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Offline Audax

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"The latest from Brazil" article
« on: July 03, 2009, 10:54:34 PM »
Just came across this article:
 
Corruption, intrigue and Gisele Bundchen

The latest from Brazil.

By Seth Kugel Published: July 3, 2009 16:11 ET
Updated: July 3, 2009 16:27 ET

Top News: The Brazilian Senate is in full-blown crisis these days. A controversy over 600-plus undisclosed (or “secret”) acts over recent years has centered on the upper house’s president, 79-year-old Jose Sarney.

Several of Sarney’s relatives were given jobs in the government through these secret acts.Voices within and outside the Senate have called on him to either resign or take a temporary leave while things are sorted out, although the Lula administration appears to be supporting him. Most recently, it was discovered that his grandson, Jose Andriano Cardeiro Sarney, also benefited by serving as an intermediary for loans offered to Senate employees. Here’s one extended list (in Portuguese) of the elder Sarney’s accused wrongdoings.

But it was not just Sarney involved in the secret acts. About half of the senators have been implicated, according to one report. And many Senate employees saw their salaries zoom past the cap for civil servants because of the acts. That list allegedly includes the former director of the Senate, Agaciel Maia, probably the official second-most-accused of wrongdoing after Sarney.

Sarney has come up with various denials and excuses. The one that got the most attention was when he and Lula both said that because of Sarney’s record of public service, he should not be judged as a common man. Both were thoroughly mocked. Folha columnist Clovis Rossi, a respected, usually restrained voice, was beside himself: “What kind of nonsense is this, my God in heaven!” he wrote [subscription required]. The headline on the cover of Veja, Brazil’s most-read news magazine, quoted the Constitution: “We the common people, remind the feudal masters in Brasilia that ‘All are equal under the law, without distinction of any kind.’”

Most recently, Folha reported that members of Sarney’s family have asked him to step away from the presidency. The press has been all over Sarney and other senators and employees, which makes you wonder: How many cans of worms are waiting to be uncovered in the lower house?

As protestors took to the streets in Iran after the controversial reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Lula seemed to flub a little bit when he said the election appeared to have been fair and the Iranian protests were the result of sour grapes. His explanation: “You have an election in which a citizen has 62 percent of the votes. In other words, it’s very difficult for someone with 62 percent of the votes — here in Brazil we are used to electoral fraud when the difference is 1 percent or 0.5 percent. But when there’s a difference of 62 percent to 30-something, it is not possible. It’s very difficult.” It becomes clearer every day that Lula’s greatest political advantage on the world stage is that he does not speak English, because this kind of YouTube-able sound bite would do great damage to his reputation.

Money:
There was good and bad news in economic reports issued over the last two weeks.Formal employment is up 131,500 jobs in May, the government reported. That was the fourth straight month of net gains, although there are still fewer employed than at start of crisis.

The dollar broke the two-real exchange rate for the first time in months, but the government still continues to worry that increased interest by foreign investors in Brazilian markets will continue to keep the real stronger than they would like. Exports have been hurting. But oddly, imports are also hurting in most categories, except for non-durable consumer goods, which saw imports rise 8 percent from January to May. In another piece of negative financial news, personal defaults (including bounced checks and individual loans) went up to 8.6 percent in May 2009.

The government has extended the tax holiday on cars and some other items, and has added more goods to the list. For cars, the reduced “IPI”, or Tax on Industrial Products, will continue through September, then slowly edge go back to normal by the end of the year. Trucks, construction materials and other items will maintain their current tax exemptions until the year's end. And many capital goods like industrial valves have had their IPI removed until Dec. 31.

Elsewhere:
The semi-annual Sao Paulo Fashion Week started with a flurry of stories about the quota that would require 10 percent of models to be black, Afro-descendents (a term common here) or indigenous. But then fashion week went on as usual, with most designers adhering to the quotas of darker skinned models, including the rising star Gracie Carvalho, but most attention still focused on the usual suspects, like Gisele Bundchen, (who said in an interview, by the way, that she favored the quotas).

