Archive for the Brazil Category

AIIB, a paradigm power shift [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, Brazil, BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, China, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Economy, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, US imperialism, USA, Wall Street on April 2, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) — …As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, 46 countries had applied to be founders of the bank, but the United States and Japan have remained on the sidelines. The financial authority of China’s Taiwan said on Tuesday afternoon that the island has submitted a letter of intent on joining the mainland-proposed AIIB. Founders will be finalized on April 15.

TIMELINE

The bank was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2013.

A year later, and 21 Asian nations, including China, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Singapore had signed an agreement to establish the bank, headquartered in Beijing.

On March 12, 2015, Britain applied to join the AIIB as a prospective founding member, the first major western country to do so. France, Italy and Germany quickly followed suit.

Other nations will still be able to join the bank after the deadline, but only as ordinary members.

Negotiations on the AIIB charter are expected to conclude in the middle of the year and the bank should be formally established by the end of this year.

BUILDING FOR SUCCESS

As its name suggests, the AIIB will finance infrastructure–airports, mobile phone towers, railways, roads–in Asia.

There is a yawning infrastructure funding gap in Asia. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) pegged the hole at about eight trillion U.S. dollars between 2010 and 2020.

The World Bank and Asian Development Bank are more focused on poverty reduction and their funds alone are insufficient to bridge the gap, according to Hans-Paul Burkner, chair of the Boston Consulting Group.

While both the ADB and World Bank focus on a broad range of development programs including agriculture, education and gender equality, the AIIB will concentrate on infrastructure alone. The IMF, World Bank and ADB have all welcomed the AIIB initiative and see room for collaboration

The bank will have an authorized capital [of] 100 billion U.S. dollars and the initial subscribed capital is expected to be around 50 billion dollars. Although hardly enough to meet demand, it will still be a helpful boost.

GOOD FOR ASIA; GOOD FOR ALL

As the first China-proposed multilateral financial institution that has included developed nations as members, the AIIB offers an opportunity to test China’s ability to play its role as a responsible country, analysts said.

The initiative followed years of frustrated attempts to reform the existing international financial institutions, which have failed to reflect the changing landscape of global economy.

The existing economic system, shaped by the Bretton Woods agreement seven decades ago, is dominated by western countries and increasingly unrepresentative of the world’s economic architecture. Since the global financial crisis, emerging markets are becoming the main development drivers. Asian countries now make up one third of the global economy.

As global economic power shifts to emerging markets, it is only fair that they should play a bigger role in global institutions. Burkner said, “if it is not happening, then it is important to create additional institutions which, to some extent, cooperate and compete with existing institutions.

“There will be cooperation and also some healthy competition with the ADB and the World Bank.”

Good for Asia; good for the world as a whole.

Jin Liqun, secretary general of the interim secretariat of the AIIB, regards the bank as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, the World Bank and the ADB. It will improve the existing international financial system, not overturn it, Jin said.

The AIIB is just the start. Jim O’Neil, coiner of the BRICs acronym and former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, believes there are plenty more areas where China needs to be drawn in.

With its Belt and Road initiatives, the AIIB and other entities (a joint development bank with BRICs partners Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, for example) China is trying to make its own development beneficial to the whole continent.

After over three decades of fast expansion, benefiting from globalization and opening-up, China can now share the fruits of its development and build a “community of common destiny” through international and regional cooperation.

INTO THE UNKNOWN

Even after membership is finalized, many questions will remain. How will the AIIB be governed? What will be the decision-making process be? Wha t lending criteria will it adopt? Will its policies be transparent and address issues like the environment?

The answers to those questions will determine whether the bank stands or falls.

While details are pending, China has repeatedly stated that the AIIB will uphold high standards and learn from the best practices at existing multilateral financial institutions.

During an interview with Xinhua, Lou Jiwei said the bank will have a three-tier structure — a council, a board of directors and management, as well as a supervising mechanism to ensure sufficient, open and transparent policy-making.

The prime challenge for the AIIB is how to channel funds to the most productive projects while maintaining security of repayment.

Zhang Yuyan, chief of the institute of world economics and politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, believes that, since infrastructure projects usually have long funding cycles and great potential for waste, sustainable profitability will be the real test of the AIIB.

