TIME brazil

Brazilian Man Confesses to 39 Murders

BRAZIL-CRIME-SERIAL KILLER-ARREST
Alleged serial killer Tiago Gomes da Rocha, center, suspected of killing 39 people, is escorted by police officers at the Department of Security, a day after his arrest, in Goiania, state of Goias, Brazil, on Oct. 16, 2014. Evaristo Sa—AFP/Getty Images

“We have been shocked by his coldness,” said a police official

A 26-year-old Brazilian man who allegedly killed at least 39 people in the span of three years has been taken into custody by local authorities.

Security guard Thiago Henrique Gomes da Rocha confessed to the murders after being arrested in the central city of Goiania, the BBC reports.

“We have been shocked by his coldness,” a police official who witnessed his interrogation told Brazilian television, saying that Gomes da Rocha referred to his victims by numbers one to 39.

He reportedly targeted women, homeless people and homosexuals, going up to his victims on a motorcycle with his face covered. He would then shoot them and leave without taking any of their possessions, although police said he would often demand valuables.

Other than the killings, he is also suspected of carrying out over 90 robberies.

[BBC]

Read next: Brazil Announces First Suspected Ebola Case

TIME ebola

Brazil Announces First Suspected Ebola Case

Electron micrograph of Ebola virus
A scanning electron micrograph of Ebola virus buds from the surface of a Vero cell of an African green monkey kidney epithelial cell line. NIAID/EPA

But the case isn't confirmed yet

Brazil is treating its first suspected case of the Ebola virus, the country’s Health Ministry announced Thursday night.

A 47-year-old man arrived in Brazil on Sept. 19 from Guinea and reported he had a fever on Oct. 8, within the 21-day Ebola incubation limit. He has no other symptoms, like bleeding or vomiting, but has been put in isolation and flown to the National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rio de Janeiro per the country’s security protocol.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the three West African countries hardest hit by the virus.

Brazil’s Health Ministry will hold a news conference on the case at 10 am on Friday.

 

TIME brazil

Brazil’s Presidential Election, Round 2: It’s the Economy, Estúpido

Brazil's President and presidential candidate for the Workers' Party Dilma Rousseff, speaks during a meeting with Governors and Senators elected in the first round of general elections, in Brasilia, Brazil on Oct. 7, 2014.
Brazil's President and presidential candidate for the Workers' Party Dilma Rousseff, speaks during a meeting with Governors and Senators elected in the first round of general elections, in Brasilia, Brazil on Oct. 7, 2014. Evaristo Sa—AFP/Getty Images

The economy takes center stage as incumbent President Dilma Rousseff takes on business-friendly challenger Aécio Neves in a runoff election Oct. 26

Brazil’s faltering economy will be high in voters’ minds when they return to the polls Oct. 26 for a second-round face-off in the country’s presidential election.

President Dilma Rousseff, whose Workers’ Party has run Brazil since 2003, won 41.59% of votes cast in a first-round poll on October 5 — not quite enough to beat outright Aécio Neves, a business-friendly candidate who was twice governor of Minas Gerais state. Neves, who had been trailing in third place in polls, came second with 33.55% in the latest in a series of upsets in a volatile campaign.

Neves’ resurgence can partly be explained by the worrying state of the country’s economy. The country is technically in recession, having retracted 0.6% in the second quarter of this year, and 0.2% in the first. On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund revised its prediction for Brazil’s 2014 GDP growth down to 0.3%, from the 1.3% growth it had estimated in June.

“In Brazil growth is very low. This puts the advance of social programs at risk,” said Ricardo Ismael, a political scientist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. Inflation is also running above government targets, at 6.62%.

Many voters, especially those in the upper classes, see Neves as a safe pair of hands. His Party for Brazilian Social Democracy ran Brazil from 1995-2002 under President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Cardoso had won a first-round vote in 1995 after the ‘Real Plan’ he coordinated as Finance Minister ended hyperinflation. His government stabilized the economy and introduced much-needed economic reforms. But the Left attacked the party’s privatizations of state companies and lack of focus on social policies.

On Monday, Rousseff resurrected that attack, alluding to “ghosts of the past” and noting that inflation had reached 12.5% in 2002. “They never put the poor in the budget. All the social policies were restricted, made for few people,” Rousseff said. Her party’s flagship income support program, the Bolsa Família, or ‘Family Purse,’ has lifted millions of Brazilians from poverty. The president has said in campaigning her opponents would end it.

Neves countered with a broadside over the stagnant economy and a corruption scandal which has linked payments to politicians from the Workers’ Party and other coalition parties to inflated contracts from state-controlled oil company, Petrobras. His program maintains the Bolsa Família.

