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Sugar soars to 30-year high as supply fears grow

November 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Macro photograph of a pile of sugar (saccharose)

Macro photograph of a pile of sugar (saccharose)

By Jack Farchy in London

Published: November 2 2010 19:22 | Last updated: November 2 2010 19:22

The price of sugar has jumped to a 30-year high as the Brazilian harvest has tailed off sharply, hardening expectations of a shortage.

Traders believe that prices could soar over the coming months as the market faces a supply shortfall driven by smaller-than-forecast crops in important growing countries from Brazil to Russia and western Europe.

At the same time, inventories are at their lowest levels in decades. “All buyers we see are buying on a hand-to-mouth basis,” said Peter de Klerk of Czarnikow, the London sugar merchant.

That has pushed prices up sharply, with raw sugar futures in New York soaring 135 per cent from a low of 13 cents in May.

On Tuesday ICE March sugar rose 4 per cent to a peak of 30.64 cents a pound, surpassing the level reached in February and rising to their highest point since 1980, when prices jumped to nearly 45 cents.

The dramatic rise in sugar prices is causing headaches for policymakers. While sugar is widely available in the west and its price is rarely considered, it is an essential source of cheap calories in emerging economies, where surging sugar prices are driving food inflation.

On Tuesday India’s central bank raised benchmark interest rates for the sixth time this year in an attempt to curb inflation.

New Delhi has emerged as a crucial factor in the sugar market, as India’s harvest is expected to be large, but the government is still debating how much sugar to allow the country’s industry to export. Traders expect India to authorise exports of 1m-2m tonnes starting in December. Anything less, or even a delay to the decision, could send prices spiralling higher, traders warn.

“They need to start selling additional volumes by mid-December, otherwise the hole in the market is getting wider,” said Mr de Klerk.

The latest move up in prices was triggered by a spell of dry weather in Brazil, which dominates the global sugar trade with about half of world exports.

Unica, the country’s cane industry association, said last week that production was down 30 per cent in the first half of October from 2009, while Kingsman, a consultancy in Lausanne, has downgraded its forecast for the Brazilian crop by 2.3 per cent. “If Brazil is going to have a lower harvest it makes it that much harder to fill the deficit,” said Jonathan Kingsman.

Many observers believe Brazil’s sugar harvest will be smaller next year, as farmers are forced to replant ageing cane.

“For the sugar market, fear about Brazil is worse than fear about India, which drove the price to 30 cents last year,” Jean-Luc Bohbot, head of trading at Sucres et Denrées, one of the largest physical sugar traders, said last week.

“Anything affecting Brazil will have a direct impact on trade flows.”

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Brazil, The Brightest Shining Economic Star in the Western Hemisphere, Elects A Marxist

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

The Chief of Staff of the Presidency of Brazil...

The Chief of Staff of the Presidency of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff.

Original Content at http://www.opednews.com/articles/Brazil-The-Brightest-Shin-by-Rob-Kall-101101-157.html

 


November 1, 2010

 

By Rob Kall

Dilma Rousseff, a former marxist guerilla also characterized as a communist and socialist, has won the run-off election for the presidency of Brazil, with a huge 12 point margin.


Of course, the Wall Street Journal doesn’t mention her politics in its article announcing her win.

Rousseff, a close aide to President Lula, promised to continue his progressive policies that have led Brazil to become an economic dynamo.


Rousseff was the hand-picked successor of Mr. da Silva and her election means more of the same for the world’s eighth biggest economy and fifth biggest country in terms of land and population.

The difference between the two leaders will come not in policy but in management style, says David Fleischer, the author of Brazil Focus, a weekly journal of politics. While da Silva, known widely as “Lula,” chose to delegate, Rousseff will be more hands on, says Mr. Fleischer.

Progressives in the US have much to learn from the progressive successes in Brazil.

Author’s Bio:

Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and site architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), President of Futurehealth, Inc, inventor . He is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

With his experience as architect and founder of a technorati top 200 blog, he is also a new media / social media consultant and trainer for corporations, non-profits, entrepreneurs and authors.