Rigorous consultation and skillful management to coordinate and balance various demands and interests among members will be of the essence, Zhang said. This will be challenging at the very least, with so many histories, cultures and development stages on show.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-03/31/c_134114065.htm

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‘The World Cup is really just for the people in helicopters’ [Guardian]

Posted in Brazil on June 13, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

– View from streets of Brazil’s largest city confirms what many fear: tournament simply illuminates gulf between rich and poor –

Owen Gibson

11 June 2014

From a hillside above traffic-choked São Paulo, the residents of the Copa do Povo (People’s Cup) flash camp can see the gleaming £180m stadium that will host the opening match of the 2014 World Cup…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/11/world-cup-helicopters-streets-sao-paulo

(c) Guardian News & Media Ltd

“Brazilian Discontent Ahead of World Cup” – Most Brazilians oppose having football event in their country [Pew Research Center]

Posted in Brazil, Pew Research Center on June 11, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

-President Rousseff Gets Poor Marks on Key Issues-

June 3, 2014

The national mood in Brazil is grim, following a year in which more than a million people have taken to the streets of major cities across the country to protest corruption, rising inflation and a lack of government investment in public services such as education, health care and public transportation, among other things. A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 72% of Brazilians are dissatisfied with the way things are going in their country, up from 55% just weeks before the demonstrations began in June 2013…

Brazilians are also concerned about the impact that hosting the World Cup, which begins June 12, will have on their country. About six-in-ten (61%) think hosting the event is a bad thing for Brazil because it takes money away from schools, health care and other public services — a common theme in the protests that have swept the country since June 2013…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/06/03/brazilian-discontent-ahead-of-world-cup/

US charges alleging Chinese cyber-espionage are bizarre [Global Times]

Posted in Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Beijing, Black propaganda, Brazil, Capitalist media double standard, China, China-bashing, China-US relations, Germany, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, U.K., US imperialism, USA on June 2, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Eric Sommer
Published: 2014-5-26

“Bizarre” is the only word for the US government’s recent announcement of criminal charges against five Chinese military officers for alleged cyber-espionage.

To begin with, such extraterritorial charges in a matter of this kind are unprecedented in modern relations between sovereign states. But what makes the charges truly mind-bending is that the US state has never stated that it would cease its own massive National Security Agency (NSA) cyber-spying on potentially the whole Chinese population, and key Chinese institutions.

Documents provided by courageous whistle-blower Edward Snowden have previously revealed NSA cyber-espionage programs, which have stolen hundreds of millions of Chinese mobile phone text messages; broken into the crucial IT backbone system at China’s Tsinghua University which connects to large numbers of important institutes and research labs; and monitored the communications of important Chinese officials.

The NSA has also hacked and compromised the security of computer systems produced by Chinese company Huawei and used by businesses throughout China and around the world.

It’s notable – and should be emphasized – that as far as we know, such massive US cyber-spying activities against China have continued up to the present moment. The US side has never apologized or stated that they will stop.

Chinese media has accurately tagged the US cyber-espionage charges as those of a “robber playing cop.” But this robber also appears to be a liar.

One of the rationales offered for the charges is that US cyber-spying is only for “security,” while China’s alleged spying targets “commercial secrets” for business advantage.

This claim is belied by the revelations that not only Huawei, but the Brazilian state oil company Petrobras, German companies Stellar, Cetel and IABG, and others have been invaded by the US NSA spy system and its close British affiliate GCHQ.

What’s more, NSA documents show that leaders of 35 countries – including Angela Merkel of Germany – have had their phones tapped or been otherwise monitored.

Many of these leaders engage from time to time in high-level commercially related negotiations with the US involving free-trade agreements or other business matters.

Information gained from tapping their phones or monitoring them can of course provide crucial – and unfair – commercial advantages to the US side in any negotiations.

In any case, hiding behind the word “security” to justify attempting to collect the e-mails, phone calls and other cyber-information of people and institutions of the whole world does not make the US state look good. What makes it look worse is charging Chinese military officers for alleged crimes which the US side commits on a daily basis.

