São Gonçalo do Amarante-Natal International Airport

Construction of a new International Airport in Natal was seen as vital to its continued economic growth, and the demand placed upon the country with the advent of the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016.

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The new Natal International Airport, scheduled to open in 2014 is not only one of the most significant developments ever undertaken in Rio Grande do Norte, but also one of the biggest projects in Brazil. The new airport has the potential to be among the largest and most important in South America. In fact, at one point it is expected to become the 8th largest International Airport in the world. But what will its impact be on the property market in.

Natal, and Rio Grande do Norte in general, does not lack tourists. In fact, the area remains one of the most visited by natives, and an increasingly hot destination for foreigners. But the new airport will more than quadruple the number of passengers coming and going annually from the region, to 5 million. A significant percentage of the passengers will be foreigners, many of whom will be in vacation and looking for affordable houses to rent. Others may be tempted to purchase a vacation house in the region. The bottom line? Investors do not lack opportunities.

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Rio Grande do Norte can only gain if its main city becomes a commercial hub for South America. There are already plenty of businesses based in Rio Grande do Norte, both local and foreign, and their number is set to increase in the future, as the area undergoes numerous developments backed by the government, including a social housing program that will build hundreds of thousands of homes.

The new airport will only make it easier for foreigners to invest in the region and its chief city. The infrastructure will be improved, and with it the price of properties will grow. Investors who buy now while properties are still cheap have the opportunity to resell in the years to come at a better price.

Early kick-off

A CAMPAIGN that officially lasts just three months should mean that Brazil’s next presidential election, due in October 2014, feels far away. In fact it seems almost imminent.

The 2014 presidential campaign gets under way

On February 16th Marina Silva, who came third in 2010 as the Green Party’s candidate, launched a new party, the Sustainability Network, thus declaring her intent to run again. Three days later the president, Dilma Rousseff, announced increased welfare payments to 2.5m poor Brazilians in a speech widely interpreted as launching her bid for a second term. The main opposition, the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB), is considering primaries that its bigwigs have designed to bolster Aécio Neves, their preferred candidate. Eduardo Campos, the governor of Pernambuco state who heads a fast-growing centrist party, is mulling a run, too.

Ms Silva’s “Network”, as the new party’s supporters call it, will impose term limits on its representatives and turn away dodgy donations and members. It hopes to appeal to both greens and voters fed up with politics as usual. It is turning to social media to whip up the 500,000 signatures it needs by October if it is to field a presidential candidate. It is likely to succeed: Brazilians are among the world’s most prolific users of Facebook and Twitter.

Even so, Ms Silva will struggle to match the 20m votes she garnered in 2010. A child of illiterate rubber-tappers and a founding member of the ruling Workers’ Party (PT), she seemed a more natural heir to the ex-president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a former machine operator, than did the unknown, middle-class Ms Rousseff. To others, Ms Silva was more appealing than the PSDB’s stale presidential offering of José Serra, who had run and lost before. Next year Ms Rousseff will have the advantage of incumbency, and her other challengers, not Ms Silva, will be the fresher faces.

In Mr Neves’s favour is a famous surname (his grandfather Tancredo was elected president in 1985 but died before taking office), good looks, charisma and two successful terms as governor of Brazil’s second-most populous state, Minas Gerais. But he has yet to show the mettle for a tough fight. In 2010 he positioned himself to run, only to shy away as Ms Rousseff’s support grew in the polls. In May he is expected to become his party’s chairman and start campaigning, supporters say.

Mr Campos came to national prominence with his party’s strong showing in municipal elections last October. He belongs to Ms Rousseff’s governing coalition, but Brazilian coalitions are temporary affairs. He may decide to wait until 2018. But running next year would raise his profile outside his north-eastern power base.

Since Lula stepped down in 2010 there has been speculation that he would run again in 2014. (Brazil allows any number of terms but only two consecutively.) But a bout of cancer, now in remission, the fallout from last year’s mensalão vote-buying trial involving his government, and Ms Rousseff’s popularity make that unlikely—unless she stumbles over the next year. In March he sets off on a national lecture tour. The topic—how Brazil improved under the PT—seems designed to drum up support for Ms Rousseff’s campaign.

