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Jan 28, 2010

Brazil’s Lula released from hospital, Davos trip off

BRASILIA, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is recovering after a brief hospitalization for high blood pressure but canceled his trip to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, authorities said on Thursday.

Lula has arrived in Sao Paulo, where his personal physician said he was doing well but recommended further exams as soon as possible.

Earlier television images had shown the 64-year-old Lula, visibly tired and dressed in a white track suit, saying goodbye to doctors as he left a hospital in the northeastern city of Recife.

His high blood pressure was due to stress, intense traveling, lack of sleep, and a cold, said doctor Cleber Ferreira, who accompanied Lula.

The president will rest at his Sao Paulo residence, and his public schedule was canceled through Sunday.

The episode raises questions about the health of the former union leader for the first time since he took office in January 2003 as president of Latin America’s largest economy.

If the problem persists, it could also impair Lula’s ability to campaign for his chosen candidate, his chief of staff Dilma Rousseff, in Brazil’s presidential election in October. By law, he cannot run for a third consecutive term.

Lula is Brazil’s most popular president in recent history. He has overseen its longest period of economic growth in three decades and had been traveling extensively with Rousseff in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, he had a busy schedule in Recife, visiting public works projects and attending a Holocaust memorial ceremony. He complained of chest pains during the day and had to leave a dinner with Pernambuco state Governor Eduardo Campos early because he was feeling ill.

Doctors had recommended he be checked before the long flight to Switzerland, the president’s office said. His blood pressure was much higher than usual and he was taken to a hospital, where the results of exams were normal, it said.

Other than bursitis in his shoulders, Lula has had no significant ailments.

Lula, who has earned praise for fighting social inequality while pursuing market-friendly policies, was due to receive the Global Statesmanship Award at the Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Central bank chief Henrique Meirelles is to represent Lula at the Forum, Lula aides said.

The former factory worker won investor confidence in 2003 by abandoning decades of left-wing rhetoric in favor of pragmatic economic policies, including a free-floating exchange rate, fiscal discipline and an inflation-targeting regime.

Tax breaks, low-cost credits and an increased minimum wage have helped Brazil emerge from a brief recession in the second quarter of last year.

Neither Rousseff nor the leading presidential hopeful, Sao Paulo state Governor Jose Serra of the opposition PSDB party, are seen to differ substantially on economic policy from Lula. (Additional reporting by Alice Assuncao and Alberto Alerigi; Writing by Raymond Colitt and Elzio Barreto; Editing by John O’Callaghan and Philip Barbara)

Jan 21, 2010

Brazil to create climate fund, technology for poor

BRASILIA, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Brazil will propose the creation of a joint fund with China, India and South Africa to help poor countries adapt to global warming as part of a broader attempt to revive stalled global climate talks.

Brazil’s Environment Minister Carlos Minc said in an interview late on Wednesday that he would make the proposal at a climate summit involving the four emerging market nations this weekend in New Delhi.

"Its purpose will be to help very poor countries adapt to climate change," Minc said, adding that China had already expressed interest in the project.

The proposal is an attempt to breathe new life into global climate talks after the Copenhagen summit failed to produce a broad and definitive accord. Brazil, South Africa, India and China — a group dubbed BASIC — reached a non-binding agreement on broad principles with the United States in Copenhagen.

But several poor countries said the rich industrialized world was not offering to cut emissions enough and they expressed fears they would not receive sufficient technology and funding to deal with global warming.

The New Dehli meeting would seek to provide concrete solutions for poor nations but also highlight the need of the rich countries, particularly the United States, to do more, said Minc.

"The resources we’ll put into it will call attention to how they are escaping their responsibilities," Minc said without giving a figure.

Rich countries had pledged $30 billion in climate change funding for the 2010-12 period and set a goal of $100 billion by 2020, far less than what developing countries had wanted.

Minc said failure by the U.S. Senate to pass a climate control bill would further hamper chances for a post-Copenhagen deal this year and tarnish President Barack Obama’s leadership on the issue.

The future of the bill looked uncertain after the Democrats lost a key Senate seat in Massachusetts to the Republicans this week.

"This would hamper things further," said Minc.

Because Copenhagen failed to provide a road map, groups such as the European Union and the BASIC bloc need to have unified positions to accelerate talks between one another, Minc said.

Brazil, South Africa, India and China would try to standardize their emission targets using the same measurements, Minc said. Brazil aims to cut its emissions as much as 39 percent by 2020, while China pledged to cut carbon dioxide produced for each unit of economic growth by 40-45 percent by 2020.


The BASIC nations will also seek a common position on technology transfer. Minc proposes measures to create partnerships in which poor countries are not only given access to technology but receive assistance in applying it properly.

Countries like Australia, Canada, and the United States should immediately provide countries like China and India technology to store carbon underground, he said.

"Rich countries demand emissions cuts from the BASICs and we’ll say yes but you must provide us the latest technology," Minc said.

Brazil offers satellite images for Latin American and African countries to be able to measure tropical forest destruction, which contributes up to 20 percent of global carbon emissions.

It also provides know-how on water resource management as well as technology to produce and use low-emission ethanol as an automotive fuel, Minc said.

He added that Brazil will spend 20 percent of its Amazon fund on projects in neighboring countries.

Brazil launched the fund last year to promote sustainable development and scientific research in the world’s largest rain forest. It named the first projects last month.

Norway has pledged $1 billion to the fund through 2015 and Germany pledged 18 million euros ($26.8 million). Minc said three more European countries would soon announce donations.

(Editing by Stuart Grudgings and Paul Simao)

Jan 14, 2010

Donors, U.N. must discuss Haiti: Brazil

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil called on Thursday for an international donor conference within weeks to respond to the earthquake disaster in Haiti.

Foreign Minister Celso Amorim also said in an interview with Reuters the United Nations should expand the mandate of the Brazilian-led stabilization force in Haiti to hasten reconstruction work in the impoverished country.

Dec 16, 2009

Record Brazil Nov job growth is 10th straight rise

BRASILIA, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Brazil generated a record
number of payroll jobs in November, the 10th straight month of
rising employment and a sign that Latin America’s largest
economy is consolidating its recovery.

Retailers, manufacturers, and builders added a net 246,695
jobs last month, the labor ministry said on Wednesday.
Employers created 1.413 million jobs and eliminated 1.166
million jobs, the ministry said.