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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO — Brazil’s key stock exchange index and national currency both sank on Tuesday morning, a day after new surveys showed President Dilma Rousseff had overtaken rival Aécio Neves in the polls.

In the first minutes of trading, the Ibovespa plunged more than 2,300 points, or 4.4 percent, with state energy companies Petrobras and Eletrobras suffering the biggest losses.

The real also suffered a sharp fall, opening at 2.464 against the dollar but within minutes weakening to 2.50.

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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO — Disappointing levels of investment, confidence and competitiveness means Brazil’s economy will barely grow this year, according to a key report by the International Monetary Fund published on Tuesday.

The October edition of the global lender’s flagship World Economic Outlook report slashed its July estimate of 1.3 percent to 0.3 percent, which, if confirmed, would be the second worst performance by the Latin American economic powerhouse since 1998.

Currently the world’s seventh economy, Brazil should grow more in 2015, the report says, but still less than previously predicted, revising down a previous estimate of 2.0 percent to 1.4 percent.

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Anadolu Agency

BRASÍLIA – Brazil and China signed a raft of agreements at a signing ceremony in the Brazilian capital, Brasília, on Thursday, that was attended by presidents Dilma Rousseff and Xi Jinping.

Among the 32 agreements signed are contracts for the sale of 40 airliners by Brazilian manufacturer Embraer to China’s Tianjin Airlines, and 20 E-190 jets to ICBC Leasing.

China also signed commitments to a number of huge infrastructure projects in Brazil, including the building of a new intelligent, digital city in Tocantins state, and the installation of transmission cables to Brazil’s controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, on the Xingu River.

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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO – Brazil’s northeast region is set to receive a major boost to its growing wind energy sector from private and public funds, the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Around R$43 billion (US$19.3bn) will be invested in Brazil’s wind energy industry between now and 2017, funded by the country’s National Development Bank (BNDES).

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Anadolu Agency – by Steffen Stubager & Asger Mow, additional reporting and editing by Ben Tavener

RIO DE JANEIRO – Hundreds of football fans in Brazil for the World Cup are refusing to pay sky-high accommodation prices and instead are opting to sleep rough during the key sporting event.

In Rio de Janeiro, football fans from all over the world can be seen sleeping in the main bus station and on the city’s famous beaches, where temperatures have tumbled to 15°C at night and rain has been a regular feature.

Fans, including many from Argentina, Colombia and Chile, have come to Brazil for weeks in some cases without booking any accommodation and, for most, the risk is directly linked to hotels inflating prices during the World Cup.

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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO – The Brazilian government has been “regulating” fuel and energy rates to stave off higher inflation, President Dilma Rousseff’s Chief of Staff told the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper on Wednesday.

In his first major interview since taking up the ministerial position, Aloizio Mercadante denied Brazil was “controlling prices,” but admitted the country had mechanisms for delaying price rises in certain areas to minimise the impact on inflation.

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The Brazilian Senate has approved by a wide majority a bill that changes rules governing how the country’s ports are regulated, in a victory for the ruling government, despite last-minute attempts by opposing senators to derail the bill.

Leônidas Cristino, minister for Brazil’s Special Ports Secretariat (center), heralded the passing of the bill, photo by Fábio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr.

Leônidas Cristino, minister for Brazil’s Special Ports Secretariat (centre), heralded the passing of the bill. Photo by Agência Brasil.

The bill aims to open state-run ports to more private investment and lift restrictions on the building of privately-run ports.

Officially known as MP 595, the bill was voted in without amendment after receiving the support of 53 votes, with just seven votes against and five abstentions. The text now goes to President Dilma Rousseff for evaluation.

The bill finally reached the Senate on Thursday after a final 40 hours of debates in the Chamber of Deputies, many of whom had expressed their frustration and sheer exhaustion following the longest-running debate by deputies in the last 22 years.

According to Leônidas Cristino, minister for Brazil’s Special Ports Secretariat, this approval was vital, but most of the work remains ahead to work out the finer detail of new ports regulations, which would be analysed “item by item.”

Paulo Skaf, President of the Federation of Industry of São Paulo State (FIESP), said the bill was vital for the country’s competitiveness:

“Brazil is calling for a clash of competition. The measure meets the demands of the most important production sectors: it allows an increase in what operators can offer, promotes greater competition and, consequently, reduces port costs,” Mr Skaf said.

The bill was also seen by many as an important step towards making sure the country’s ports – considered a serious bottleneck in Brazil’s external trade – work more efficiently, eradicating excessive waits currently endured for cargo to be unloaded.

It was recently reported that ports that should have started running 24 hours a day since mid-April were still failing to do so.

The government has earmarked over R$54 billion for 159 port projects through Brazil to be implemented by 2016 as part of plans to improve the country’s infrastructure, also including upgrades to airports, roads and railways.

First published on The Rio Times website.

Sales of Brazilian-made firearms to the U.S. increased 187.5% while former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was in office, compared to the same eight-year period that his predecessor, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, was in power.

The U.S. purchased nearly 7.9 million, or 80%, of the 9.9 million exported Brazilian firearms in the past forty years, Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reports.

Gun by Brazilian company Taurus have proved popular in the US. Photo by Flickr/castironskillet.

Gun by Brazilian company Taurus have proved popular in the U.S. Photo by Flickr/castironskillet.

The total of 7,873,321 firearms sold to the U.S. between 1971 and 2011 dwarfs sales to the next biggest importers of Brazilian guns: Argentina (215,216), Paraguay (154,711), Yemen (112,272) and Germany (109,273).

Of the 9.9 million firearms sold, 42.2% were revolvers, 23.8% were shotguns (espingardas), 17.8% were pistols, with the rest a mixture of different types of rifles, including semi-automatic weapons.

Figures from the Brazilian Army Command, released after a request by the São Paulo newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act, showed that 59% of this total, 4.6 million units, was exported between 2003 and 2010, enough to arm every person in the state of Louisiana today.

In 2011, the final year included in the Army report, Brazil exported more firearms to the U.S. than Austria and Germany combined, the second and third biggest firearms exporters to the US, after Brazil.

Brazilian arms manufacturer Taurus, headquartered in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, has been responsible for over half of Brazilian arms exports to the U.S. since 1971, and around half of the products this company makes are sold to American buyers.

The company, founded in 1941 and arriving in the U.S. in 1968, is now one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of small firearms and the fourth biggest in the States. Taurus USA was created in 1984 and, along with its factory in Miami, the company reportedly arms police forces in over 70 countries.

In Brazil, according to Taurus, the company’s revenues were R$701 million last year, a 13.4% increase.

Read the full article on The Rio Times website