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Montevideo, July 21st 2018 - 13:41 UTC

Brazil announces end of building big hydroelectric dams in Amazon basin

Monday, January 8th 2018 - 09:06 UTC
Full article 16 comments

In a surprise move, the Brazilian government has announced that the era of building big hydroelectric dams in the Amazon basin, long criticized by environmentalists and indigenous groups, is ending. Read full article

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  • Jack Bauer

    Looks like the pressure from society and the environmentalists has paid off....renewable sources of energy are being built, and are having significant impact , which has made the government realize it is cheaper and does not screw the environment....and what most likely contributed to this decision - which hopefully will be final - was the Belo Monte fiasco, another source of enormous corruption by the PT. And then again, why invest in more dams, at the expense of the taxpayer, only to sell them off later on ?(privatization of Eletrobras).

    Jan 08th, 2018 - 06:07 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Sounds like a sensible decision in the circumstances. Apart from all the land lost to flooding, hydroelectric power stations have killed vastly more people than nuclear ones over the years, and can destroy vast areas if they collapse.

    RE: Your comment on “Temer clashes with supreme court over Christmas pardon list”

    US$50 is quite a lot for the poorer people to throw away, but it looks like turnout is still only around 80%. Is the law not strictly enforced?

    I'd have thought French would be easier to learn if you already spoke Portuguese and Spanish. The grammar is much closer, and many of the words similar too. But I guess that doesn't make it any more fun. I've never really used mine so I've forgotten it all, sadly.

    Presumably you don't get nearly as many TV programmes and films from Portugal as we get from the US. I used to have trouble understanding American English, but there is so much exposure these days it's not a problem any more.

    The big problem with our pension system is simply demographics. Fewer working age people to produce and more old ones consuming. There is no simple solution. Immigration helps in the short term, but in the long term the immigrants will want pensions too so it solves nothing.

    Jan 08th, 2018 - 07:42 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))

    REF: “END of building BIG Hydroelectric Dams”: Does sound like a “Good” News!

    BUT:

    #1: Did they REALLY “begin” to build these dams?

    #2: IF they really DID; how the unfinished construction is going to be used?

    #3: Does anyone WANT to know, the amount of the investments squandered/shared by the crooks?

    #4: Now that the Old Racket of “Dams-Building” is [temporarily] almost over; Which OTHER Highly Lucrative Rackets are now on the anvil?

    #5: Is this yet another “Election-Promise”?

    Jan 09th, 2018 - 11:17 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    Don’t know what the proportion is, of people in the A&B , and C&D classes, who don’t bother voting, but given the fact that it’s usually the better off who take advantage of weekends to travel (even on election days), I’d say they are the majority that might ‘eventually’ be fined…but if they have 30 days to justify, and still don’t bother, it’s their own bloody fault.
    No one is going to run after those who don’t vote, nor justify their absence, but their right to vote will be revoked. To regularize their situation they’d have to pay the fines. If they still don’t bother (voting/ justifying) I don’t what happens.

    French wasn’t all that difficult, exactly because of Portuguese, but nevertheless was a pain in the neck. Could only speak French during the classes.

    Most TV productions here are from the US, but we get stuff from Britain, Scandinavia, Germany, Spain, Israel, Argentina, and of course, Brazil. Some Brazilian producers have teamed up with US companies (mainly HBO) and the quality of their films is improving, but even Brazilians usually prefer foreign productions.

    Many years ago, in the mid-west USA, I asked a hillbilly-looking type for directions…while friendly enough, it wasn’t all that easy to understand his drawl…

    Not so many years ago, certain classes of workers never used to contribute (rural workers mainly), and the government decided that they had the right to retire and get a pension…which was all very nice, but that and other similar actions (giving pensions to those who never contributed) accelerated the imbalance between revenue and payouts…aggravated by the increase of the informal market (reducing contributions, but not public costs)…as you say, demographics is doing the system no favour.

    Jan 09th, 2018 - 06:27 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “Their right to vote will be revoked. To regularize their situation they’d have to pay the fines.”

    That sounds like it could be open to abuse, if whoever keeps track is corrupt. What if you skip voting when you are young and stupid, and you want to start again? Do you still have a pay a fine if it's 20 years' later?

