Page 4 of 39

VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Activists in Brazil say a proposed law defining terrorism will criminalize protest movements, including those looking to use media attention on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to highlight social injustices and push for reforms.

The bill, authored by President Dilma Rousseff’s office, was amended on its way through the lower house of Congress to add specific exemptions for social movements, but these were removed when it sailed through the Senate last week. It now heads back for a final reading by Brazil’s deputies, and would require final approval by the president.

Supporters of the bill argue Brazil needs legislation to define and fight terrorism, though experts charge that the move stems from pressure from the U.S.-led anti-terrorism body — the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF — amid fears of sanctions that could exacerbate the country’s recession.

Read Full Article

Advertisements

SÃO PAULO — Protesters took to the streets on Friday to voice their opposition to proposed legislation that would toughen Brazil’s already strict laws on abortion, extending criminal proceedings those who assist, or provide information leading to, the termination of a pregnancy.

The bill, PL 5069/2013, which is sponsored by conservative deputy and embattled speaker of the lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, was approved by a parliamentary commission on 21 October, and can now go to a vote by lawmakers.

Currently, abortion is legal only in a small number of specific circumstances, including if the pregnancy is the result of a rape, if the mother’s life is in danger, and if the foetus is confirmed to have anencephaly.

Read Full Article

This report featured on BBC Health Check, available in the UK on BBC iPlayer.

SÃO PAULO — Only around 10 percent of people around the world’s 640 million people with hearing loss have access to hearing aids, which can be prohibitively expensive.

For many, even if they get their hands on a hearing aid, the batteries powering them can be even more of an issue: not readily available or too expensive, and after a single use they have to be throw away.

But one Brazil-based company has come up with a cheaper and more sustainable solution – and is also putting its profits into stopping preventable hearing loss.

Read Full Article

VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Prisons controlled by criminal gangs rather than guards and filled with moldy and windowless cells stinking of urine and feces in which dozens of men are forced to compete for floor space on which to sleep — life for inmates in Brazil’s state of Pernambuco amounts to a “human rights disaster,” according to a new report released on Tuesday.

The report was compiled by the US-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) that visited four prisons and interviewed past and current prisoners, their families, and security officials in the poverty stricken northeastern state.

Read Full Article

SÃO PAULO — A protest by students and teachers from Brazil’s São Paulo state descended into violence on Thursday when masked protesters, claiming to be Black Bloc anarchists, attacked the entrance to the local government headquarters.

The violence came after around 1,500 people had marched seven kilometres from Faria Lima to the Palácio dos Bandeirantes, in the sweltering heat, to protest the restructuring of the state’s public schools.

Read Full Article

VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Two court rulings in two days have raised the real possibility that Brazil’s already beleaguered president, Dilma Rousseff, could face impeachment proceedings.

The most immediate challenge comes from Wednesday’s ruling by Brazil’s top audit court that the government manipulated its 2014 accounts. The court said the book-cooking was aimed at covering up a widening fiscal deficit in order to justify maintaining social spending ahead of Rousseff’s narrowly-won reelection last October.

Rousseff summoned ministers to a meeting on Thursday to discuss the judgment’s implications.

Read Full Article

VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Five years ago, the United States Supreme Court delivered a decision in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that allowed corporations to devote virtually unlimited funds to political campaigns, provided that they were spent independently of candidates and political parties.

On Thursday, a ruling by Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court did the exact opposite, prohibiting businesses from financing campaigns in a move that has been hailed as crucial to the fight to rid Brazilian politics of rampant corruption.

Although touted by good governance advocates as vital to the fight against graft and malfeasance, others believe the development in Brazil will simply force campaign cash under the table.

Read Full Article

SÃO PAULO — Brazil ended a cycle of aggressive interest rate hikes Wednesday, in a bid to shore up Latin America’s biggest economy as it faces its worst recession in 25 years.

The central bank’s monetary policy committee, known as Copom, decided to hold steady Brazil’s benchmark Selic interest rate, after economists predicted creeping inflation may have peaked in August.

The rate was held after seven consecutive hikes.

Read Full Article