Tag Archives: Brazil

Amazon Brings Prime Program to Brazil to Outflank Local Rivals

 Amazon.com Inc. is bringing its Prime membership program to Brazil in an effort to leapfrog competitors and gain traction in a country where it has been expanding slowly but surely.

To start, Amazon Prime Brazil will be a scaled-down version of the U.S. subscription service, offering free unlimited shipping for about 500,000 products out of the 20 million Amazon currently sells in Latin America’s largest economy. Two day-shipping will be available in 90 cities, the company said. Deliveries in other urban centers will take three days or more.

Amazon, which entered Brazil in 2012, is battling established e-commerce competitors, including MercadoLibre Inc. which offers free shipping if shoppers spend a certain amount. B2W Cia. Digital, another local rival, offers its own “prime” delivery service with unlimited free shipping, among other perks. Amazon operates two distribution centers in Cajamar, near Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city.

“This is a country in which we’re investing for the long run,” Amazon’s Prime and Marketing Vice President Jamil Ghani said in an interview. “Prime is the crown jewel of the consumer business at Amazon.”

Amazon Prime Brazil will offer entertainment perks, including Amazon music, books, games, local magazines and the full content of Prime Video. Amazon currently charges 14.90 reais ($3.64) monthly for its streaming service in Brazil. That compares with 9.90 reais monthly for the beefed-up full Prime membership.

While e-commerce is still small in Brazil, it has been growing fast, driven by the proliferation of smartphones. Sales rose 41% in the last two years, according to Nielsen’s e-commerce researcher Ebit. That compares with 7.3% growth for retail as a whole, according to data from Brazil’s Geography and Statistics Institute.

Brazil is the 19th country to offer Amazon’s membership program, Ghani said. Launched in 2005 in the U.S., Prime helped persuade shoppers to see the retailer as more than just a bookstore. Surveys show Amazon Prime members spend more than non-members.

Prime’s growth in the U.S. has slowed, prompting Amazon to focus on expanding the service globally, including in countries like India. Amazon Prime has more than 100 million members worldwide, including, analysts estimate, a majority of U.S. households.

Amazon debuted in Brazil in 2012 selling e-books. In 2017, it launched a marketplace operation, starting with electronics and appliances. In January, Amazon started selling directly to consumers in 11 categories, including beauty, personal care and baby products. Amazon doesn’t disclose its Brazil revenue.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/amazon-brings-prime-program-to-brazil-to-outflank-local-rivals-1.1313547

China, Brazil agree to advance bilateral ties, strengthen cooperation

China and Brazil agreed on Saturday to advance bilateral ties and strengthen cooperation in various fields.

Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe is on a four-day visit in Brazil that started Thursday, where he attended the 197th anniversary celebrations of Brazil’s independence on Saturday.

On the sidelines of the celebration ceremony, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro held talks with Wei, asking him to convey his sincere greetings and good wishes to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“I am looking forward to visiting China in October and meeting with Chinese President Xi,” said Bolsonaro.

For his part, Wei conveyed Xi’s kind greetings and good wishes to Bolsonaro, as well as his congratulations on Brazil’s independence anniversary.

Under the guidance of Xi and Bolsonaro, the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Brazil has strengthened, and their military ties have maintained a good momentum, said Wei.

China is willing to work with Brazil, consolidate pragmatic cooperation in various fields, and promote the bilateral relations and military ties to a new level, Wei added.

On Friday, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao met with Wei. Mourao said China is Brazil’s trustworthy and reliable partner for comprehensive strategic cooperation, and Brazil is willing to work with China to strengthen all-round cooperation in various fields.

During the talks with Mourao, Wei said China and Brazil are good friends and good partners, and China stands ready to work with Brazil to advance the ties and the two countries and militaries in a healthy way.

