Brazil

Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO — Brazil is back in recession after official figures announced Friday showed Latin America’s largest economy contracted 1.9 percent in the second quarter of 2015.

Figures from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, the IBGE, said the economy had shrunk by 1.9 percent between April and June, after contracting a revised 0.7 percent in the first quarter of the year – itself significantly worse than the result previously announced of -0.2 percent.

A technical recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

The second-quarter figures represent a contraction of 2.6 percent year-on-year – the fifth consecutive negative figure for this comparison.

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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO — Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across Brazil on Sunday in protests against President Dilma Rousseff and her government.

Demanding an end to corruption in Rousseff’s multi-party government, many demonstrators called for Rousseff to be impeached.

Local media reported protests in more than 200 major cities across the country – the third such nationwide outpouring of dissent this year.

Police put crowds nationwide at 879,000 — more than in a similar protest in March but fewer than at one held in April.

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Translation of blog piece for BBC Russian

In exactly a year’s time, the world’s biggest sporting event – the Olympics – will kick off in Brazil’s Marvellous City, in what is South America’s first chance to host the unrivalled celebration of sport.

Despite Brazil’s experience in hosting major sporting events, the numbers for Rio 2016 are still daunting:

Nearly 11,000 athletics from 205 National Olympic Committees will be taking part in 19 days of competitions in 33 venues across four city clusters.

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VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Brazil announced to much fanfare this week plans to zero illegal deforestation on its territory by 2030 and restore an area of rainforest the size of Pennsylvania. But experts say the plans are unambitious and activists called the promises “a crushing disappointment” that mounted to nothing more than targets already stipulated by Brazilian law.

Climate change was among the headlining issues in a joint declaration made Tuesday by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and US President Barack Obama at the White House.

“We have committed to reach … a zero illegal deforestation rate between now and 2030,” Rousseff said, describing climate change as “one of the world’s central challenges for the 21st Century.”

Rousseff also vowed Brazil would restore 120,000 square kilometers (46,330 square miles) of forest over the same period.

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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO — An eagerly-awaited new cycle lane that runs along Brazil’s main business boulevard, Avenida Paulista, was inaugurated on Sunday by São Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad.

The entire thoroughfare was closed to vehicles as thousands of people took over the streets on bikes and scooters in a vibrant festival of cycling.

Haddad said the major new 2.7-kilometer (1.7-mile) cycle lane, which received $3.9 million (12.2 million reais) of government funding, was a “symbol of quality of life” in the city.

“The new cycle lane is an example from the city of São Paulo of a gesture toward sustainable future in Brazil,” the São Paulo mayor told Anadolu Agency (AA).

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VICE News

SÃO PAULO — São Paulo military police have arrested an officer who was caught on camera this week firing at two teenage suspects who had fallen to the ground from a stolen motorcycle following a dangerous pursuit through the streets of Brazil’s biggest city.

It was meant to be a week when police in São Paulo State celebrated new figures that showed the lowest number of homicides on record, but the shocking end to a police chase in the south of São Paulo city — caught live from TV helicopters — quickly put paid to that.

Footage from the chase, which was broadcast live on the channels TV Bandeirantes and Record, shows a military police officer firing at and wounding the two teenagers, aged 16 and 17, at near-point-blank range after the pursuit ends abruptly.

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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO — British banking giant HSBC announced Tuesday that it will close its retail banking operations in Brazil, as part of a global overhaul of its workforce that could cut up to 50,000 jobs worldwide.

Currently the sixth largest high street bank in Brazil, HSBC employs 21,479 people in the South American country, according to the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, with 853 branches focusing operations on higher earners.

HSBC plans to sell off its branches and end retail operations by the end of 2016, but will retain a “modest” operation in Brazil to service its largest corporate clients’ international needs.

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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO — Brazil will cut its 2015 budget by a historic 69.9 billion Brazilian reais ($23 billion) to ensure the government hits its fiscal targets this year, planning minister Nelson Barbosa announced Friday.

The government also said the austerity measures, the biggest spending freeze in the country’s history, would act as a “first step” to returning Brazil to economic growth.

Barbosa said 38 percent (25.7 billion reais) of savings would come from cuts to the government’s Growth Acceleration Program – the ruling government’s flagship program funding new infrastructure projects.

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