Rio / São Paulo Rail Link Investigated
Feasibility studies have begun to investigate a potential R$20bn rail link between Rio and São Paulo. Flight traffic between the two cities has increased enormously, to the point where planes are often taking off every 5 minutes. The plan for the train is that it would mostly run underground, taking around 90 minutes and costing R$100. Although a rail link between the two cities has been under discussion for decades.
AIDS Drug Issues With Merck
Talks between Brazil and the pharmaceutical company Merck broke down at the end of last week, following demands from the government that they pay the same price for the Efavirenz as Thailand. If talks fail then Brazil will break the patent on the terms of public interest.
Lula Pushes Nuclear Option
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva stated at the opening of a hydroelectric power station, at the end of last week, that if hydroelectric power plants proved too slow to be produced then more nuclear plants would be built. Two are already under construction, and a decision is being made on a third. Lula also split up the government’s environmental protection agency, Ibama, in an attempt to accelerate the granting of licenses for construction.
Catholic Decline Stabilises
A recent survey by the Getulio Vargas foundation has shown that the drop in the number of Catholics may have halted. The survey results, only days ahead of the Pope’s visit, shows that the number of Catholics remained the same between 2000 and 2003, despite a 15% drop to 74% between 1980 and 2000. Other academics have questioned the figures though, and say to wait for the 2010 census.
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