Meanwhile, Brazilian Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva also held talks with Wei.

http://www.china.org.cn/world/2019-09/09/content_75186188.htm

Brazil In Mourning’, Rallies in Defense of Public Education

“Step out Bolsonaro!” thousands shout as they march to defend public education and the Amazon.

On September 7th, the Independence Day of Brazil, the National Student Union (UNE) led protests in defense of the Amazon and public education, both of which are being threatened by policies in favor of private companies promoted by President Jair Bolsonaro.

“Education-related budget cuts end our dreams,” the UNE policy director Julia Aguiar said and explained that the today’s mobilizations seek to make visible growing social inequalities.

“In Brazil, we have to leave our homes and travel to other cities in order to study. In this context, public scholarships are essential to ensure attendance.”

“The Scream of the Excluded” is the slogan sheltering protests which take place on dozen of Brazilian cities. The massive discontent with austerity policies, however, is not new.

“Over the last months we have witnessed mobilizations in defense of education and against a government which attacks the rights of the people as a whole,” Aguiar said and recalled that the Education Ministry announced further cuts this week, which means that “the 2020 budget will have half the money than the current one.”​​​​​​​

In a country that is still astonished at the Intercept leaks, which provided insight into how judges and officials plotted to send Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to prison, street protests were inevitably accompanied by chants reminiscent of the Workers’ Party government.

“Bolsonaro wants to know and Brazil tells him: the Workers’ Party… will be back!, education… will be back!, social security… will be back!, jobs… will be back!, democracy… will be back!​​​​​​”

Painted faces are back! People rally today for education and the Amazon in Joao. Tomorrow it will be across Brazil. Our message will be broadcast from the streets. Dressed in black and with our faces painted in green and yellow, we move towards the independence of Brazil!

The September 7th protests are also focused on the defense of Amazonian rainforests and indigenous peoples, which have been targeted by businessmen who traffic with land and natural resources.

“Rich people say they defend the Brazilian flag a lot; however, they just want to sell the national wealth,” said Nicolas Nacimento, a 20-year-old student who is participating in a street protest in Brasilia for the first time.

“The Amazon is not Trump’s garbage. Step out Bolsonaro,” was the message written on a banner displayed on the Brazilian capital.

“I am not deceived, Bolsonaro is a militiaman,” the citizens were singing in chorus as the police crossed Brasilia’s streets mounted on their horses and escorted by armed cars.

“Strength Brazil, courage! The bad will ​​​​​​​end,” Portuguese writer Valter Hugo Mae told Brazil de Fato as a way of sending a solidarity message at today’s struggle in defense of the Amazon.

“When minorities come together, they become a majority!,” he recalled.​​​​​​​

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Brazil-In-Mourning-Rallies-in-Defense-of-Public-Education-20190907-0004.html

Brazilian students protest over education and the Amazon

With painted-faces and dressed in black, Brazilian students took to the streets on Saturday in all regions of the country to protest against cuts in education funds and in defense of the Amazon.

The National Union of Students (UNE) called on its members to dress in that color to express indignation and mourning. Students from at least 25 Brazilian capitals joined the mobilization.

‘Dressed in black because our homeland is being plundered. They are stealing our future and our present,’ said professor and sociologist Jésse Souza.

According to UNE, President Jair Bolsonaro asked the people of Brazil to cover themselves in green and yellow this September 7 to demonstrate that ‘the Amazon is ours’ and in response, the students, inspired by the Painted Face generation of the 1990s that overthrew president Fernando Collor de Mello, are wearing black on the day.

In its website, the Union points out that in the midst of another crisis in the sector, the Education Ministry announced that by 2020 the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (Capes) will only have half of the 2019 budget.

It would be the third announcement of Capes cuts and this year the agency will not offer 11,000 research scholarships. A similar situation happens with the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development that has suspended the granting of new studies. Both bodies are the main promotions for research in Higher Education.