There were more twists and turns in the Sean Goldman custody/kidnapping case. The child’s stepfather and maternal grandmother flew to New York to appear on CBS’s Early Show, and there were several more court reversals on visitation and custody by the American father in Brazil as the appeals play out.

As the media circus continues, another story has highlighted the real issue, at least from the American perspective: Brazil’s consistent failure to live up to its treaty obligations, and not just in the Goldman case. Folha de Sao Paulo has been covering the shocking case of Sascha Zanger, an Austrian father whose Brazilian wife took their two children back to Brazil in January 2008, and then left the children in care of their aunt. Zanger’s legal efforts to get them back under the Hague Convention were stymied by Brazilian courts. Then his daughter, Sophie, who had turned four, died on June 19 of head trauma. The mother’s family stands accused of abuse.

« Last Edit: July 04, 2009, 07:05:53 AM by M.Capestro »

Offline Sashia

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Re: "The latest from Brazil" article
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2009, 11:01:54 PM »
Can someone tell me the connection (or is there) between OGlobo and GlobalPost?

Offline Audax

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Re: "The latest from Brazil" article
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2009, 11:21:20 PM »
Quote from: Sashia;40746
Can someone tell me the connection (or is there) between OGlobo and GlobalPost?

I don't think there's any. Here's what I found:
 

Type: Private
On the web: http://www.globalpost.com

Global News Enterprises picks up digital foreign news coverage where traditional US news organizations leave off. Covering news events in more than 50 countries, the company operates a free-content Web site (Globalpost.com) which publishes political, sports, business, health, technology, and other news for the US audience. The company offers syndication to broadcast, print, cable, and Internet-based media companies, and also earns revenue from advertising. Global News has about 70 correspondents throughout the world. President and CEO Philip Balboni co-founded Global News in 2008; the company's Web site was launched in early 2009.
Officers:
President and CEO: Philip S. Balboni
VP and Executive Editor: Charles M. Sennott
VP and Director, Sales: James S. Bandera
Competitors:
Agence France-Presse
Associated Press
Reuters

Contact Information

Global News Enterprises, LLC
The Pilot House, Lewis Wharf
Boston, MA 02110
MA Tel. 617-854-3170

Offline Sashia

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Re: "The latest from Brazil" article
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2009, 11:27:52 PM »
Thanks Audax,:D
I was already a member of GlobalPost and they have a section on "The Americas" and specifically Brazil. When I signed up on OGlobo, I have been finding the same or similar articles and wondered if they had some sort of connection. Good, then when I comment on articles in one, I can comment on the same article in the other.:clapping:

Offline Grace

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Re: "The latest from Brazil" article
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2009, 11:44:36 PM »
There have been protests to impeach Sarney. He basically "owns" the State of Maranhao, north of Brazil, the most backwards and poor part of the country. Very corrupt family. And after his public support of the LeS/Ribeiros in favor of keeping Sean in Brazil,  I hope he is kicked out in style.

Offline liesl78

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Re: "The latest from Brazil" article
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2009, 12:28:19 AM »
Sashia, that doesn't surprise me, Globo translates and publishes a bunch of articles (badly, may I add)
 
As far as Sarney goes, já vai tarde!!!!!!!
Liesl78
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Offline M.Capestro

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Re: "The latest from Brazil" article
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2009, 07:24:54 AM »
Quote
The Brazilian Senate is in full-blown crisis these days. A controversy over 600-plus undisclosed (or “secret”) acts over recent years has centered on the upper house’s president, 79-year-old Jose Sarney.

