Journalist, Washington D.C.
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Feb 24, 2014

Poll shows Brazilians are souring on hosting World Cup

BRASILIA (Reuters) – The number of Brazilians who favor hosting the World Cup has fallen to an all-time low just four months before kick-off, with many criticizing the soccer tournament as a waste of money that would be better spent elsewhere, a poll showed on Monday.

The survey by local pollster Datafolha showed that only 52 percent of Brazilians favored hosting the World Cup, down from a high of 79 percent in November 2008, a year after Brazil was chosen as the venue for the 32-nation event.

Feb 18, 2014

World Cup protests, inflation cast shadow on Rousseff’s re-election hopes

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Protests during the World Cup and the rising cost of living could undermine support for Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and endanger her chances of re-election this year, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Rousseff remains the clear front-runner to win the October 5 vote, according to a survey by local polling firm MDA. Her personal approval rating slipped to 55 percent this month from 58.8 percent in November, when MDA last conducted a poll. At that time, her popularity was recovering from a sharp decline following massive protests against corruption and poor public services.

Feb 17, 2014

FIFA expects Brazil police to bring violent World Cup protests under control

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Faced with the specter of street protests disrupting this year’s World Cup, soccer’s governing body FIFA expects host country Brazil to deploy police if necessary to contain violent demonstrators and guarantee access to stadiums.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, who is touring some World Cup host cities this week, said Brazilians are democratically entitled to stage peaceful protests during the global sporting event.

Feb 17, 2014

Brazil official urges Cuiabá to ensure stadium ready for World Cup

SAO PAULO/BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s government on Monday urged officials in Cuiabá to do whatever is necessary to get its stadium ready in time for this year’s World Cup soccer tournament, following a prosecutors’ report that an October fire at the venue caused far more damage than previously disclosed.

Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo downplayed the severity of the October 25 fire at Cuiabá’s Arena Pantanal, which he described as “small,” but he acknowledged that prosecutors in Mato Grosso state, where the stadium is located, have demanded a new, independent evaluation of its safety following the report of structural damage there.

Feb 10, 2014

Brazil water project, long delayed, gets election year boost

CABROBO, Brazil, Feb 10 (Reuters) – In 2006, then President
Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, a native of Brazil’s historically
drought-plagued northeast, pushed through an idea that
long-suffering residents of the region had been hearing about
for more than a century.

At last, he promised, Brazil would channel water to the
sun-baked region from the São Francisco, the country’s
second-longest river. By 2010, he said, water would be pumped
over hills and into a 477 kilometer-long network of canals,
aqueducts and reservoirs to quench thirsty cities and farms in
four states.

Feb 3, 2014

Brazil’s Rousseff shifts Cabinet into election gear

BRASILIA (Reuters) – President Dilma Rousseff on Monday picked a co-founder of her leftist Workers’ Party to oversee the Cabinet as Brazil gears up for October general elections, in which she’s expected to run for a second term.

She swore in Aloizio Mercadante as chief of staff, the lead Cabinet post, succeeding Gleisi Hoffmann who plans to run for governor of the state of Parana.

Jan 20, 2014

Brazil’s Rousseff heads to Davos for first time to woo investors

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s leftist President Dilma Rousseff will try to convince the world’s business elite in Davos this week that her country is still a good investment despite three years of mediocre growth.

The one-time Marxist guerrilla has decided to reach out to the rich and powerful for the first time at the annual World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos to reassure them she is business-friendly and not fiscally profligate.

Jan 10, 2014

World Cup fans may soon see relief from pricey Brazil airfare

SAO PAULO/BRASILIA, Jan 10 (Reuters) – Soccer fans daunted by rising airfares in Brazil during this year’s World Cup would be smart to steel their nerves just a little longer. Relief may be around the corner.

Next week Brazil is expected to authorize some 1,500 new domestic flights, expanding travel options between cities hosting games in June and July. Tourists should see a wave of new routes open up – and a bit of reprieve from soaring prices.

Jan 3, 2014

Brazil tries to calm markets with healthy 2013 fiscal data

BRASILIA, Jan 3 (Reuters) – Brazilian President Dilma
Rousseff’s government pledged on Friday to keep spending under
control this year despite a general election and sought to calm
market jitters over a possible credit downgrade with healthy
fiscal results for 2013.

Finance Minister Guido Mantega said Brazil’s central
government exceeded its primary fiscal surplus target for 2013
of 73 billion reais ($30.47 billion) thanks to higher tax
collection and stronger economic growth. The primary surplus is
the excess of revenue over expenditure before debt payments.

Dec 3, 2013

Argentina jacks up currency controls to stem reserves loss

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Argentina toughened its
currency controls on Tuesday to stem a dramatic depletion of its
international reserves by making it more costly for Argentines
to travel abroad and buy foreign goods with their credit cards.

Shut out of financial markets since a massive default a
decade ago, the Argentine government for three years now has had
to burn up reserves generated mainly by grain exports to finance
its imports and pay debts.