Rob is a frequent Speaker on the bottom up revolution, politics, The art, science and power of story, heroes and the hero’s journey, Positive Psychology, Stress, Biofeedback and a wide range of subjects. He is a campaign consultant specializing in tapping the power of stories for issue positioning, stump speeches and debates, and optimizing tapping the power of new media. He recently retired as organizer of several conferences, including StoryCon, the Summit Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story and The Winter Brain Meeting on neurofeedback, biofeedback, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology. See more of his articles here and, older ones, here.

To learn more about me and OpEdNews.com, check out this article.
And there are Rob’s quotes, here.

To Watch me on youtube, having a lively conversation with John Conyers, Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click here Now, wouldn’t you like to see me on the political news shows, representing progressives. If so, tell your favorite shows to bring me on and refer them to this youtube video

My radio show, The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, runs 9-10 PM EST Wednesday evenings, on AM 1360, WNJC and is archived at www.opednews.com/podcasts Or listen to it streaming, live at www.wnjc1360.com

Rob also host a health/mind/body/heart/spirit radio show– the Rob Kall Futurehealth radio show. Check out podcasts from it at futurehealth.org/podcasts

Follow me on Twitter

A few declarations.
-While I’m registered as a Democrat, I consider myself to be a dynamic critic of the Democratic party, just as, well, not quite as much, but almost as much as I am a critic of republicans.

-My articles express my personal opinion, not the opinion of this website.

Recent press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party’s Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table


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Rousseff wins Brazil’s presidential election

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Supporters of Dilma Rousseff celebrate her victory in Sao Paulo Ms Rousseff’s supporters have been celebrating on the streets

Dilma Rousseff has been elected president of Brazil, succeeding Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, electoral officials have confirmed.

Ms Rousseff, 62, who had never before held elected office, becomes the country’s first woman president.

She promised to “honour the trust” Brazilians had put in her and work to eliminate poverty.

Ms Rousseff enjoyed the full support of President Lula, who is leaving after two terms with record popularity.

Thousands of supporters of the governing Workers Party have taken to the streets across Brazil to celebrate her victory.

The Superior Electoral Court said that with 99% of the votes counted, she had won 56%, against 44% for her rival, Jose Serra of the Social Democratic Party.

This second round of voting was forced after Ms Rousseff fell short of the 50% needed in the 3 October first round. She won 47% to Mr Serra’s 33%.

‘Fundamental promise’ : In her victory speech, she said her first priority would be to lift 20 million Brazilians out of poverty.

“I reiterate my fundamental promise: the eradication of poverty”, she said.

“We must not rest while there are Brazilians going hungry.”

Ms Rousseff waves to supporters during a press conference in Brasilia Ms Rousseff said the election of a woman was a sign of Brazil’s democratic progress

Ms Rousseff is expected to continue the left-leaning policies of President Lula, with emphasis on government efficiency, expanding the role of the state in some sectors such as mining, and upgrading the country’s decrepit infrastructure.

She will also oversee a huge expansion of Brazil’s oil industry, following the discovery of major offshore fields that should make Brazil one of the world’s top 10 oil exporters.

She can count on strengthened majorities for the governing coalition in both houses of Congress to help ease the task of pushing her legislative agenda.

Lula effect: Ms Rousseff’s victory owed much to the extraordinary popularity of the outgoing President Lula, who endorsed her as his successor from the start.

Continue reading the main story

Analysis

Paulo Cabral BBC News, Sao Paulo 


It wasn’t the outright first round win President Lula had hoped for, but in the end he has managed to ensure his preferred successor, Dilma Rousseff was elected.

The campaign of Jose Serra was an uphill struggle against a president boasting approval ratings of about 80%. But even though the second round campaign was heated, with many personal attacks and corruption allegations, the candidates didn’t differ much in what they had to offer to voters, nor went into great detail over their programmes.

Brazilians have elected Ms Rousseff trusting she will be able to build on President Lula’s social and economic achievements. But they do not have a clear idea of the first woman to be elected for the highest office in the country.

She’s considered a tough and efficient manager but she hasn’t yet shown her political skills, especially when compared to President Lula, who’s often described as a master negotiator.

Mr Lula, who has to step down after completing the maximum allowed two consecutive terms, said he would not interfere in her government.

Ms Rousseff will have “to form a government in her own image. I only hope she achieves more than I did”, he said after casting his vote.

He added that he would not be attending public victory celebrations because “this is her party”.