    I bet the nasal sounds in French were easy for you. I could never get the rrrrr's right, and I can't in Spanish either. I've always been terrible at doing accents.

    We have started getting a few programs from Brazil, along with other countries. I reckon more people would watch them and foreign films too if they were dubbed, but they never do that.

    “it wasn’t all that easy to understand his drawl”

    Was it something like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XJC4QufWs0

    And if you think that's hard, try this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XJC4QufWs0

    Seems like a good idea to include the rural workers, but didn't they have them contribute once they were included in the scheme? If benefits are proportional to wages then it should work out in theory. (Obviously it hasn't in practice, but there are other problems.)

    Jan 09th, 2018 - 08:55 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    Don't see how...even if you are 'young and stupid', no one can claim they aren't aware of the rules...so to not vote, and eventually pay a fine (which doesn't increase as the years go by) is a conscious decision.
    Anyway, decided to check the rules, and saw they were changed just over two years ago ; current ones :
    If you don't /cannot vote, because away travelling, you have 60 days to justify - at any electoral station (one in each district). No fine.
    If you don't bother to vote in 3 consecutive elections, nor justify, to regularize your situation you need to pay a fine of R$ 3,51 (abt USD 1,00).
    If you don't vote, AND don't justify in 60 days, you will :
    - not be able to get a passport
    - have your salary blocked, if a civil servant
    - not be allowed to participate in a public tender
    - not be able to get loans from Federal banks
    - not be able to matriculate in a public school...
    If after all that, you still don't pay the fines (peanuts), your right to vote will finally be revoked, until you do. After 6 years of non-compliance, your voter registration will be cancelled. So the system is pretty fair.

    Yeah, Brazilian portuguese is full of similar sounds to French, so that side of it was easy .
    Brazil is a large exporter of soap operas, mainly to Latin America, and Portugal. Here on cable TV, most foreign films are dubbed, but you have the option to switch to the original language. If that is option is unavailable in the UK, suppose it makes people not watch them.
    Regarding the Tennessee accent, with the exception of some local slang, easy to understand. Even the so-called Texas accent, with right to “yee hawwing” and all that.
    My hillbilly must have been from some place in the boondocks.

    Believe rural workers, later on, started contribution, but far less proportionally, perhaps to incentivize them to stay where they were....(to try to stop the flow of people from the countryside into the big cities, with all the resulting problems)

    Jan 10th, 2018 - 05:37 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    That's quite a list of penalties, though probably not very relevant to the really poor, but the fines are tiny!

    Maybe we should have compulsory voting, since the turnout is so low. Or they could make it easier by moving it to a Sunday rather than voting when everyone is at work.

    Subtitles make things harder and less fun to watch, you have to really pay attention. I don't know why they don't do dubbing much, except for anime, but it does put people off watching foreign language stuff, which is a shame. I wonder why they let you switch to the original language on cable? Must be useful to you if the film is in English, but surely not to many people?

    I realised I forgot to break my second youtube link, so here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsUvcjk8J5c That one is Irish and really incomprehensible.

    “to try to stop the flow of people from the countryside into the big cities, with all the resulting problems”

    That would be a good thing right? Or do you think it's inevitable if they don't make enough money in the countryside?

    Jan 10th, 2018 - 10:15 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    Sure, and the penalties only increase proportionally to their disobedience ( if they neither vote, nor justify). And right, it doesn't affect the poor.
    Elections here are always on a weekend , or on a national holiday. Many people complain about the fact that voting is obligatory, and I can see their point, but on the other hand, it should be considered a privilege, one that people should use, and if the great majority did, you'd have, at least theoretically, a better representaion of what the population as a whole, expects. The fact that the politicians elected usually don't deliver, is another story.

    With most films, or documentaries, on local cable TV, you have the option to watch the programme either 'dubbed' or in its original language, and if in the original language (if not a Brazilian production) with captions in Portuguese...leaving the film in its original language and reading the captions is something you get used to, and many people use it as a way to learn English. Must admit, the dubbing here (listening in Portuguese) is very good, and after a while you don't even realize that it's not the original language.

    The cost of the many packages available from the 5 main cable companies varies, but the top packages, which allow virtually unlimited recording of programmes (all in HD), even simultaneously while watching others, are available for about USD 100/month.

