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The (Big) State of Brazilian Journalism

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Pitiful, how the Estado de S. Paulo metro daily has taken to the production of quasi-fake news of late, in the form of topical coverage of conference events produced by the newspaper itself for its various clients and then reported on as if objectively newsworthy.  Continue reading

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Media Blitz 2014: Coffee, Cream and Sugar at Presidential Debates

A report on the current incarnation of the hoary old Café com Leite economic and political movements — a phrase used to describe the ideological dichotomies of the Old Republic of the late XIX Century.

(Milk stands for agricultural Minas Gerais while São Paulo still embraces the ways of  the fantastic, legendary coffee bubble.

The old coffee exchange still stands in the vicinity of Wall and Pearl Streets, I think. I just remember being surprised to come across an almost identical building in the port of Santos, with the same title.

Northeastern sugarcane completes the picture and I sigh after taking a cautious slurp.

My translation, with minor corrections to preserve the flow.

During the second round of elections,  (PSDB) will rely on support that far exceeds the numbers of its campaign supporters and militants.

According to the  Manchetômetro [Headline Watch],  which monitors  election media coverage  on a daily site, in a typical week has yielded a wealth of stories and articles contrary to reelection of Dilma. The group recently counted 79 negative headlines about Dilma and only 10 (ten) about the center-right Toucan candidate, Neves.

Continue reading

«My Dear, You Must Be Joking»

João Luiz Mauad

Instituto Millenium

Translation: C. Brayton

Friday, May 31, was another in a series of terrible days for public safety in Rio de Janeiro. First, we heard reports that various police precincts had decided to “sit on their hands,” refusing to open for business. In placing dilettantism ahead of duty, these people are an example of how vast sectors of civil servants are guided, not by principles, but by the utter lack of them. Any day of the week when police precincts are shuttered — working day, weekend or holiday — is something, not from the third world, but from the fourth, the fifth, the sixth.

On the same day, another foreign tourist was severely injured during a visit to the Rocinha shantytown, in the city’s Southern Zone. The German as shot in the arm, torso and liver. He was taking a walk through the community with a friend when he was surprised by an armed man.

As soon as I read these news, I recalled a shocking article I had read the day before, in the American magazine Slate, in which reputable journalist Anne Applebaum sings  the praises of Brazil and of Rio in particular. The title and subtitle are apologetic: “Brazil’s Special Miracle – Why aren’t Brazilians more willing to promote the secrets of their success?”

In a handful of lines and with painfully shallow knowledge of our country, the author praises Brazil’s incipient entrepreneurship, its failed ethanol program, the welfare state and the Bolsa-Família, the quality of life in the favelas, the leadership of Brazil among the so-called “nonaligned” nations and the positive example Brazil should set for other poor nations.

Frankly, Anne, you must be joking.

Samboja | Residents Revolted

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Source: iG | São Paulo.

Quality of life has deteriorated in the opinion of São Paulo city residents.

According to a poll taken by the Nossa São Paulo network, city residents assign the city, on average, a score of 4.7 on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of quality of life … “This is the lowest indicator we have seen since we began the survey,” said Márcia Cavallari, the CEO of market research firm Ibope, during the announcement of the results this morning.

Oddly, the results do not appear on IBOPE’s news page today.

In 2012, 8 out of 10 S. Paulo residents described traffic as bad or extremely bad, according to the survey. Most indicators have fallen in comparison with previous years. “Of the 169 items studied by the survey, 82% scored less than the arithmetical mean of 5.5 out of 10,” said Marcia, addiing: “17% of these items scored above the mean [5.5]”. Last year, 22% of these areas scored higher than average.

Mayor Fernando Haddad took part in a debate organized by the NGO Nossa São Paulo on Thursday.

I cannot seem to locate the event on NPS’s news page as well.

In the survey of 1,512 city residents, conducted between November 24 and December 8, 56% of the interview subjects said they would leave the city if they had the opportunity to live elsewhere.

Among interview subjects, 58% were born in the city. Of the 42% of non-natives, 82% have lived in São Paulo for more than 10 years. The survey also show that 7 in 10 São Paulo residents use the bus system every day and report an average wait of 21 minutes.

Oded Grajew, coordinator of the Nossa São Paulo network, says that the numbers suggest there is something very wrong with the city. Continue reading

Health & Stealth & Wealth | The Ghost NGOs of Duque de Caxias

Ever since the “bloodsucker” case of 2006 — shameless skimming from a budget line item intended for the noble purpose of universalizing the availability of ambulance services — it has been apparent that the Brazilian federal government needs to lean more closely over the shoulders of state and municipal recipients of federal aid.

The founding of the CGU — the audit authority of the federal executive — in 2001-2 was a step in that direction, and came to be used more aggressively during the Lula years.

Controversy remains, however, over who to hold responsible, and when, and why, as well as how to investigate and prosecute. Ticklish constitutional issues abound.

Take the example, of presidential candidate and former São Paulo governor José Serra, Cardoso’s health minister at the time, who was photographed at an ambulance-christening event in a frontier state in the company of several “bloodsuckers.” There was no evidence linking him to the scheme, but arguments raged about where the buck should stop.

In recent years, it was a failed 2007 congressional inquiry — The CPI of the NGOs — and then the current federal president who introduced the topic of “ghost NGOs,” in the most recent case amid a minor scandal in the Ministry of Sports and elsewhere in the permanent bureaucracy.

As another current case of “ghost NGOs” at work indicates,

More than one third of funds funneled to the conspiracy came from the federal government. Federal prosecutor finds lack of effective oversight and cost controls.

Reported by: Raphael Gomide

Duque de Caxias is a city of some 900,000 in Rio state, by the way. Continue reading