Ms Rousseff could try to neutralise Mr Campos by offering him the vice-presidency—but that is already promised to a bigger coalition partner. Or Mr Neves and Mr Campos could team up—but neither appears interested in second billing. Both have been wooing Ms Silva—but the launch of the Network suggests she is also looking for the top job. All three will probably run. But Ms Rousseff, a popular incumbent, will be the one to beat.

Fifa confirm goal-line technology for Brazil

Fifa  today confirmed goal-line technology will be in place for the 2014 World Cup as it invited tenders to provide the system.

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Sepp Blatter, president of world football’s governing body, had previously stated his commitment to bringing in goal-line technology for the tournament in Brazil.

It was trialled at the Club World Cup in December, and Fifa will now roll it out for this summer’s Confederations Cup and next year’s World Cup.

Fifa said in a statement: “After a successful implementation of Goal-Line Technology (GLT) at the Fifa Club World Cup in Japan in December 2012, Fifa has decided to use GLT at the Fifa Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 and 2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil.

“The aim is to use GLT in order to support the match officials and to install a system in all stadia, pending the successful installation, and pre-match referee tests. With different technologies on the market, Fifa has launched a tender today, setting out the technical requirements for the two forthcoming competitions in Brazil.”

Hawk-Eye and GoalRef both have Fifa approval and are set to compete against each other, and possibly other manufacturers, for the World Cup rights.

Fifa said: “The two GLT providers already licensed under Fifa’s Quality Programme for GLT, and other GLT providers currently in the licensing process (that must have passed all relevant tests as of today) are invited to submit tenders.

“Interested GLT companies will be invited to join an inspection visit to the Confederations Cup venues, currently scheduled for mid-March, with a final decision due to be confirmed in early April.”

The incoming technology will be designed to help match officials with critical decisions in matches, and its use appears to have been hastened by England being denied a goal in their defeat to Germany at the 2010 World Cup.

A shot from Frank Lampard hit the underside of the crossbar and replays showed it clearly crossed the line. However Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda did not award a goal, which would have been an equaliser. With the assistance of a goal-line camera, the costly mistake would not have been made.

Tennis and cricket at the highest level already feature the use of technology, with umpires and players able to turn to replays of key incidents for clarification.

Blatter said at the Club World Cup that Fifa would follow suit. HawkEye involves the use of cameras, while GoalRef is a more scientific system, involving a low-frequency magnetic field surrounding the goal and an electronic circuit in the ball, with goal confirmation being transmitted in a fraction of a second to a watch worn by the referee.

Marina Silva launches new Brazilian green party

One of the world’s most influential environmental campaigners, former Brazilian presidential hopeful Marina Silva, has launched a new political party committed to delivering green policies.

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Silva, who came third in Brazil’s 2010 presidential election with 20 million votes when serving as the Green Party’s candidate, used a speech on Saturday to formally launch the Sustainability Network, an entirely new political party primarily focused on environmental issues.

Relatively few details were disclosed about the new party’s goals and it remains unclear if Silva will now run in next year’s presidential election.

Speaking to hundreds of supporters in the capital Brasilia, Silva said the Sustainability Network was “not a party created just for the elections”, adding that it “calls for a new vision of the world, in which we will be participants and not just spectators”.

But it is widely expected that Silva will now mount a challenge at next year’s elections and that many of her political supporters will back the new party.

A respected former Amazon activist, Silva first rose to political prominence when she was appointed environment minister as part of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s government in 2003.

She served for more than five years before resigning in 2009 in protest against a perceived lack of commitment from the government to environmental issues. However, during her time in office Silva was widely credited with delivering many of the reforms that have resulted in a significant slowdown in deforestation in the Amazon region in recent years.

Her 2010 presidential campaign was deemed broadly successful and helped drive environmental issues up the political agenda – a trick that Silva now seems keen to repeat.

Under Brazilian election laws, the Sustainability Network now requires 500,000 signatures from supporters for it to be officially launched.