Fire Hazard: Children Struggle to Breathe as Smoke Chokes Amazon City

When Maria Augusta Almeida, 45, heard her grandson cough incessantly, she knew what was to blame: the fires raging in the Amazon forest, some of them more than 200 miles (322 km) away from Porto Velho.

The smoke permeating the city, the capital of Brazil’s northwestern state of Rondonia, is leading concerned parents to wait for hours in line at local hospitals to get help for their children who are struggling to breathe.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation visited four health centers in the city, one of the hardest hit by smoke from the burning rainforest. In all, there were reports of children, some of them infants, seeking medical care due to smoke inhalation.

That sparked international calls for the country to do more to protect the world’s largest tropical rainforest — key to curbing climate change — from deforestation and other threats.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro authorized the military to fight the fires after several days of public protests and criticism from world leaders.

In Porto Velho, residents said the Cosme e Damiao Children’s Hospital, run by the Rondonia state government, had become the epicenter for children with breathing difficulties.

The symptoms from outdoor smoke inhalation have evolved into a full-blown crisis for some parents, as they do not know how to protect their children from what is in the air.

The daughter of local salesman Mauro Ribeiro do Nascimento, almost two years old, has asthma and could not stop coughing.

“I have taken her to Cosme e Damiao three times already,” her father said. “They were doing nothing but putting her on a nebulizer.”

The device helps patients breathe in medicine as a mist through a mask or a mouthpiece, to treat respiratory problems.

Worried about the strain on her lungs, do Nascimento took his daughter to a different center for an X-ray, which showed her lungs were “congested” due to irritation caused by smoke.

Staff at Cosme e Damiao were not authorized to say how many children they had attended since the fires escalated, and did not respond to requests for comment.

But volunteers and locals said the lines grew much longer about a month ago, when smoke began choking the city streets.

“The city was so filled with smoke you did not know if you should keep the windows open to maybe get some fresh air, or close them to stop more smoke from getting in,” said Sara Albino, a nursing student who volunteers at the hospital.

At her worst, Albino’s 20-month-old daughter had to use a nebulizer five times a day, which she has at home.

Eye drops had to be applied constantly to ease the burning sensation in the child’s eyes, her mother said. 

“Her eyes would not stop tearing up … they were almost glued shut; it was like conjunctivitis,” she said.

Urban fires

According to the World Health Organization, fires in the Amazon pose a risk to health including from respiratory diseases, especially in children.

But not all fires affecting Porto Velho are far away in the jungle, as they have become a cheap way to clear vegetation from urban areas for construction purposes, according to residents.

Last week, the city’s airport had to shut down after smoke from an urban fire got out of control. The vegetation on the roadsides leading to the airport was burned to a crisp.

The fires in Brazil’s sprawling Amazon rainforest have receded slightly since Bolsonaro sent in the military to help battle the blazes last week.

Meanwhile, families do what they can at home.

“I bought a humidifier … we keep it in my granddaughter’s room,” said Raimundo dos Santos, 71, who was selling water to people waiting in line at a Porto Velho health center.

The machine, which increases moisture in the air, has helped his eight-year-old granddaughter breathe. But the rest of the family is still struggling.

“I myself have already been to the hospital since the fires started,” dos Santos said, adding that he was treated for smoke inhalation.

https://www.voanews.com/americas/fire-hazard-children-struggle-breathe-smoke-chokes-amazon-city

Perez Esquivel warns about Amazon fire consequences

Biodiversity, life and the planet are being destroyed, Argentine Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel stressed, referring to the irreparable damage caused by fires curently raging across the Amazon.

A few days before traveling to Brazil to visit former president Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva, who is incarcerated in a federal prison in Curitiba for alleged corruption, the human rights activist told Prensa Latina that during his stay in Brazil, he will also hold working meetings to do everything possible to contribute to stopping what is currently happening in the so-called lungs of the planet.