“Brazilians are very worried with the monsters of the present,” Neves said in a speech Monday. “High inflation, recession and corruption.”

Rousseff was initially favorite to win this election. But when the Brazilian Socialist Party’s Eduardo Campos, a ‘third way’ candidate who was in third place in polls, was killed in a plane crash on Aug. 13, his running mate Marina Silva took his place, tripled his share, and was soon polling equal with Rousseff and ahead in a second round vote.

But Silva’s campaign faltered under a barrage of attacks from the Workers’ Party, and Neves was able to present himself as a stronger candidate for change, with a tough performance in the last two television debates. He rode a last minute wave of support to second place. Silva fell to third with 21.32% of the vote, only slightly more than she achieved in the 2010 election, when she also finished third. Brazilians also voted for governors, Congress and state assemblies.

“The electors that were anti-Workers’ Party became more sympathetic to Aécio,” said Ismael, using the candidate’s first name, as is commonplace in Brazil. “He managed to convince in this sense.”

Neves now has three weeks to prove his point. But in a sign of widening voter apathy, 39 million Brazilians either abstained, or voted for nobody – more than the 35 million that voted for Neves.

TIME Food & Drink

Coffee-Bean Prices Have Hit Their Highest Level in More Than Two Years

Devastating drought threatens Brazils coffee production
Coffee sales this season will be down after southeastern Brazil deals with one of the worst droughts in decades. Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Projections for continued drought in Brazil mean they'll likely rise again

Arabica-coffee prices reached their highest level in 2½ years on Monday, after projections for more dry weather in Brazil sowed worries about lackluster future harvests, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Arabica coffee ordered for delivery in December ended on Monday at $2.2080 a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange — the highest price since February 2012, WSJ says. A commodities strategist betting on the futures market also told WSJ he expects coffee-trading prices to rise from here, to $2 to $3 a pound next year.

For cup-of-joe consumers, though, the effects will not be immediate. WSJ reports that Starbucks has already fixed prices with suppliers to meet its needs in 2015, though prices for 2016 are still in the works.

The recent coffee harvest in Brazil was the smallest in three years and follows Brazil’s worst drought in decades. Brazil is the world’s biggest exporter of coffee beans, though the largest importer to the U.S. market — where Americans spend about $40 billion a year on coffee — is Mexico, the U.S. National Coffee Association says.

[WSJ]

TIME brazil

Brazil’s Tight Presidential Election Is Headed for a Runoff

First Round Presidential Elections Held In Brazil
Brazilians wait in line to enter a polling station in the Rocinha favela in Rio de Janeiro on the day of the presidential election on Oct. 5, 2014 Mario Tama—Getty Images

Leftist incumbent President Dilma Rousseff took the top spot in the first round but failed to get an overall majority

Brazil’s presidential election is headed for a runoff after incumbent President Dilma Rousseff took the top spot in the first-round on Sunday but failed to get the majority needed to win overall.

Rousseff, of the leftist Workers’ Party, won 41.4% of the vote in the tight race, riding the success of her social-welfare programs, the Guardian reports. She will duel with Aécio Neves, of Brazil’s pro-business Social Democratic party, who took 33.7% of the vote in a last-minute and unexpected surge.

The first round of the election closes an agonizing campaign season full of unexpected flips and flops, including one candidate’s death in a plane crash, another’s homophobic rant, and another candidate’s ties to a massive oil scandal.

The coming election — a squaring off between Brazil’s established left and the right — will be a disappointment to voters who had backed third candidate Marina Silva, a former Environment Minister who had at one point led the polls.

Rousseff is projected to win in the coming runoff, though Neves may further harness resentment toward the incumbent administration for continued sluggish economic growth, the New York Times reports. Silva may also choose to throw her weight behind Neves, the Guardian adds.

TIME brazil

Brazil’s Rousseff to Face Neves in Runoff Vote

Updated Sunday, Oct. 5

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s presidential election has been forced into a runoff vote because no single candidate won a majority of the vote.

With 92 percent of the vote counted, President Dilma Rousseff has won 41 percent of the first-round vote Sunday, according to results from Brazil’s top electoral court, which oversees elections.

She will face Aecio Neves of the main opposition party, the Social Democrats, who had 34 percent of the vote. Neves comes from a long line of Brazilian politicians.

There aren’t enough uncounted votes for any other challenger to surpass either Rousseff or Neves.

Neves staged a strong comeback to make it to the second round.

He overtook former Environment Minister Marina Silva, who just four weeks ago held a double-digit lead over him and looked like she might win the presidency.

Brazilians voted Sunday in the contest to determine the next leader of Latin America’s biggest nation.