Spike Lee shoots footage during Brazil carnival

US filmmaker Spike Lee is shooting interviews and other footage for his upcoming documentary “Go, Brazil, Go!” during carnival in the northeastern Brazilian city of Salvador, where millions of people have gathered for the festivities, media reported.

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Lee has been working since last year on the project, which is being produced by Sao Paulo-based ParanoidBr and will focus on the country’s emergence as a political and economic powerhouse.

In April, the director travelled to Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff; her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva; and other prominent figures.

Soccer star Neymar, singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso, singer Marisa Monte, rapper Criolo and songwriter and composer Tom Ze also were among those interviewed by Lee in the first stage of the project.

According to the media, the director of “Malcolm X”, “Do the Right Thing” and numerous other fiction films and documentaries, spoke with Salvador Mayor Antonio Carlos Magalhaes Neto and pop singer Ivete Sangalo Friday.

The filmmaker also is planning four other interview sessions this year in Brazil.

“Go, Brazil Go!” is scheduled to premiere at the 2014 edition of the Cannes Film Festival, shortly before Brazil hosts the soccer World Cup.

Brazil’s carnivals burst into life with a dash of celebrity as five day party gets started on the streets of Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro’s carnival celebrations have burst into life as hundreds of thousands of revellers took to the streets to enjoy street parties and parades across the country.

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Celebrities ranging from global phenomenon Korean popstar Psy, to US actress Megan Fox are taking part in the celebrations in  Rio de Janeiro and elsewhere.

For Brazil, Carnival 2013 is seen as a significant test of the country’s infrastructure ahead of the Olympic Games to be held there in 2016, and before that the World Cup in 2014.

The festivities kicked off yesterday in Rio where thousands of people following spontaneous street parades.

The carnivals have a muted feel to them this year following the nightclub fire in southern Brazil last month that killed 238 people.

President Dilma Rousseff has said she is not taking any part in the five-day party, spending it instead in Bahia state as mourning rituals continue across the country.

More than 60 victims of the fire remain in hospital.

Over 700 carnival processions will make their way through parts of Rio and the events are expected to draw 1.1m tourist and generate some $650m for the local economy.

Brazil Prepares to Surprise Drillers This Time With Gas

As Brazil prepares for its first-ever auction of shale-gas acreage, it has a message for global prospectors: The country that discovered the world’s biggest offshore oil finds this century may have almost twice as much natural gas onshore as is currently estimated.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff is seeking to cut dependency on liquefied natural gas imports, used in electricity generation. Photographer: Jonathan Ernst/Bloomberg

Brazil’s energy regulator known as ANP made the assertion in a preliminary estimate of potential reserves, in an e-mail to Bloomberg News. The estimate is 88 percent higher than the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s calculation that Brazil may have 226 trillion cubic feet of gas held in shale, a sedimentary rock increasingly being harvested for fuels around the world.

The forecast may assure that Royal Dutch Shell Plc and billionaire Eike Batista take part in the Dec. 14-15 government auction of shale-gas blocks. Europe’s biggest energy company and the billionaire who controls Brazil’s second-largest oil company by market value both expressed interest in joining the nascent shale boom in Latin America, six years after Brazil’s so-called pre-salt basins proved to hold the biggest finds since 2000.

President Dilma Rousseff is seeking to cut dependency on liquefied natural gas imports, used in electricity generation. While more than 80 percent of Brazil’s power is hydroelectric, a dry spell that pushed dam levels to the lowest since 2000 has forced authorities to order the use of fossil fuel-burning plants without having enough domestic gas to feed them.

“There is a gas shortage,” Ruaraidh Montgomery, a senior analyst at oil and gas researcher Wood Mackenzie, said by phone from Houston. Domestically produced shale gas “will be very good looking from a below-ground perspective. The challenges are above ground,” to secure available workers, satisfy local content rules, and the size of the service sector, he said.

Pre-salt Gas

The U.S. estimate includes only one basin, and there could be another 200 trillion cubic feet of gas spread through four other areas, Brazil’s regulator said, in response to questions. Given the country’s gas demand of 885 billion cubic feet in 2011, if 10 percent of the additional reserves are pumped, they alone could supply the country for about 22 years at its current consumption rate.