Perez Esquivel is deeply concerned, like many in the world, about what is happening in the Amazon, a place he has known for years. ‘I have traveled it, I have visited Manaus, Maria River, in Sao Felix do Araguaia, and many other places. This is the insanity of those who privilege financial aspects over the life of the peoples,’ he said.

According to the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who is still active and present where he is most needed at the age of 87, ‘The Amazon is not just Brazil, it belongs to all humanity and we have to defend it.’

On August 22, when the fires began to rage fiercely, killing animals and destroying forests in their path, the Service for Peace and Justice, which Perez Esquivel leads, lamented in a statement the irreparable damages, the destruction of biodiversity, deaths and expulsion of native peoples and all living beings, plant and animal life due to the fires.

‘Brazil extinguishing fires’

Brazil’s foreign minister said his country is successfully extinguishing the fires in the Amazon region that have generated international concern after discussing the situation with President Donald Trump on Friday at the White House.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said earlier in the day that his son and Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo were heading to Washington to discuss possible US. aid in fighting the fires. The far-right president said he asked Trump for help and the US. president had said that “he couldn’t make a decision without hearing from Brazil.”

Araujo told reporters after meeting with Trump that the fires “are not an excuse to promote ideas of international management of the Amazon,” though he said the South American country is open to cooperation with other countries.

“The fires that exist today are already being fought and we are being successful in extinguishing most of the fires,” he said, adding that the meeting with Trump did not bring up specific US. aid.

Bolsonaro is considering appointing his son, congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, to be ambassador to the US., though the posting would need to be approved by the upper house of the Brazilian congress.

Araujo said the Trump administration had already expressed its approval to a possible ambassadorship of congressman Bolsonaro. “Now we have to wait for the Senate to approve hopefully the invitation,” he said.

Araujo said the fact that Trump hosted both him and the congressman at the White House even though they are not heads of state “shows how far we are in building a very special relationship with the United States.”

The compliments about the relationship with the Trump administration contrast with criticism of Brazil’s government from French President Emmanuel Macron and some other European leaders.

A $20 million offer of aid from the Group of Seven nations to help fight fires and protect rainforest stalled after Bolsonaro said Macron would have to apologize for remarks he had made. Macron had questioned Bolsonaro’s trustworthiness and commitment to environmental safeguards in a sharply personal dispute between the two leaders.

“All of Europe, together, doesn’t have any lessons to pass to us when it comes to preservation of the environment,” the Brazilian president said.

Bolsonaro later tweeted that he had a “productive” phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying she reaffirmed Brazil’s sovereignty in its Amazon region.

Journalists had asked Bolsonaro about the possible resumption of donations to a Brazilian government fund for the Amazon. Norwegian donations, amounting to tens of millions of dollars, were suspended this month because of concerns about Brazil’s commitment to the environment. Germany has also suspended a separate line of funding for Amazon projects.

“We want to know where this money will go,” Bolsonaro said. “Usually it goes in part to NGOs, which gives no return. In part it goes to good things … but it’s a lot of money for little preservation.”

Bolsonaro also said that past allocations of land to indigenous people, many of whom live in the Amazon rainforest, had been excessive. About 14% of Brazil is indigenous territory, a huge area for a relatively small population, the president said.

Some indigenous leaders say their communities are under pressure from farming and ranching expansion and complain that authorities are doing little to enforce environmental law.

Without offering evidence, Bolsonaro initially suggested that non-governmental groups started the fires to try to damage the credibility of his government, which has called for looser environmental regulations in the world’s largest rainforest to spur development. Critics say his policies and promises have motivated ranchers and loggers to move into the Amazon, sometime setting fires to open land for farming and pasture.

On Thursday, Brazil banned most legal fires for land-clearing for 60 days in an attempt to stop the burning. Many of the current fires were set in areas already cleared of trees.

