hard Work

There were long, hard negotiations in the lower house. The government had failed to mobilize its congressional base of support. For this reason, a last-minute push was needed to obtain votes for the measure without agreeing to disastrous amendments.  MP 595 was to lose its validity at midnight on May 16.

An MP is a bill sent down by the executive to be voted by the Congress, with a time constraint. The mechanism is often criticized as an incursion of executive power into the powers of Congress.

With some of its main allies working against the bill, the government had to make concessions and promise resources for projects financed by budget amendments.

According to journalistic accounts, the Treasury is to release R$ 1 billion, and more political appointments are to be made. Debates in Câmara went on well into the night and the decisive session lasted 22 hours. Lawmakers were photographed sleeping on the floor of Congress, but sleep is a luxury reporters do not enjoy.

Observing this marathon was only part of the mission. Day by day it was necessary to explain the principal changes proposed, their consequences, and the probable reaction of the government.  It may be argued whether the effort was consistently successful, but the performance of the media was undeniable. It would be very difficult to obtain, in these conditions, a better result.  On May 17, the major dailies were still fixated on final approval of the bill, obtained quickly and with surprising facility by the Senate. The effort to translate the details of the text for the lay reader and to indicate the likely presidential vetos continued on Saturday.

Complex Agenda

On Sundary, the newspapers made space on the front page again for the topic.  “Brazil may advance in global ranking,” informed O Globo, with a jump head for an article on the classification and future of the ports. “New ports will require new roads and railroads,”, was the top headline of the Estadão. In a more discrete reference to the story, at the foot of the front page, the Folha de S. Paulo registered the statement: “‘I am not an evil genius’, said Eduardo Cunha, an opponent of the MP dos Portos”. Cunha leads the PMDB in the lower house of congress, the part of vice-president Michel Temer and the government’s most powerful ally. Its resistance was the principal obstacle to the approval of the measure.

Given the prospect that certain articles may be vetoed, there is much new material that will have to be explored and explained in subsequent editions. To date, the MP dos Portos is the most complete and best-organized governmental initiative to increase efficiency and competitiveness of the Brazilian economy.  But it is merely one part of a much broader agenda, as exemplified by the Estado’s story on the condition of access roads connecting to the terminals.

Logistics | Any Port in a Paperless Storm

Brazilian port authorities. Source:

Brazilian port authorities. Source: Secretaria dos Portos

Source: Folha de S.Paulo, which tends to lead its Mercado section with stories highlighting lack of progress toward goals defined by the current federal administration, with talking heads provided by industry lobbying groups.

This approach can be thought of as a subgenre of the «chaos» meme — «chaos in the skies», «chaos on the streets», chaos, chaos, everywhere.

The captain of a ship flying foreign colors, arriving in Brazil, is obliged to supply 190 pieces of information to Brazilian authorities. At times, the same information must be submitted in different documents to the tax authority, the Navy, the public health autority and the federal police.

Brazilian ports operate in chaotic conditions

In order to depart Brazil, the situation is the same: Of the 13 days a container takes to reach its destination, six are spent on paperwork at the port, according to the World Bank.  Clearing Singapore, which leads the world in this ranking, takes one day, while in the United States it takes two.

This is one reason why the price of exporting a container from Brazil is more than double the amount charged in Europe: US$ 2,215 in Brazil and US$ 1,028 in Europe.

Despite the logistical chaos of entering and exiting Brazilian ports, bureaucracy remains the main problem, according to a survey of users conducted by ILOS, the Institute of Logistics and Supply Chain.

None of the problems, however, were addressed by the recent Provisional Measure of the Ports, a bill approved after a political battle in the National Congress. Continue reading

Maluf | Corruption Comes Home to Roost

Roberto Marinho Avenue -- a Sambodian Big Dig

The Maluf-inspired Roberto Marinho Avenue — a Sambodian Big Dig

G1 reports

A court in the Isle of Jersey, a European fiscal paradise, has ordered the transfer of one million pounds sterling — some R$ 4.5 million — with ties to the family of federal deputy Paulo Maluf (PP-SP) to the municipal coffers of São Paulo.

The funds were released on Friday (May 24) and deposited in the account of a law firm representing the city in London.  The money will be returned to the public coffers on May 28, since May 27 is a holiday in Great Britain.

Jersey court denies Maluf appeals Jersey, orders Maluf-owned companies to return US$ 28 million to SP

Jersey condemns Maluf to repay embezzled funds

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