    Didn't understand a word of the Irish farmers....sure it's not some weird dialect ? but the sheep probably understand it.

    Right, I think that keeping the rural workers from moving to the city, IS a good thing... when/if they leave, they are not skilled at anything someone may require in the city, just compounding the already serious problem of of people piling on top of each other in the slums, with sub-employment at best, with all the problems that come with it . The truth is that they only THINK they can make more money in the city...they don't.

    Jan 11th, 2018 - 07:06 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))

    @JB

    REF: “.........................one that people should use, and if the great majority did, you'd have, at least theoretically, a better representation”:

    The Right, the Obligation and the Privilege to vote are abundantly used even By The DEAD [Don't U know?].

    But that's NOTHING [heard it through the grapevine]; as compared to the buying of the votes - which also is in abundance, as a regular practice and yet just a few such cases come to light - a DIM light, if I may say - [AND hardly anyone REALLY cares].

    So the democracy - the so-called democracy - merely is an illusion, to say the least! And therefore [ready, willing and able or not] WATCH:
    - The corruption progressively getting legalized
    - The inflation sky-rocketing after the next elections.
    [ALSO heard it through the grapewine].

    Jan 12th, 2018 - 07:49 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @JB
    Having elections on a weekend or holiday makes much more sense, I think it's stupid that ours are always on a Thursday. And I can see both sides of the argument for obligatory voting. Not liking the choices is probably a big reason people don't vote, but as long as they never do vote, the parties have no reason to try and appeal to them.

    Your cable sounds expensive, but I don't even know what it costs here. I don't have cable and don't watch TV much, we don't even have a licence.

    I couldn't understand the Irish farmers either, that was a pretty crazy dialect. Usually I can mostly understand even difficult accents after listening for a while, but not that one.

    So too many rural workers coming to the city is a bad thing, but what are they supposed to do if they can't make a decent living in the countryside, or there aren't enough jobs? I'm surprised there is much employment in the countryside at all, are most farms not mechanised?

    Jan 13th, 2018 - 12:46 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    “Not liking the choices is probably a big reason people don't vote, but as long as they never do vote, the parties have no reason to try and appeal to them.”

    Ok, not liking any of the candidates is understandable, but not voting favours the party you dislike most. A matter of simple logic. If the parties think there's no point in appealing to them (voters), sounds like the parties know the crap they (themselves) are.

    The top cable packages are not cheap, but to only watch the local channels is not an option, other than the news. Local programmes are geared mainly towards the masses, so what they produce is not particularly high quality. There is also tons of commercial propaganda, to influence exactly the lower class. Another good reason for investing in good quality TV is the fact that going out at night has become a risky prospect, given the drunk drivers and street crime. So you end up going out less (at night). But there are cable packages which cost quite a bit less, depends on which channels are important to you, and which you are prepared to do without.

    Ok, many rural workers who move to the cities end up realizing they made the wrong choice, but only when it's too late....besides not having anything to go back to (as they probably sold off the little they did have), they spend all their savings and get caught up in the system, just trying to survive. Sometimes don't even have enough money to buy bus tickets to go back...
    Agriculture has become one of Brazil's main economic activities, due to technology and mechanization, so unless the poorer people who live in the countryside (who work small plots of land), can produce enough off the land for their own subsistence, they move out.

    Jan 14th, 2018 - 07:27 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @JB
    I agree about not voting, and I think it's foolish and leads to a vicious circle unless someone appears who can appeal to them, like Corbyn here. For the parties it's logical though. If people are not going to vote anyway, they can safely be ignored and the party can still win.

    What do you mean by commercial propaganda on the TV? It's a shame going out at night has become so risky though. Can't be good for business either.

    And it seems a bit crazy that people are still subsistence farming in Brazil, it's not that poor a country. But only a few countries have managed to become rich since WWII, so it must be harder than it looks.

    Jan 15th, 2018 - 07:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    Not caring two hoots and not voting, just creates distortions in an already lousy representation. And, the premise that voters to be 'safely ignored' by the parties, can backfire.