Sarney has come up with various denials and excuses. The one that got the most attention was when he and Lula both said that because of Sarney’s record of public service, he should not be judged as a common man. Both were thoroughly mocked.
Anyone see Frost/Nixon? Who does that sound like?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejvyDn1TPr8


Quote
As protestors took to the streets in Iran after the controversial reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Lula seemed to flub a little bit when he said the election appeared to have been fair and the Iranian protests were the result of sour grapes. His explanation: “You have an election in which a citizen has 62 percent of the votes. In other words, it’s very difficult for someone with 62 percent of the votes — here in Brazil we are used to electoral fraud when the difference is 1 percent or 0.5 percent. But when there’s a difference of 62 percent to 30-something, it is not possible. It’s very difficult.” It becomes clearer every day that Lula’s greatest political advantage on the world stage is that he does not speak English, because this kind of YouTube-able sound bite would do great damage to his reputation.
Maybe Obama needs to have someone in the White House who speaks Portuguese closely monitoring what comes out of his "man's" mouth.

Offline Rio Gringa

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Re: "The latest from Brazil" article
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2009, 03:11:22 PM »
Just to clarify, Global Post has nothing to do with Globo. It's an American-based online publication. Seth Kugel is an American NYT contributor currently living in Brazil.

Offline heatheram29

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Re: "The latest from Brazil" article
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2009, 04:28:18 PM »
Quote from: Rio Gringa;40805
Just to clarify, Global Post has nothing to do with Globo. It's an American-based online publication. Seth Kugel is an American NYT contributor currently living in Brazil.

 
We emailed back and forth a while back. He's written a few good articles on Sean, but not in a while. He also wrote an article about (of all things) getting an ATM card in Brazil, which involved so much ridiculous Brazilian red tape it illustrates perfectly the legal system that David has been dealing with for 5 years. It's worth a read.

Offline Sashia

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Re: "The latest from Brazil" article
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2009, 10:05:39 PM »
Quote from: Rio Gringa;40805
Just to clarify, Global Post has nothing to do with Globo. It's an American-based online publication. Seth Kugel is an American NYT contributor currently living in Brazil.

Thanks for the info

Offline BrazilianForJustice

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Re: "The latest from Brazil" article
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2009, 04:43:26 AM »
This week's Economist magazine has a piece on the dynamics of the main power players in Brazil. President Lula is planning in electing a placeholder figure (Ms. Rousseff), in the fashion of Putin in Russia. The article ends by putting the finger on the very core of Lula's public persona, as we all already know it so well, pointing to [SIZE=-1] "his willingness to shut his eyes to scandal when it suits him[/SIZE]."

Very many in Brazil already talk about this, and it, therefore, triggered an angry reaction. The secretary of the Senate, answering, supposedly, for the Sarney/Lula alliance, stated, in typical local evasive-aggressive manner, that:

"This is a prejudiced and elitist article...the English journalists should be concerned with the humiliating scandals that happen in their Parliament. Each one should care about their own problems..."



                                                   

     

                                                                                                 
[SIZE=-1]Brazil's scandal-plagued Senate[/SIZE]


[SIZE=+1]House of horrors
[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-2]Jul 9th 2009 | SÃO PAULO
From The Economist print edition
[/SIZE]
[/I]  

[SIZE=-1]What Britain’s MPs might learn from Brazilian Senators

[/SIZE]
[/I]   [SIZE=-1]THE president of Brazil’s Senate sits in a fine blue leather chair designed by Oscar Niemeyer, a celebrated Brazilian architect. Comfortable it may be, but its occupants have also found it to be an insecure perch. Three senate presidents have been suspended or have resigned because of scandals in the past eight years. Now a fourth, José Sarney, a former president of Brazil and part-time novelist, is teetering.[/SIZE][/I]