TIME brazil

Marina Silva Speaks to TIME as Brazil’s Presidential Race Enters the Homestretch

Brazilian Socialist Party presidential candidate Marina Silva attends a Mass for late presidential candidate Eduardo Campos at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Brasilia, Brazil, Aug. 19, 2014.
Brazilian Socialist Party presidential candidate Marina Silva attends a Mass for late presidential candidate Eduardo Campos at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Brasilia, Brazil on Aug. 19, 2014. Eraldo Peres—AP

Thrown into the contest after the sudden death of Eduardo Campos, Silva has shaken up a race that until recently looked like a walkover for President Dilma Rousseff

Marina Silva was the running mate of the Brazilian Socialist Party’s presidential candidate Eduardo Campos when he died in a plane crash on Aug. 13, less than two months before elections on Oct. 5. His sudden death and her subsequent entry into the race changed the dynamic of the election. Silva tripled Campos’ share in the polls, and quickly surged ahead of the incumbent, the Workers’ Party’s Dilma Rousseff, though, with two days to go until the vote, Rousseff has now edged back ahead. As the Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2010, Silva, who grew up in poverty in the Amazon rainforest, took 19% of the vote. This year, Silva could force a second round run-off with Rousseff. A former Brazilian environment minister credited with helping slow deforestation in the Amazon, Silva spoke to TIME about her proposals for the weak Brazilian economy, her thoughts on Brazil’s relationship with the U.S., and her upbringing deep in the Amazon rainforest.

On what she would do to put Brazil back to the path to growth after it tumbled into recession this year:

“The most important thing now is to elect a government that can give a clear signal that it will establish the fundamentals of our economy, maintaining the autonomy of the central bank, securing this autonomy, and passing a strong signal that we are going to control inflation, that we are going to reduce interest rates, and this would certainly resume our investment capacity. Resuming our investment capacity, we are going to return to growth.”

On where Brazil went wrong:

“While various countries in the world during the crisis that began in 2008 were doing their homework to gain musculature and go back to growth, Brazil under the current government underestimated the crisis. And in underestimating the crisis, did not do what it needed to do. And now when all of them start to recuperate from the crisis, Brazil is suffering the consequences.”

On Brazil’s relationship with the U.S.:

“The United States is an important country from the economic point of view, from the cultural point of view, ecological, and it is desirable that this partnership should be increasingly deepened, safeguarding the interests of both parts.”

On the 2013 allegations that the National Security Agency eavesdropped on Brazil’s President Rousseff and state-controlled oil company Petrobras:

“This created great discomfort in our diplomatic relations but we have to work so that this mistake can be repaired. Obviously for it to be repaired there needs to be a gesture from the country that committed the invasion of spying. And we have the opening for this episode to be overcome in the best possible way and we will always defend our sovereignty with vigor, the protection of our interests, but we don’t think this should deepen the crisis, the separation. Very much on the contrary, we want space for cooperation.”

On whether she would have cancelled a state visit to Washington as a result of the scandal, as President Rousseff did:

“Any government that feels invaded has to have a strong gesture. You can’t suffer an invasion of the protection of our security in terms of information without a strong reaction. I don’t imagine that if the United States had been spied on, that it wouldn’t have had a strong reaction.”

On the mass street protests that swept Brazil in 2013:

“What society was demonstrating was that in Brazil, in the world, there is a big change underway. A new political animal is emerging. This new political animal no longer moves in the way it used to, directed by the parties, by the unions, by the NGOs, or by charismatic leaders. This new political animal, that is mobilizing in the whole world, in the United States, in Europe, in Asia, in Brazil, is the fruit of the technological changes that happened, which provided communication from person to person, as in the case of the internet. They are authors, they are mobilizers, they are protagonists, they are people who do not want to be political spectators, they want to take on a political role, live, experience.”

On growing up in a family of rubber tappers in the Amazon forest:

“It was a very significant life, with many difficulties, but at the same time, with a lot freedom, with a lot of creativity, with a lot of learning, a lot of affection. I was a very stimulated child. We were eight siblings. Seven women with me and a man—except that my brother was one of the youngest. From the age of four, for five years, I was raised with my grandmother, in a house in the middle of the forest, a wooden shack on stilts, that was some 15 minutes from my father’s shack.”

On what she learned from her childhood:

“When I left the forest at 16, I was illiterate in modern literacy, but I was already a PhD in native stories. I learnt a lot with my grandmother who was a traditional midwife. I learnt a lot with my shaman uncle. I learnt a lot with my father. I learnt a lot with the forest. This was my universe.”