A former Marxist rebel who was jailed and tortured in 1970-72 for resisting military rule, Ms Rousseff trained as an economist and worked her way up through local and state governments.

She joined President Lula’s cabinet as energy minister in 2003-5 and then became his chief of staff.

For Jose Serra, this is the second time he has been defeated in a presidential run-off, after losing to Mr Lula in 2002.

He has congratulated Ms Rousseff and said he hoped she would work for the good of the country.

He said: “I proudly battled the president. To those of us imagining we’re defeated: We have only started the real fight.”

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites. 

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Brazil finds massive oil field

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

30 October 2010 Last updated at 13:34 ET

President Lula da Silva with his hands dirty with oil on a Petrobras platform in the Tupi field, 28 October 2010 Outgoing president Lula says oil will help Brazil eradicate poverty

A newly tapped oil field off the coast of Brazil could contain up to 15 billion barrels of oil, officials say.

Brazil’s national petroleum agency said the Libra field most probably held around 8 billion barrels.

That matches the size of the giant Tupi oil field, whose discovery in 2007 drew attention to Brazil’s potential as a major oil producer.

If the 15 billion barrel figure were confirmed it would double Brazil’s known oil reserves.

It would also be the biggest oil field discovered in the Americas since 1976, when Mexico found the giant Cantarell field in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Libra exploratory well is located 183km (114 miles) offshore from Rio de Janeiro.

“The volume of recoverable oil belonging to the nation could vary from 3.7 billion to 15 billion barrels, with the most likely estimate being 7.9 billion barrels,” the national petroleum agency (ANP) said in a statement.

Brazil has discovered billions of barrels of oil in the last few years, mostly in deep, pre salt fields off its south-eastern coast.

The discoveries should make Brazil one of the world’s top 10 oil producers.

Outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said future oil revenues will be used to eradicate poverty and invest in education and technology.

In September the Brazilian oil company Petrobras, which is partly owned by the state, raised $70bn (£44.7bn) to develop the new fields in the world’s largest ever public share offering.

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Latest GMO fiasco: Mad Soy Disease Strikes Brazil

October 30, 2010 1 comment

The Secretary of Agriculture's office is locat...

The Secretary of Agriculture's office is located in the Jamie L. Whitten Building.

http://laudyms.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/latest-gmo-fiasco-mad-soy-disease-strikes-brazil/

No cure for mad soy disease

They call it “mad soy disease” in Brazil, where it has been spreading from the north, causing yield losses of up to 40 percent, most notably in the states of Mato Grosso, Tocantins and Goias.

Like its namesake, mad cow disease, it is incurable [1, 2, 3].

This is the latest GMO fiasco to surface since our report on the meltdown in the USA [4] (GM Crops Facing Meltdown in the USA, SiS 46), China [5] (GM-Spin Meltdown in China, SiS 47), and Argentina [6] (Argentina’s Roundup Human Tragedy, SiS 48).

Mad soy disease has afflicted soybeans sporadically in the hot northern regions of Brazil in the past years, but is now spreading to more temperate regions in the south “with increased prevalence overall”, according to a US Department of Agriculture scientist.

The disease delays the maturation of infected plants indefinitely; the plants remain green until they eventually rot in the field. The top leaves thin out, and the stems thicken and become deformed. The leaves also darken compared to healthy plants; the pods, when formed, are abnormal with fewer beans.

Researchers have yet to find a cure for the disease, as they are still not sure what causes it. The prime suspect for spreading disease is the black mite found in stubble when soybean is grown in no-till production systems.

According to the USDA Global Agricultural Information Network, Brazil has 24 million ha planted to soybean, 78 percent of which are GM [3]. Apart from mad soy disease, Brazil’s soybean is simultaneously afflicted by soybean Asian rust that first appeared in 2001-2002. Producer groups are requesting the Brazilian Government Agency to speed up approval of more effective fungicide to combat the disease, which would have significant cost implications. But for mad soy disease, no cure is forthcoming. Mato Grosso, which alone produces nearly 30 percent of Brazil’s soybean crop, is among the states that have brought the issue of mad soy disease “to the forefront”.