About 60 percent of the Amazon region is in Brazil. The Amazon’s rainforests are a major absorber of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

ttps://www.manilatimes.net/2019/09/01/news/world/brazil-extinguishing-fires/609175/

Brazil says it is succesfully controlling amazon fires

Brazil’s foreign minister said his country is successfully extinguishing the fires in the Amazon region that have generated international concern after discussing the situation with President Donald Trump on Friday at the White House.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said earlier in the day that his son and Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo were heading to Washington to discuss possible U.S. aid in fighting the fires. The far-right president said he asked Trump for help and the U.S. president had said that “he couldn’t make a decision without hearing from Brazil.”

Mr Araujo told reporters after meeting with Trump that the fires “are not an excuse to promote ideas of international management of the Amazon,” though he said the South American country is open to co-operation with other countries.

“The fires that exist today are already being fought and we are being successful in extinguishing most of the fires,” he said, adding that the meeting with Mr Trump did not bring up specific US aid.

Mr Bolsonaro is considering appointing his son, congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, to be ambassador to the US, though the posting would need to be approved by the upper house of the Brazilian congress.

Mr Araujo said the Trump administration had already expressed its approval to a possible ambassadorship of congressman Mr Bolsonaro. “Now we have to wait for the Senate to approve hopefully the invitation,” he said.

Mr Araujo said the fact that Trump hosted both him and the congressman at the White House even though they are not heads of state “shows how far we are in building a very special relationship with the United States.”

The compliments about the relationship with the Trump administration contrast with criticism of Brazil’s government from French President Emmanuel Macron and some other European leaders.

A US$20 million offer of aid from the Group of Seven nations to help fight fires and protect rainforest stalled after Mr Bolsonaro said Mr Macron would have to apologise for remarks he had made. Macron had questioned Mr Bolsonaro’s trustworthiness and commitment to environmental safeguards in a sharply personal dispute between the two leaders.

“All of Europe, together, doesn’t have any lessons to pass to us when it comes to preservation of the environment,” the Brazilian president said.

Mr Bolsonaro later tweeted that he had a “productive” phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying she reaffirmed Brazil’s sovereignty in its Amazon region.

Journalists had asked Mr Bolsonaro about the possible resumption of donations to a Brazilian government fund for the Amazon. Norwegian donations, amounting to tens of millions of dollars, were suspended this month because of concerns about Brazil’s commitment to the environment. Germany has also suspended a separate line of funding for Amazon projects.

“We want to know where this money will go,” Mr Bolsonaro said. “Usually it goes in part to NGOs, which gives no return. In part it goes to good things … but it’s a lot of money for little preservation.”

Mr Bolsonaro also said that past allocations of land to indigenous people, many of whom live in the Amazon rainforest, had been excessive. About 14 per cent of Brazil is indigenous territory, a huge area for a relatively small population, the president said.

Some indigenous leaders say their communities are under pressure from farming and ranching expansion and complain that authorities are doing little to enforce environmental law.

Without offering evidence, Mr Bolsonaro initially suggested that non-governmental groups started the fires to try to damage the credibility of his government, which has called for looser environmental regulations in the world’s largest rainforest to spur development. Critics say his policies and promises have motivated ranchers and loggers to move into the Amazon, sometime setting fires to open land for farming and pasture.

On Thursday, Brazil banned most legal fires for land-clearing for 60 days in an attempt to stop the burning. Many of the current fires were set in areas already cleared of trees.

About 60 per cent of the Amazon region is in Brazil. The Amazon’s rainforests are a major absorber of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/the-americas/brazil-says-it-is-succesfully-controlling-amazon-fires-1.904748

Brazil agents raid illegal miners in Amazon as environmental enforcement ratchets up

Federal agents in Brazil exchanged gunfire with illegal miners in the Amazon state of Para on Friday, according to Reuters witnesses, in a dramatic example of how Brazil has stepped up environmental enforcement in the wake of rainforest fires.