TIME brazil

Brazil Says No to Global Forest Plan

A Ka'apor Indian warrior uses a chainsaw to ruin one of the logs they found in the Alto Turiacu Indian territory
A Ka'apor Indian warrior uses a chainsaw to ruin one of the logs found during a jungle raid to expel loggers from the Alto Turiacu Indian territory, in the northeast of Maranhao state in the Amazon basin, Brazil on Aug. 7, 2014. Lunae Parracho—Reuters

Brazil's complaints showcase the pitfalls of building international consensus on any major environmental initiative

(NEW YORK)— Despite its critical role in protecting the Amazon rainforest, Brazil will not endorse a global anti-deforestation initiative being announced at the U.N. climate summit, complaining it was left out of the consultation process. A U.N. official disputed that claim.

Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said Brazil was “not invited to be engaged in the preparation process” of the declaration. Instead, she said Brazil was given a copy of the text and asked to endorse it without being allowed to suggest any changes.

“Unfortunately, we were not consulted. But I think that it’s impossible to think that you can have aglobal forest initiative without Brazil on board. It doesn’t make sense,” Teixeira said in an interview Monday with The Associated Press.

Charles McNeill, a senior environmental policy adviser with the U.N. Development Program, said “there were efforts to reach out to Brazilian government people but there wasn’t a response.”

“There was no desire to exclude Brazil,” said McNeill. “They are the most important country in this area. An effort that involves Brazil is much more powerful and impactful than one that doesn’t.”

The forest declaration has not been publicly released but it is expected to be endorsed by many countries, corporations and major environmental groups, as one of the centerpieces of Tuesday’s U.N. climate summit.

Although it is not part of the formal negotiation process, the summit is intended to build momentum for a new climate treaty in late 2015, with the U.N. hoping governments will announce major initiatives that would boost confidence heading into next year’s talks in Paris.

But Brazil’s complaints showcase the pitfalls of building international consensus on any major environmental initiative.

Teixeira says her government had concerns that the text could clash with Brazil’s national laws, which allow for managed felling of the Amazon and other forests.

“It’s different to have legal deforestation vs. illegal deforestation. Our national policy is we want to stop illegal deforestation,” she said.

McNeill, who said the UNDP facilitated the forest declaration process, said the effort to get countries to sign on to the initiative would continue until the Paris summit. “Hopefully, Brazil will have a chance to get on board,” he said.

Teixeira emphasized that Brazil is committed to protecting the Amazon rainforest, which is considered one of the world’s most important natural defenses against global warming because of its capacity to absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide.

The minister said her country has set a goal of slowing the pace of deforestation to 3,900 square kilometers (1,505 square miles) annually by 2020. That would be down from about 5,843 square kilometers (2,256 square miles) in the August 2012 through July 2013 period, when Brazil made its last annual survey measuring the destruction of the forest by studying satellite images.

Brazil’s rate of deforestation has fallen 79 percent since 2004, according to government figures. But last year, the government reported that annual destruction of its Amazon rainforest jumped by 28 percent after four straight years of declines.

The destruction was still the second-lowest amount of jungle destroyed since Brazil began tracking deforestation in 1988, but environmental activists blamed the increase on recent loosening of Brazil’senvironmental law meant to protect the jungle. They also say that the government’s push for big infrastructure projects like dams, roads and railways is pushing deforestation.

Teixeira denied that the increase had anything to do with the revised Forest Code law, which was passed two years ago after more than a decade of efforts by Brazil’s powerful agricultural lobby. The changes mostly eased restrictions for landowners with smaller properties, allowing them to clear land closer to riverbanks and other measures.

Another controversial portion of the new law allows those who illegally felled land to not face penalties if they sign an agreement to replant trees. But Teixeira said the part of the law only applies to those who illegally felled trees prior to 2008.

She said the increase in deforestation was concentrated mostly in the states of Para, Mata Grosso and Rondonia, and argued it would have been more widespread had the Forest Code law been to blame.

“The dynamics of the deforestation is not related to the Forest Code,” she said. “We are trying to find the cause.”

On the broader climate change talks, Teixeira said Brazil — the world’s sixth largest emitter of carbon dioxide — is open to a binding treaty that would commit every country to emission reduction targets for beyond 2020, “but only if every country is on board.”

After the last climate change talks in Copenhagen five years ago, which failed to produce a binding treaty,Brazil set a voluntary goal of reducing its emissions by nearly 40 percent by 2020, mostly through reducing deforestation and promoting renewable energy and sustainable agriculture.

TIME

Feel Good Friday: 25 Fun Photos to Start Your Weekend

From back to school to Burning Man, here's a handful of photos to get your weekend started right

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