US scientists identified more than 40 diseases associated with glyphosate and glyphosate-tolerant crops

Disease of GM soybean is no longer a surprise. Senior scientists in the United States, who have studied glyphosate and glyphosate-tolerant GM crops for decades, identified more than 40 diseases linked to glyphosate, and the list is growing [7] (Scientists Reveal Glyphosate Poisons Crops and Soil, SiS 47). Glyphosate tolerant crops play a pivotal role in causing and spreading diseases, not only to the crops themselves, but also to other crops grown nearby or planted subsequently [8] (Glyphosate Tolerant Crops Bring Diseases and Death, SiS 47).

The scientists warned of “dire consequences for agriculture.” Don Huber, recently retired from Purdue University, stated that the widespread use of glyphosate in the US can [7] “significantly increase the severity of various plant diseases, impair plant defense to pathogens and diseases and immobilize soils plant nutrients rendering them unavailable for plant use.” References

1. “Brazil battles spread of ‘mad soy disease”, Agrimoney.com, 5 October 2010, http://www.agrimoney.com/news/brazil-battles-spread-of-mad-soy-disease–2316.html

2. “Mad soy disease hits Brazil farmers”, Kieran Gartlan, DTN Progressive Farmer 19 August 2010, http://bit.ly/ajSdRA

3. Brazil, oilseeds and products update, record soybean planted area forecast for 2010-11 crop. GAIN /report, 9/29/2010, USDA foreign Agricultural Service, Global Agriculture Information Network, http://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Oilseeds%20and%20Products%20Update_Brasilia_Brazil_9-29-2010.pdf

4. Ho MW. GM crops facing meltdown in the USA. Science in Society 46

5. Saunders PT and Ho MW. From the Editors: GM spin meltdown in China. Science in Society 47, 2-3, 2010.

6. Robinson C. Argentina’s Roundup human tragedy. Science in Society 48 (to appear).

7. Ho MW. Scientists reveal glyphosate poisons crops and soil. GM meltdown continues. Science in Society 47, 10-11, 2010.

8. Ho MW. Glyphosate tolerant crops bring diseases and death. Science in Society 47, 12-15, 2010.

Reposted with permission.

http://vidrebel.wordpress.com/

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Two U.S. air marshals flee Brazil after being charged with assault

October 22, 2010 Leave a comment

By Mike M. Ahlers, CNN
October 22, 2010 — Updated 0020 GMT (0820 HKT)
The air marshals were arrested in Brazil after they arrested the wife of a Brazilian judge aboard a Continental flight.
The air marshals were arrested in Brazil after they arrested the wife of a Brazilian judge aboard a Continental flight.

Washington (CNN) — Two U.S. air marshals who arrested the wife of a Brazilian judge on a flight to Rio de Janeiro — and were themselves arrested and had their passports confiscated by Brazilian authorities — fled the country using alternate travel documents rather than face what they believed to be trumped-up charges, sources said.

The incident has impacted air marshal operations on flights to Brazil, officials said, and air marshals contacted by CNN said the case raises questions about Brazil’s willingness to support future law enforcement actions by U.S. officials on international flights.

The incident occurred on October 1 on Continental Flight 128 from Houston, Texas, to Rio de Janeiro. During the flight, a female passenger who appeared to be intoxicated tried to serve herself drinks by going to the plane’s galley, one source said. The plane’s crew asked air marshals to intervene, and two marshals approached the woman, who began struggling with them.

Two sources said the woman bit one of the air marshals, and she was handcuffed and placed under arrest.

At the Rio airport, the air marshals went to turn over the woman to local authorities but were themselves brought before a federal judge and charged with misdemeanor counts of assault, sources said. Brazilian authorities took the air marshals’ passports, so they could not leave the country and set a court hearing for the following week, sources said.

“They (Brazilian officials) did not want them to leave. They were not free to go,” one U.S. law enforcement source said.

But the air marshals used alternate travel documents and quietly departed the country on a commercial flight that same day without the knowledge of the Brazilian court officials who had sought their detention.

One source said the air marshals believed the charges against them were retaliatory because the passenger they arrested is the wife of a prominent Brazilian judge. The air marshals believed it was to their benefit to leave the country and let the U.S. and Brazilian governments resolve the dispute, the source said.

The air marshals had not recovered their passports when they left, the sources said.

A Transportation Security Administration official, contacted by CNN on the day of the incident, confirmed that air marshals had confronted a “disruptive passenger” on Flight 128, and said that U.S. officials were working with their Brazilian counterparts to resolve “an issue,” which the official declined to discuss.