The U.S. estimates are the best published so far, ANP said. The regulator reached its larger estimate by drawing an analogy between the geology of four Brazilian on-shore basins and the U.S. Barnett shale basin, it said. The analogy is not a firm projection, only a point of reference, it said.

Natural gas has gained in world markets less than oil in the past decade. Next month gas traded on the U.K.’s ICE exchange declined in three of the last 10 years, while Brent oil futures have increased in all but one year in the period.

First Well

Shale deposits exceed Brazil’s so-called pre-salt gas reserves, ANP head Magda Chambriard said last month to reporters, in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil also holds other types of unconventional gas, such as so-called tight sands and carbon gas, according to the ANP. Pre-salt refers to Brazil’s off-shore deposits, the world’s biggest crude discoveries this century.

Shell, already Brazil’s third-largest oil producer, is preparing to drill its first on-shore gas well in the second half of the year while it waits for the ANP to issue rules for the December auction, the company’s press office said in an e- mailed response to questions.

Shell will drill in the state of Minas Gerais, where closely-held Petra Energia SA is becoming the leading unconventional gas explorer in Brazil, focusing on so-called tight gas sandstones and tight gas carbonates, according to an e-mailed response to questions. The company has discovered gas in 12 of 14 wells it drilled in the Sao Francisco basin.

Unconventional gas gives companies an opportunity to operate blocks in Brazil where state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, is guaranteed a majority stake in all pre-salt operations.

Bolivia Imports

Discovered in 2007, the pre-salt reserves hold at least 50 billion barrels of oil equivalent, according to ANP. They lie below a layer of salt under the Atlantic seabed as far as 300 kilometers from the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil’s main source of gas imports today is Bolivia, which supplies more than one-third of its demand. The country also imports liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to process at two plants.

LNG imports reached 8.6 million cubic meters a day in 2012 and are expected to rise to about 10 million cubic meters a day this year, driven by demand from power plants, Jose Santoro, Petrobras’s head of gas and energy, told reporters Feb. 5.

Given the need to use gas to produce power, discovering shale gas and other unconventionals would be “ideal” for Brazil, Mauricio Tolmasquim, head of the government’s energy policy agency, or EPE, said Jan. 28.

“Unconventional could be more competitive than pre-salt,” Marcelo Mendonca, an official at Gas Energy, a Brazilian consulting firm, said in an interview in Rio de Janeiro. “Currently our gas in Brazil is expensive so it makes all the sense to develop technologies to produce gas.”

Brazilian Tourism Board publishes a series of videos with a 360 degree view of the 12 World Cup host cities

The Brazilian Tourism Board (Embratur) has finalised 12 videos with a 360 degree view of the World Cup host cities.

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The tool was developed so that the main Brazilian tourist attractions may be seen in an interactive way. The videos are available on the website Braziltour (http://www.braziltour360.com), where internet users are able to interact with the images, as if they were actually at the destination itself, by moving the camera around to the places they want to see.

 

» Watch the twelve available videos

“We created the Brazil 360° thinking of the foreign tourists who will visit us during the World Cup. It is a tool that uses a different innovative image capturing technology: interactive overview of tourist sites”, explained Flávio Dino, Embratur president.

Natal is presented in Milan as a tourist destination

Natal was presented as a tourist destination for Italian journalists  (5th February 2013), in Milan, the most representative city of the Italian economy. The presentation, made in form of a press conference was attended by the State Secretary of Tourism, Renato Fernandes, and the president and vice president of Emprotur, Sandro Pacheco and Alexander Mulatinho, beside them was also the managing director of Embratur, Tufi Michreff Neto.

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The secretary Renato Fernandes emphasized the vocation of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal and mainly for the tourism of sunshine and sea. “In addition to beach tourism, the state also is investing in the internalization of tourism, especially adventure tourism,” said Renato Fernandes.

The director of Embratur, Tufi Michreff Neto, gave prominence to the investments made across the country to receive visitors during the World Cup games. “The country is investing massively in mobility, arenas and qualification,” he explained.

