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Investment – China continues to push forward with its aggressive investment policy in Brazil, boldly targeting opportunities to install, merge with or acquire local production lines. Chinese outlays are estimated at US$ 21.5 billion from 2009 to 2012, or 16.1% of all such transactions in the country over the same period.

Power – Forty years ago today, the Itaipu Hydroelectric Plant, known today as Itaipu Binacional, started to get off paper after nearly ten years of diplomatic negotiations. Once the biggest power plant in the world, today Itaipu Binacional accounts for the supply of 17% of the country’s energy consumption and is second only to China’s Three Gorges.

Modern life – Last year the Brazilians spent R$ 14.2 billion on products and services for their pets, only trailing behind the Americans. With over 200,000 distribution points, Brazil’s pet industry employs 25,000 people.

Urbanism – Its name is Via Professor Simão Faiguenboim, yet everybody knows this expressway as Marginal Tietê, an avenue with the looks of a highway that is loved just as much as it is hated. Stretching over 24.5 kilometers and crisscrossed by bridges and overpasses, this expressway has no crossroads, yet is still jammed most of the time.

Agriculture – After a record harvest of 149.3 thousand tons in 2007/2008, Brazil’s sunflower production is expected to be 87.9 thousand tons this year, droughts and a decrease in some regions’ productivity accounting for the drop. The municipality of Campo Novo do Parecis, in the state of Mato Grosso, is the country’s biggest producer.

Brazil – The Caruaru Fair, in the state of Pernambuco, sprawls over an area of 150 hectares (approx. 370 acres) and hosts buyers and tourists from all over the country. Caruaru folks assure that theirs is the largest open fair in the world, a venue where one can buy all sorts of typical food and goods, besides the traditional northeastern folklore pottery figurines.

Health – Research conducted by two renowned Brazilian universities shows women are drinking more and more often, while teens and young adults in the 13-to-22-year range are the first among those seeking medical treatment for acute alcohol intoxication.

Cities – Santa Catarina state’s Blumenau, with its high Human Development Index (HDI) and celebrated for the quality of life it offers to its 300,000 inhabitants, cannot erase from its memory the tragedies that befell the city with the 2008 and 2011 rains and floods.

Economy – Despite Brazil’s shortage of bicycle paths and violent traffic, recently many Brazilians have adopted the bicycle, including as a means of transportation to and
from work.  Still, the bicycle market is almost saturated, prompting the sector to diversify supply and invest in folding, electric, and multi-gear bikes. 

Interview – Paulo Gadelha, president of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), linked to the Ministry of Health, talks about the challenges posed by providing universal health services as is the purpose of Brazil’s Single Health System (SUS) and the importance of the institution in the production of medicines and vaccines.  

Communications – Radio broadcasting in Brazil is celebrating its ninetieth anniversary, a history of success that began to be written on April 20th, 1923 with the founding of station Rádio Sociedade do Rio de Janeiro. This station was conceived by medical doctor Edgard Roquette Pinto, a dreamer who considered the radio “an important machine to educate our people”.

Memory – One hundred years ago today was born samba singer and composer Wilson Batista, who died at the age of 55 almost forgotten yet left a legacy of 600 tunes. Singing about Rio de Janeiro’s bohemian and underground characters, in addition to responding to musical challenges by genius Noel Rosa, his work was a perfect portrait of the author himself and of the city’s life.

LiteratureUm Gosto Amargo de Bala, an autobiography by actress and journalist Vera Gertel, recounts Brazil’s darker political periods, particularly the military dictatorship installed in 1964, in 42 brief chapters. The author evokes episodes in Brazil’s democratic history spanning from 1945 through 1974, the year when persecution of political dissidents reached its climax.

Thematic panel – Senator Cristovam Buarque (PDT/Federal District) discusses a project for education in Brazil.