Shortly before midnight the day of the incident, the TSA official said the air marshal team had left Brazil, but the official did not elaborate on the circumstances.

U.S. officials on October 1 and again this week declined to discuss the circumstances in which the air marshals left Brazil. But, commenting about the incident on board the aircraft, an official said, “We believe our federal air marshals acted appropriately within the provisions of the Convention on Offenses and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft (Tokyo Convention).”

Air marshals and union representatives contacted by CNN say it is important that Brazil and other nations recognize law enforcement actions taken by air marshals during international flights.

“In theory we’re all working together to combat the threat of terrorism and we should not let egos or marital relations impact proper procedure and legal protocols,” said Jon Adler, national president for the union that represents air marshals.

Numerous sources said the issue is still unresolved. According to court documents in Brazil, after the air marshals missed a scheduled court appointment on October 6, the court contacted the U.S. embassy in an attempt to get the air marshal’s addresses.

On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano met with Brazilian Minister of Defense Nelson Job to discuss strengthening the global aviation system. The United States and Brazil signed a “joint statement of intent on aviation security.” A Department of Homeland Security official said the parties did not discuss the Continental Flight 128 incident or its aftermath.

Sources said they believe the two agents remain charged in Brazilian courts. They did not know if the agents’ passports had been returned to them or the U.S. government.

State Department officials have declined to comment on the incident, but said it is not affecting relations with Brazil.

“We’ve got broad, deep relations with Brazil,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. “We have many, many areas of cooperation with Brazil. And on those areas where we have had disagreements, or rather issues to address, and challenges, we’ve worked through them quite effectively.”

A call to the Brazilian embassy in Washington on Thursday was not immediately returned.

Journalist Luciani Gomes contributed to this report.

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No joke as Brazil clown tops votes for Congress

October 4, 2010 1 comment

4 October 2010 Last updated at 04:59 ET

Campaign poster for Tiririca Tiririca won far more votes than any other candidate

A Brazilian clown has had the last laugh by winning a seat in Congress with more votes than any other candidate in Sunday’s elections.

Tiririca, or Francisco Oliveira Silva to give him his real name, was elected as a federal deputy for Sao Paulo with more than 1.3 million votes.

Tiririca, or “Grumpy”, had slogans such as: “It can’t get any worse.”

Another celebrity winner was ex-footballer Romario, elected federal deputy for Rio de Janeiro.

Tiririca won 1,353,355 votes – well ahead of the next best-supported politician, former Rio state governor Antony Garotinho, who took more than 694,000 votes to be elected a federal deputy for the state.

Joining them in Brasilia will be Romario, the striker who helped Brazil win the 1994 World Cup. Fellow footballer and 1994 team-mate Bebeto was elected state deputy for Rio.

But the main sensation of the election campaign was Tiririca, who ran humorous campaign adverts on YouTube that attracted millions of hits.

“What does a federal deputy do? Truly, I don’t know. But vote for me and I will find out for you,” was one of his messages.

CorruptionTiririca started working in a circus at the age of eight in the impoverished north-eastern state of Ceara, and is now a TV comedian.

He was one of dozens of candidates from the world of sport and showbusiness who were contesting some of the 513 seats in the lower house of Congress.

Continue reading the main story

BRAZIL ELECTIONS 3 OCTOBER

  • Presidential first round – now goes to second round on 31 October as no candidate won 50% +1 of valid votes)
  • Governors of all 26 states and the federal district
  • Representatives of state legislatures
  • 513 federal deputies
  • Two-thirds (54) of the 81 Senate seats

In all there were more than 6,000 candidates from 27 parties.

The way the Chamber of Deputies is formed – by an open-list proportional representation system – makes it easier for celebrity candidates to win office.

Analysts say their popularity also reflects disillusion with mainstream politicians, following numerous corruption scandals.

Tiririca’s sucess could also have a bearing on other election races, as he can pass on his excess votes to other candidates in his party’s coalition, which includes the governing Workers Party.

Tiririca survived a last-minute legal challenge to his candidacy amid evidence that he did not meet the literacy requirement for elected office.

However, the electoral authorities indicated he could be removed from office if he failed to show he can read and write after the election.

More on This Story

BRAZIL ELECTIONS

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