  [SIZE=-1]The Senate has just 81 members but somehow they require almost 10,000 staff to take care of them. Many of these are appointed as favours to senators’ friends or political supporters. One former staffer says that his fellow-employees used to say that the senate was like a mother to them. Others liken it to a country club. The benefits of membership include free health insurance for life for all senators and their families, generous pension arrangements and housing allowances. This much was already familiar to Brazilians and, perhaps, not so different from the goings on in many other legislatures around the world.[/SIZE][/I][SIZE=-1]
[/SIZE]
[/I]
  [SIZE=-1]But the past few months have brought new revelations. The police are investigating some 660 “secret acts” passed since 1995 which have awarded jobs and pay rises to members of staff. Senators have given free air tickets to relatives and claimed housing allowances for houses they did not live in. Senate staff were paid overtime even when the chamber was in recess. The head of the senate administration, Agaciel Maia, was revealed to own a house worth 5m reais ($2.5m) that was registered in his brother’s name and thus not declared to the tax authorities.[/SIZE][/I]

  [SIZE=-1]Lots of senators, more or less across the political spectrum, are at fault. When the leader of the opposition Party of Brazilian Social Democracy went on a jaunt to Paris, for example, the Senate paid his hotel bill. (He says this was a “loan”.) It therefore might seem unfair that Mr Sarney is under pressure to resign.[/SIZE][/I]

  [SIZE=-1]Yet he cannot plead ignorance of the Senate’s workings. This is his third spell as its president. During a previous stint in the blue chair he appointed Mr Maia to his lucrative position. A grandchild of Mr Sarney’s received business from the Senate (although he was not its president at the time). Mr Sarney also omitted from his declaration of assets to the federal electoral tribunal a big house he owns in Brasília.[/SIZE][/I]

  [SIZE=-1]Mr Sarney, who has spent 50 years in public life, is a survivor. He will probably keep his post. He remains a power in the Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB), a catch-all outfit that is an important part of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s governing coalition. Lula wants Mr Sarney to swing the weight of the PMDB, and its patronage machine, behind Dilma Rousseff, the probable candidate of the ruling Workers’ Party in the presidential election next year.[/SIZE][/I][SIZE=-1]
[/SIZE]
[/I]
  [SIZE=-1]Lula has said that Mr Sarney deserves more respect, and has blamed the press for whipping up scandal. But at a time when the economy is only just emerging from recession, the saga of the “secret acts” has reminded Brazilians that their politicians never impose austerity on themselves. It may also have reminded them of the flaws of some of Lula’s allies, and his willingness to shut his eyes to scandal when it suits him.[/SIZE][/I]
   
                                                                 
                    [SIZE=-2]                     Copyright © 2009 The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group. All rights reserved.[/SIZE]

Offline BrazilianForJustice

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Re: "The latest from Brazil" article
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2009, 07:30:50 AM »
Ms. Rousseff (likely to replace Lula in 18 months) met with President Obama on Tuesday, the first time without Pres. Lula. Back in March, when Lula first met the President, he brought her over to the oval office with him (photo below). Wonder if she was present at the time they talked about Sean.





Dilma meets Obama and says there is interest in the pre-salt  [oil]

http://noticias.terra.com.br/brasil/interna/0,,OI3886608-EI7896,00-Dilma+encontra+Obama+e+diz+que+ha+interesse+no+presal.html

 Tuesday, July 21, 2009, 19h12  
 Lígia Hougland  
 Direct from Washington  

 The Brazilian Chief of Cabinet, Dilma Rousseff and the Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Miguel Jorge met, together with members of the 4th Meeting of the Brazil-US Forum of Senior Business Leaders, with the U.S. president, Barack Obama, in the White House, this Tuesday. The Minister assured that U.S. is interested in the oil found in the pre-salt basin.

 "They would be stupid not to have interest in Brazilian oil, because it is a low risk investment and high profitability," she said. The minister justified the silence on the issue of pre-salt saying that a discussion about that now in the U.S. "would be ridiculous." "First we must define rules for the pre-salt oil in Brazil," noted the minister. She said an initial review of the rules for the exploitation of the oil basin will be presented to President Lula before the end of August. Dilma said, however, that the issue of pre-salt was not discussed with the U.S. president or with the American investors.

