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Trade sanctions on US good

Brazil has announced, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) has approved, new trade sanctions on US goods, in response to illegal subsidies paid by the US government to American cotton growers.

A list was published by Brazil of the items on which import tariffs would be placed, which includes more than 100 different American products, worth nearly $600 million. Cotton products would face the highest penalty, with the tariff increasing from 6% to 100%. Other American products will be included in the sanctions as well, although the tariff increase will not be as significant.

According to a Brazilian official, a wide range of products was chosen, in order to “maximize pressure.” The tariffs will go into effect in 30 days, unless the two countries can reach an agreement before then. Read More…

On this day January 25, 1554

Jesuit missionaries José de Anchieta and Manoel da Nóbrega established a mission at São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga, which grew to become São Paulo, Brazil.

Father José de Anchieta

Father José de Anchieta

São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga (Saint Paul of the Fields of Piratininga in Portuguese) was the village that grew into São Paulo, Brazil in the region known as Campos de Piratininga.

It was the inland correspondent of São Vicente, founded as a religious Mission and a Jesuit Royal College by priests José de Anchieta and Manuel da Nóbrega in January 25, 1554 (the date of the first mass and the anniversary of Saint Paul‘s conversion).

The village was initially populated by Portuguese colonists and two tribes of the Guainás Amerindians. Later, São Paulo became the origin of the Bandeiras in the great colonial expansion of the 17th century. Read More…

On this day December 22, 1988

Chico Mendes, a Brazilian rubber tapper, unionist and environmental activist, is assassinated.

chico_mendesHe fought to stop the burning and logging of the Amazon Rainforest to clear land for cattle ranching, and founded a national union of rubber tappers in an attempt to preserve their profession and the rainforest that it relied upon.

He was murdered in 1988 by ranchers opposed to his activism. He is survived by three children (Angela, Elenira, and Sandino Mendes). Read More…

On this day November 20, 1695

Zumbi was captured and beheaded on the spot, the Portuguese transported Zumbi’s head to Recife, where it was displayed in the central praça as proof that, contrary to popular legend among African slaves, Zumbi was not immortal.

This was also done as a warning of what would happen to others if they tried to be as brave as him. Remnants of quilombo dwellers continued to reside in the region for another hundred years. Read More…

Massive blackout hits Brazil

A massive power blackout in southern Brazil left tens of millions of people without power, with residents in major cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo affected. Police called in extra officers and asked people to stay off the street when the Itaipu hydroelectric plant failed at 10:15 pm local time Tuesday (0015 GMT Wednesday) and plunged the affected areas into darkness.

Itaipu Dam at night

Itaipu Dam at night

The electric plant supplies the regions of Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Goiás, Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, and Espírito Santo, as well as 90% of neighbouring Paraguay, which was almost completely without power for fifteen minutes.

Brazilian Energy Minister Edson Lobao stated that the cause of the “complete paralysis” of the plant was not yet known, but put forward a theory that lightning may have caused the high-tension supply lines to short out. Read More…

Brazil’s dengue fever cases down 46.3%

Brazil’s number of dengue fever cases in the first seven months totaled 406,883, down 46.3 percent year-on-year, Brazil’s Health Ministry announced Thursday.

According to the ministry, from January to July, in addition to the Federal District, a total of 20 Brazilian states registered a reduction of dengue fever cases. The state of Rio de Janeiro, where the fever claimed 174 lives last year, posted the sharpest fall of 95.9 percent.

In the northeastern states of Rio Grande do Norte and Sergipe, the dengue fever cases also went down drastically by 93 percent and 90.4 percent year-on-year, respectively. Read More…

On this day October 24, 1930

A bloodless coup d’état in Brazil ousts Washington Luís Pereira de Sousa, the last President of the First Republic. Getúlio Dornelles Vargas is then installed as “provisional president.”

Washington Luís Pereira de Sousa

Facing the 1929 crisis, the president lost almost all his support. He elected his friend Julio Prestes as his successor in 1930, but just 3 weeks before the end of his term, Luís was overthrown by a coup d’etat (1930 Revolution) and was succeeded by a military junta.

The authoritarian government was modeled on the Estado Novo regime in Portugal.

Days after the U.S. stock market crash on October 29, 1929 (See Black Tuesday), coffee quotations immediately fell 30% to 60%. The subsequent decline was even sharper. Between 1929 and 1931, coffee prices fell from 22.5 cents per pound to 8 cents per pound. Read More…