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Brazil: Weekly News Roundup

English Tourists Robbed in Rio
18 English tourists were robbed on their way from Rio‘s airport, while being transported by bus. None were seriously injured, although one was struck in the head. The bus was robbed by four gunmen carrying automatic weapons and a grenade.

Pilots Families Visit for Thanksgiving
The families of the two pilots currently held in Rio, relating to Brazil‘s worst air crash, came to visit them for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Telefonica Defies Communication Minister
Telefonica has launched it‘s pay TV service despite being told by Hélio Costa that it should wait for approval. Costa had threatened they would be taken off air, although Telefonica have said they‘ve opened pay TV services in other South American countries without the need for approval.

Indians Sell Ringtones
Xavante indians living in the Amazon are selling mobile phone ringtones based on traditional chants. The initiative was suggested by a company that helps communities in the area find alternative sources of income. Plans are to sell the ringtones outside of Brazil.

Gol Ordered to Pay Temporary Reparations
Gol have been ordered by a judge to pay R$10,000 a month to the family of one of those killed in Brazil‘s recent worst air crash. The amount is being paid as a temporary measure until the outcome is fully decided.

Air China Starting Flights
From mid-December Air China will start flights to São Paulo, the first time a Chinese airline will fly to Latin America. The flights will be twice per week, and last around 22 hours with a stop in Spain, compared to current options which are around 30 hours.

Mass Prison Escape
Around 100 prisoners escaped from a youth detention centre in São Paulo earlier in the week, although most have been recaptured. This is Brazil‘s biggest prison escape since 2001, when 120 escaped from another prison in São Paulo.

Possible US Trade Restrictions Over Forced Labour
Two US senators are pressing for forced labour, in charcoal production in Brazil‘s northeast, to be investigated. Brazil has shown concerns that the investigation is a pretext for trade restrictions.

Varig to Double Size and Change Name
The shrunken Varig have plans to double the size of their fleet, and will change their name to Nordeste.

Starbucks Opens Two Shops
Starbucks opened its two first shops in Brazil, located in São Paulo city‘s Morumbi shopping centre. There are plans to open another 105 shops in the next 4 years.

Americanas and Submarino Merge
Lojas Americanas and Submarino, two of Brazil‘s largest Internet retailers, have agreed to merge and then list their shares on the Novo Mercado stock exchange, at an estimated value of 7 billion Reais.

33 Arrested in Environmental Destruction
Around 100 police arrested 33 people on charges of environmental destruction at an Indian reservation in the state of Mato Grosso. The charges include illegal logging, taking land, and pollution in an area of around 2.6 million acres (1.05 million hectares).

"Bomber" Tries to Enter Stock Exchange
A man tried to enter Brazil‘s stock exchange last Friday, threatening that he was armed and had a bomb strapped to his body. He was detained by the police.

Kidnapped Italian Entrepreneur Killer
The body of Italian entrepreneur Vicenzo Nazzaro was discovered in the state of Santa Catarina, after having been murdered in a plot involving his bodyguard. Nazzaro‘s sister-in-law had been told to get US$200,000 but failed to obtain the money.

One Laptop Per Child
The venture to try and get low cost computer hardware to all the children across the globe hit Brazil this week, with a delivery of 65 laptops in a ceremony involving the president. One thousand more are promised for the start of next year, and Brazil will get involved with production of server hardware for the project.

12/1/2006


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