 At the meeting were discussed the issues addressed by the forum, being held in Washington. Extending the term of visas for tourists from Brazil and the U.S. from five to 10 years, a 50% increase in the availability of flights between the two countries until the end of this year, the fight against protectionism and environmental conservation were some the issues discussed with the U.S. president.

 According to the minister, Obama made a point of mentioning the positive leadership of the Brazilian president and underscored the importance of strengthening ties between the U.S. and Brazil to secure a more advantageous to trade the two nations and greater exchange of technology. Also discussed was the possibility of the two countries form a partnership to help the economy of Haiti, building clothing and shoe factories from Brazil and the U.S. in the country.

 Nothing was set on a possible visit by Barack Obama to Brazil, but the minister said she reinforced the call already made by the President Lula. "We told Obama that he will feel quite at ease in Brazil, he will certainly identify [himself] with our country," said the minister.


Obama touts trade in meeting with Brazil official

http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE56K6PV20090721

Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:03pm EDT

  By Doug Palmer

  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he wants stronger ties with Brazil, especially in the commercial area, a top aide and possible successor to Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said.

  "He made what I consider a very strong and important statement," Lula's chief of staff Dilma Rousseff, speaking through a translator, said at the end of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum, which brings together top U.S. business and top government officials from each country.

  Rousseff, who is Lula's preferred candidate in Brazil's 2010 presidential election, said Obama dropped in on her and other forum participants during a meeting in the office of White House national security adviser Jim Jones.

  The forum consists of 10 business leaders each from the United States and Brazil, who meet at least once every six months to make recommendations to the two governments on how to expand trade and investment ties.

  Bilateral trade between the two countries reached about $63.4 billion in 2008. The United States enjoyed a rare, but small, surplus with its llth largest trading partner.

  Tim Solso, president of Cummins Inc and the U.S. co-chairman of the forum, said the participants urged the two countries to begin talks on a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement as a stepping stone to a broader trade pact.

  White House deputy national security adviser Michael Froman said the two governments would explore that possibility, but had not made any decision yet.

  Brazil's Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Miguel Jorge also participated in the forum, along with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

  The two sides discussed progress on bilateral tax and investment treaties, as well as ways the two countries could cooperate on developing renewable energy source and addressing global climate change, officials said.

  The CEOs recommended the United States eliminate its tariff on ethanol imports, a move that would benefit Brazil but face strong opposition from U.S. corn growers and their proponents in Congress, such as Senator Charles Grassley.
(...)

Offline M.Capestro

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Re: "The latest from Brazil" article
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2009, 04:02:27 PM »
RioGringa tweeted this about an hour ago:
 
It's about time, NYT! Scandal Puts Pressure on a Brazilian Leader to Step Down http://tinyurl.com/nmvens (via @MediaAnalystNY)
 
Scandal Puts Pressure on a Brazilian Leader to Step Down
 
BRASÍLIA — The leader of Brazil’s Senate is under heavy pressure to step down amid a nepotism and corruption scandal that threatens to hamstring the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during his final year in office.
 
The Senate leader, José Sarney, is a former Brazilian president who both supported the military dictatorship and led the nation during its transition to civilian democracy. Now he is considered an important ally for Mr. da Silva, who has plans to pass contentious legislation affecting the oil industry and also pick a candidate to succeed him in next year’s presidential elections.
 
But Mr. Sarney has been the subject of news reports here saying he abused his status as a senator by giving jobs and favors to friends and family members. The accusations include unduly allowing his grandson to benefit from government contracts, holding an illegal bank account outside of Brazil and allowing a foundation carrying his name to end up with roughly $250,000 in grant money from the state-run oil company, Petrobras.
 
Mr. Sarney, 79, has refused to resign, denouncing the accusations as false or exaggerated. He has also acted mildly surprised about concerns of nepotism and patronage, saying his conduct was not unusual for a senator.
 
“I did not favor a grandson or granddaughter,” he said on the Senate floor on Wednesday, his hand trembling as he held a prepared statement. “I am the victim of a systematic and aggressive campaign.”
 