Federal police and agents with environmental enforcement agency Ibama were carrying out a raid on illegal wildcat miners near the Ituna/Itatá indigenous reserve, which crosses into several municipalities including the city of Altamira, according to two Reuters witnesses.

“They [the miners] hid in the forest and shot at the team,” said Hugo Loss, Ibama’s national coordinator of enforcement operations, who accompanied the mission.

The agents returned fire, but all of the miners escaped into the woods and no suspects were apprehended. No-one was injured, according to the official. Ibama and the federal police destroyed two backhoes and three other pieces of mining equipment.

Ibama had largely rolled back its field operations in Para state so far this year, over failure to reach an agreement with police at the state-level to offer support, according to Loss. State police generally accompany Ibama on potentially dangerous operations.

That came on top of efforts by the government of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro to weaken Ibama, including prohibiting agents from destroying machinery used to commit environmental crimes and grounding the agency’s special forces unit used on riskier raids, according to a Reuters investigation.

But news broke last week that fires in the Amazon surged to their highest level since 2010 and provoked international criticism that Brazil was not doing enough to protect the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

Following several days of public outcry, Bolsonaro authorized the military to support firefighting efforts, with his justice minister further issuing a decree allowing federal police to support environmental operations.

That federal support allowed for Ibama-organized raids such as the one on Friday to be carried out, Loss said. The raid was not directly related to the fires.

“Only now with the recognition of alarming deforestation and fire data and with the (justice minister’s) decree, did we have conditions allowing us to operate in this area,” he said.

“In this area we had operations planned for June and July, but we weren’t able to execute them… because of lack of support.”

Illegal mining contributes to overall deforestation in Brazil, with roughly 10% of the area of the indigenous reserve near the raid having been deforested this year alone, Loss said.

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/brazil-agents-raid-illegal-miners-amazon-environmental-enforcement-ratchets-1593922-2019-08-31

Bolivia’s Amazon Fire Hotspots Reduced by 85%

“I call on young environmentalists, farmers and social organizations to implement a recovery plan for locals in the affected areas. #UnityinAdversity”

Bolivia’s defense minister Javier Zavaleta announced on Wednesday afternoon, that the hotspots for the Amazon fires in Bolivia have been reduced by 85% in the past eight days. Bolivia’s government has mobilized a huge air operation, involving helicopters, planes and the ‘Supertanker’ to combat the fires that have raged in the country.

“More than 85 percent of the hotspots have been extinguished in almost eight days of operations, therefore, the fire is definitely receding, and we are already attacking specific places from air and land. So we hope the fire will continue receding” said Zavaleta, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday. 

He continued, “The large expenses [of operations] are being covered by the Bolivian state with our budget and our own resources, but we still welcome any help (…), now that the fire is in retreat, we have no reason to return to the height of what the fire was. We used to have more than 8,000 fire hotspots we are now at less than 1,000 hotspots”

Nevertheless, challenges remain. Zavaleta also said that fire had been detected near San Ignacio in the Chiquitania area and that the President will be visiting the area shortly to help coordinate operations. 

In response to the news. President Evo Morales called for a new phase of operations to begin, asking for others to work with the government to help recover what has been lost. He said “I call on young environmentalists, farmers and social organizations to implement a recovery plan for locals in the affected areas. #UnityinAdversity”

One part of the recovery plan is the announcement on Tuesday evening that buying and selling land in the affected areas will be banned, so as to stop agro-capitalists profiteering from burnt areas, to allow for regeneration of the forest. 

The UN has praised Bolivia’s leftist government for the scale of the operations they have mobilized to combat the fires. This includes contracting the world’s largest air tanker, the Boeing 747 ‘Supertanker’ too led efforts to extinguish the fires. Along with sending troops, firefighters and veterinarians to reinforce operations.  

Meanwhile, far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been slammed for inaction in the face of the devastating fires. 

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Bolivias-Amazon-Fire-Hotspots-Reduced-by-85-20190828-0017.htm