    Commercial propaganda : consumer products and services being advertised until you're fed up to the back teeth seeing them....not to mention the 'obligatory' political propaganda the parties have the right to shove down the spectators' throats, for 10 minutes on most nights, on prime-time (note : this 'free' propaganda - 'free' for the political parties - costs the taxpayer about US$ 500 million per year)...One of the main appeals of cable TV, when it started (back in 1989) was the fact that it would have no commercial propaganda...but as most things here, contracts were ignored and propaganda eventually invaded cable TV, despite protests (paying to watch advertising ???)...one advantage is that you can record the programme and then 'zap' through 5 minutes of propaganda in 5 seconds.

    To get around the self-imposed restrictions of going out at night, in my case, and that of many of our friends, we usually goes out to 'dine', for lunch...and if we really want to, or have to go out at night, we resort to 'Uber'. Due to this change in habit, some restaurants have started closing at night.
    I presume that those who stick to subsistence farming must either love where they are, too much to leave, or because they realize they are probably better off staying put. Those who go back, disilusioned with the 'big city' promises, probably knock some sense into the heads of those who never left.

    Jan 16th, 2018 - 05:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Oh, you just mean adverts? And party political broadcasts, is there really one on most nights? Seems excessive. I don't really watch TV anymore but I don't remember ever seeing too many of them. Can't you just change the channel?

    And I think cable here always had adverts, even more than broadcast TV, but Netflix etc don't. I've actually got unused to watching them, and when I do see ads it's kind of interesting the first time, but goes back to being annoying in no time when they play the same ones again and again...

    Restaurants closing at night seems pretty extreme, but that shows how bad it is. Do people do siestas in Brazil and then stay up late like in Spain?

    And I bet not too many subsistence farmers love what they do, but they aren't qualified for anything else. Must suck to have such a hard life, and almost no chance to improve it, or even help your kids do better.

    Jan 16th, 2018 - 08:49 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    Yep, those who can't afford 'cable', are obliged to swallow the political pill on most weekday nights (on all 'open' channels, at 8:30 PM). Before turning them off by switching to cable channels, you see some of the most unqualified types (potential candidates 'selling' themselves for all positions in public administration), many with little or no formal education, making biiiig promises that not even they know the meaning of...and in “Lullalese” portuguese. The sort of thing like : using the article in the plural and the noun in the singular (common mistake of the 'ignorant'); changing the position of the letter 'r' in words where it comes after a consonant...eg., instead of 'Petrobras', saying 'Pretobaiz' - one of Lula's favourites (must be because of his 'intimate' relationship with the company - screwing it); adding an 'i' where it doesn't exist, such as inbetween 2 'hard' consonants ; if it weren't tragic it would be hilarious...this is the kind of crap that gets into politics, and with only one objective...

    No 'siestas', except for the older, retired people...the average lower class worker who lives in the boondocks (distant suburbs), leaves home at 4, or 5 AM, to get into work by 8AM, leaves at 5 PM and I don't imagine has much energy to stay up late....those better off, who live closer to work, have it much easier.

    The difficulties faced by rural workers, just perpetuates the vicious circle (of staying ignorant and having few opportunities to improve themeselves)...but the lack of infrastructure in rural regions is the fault of just about every Federal and State (in North & N.E.region) government...they are too busy stealing and don't 'need' an 'educated' population, to see through their real intentions. In the urban centres, being poor does not necessarily translate into no access to school.

    Jan 17th, 2018 - 06:30 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    So these broadcasts aren't for a party, but for particular candidates? What's the point of putting them on TV for the whole country to watch? I'd think each area has their own candidates, except for the presidency.

    Your mistakes sound kind of like 'nucular' (said by Bush as well as Homer Simpson), and 'filum' which is how most Irish people pronounce film. Article in the plural and noun in the singular... would that be like saying 'some pea' or 'a few apple'? That just sounds weird.

    Do you think these people are putting on an accent to appeal to voters, like Blair speaking in Estuary English? Or is that how they really speak?

    A four or five hour commute? Ouch! They must be exhausted. I used to commute over an hour each way and I have so much more energy now, I can't imagine having to spend that much time travelling each day.

    Those politicians in the rural areas prefer to keep people ignorant then, so they can live like feudal lords. Pity the PT didn't do something about them if they wanted to improve things for the workers. I guess that is one advantage of moving to the city though, if you can get a better education there.

    Jan 17th, 2018 - 10:54 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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