During the press conference, journalists showed little interest in information about Rio Grande do Norte. However, after the conference, they searched for the director of Embratur to answer all there questions. Soon, a Natal workshop will be release to the tourism operators of Milan.

England v Brazil: next stop Stamford Bridge for the great travelling circus of world football

Brazil’s friendly against England at Wembley tomight is the latest step on an endless world tour that has seen the selecao become the great travelling circus of world football.

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With the majority of their squad playing in Europe and major European teams reluctant to fly to South America in midseason, Brazil have become a peripatetic team of talents who rarely play the same town twice, particularly not at home.

They remain a major draw, however, commanding of up to $3 million (£1.9 million)-a-match from hosts willing to pay the appearance money, a fee that Qatar is understood to have considered to tempt them to Doha for the game against England the last time the two sides met.

Remarkably for a powerhouse of the world game, however, the Brazilian football federation, the CBF, subcontracts the rights to what should be a moneymaking machine to international agencies.

Wednesday night marks the first game under a new arrangement with a British marketing agency, Pitch International, which, in an eye-catching deal, has secured the rights to market all Brazil’s friendly games for the next 10 years.

The deal will see the team continue their nomadic approach to matches but, Pitch International says, will ensure that they play top international sides, particularly in the next 18 months to ensure Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side begin the 2014 World Cup well prepared.

After England, Brazil will be back in London to play Russia at Stamford Bridge at the end of March, a game that has Roman Abramovich’s blessing and financial support.

Chelsea are understood to have agreed to pay a fee to have the game, which will see Scolari return to the Bridge and Fabio Capello return to England, played at Stamford Bridge but will retain the ticket revenue as part of the deal.

It is precisely this sort of high-profile match that Pitch International hopes to stage to recoup an investment that Brazilian media reports have estimated cost them $1 million (£636,000) a match.

The initial deal for the rights caused some controversy in Brazil after Ricardo Teixeira, the disgraced former president of the CBF, signed a 10-year deal with a Saudi Arabian-owned agency called International Sports Events. Teixeira apparently signed the deal with ISE unilaterally in November 2011, four months before he was forced to step down as president of the CBF.

The contract only came to light after he resigned in March 2012, following a review of all contracts he had agreed by his successor Jose Maria Marin. Brazilian media reported that the deal was worth less to the CBF than the previous arrangement, but Marin claimed the contract could not be undone.

Pitch International announced it had secured a 10-year deal of its own for the same rights in August last year. It says it was approached by the CBF and has a direct contract with the federation, and that ISE has no involvement in the deal.

Speaking last year, the CBF said it had approached Pitch International because it did not have the expertise internally to stage and market the games internationally. It also admitted that games played at home do not make money for the federation.

For Pitch International the deal, which will see them retain all commercial and broadcast rights, is a significant coup. It hopes to stage games that will help to restore Brazil’s status, which has been somewhat eclipsed for younger audiences by the rise of Barcelona as the benchmark for the beautiful game.

Pitch is also aiming to recruit a number of sponsors who will support the ‘Brazil Global Tour’ on the road back to Rio. It also hopes to ease the concerns of Scolari, who raised concerns in his first press conference after being reappointed to the manager’s chair about the lack of control he might have over fixtures.

Scolari said it was important that the team played only the best opposition, but said the CBF did not have the ultimate say in opponents.

Pitch International insists that it is targeting only teams ranked in the world’s top 15, and will only arrange games with opposition that suit the manager’s plans.

After recent games against Iraq (in Sweden) and Japan (in Poland) the England game marks the start of a run of high-profile matches.

Wednesday night’s fixture is part of a reciprocal deal that will see England play the first game in the rebuilt Maracana in Rio de Janeiro in June, with the Russia friendly at Stamford Bridge and a game in April, possibly against Portugal, in between. They will also play France in the summer, before the European season starts with a friendly against Switzerland.

Another 10 friendlies will follow before the roadshow finally reaches home for the World Cup finals. A win there would ensure the selecao retain their commercial shine.