Live Insider

Brazilian Health Ministry to monitor monkeypox

Natalia Scalzaretto
May 25, 2022 17:59

The Brazilian Health Ministry announced the creation of a committee to monitor developments around monkeypox. 

Even before the country has registered its first infection or even suspected cases, the committee has already provided guidelines to states on how to deal with suspected cases and offered the latest information on the disease, which is endemic in West and Central Africa. As of Monday, there were more than 100 confirmed cases in 14 countries, with dozens more under investigation.

Health authorities in Brazil have recommended the use of masks in airports to prevent the disease from spreading in the country. The Health Ministry also informed that there is no vaccine against monkeypox available in Brazil so far.

Economy Minister says wage bump to public sector workers will be 5 percent

Amanda Audi
May 25, 2022 17:06

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said on Wednesday the Jair Bolsonaro administration could grant nothing more than a 5-percent linear wage bump to the civil service.

Government workers have been pressuring the government to increase wages in line with the inflation of the last two years, which, according to them, reaches 26 percent.

President Jair Bolsonaro and Mr. Guedes are acting in a “good cop, bad cop” dynamic. 

Mr. Bolsonaro continues to promise benefits to the police categories and has not yet been incisive about what the salary adjustment will actually be. The government has until the end of June to make a decision.

Mr. Guedes stated that the readjustment cannot be greater than cumulative inflation in the year-to-date, of 5 percent, as it is an election year. “The president would like to give the police a raise, but he can’t, it’s seen as buying them off,” he said.

Government changes head of Brazil’s tax appeals court

Amanda Audi
May 25, 2022 12:31

The Brazilian government decided to swap out the head of the country’s tax appeals court Carf, the last administrative tribunal for litigating the collection of federal taxes.

Adriana Gomes Rêgo, who had held the presidency of the court since 2018, has left the position. Auditor Carlos Henrique de Oliveira was appointed in her place. He currently works as a program director at the Federal Revenue Service and is a tax consultant at the International Monetary Fund.

Per newspaper Valor Econômico, the change was motivated by a tax auditors strike which has been ongoing since December. Trial sessions in the court were being canceled due to a lack of quorum — a decision that some within the government saw as a ruse to protect members of Carf who joined the strike.

Telecom regulator wants to create ‘attention zones’ for 5G near airports

Constance Malleret
May 25, 2022 11:26 (Updated: May 25, 2022 13:13)

Brazil’s telecom regulator Anatel published a public consultation this week on the requirements operators must observe when installing 5G stations in the vicinity of airports. One of the measures is the creation of “attention zones” to “confer greater security” to the use of technology near such spaces.

According to Anatel, the measure is just a “precaution” as studies carried out on the matter did not reveal risks of interference between the typical use of cellular networks in the 3.5 GHz band — adopted for 5G in Brazil — and aeronautical radio navigation equipment. 

The attention zones will be close to the take-off and landing strips of certain airports, yet to be defined. In these areas, the providers must observe the rules established by Anatel regarding the pointing of the antenna’s main beam to maintain the due safety standards of aeronautical navigation.

The discussion has arisen in Brazil in the wake of debates in the U.S. on the risks of interference, which intensified shortly before the network was implemented in the country. 

The U.S. has decided to use the 3.7 GHz to 3.98 GHz band for commercial 5G networks, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommends separation of 200 MHz between this band and that used in aeronautical radio navigation — which operates on 4.2 GHz to 4.4 GHz.

This difference is within the limit of ICAO recommendation, but the separation in Brazil is greater and, therefore, safer. The auctioned 3.5 GHz band comprises frequencies from 3.3 GHz to 3.7 GHz. 

During live stream, Brazil’s prosecutor general almost hits colleague

Amanda Audi
May 25, 2022 11:22

Brazil’s Prosecutor General Augusto Aras got into an argument with a colleague and advanced on him during a session of the National Council of the Federal Prosecution Service on Tuesday.

There was confusion among committee members who disagreed with the criteria adopted on an agenda that would be put to a vote. “I just can’t stand this mess,” Mr. Aras complained. “Your Excellency also interfered when your colleague was speaking. So if your Excellency wants respect, respect me too”, said deputy prosecutor Nísio de Freitas. “Your Excellency is not worthy of respect,” replied Mr. Aras.

An argument started, and the committee chief got up from his chair and walked quickly over to Mr. Freitas. A security guard followed him, running. The live stream of the session was then interrupted.

Mr. Freitas had already positioned himself critically against his boss. In 2020, he signed a letter with three other sub-prosecutors in which they disagreed with the way Mr. Aras dealt with Operation Car Wash. The letter stated that a “discredited, unstable, and weakened prosecution service” serves the interests of those who are outside the law.

Government expresses support for free energy market

Constance Malleret
May 25, 2022 6:56 (Updated: May 25, 2022 6:57)

The government has said it backs plans to deregulate the electricity market, as the House prepares to vote on a bill on the issue. The bill would create an open electricity market for all consumers in Brazil, effective 42 months after the law comes into effect.

Camilla Fernandes, program director of the Mines & Energy Ministry’s Executive Secretariat, said during an event on Tuesday that the government supports the initiative. “The conclusion of a public consultation was that the opening of the market can generate benefits for society and can reduce electricity costs. But this process is complex and demands thorough studies as well as, principally, changes to the sector’s regulatory framework,” Ms. Fernandes said.

Currently, only large-scale consumers can source their electricity on the free market in Brazil, with the majority of Brazilian consumers served by regional distributors, paying prices set by the National Electricity Agency (Aneel).

The House is expected to vote on the bill this month, after which it must be returned to the Senate for approval.

Brazil’s soybean and maize exports revised down

Constance Malleret
May 24, 2022 18:00

Brazil’s National Association of Grain Exporters (Anec) has revised down its forecasts for May soybean and maize sales. Anec, which updates its forecasts weekly, currently expects Brazil to export 11.48 million tons of soybeans this month, a 1.8 percent reduction on its previous forecast and 20.7 percent less than in May 2021.

Forecasts for maize exports have also been revised downwards, by 1.7 percent to 1.24 million tons, while projections for soybean meal and wheat have been revised upwards.

According to Anec, overall soybean exports were down around 3 percent in the first four months of the year from the same period in 2021. However, exports of soybean meal, maize, and wheat were up, with wheat sales in January-April increasing more than a four-fold year on year. As The Brazilian Report explained earlier this month, there has been a rush in wheat production as prices soar due to the war in Ukraine.

French authorities return seized fossils to Brazil

Constance Malleret
May 24, 2022 16:11

Nearly 10 years after their confiscation at the French port of Le Havre, 998 Cretaceous fossils have been returned to Brazil. French customs authorities returned the priceless pieces to Brazil’s Deputy Attorney General Hindemburgo Chateaubriand Filho in a ceremony held on Tuesday.

The fossils were found by French customs officers in a quartz shipment in 2013. The pieces, which are between 145 million and 65 million years old, were illegally removed from the Araripe Basin in Brazil’s Northeast. Due to its paleontological significance, the Araripe Geopark was designated the Americas’ first geopark by Unesco in 2006.

As The Brazilian Report explored last month, Brazil is a rich location for paleontological research but has often suffered from “paleopiracy” – the exhibition in museums abroad of fossils illegally removed from the country.  

These 998 Cretaceous fossils will be handed to the Regional University of Cariri’s Plácido Cidade Nuvens Museum of Paleontology, in the state of Ceará.