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Chinese demand fuels record soy crop production in South America

Soy fields stretch as far as the eye can see in South America’s fertile plains, boosted by a jump in demand from China and Europe. With more than 82 million tonnes harvested this year, Brazil is jostling for first place as a producer with the United States, hit by a…

Friendly rhetoric from Pope Francis on gay priests and women: But will it translate into action?

I’ve travelled on “Shepherd One”, as the plane carrying the pope is known, and it’s very clear when you’re on board how keen the pope’s PR men – and yes (sigh) they are all men – are on declaring a foreign trip a “triumph”. In the case of Francis’ visit…

As Pope Francis visits Brazil, Latin America is cooling on Catholicsm

WILD excitement greeted Pope Francis as he touched down in Rio de Janeiro on July 22nd. Brazil’s 123m Roman Catholics are doubly happy: firstly that the new Pope is making his maiden foreign trip to their country, and secondly because Francis, formerly…  …

Brazil becomes world’s 7th most violent country with 1 million murders in 30 years

More than one million people were murdered in Brazil between 1980 and 2011, making it the world’s seventh most violent country, a survey showed Thursday. During the period, homicides soared 132 percent to claim 1,145,208 lives, from a rate of 11.5 murders for 100,000 inhabitants in 1980 to 27 per…

Brazil workers launch nationwide protest over labor conditions

Striking workers blocked key highways and staged peaceful marches across Brazil Thursday in a day of industrial action called by major unions to demand better work conditions and tougher government measures to contain rising inflation. The “National Day of Struggle” was called by the country’s top five labor federations during…

Brazilian leader asks for referendum after worst unrest in 20 years

Brazil’s Congress has received a request from President Dilma Rousseff to hold a referendum on political reform in response to the worst social unrest in 20 years. The move, widely supported by the public, came after three weeks of protests over corruption and public spending which marred the Confederations Cup,…

Brazilian mass protests change country’s happy-go-lucky image

In a matter of days, Brazil’s image as the emerging economic power to watch, and a fun-loving one to boot, has given way to that of an angry, noisy giant as seas of protesters fill the streets. After the intoxicating giddiness and visions of a limitless future that came with…

Brazilian authorities face fresh protests against government corruption despite concessions

Brazilian authorities braced for new mass protests Thursday as a street revolt against government corruption and wasteful World Cup spending gained steam despite official concessions. Hundreds of thousands of people in 80 cities responded to postings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram calling for street rallies to demand better living conditions…

Brazil’s indigenous activists step protests over land rights

Indigenous activists occupied the headquarters of a federal agency here Tuesday as part of mounting protests against government policies and the construction of a controversial dam in the Amazon. The natives arrived in the Brazilian capital a week ago for talks with authorities after occupying one of the Belo Monte…

Compensation sought for Brazil blaze victims

A private association has filed a lawsuit in the wake of a fatal Brazil nightclub fire, demanding three million reais ($1.5 million) for each family of the 239 victims, a lawyer said. The Anecol group filed the suit against the Kiss club’s owners, as well as members of the band…

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