The accusations against Mr. Sarney have embroiled the Senate in yet another pitched battle over the fate of its leadership. Two years ago, Renan Calheiros, a member of Mr. Sarney’s Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, gave up the post of Senate president after facing a disciplinary inquiry by the Senate Ethics Committee related to income tax fraud and the questionable purchase of a stake in a radio station.
 
The latest debacle comes at a difficult moment for Mr. da Silva, who has endured scandals in his own Workers’ Party that forced top officials to resign. Despite his high popularity personally, Mr. da Silva relies on an alliance with the Democratic Movement Party to form the government’s slim majority in the Senate.
 
The Brazilian government is preparing a proposal that would give the national oil company unprecedented control over the development of huge deepwater oil fields that could transform Brazil into a global oil power, according to one person with knowledge of the proposed law. And the president is seeking congressional support for the candidacy of Dilma Rousseff, his chief of staff, whom he chose to succeed him in the 2010 elections.
 
The debacle could also complicate the Senate’s investigation into possible improprieties at the national oil company, an inquiry that could last up to 180 days. Mr. da Silva was hoping to keep the investigation under control through government allies on the investigative committee. But with the Senate in disarray and amid allegations involving both Mr. Sarney and the oil company, the inquiry “may become a bit less predictable,” said Erasto Almeida, an analyst at Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy.
 
The Senate conflict “is paralyzing Congress,” said Alexandre Barros, a political risk analyst here. “It is very difficult to get a big law voted on with all of this going on.”
 
In many ways, Mr. Sarney, who took over as the Senate president in February, is the last of a generation of politicians who operated under an older system of machine politics in which so-called colonels from powerful families like the Sarneys dispensed favors for loyalty, analysts say. The system allowed agrarian oligarchs to dominate local politics, especially in Brazil’s rural and impoverished north and northeast.
 
Mr. Sarney and his daughter Roseana served in the Senate together and are former governors of Maranhão, where the Sarney family has vast land holdings and a media conglomerate that controls one of the area’s most important television stations. This year, his daughter became Maranhão’s governor again.
 
“We are living the last moments of a political culture that he represented,” said Tasso Jereissati, a senator from the opposition Social Democratic Party, who said Mr. Sarney should resign. “All of this is being demolished now.”
 
Some senators have aggressively defended Mr. Sarney. At a heated session on Monday, Fernando Collor de Mello, a former president who was forced to resign over influence-peddling but is now a senator, threatened to expose corruption involving other senators if they did not back down from criticizing Mr. Sarney.
 
“They have made Sarney into a monster,” said Romero Jucá, a senator in Mr. Sarney’s party. “He is not a monster.”
 
Mr. da Silva has walked a tightrope in recent days, coming to the defense of Mr. Sarney and pressing senators in the Workers’ Party to back him, while distancing himself from any responsibility for Senate ethics.
 
Late Wednesday, the Senate Ethics Committee voted to table 4 of the 11 allegations against Mr. Sarney.
 
A strong supporter of the 1964 military coup, Mr. Sarney was the governor of Maranhão in the late 1960s and then became the vice president in 1985 during Brazil’s transition to democracy. After President-elect Tancredo Neves became fatally ill, Mr. Sarney was sworn in as president, serving until 1990. As his term progressed, he became deeply unpopular during a period of rampant inflation. Since then, he has been a senator, also holding the chamber’s president post from 2003 to 2005.

Mery Galanternick contributed reporting from Rio de Janeiro

Offline heatheram29

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Re: "The latest from Brazil" article
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2009, 04:31:00 PM »
At least he's not off 'hiking the Appalacian Trail'.

Offline sara

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Re: "The latest from Brazil" article
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2009, 04:31:51 PM »
Wasn't it Sarney that wrote the letter to the media saying David is a "Playboy"? I remember reading it on this web sight. Aunt Guta also was a big wig at the same oil company. The veils are dropping and the corruption and nepotism continues to display itself...all the way to Lula.