Eric Sommer, a Canadian scholar living in Beijing

Article link: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/862345.shtml
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See also related Xinhua articles:

“U.S. spying, including on Chinese telco, seeks economic edge: NYT” – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/22/c_133353300.htm

“Investigation confirms U.S. snooping activities against China: report” – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/26/c_133363158.htm

“Full Text: The United States’ Global Surveillance Record” – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/27/c_133363178_2.htm?k=1

“U.S. conducts unscrupulous secret surveillance programs across world: report” – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/26/c_133363160.htm

“China warns of reaction to U.S. cyber indictment” – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/29/c_133371559.htm

“Commentary: U.S. cyber-scoundrelism doomed to backfire” – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2014-05/24/c_133357780.htm

China Voice: Spy charges expose U.S. cyber hegemony mentality [Xinhua]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, Black propaganda, Brazil, China, China-bashing, China-US relations, Internet Global Hegemony, Iran, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Obama, Pensacola, Pentagon, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on May 22, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, May 21 (Xinhua) — The United States has indulged in its cyber hegemony mentality again as it filed ungrounded commercial cyber espionage charges against five Chinese military officers.

It is really amazing to see that the biggest cyber bully, which has virtually no credibility left in the cyber world, could still stand at the moral high ground to accuse others.

The U.S. has repeatedly and arbitrarily made baseless accusations about China’s cyber espionage in recent years, reflecting its hypocrisy and hegemony.

U.S. cyber hegemony is aggressive and dangerous in nature.

Even as overall U.S. defense spending witnessed cuts, the Pentagon is still beefing up its cyberspace force at the U.S. Cyber Command, doubling its budget to 447 million U.S. dollars this year, the Washington Post reported earlier this year.

The cyberspace force is also expected to be expanded from about 1,800 people today to more than 6,000 by the end of 2016, according to the plan.

The U.S. president has the power to order preemptive cyber strikes, the New York Times reported last year. And The Times reported that Obama ordered an escalating series of cyber attacks against Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities.

While the U.S. has touted threats to cyber security from abroad, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has been one of the most active attackers of computer systems around the world.

China is in fact a major victim of persistent and large-scale cyber attacks from the U.S. targeting China’s government institutions, schools, universities, companies and even individuals.

China has always requested that the U.S. give a clear and thorough clarification on why it targeted Chinese institutions and people, but the country has still not received it.

The unfounded charge against Chinese officers amounts to the same hypocrisy as a bandit calling for justice.

The Europeans were alerted to risks by a European Parliament report more than a decade ago that the U.S. uses sophisticated electronic spying techniques to gather economic intelligence.

The report put forward extensive claims that the U.S. NSA routinely tracks telephone, fax, and email transmissions from around the world and passes on useful corporate intelligence to American companies.

Among the allegations, the NSA fed information to Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, now part of Boeing, enabling the companies to beat out European Airbus for a multi-billion dollar contract.

U.S. intelligence, by virtue of data provided by nine Internet companies, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Yahoo, and other major telecom providers, tracked citizens’ private contacts and social activities recklessly, according to the Washington Post.

Allegations of rampant U.S. electronic espionage have unfolded on a global scale in the wake of damaging revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

After it was exposed that Brazil’s state oil giant Petrobras was also targeted by U.S. surveillance, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said the U.S. spying was out of economic and strategic interests instead of concerns about terrorism as Washington had claimed.

Instead of offering a sincere “sorry,” Washington has found that mudslinging at other countries is a way to remedy its image, which has been tarred by its global spy program.

Unless the U.S. casts away the cyber hegemony mentality of turning the Internet into a tool to monitor the whole world and consolidate its own status, it will be impossible to build a just international order or avoid high-risk behavior online.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-05/21/c_133351011.htm

Brazilians protest against hosting 2014 World Cup [Xinhua]

Posted in Brazil, Croatia on May 21, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BRASILIA, May 15 (Xinhua) — Brazilians frustrated with poor public services took to the streets Thursday across the country, claiming their taxes are spent on preparations to host the upcoming 2014 World Cup.

The so-called Day of Struggle against the World Cup saw demonstrations in seven of the 12 state capitals set to host World Cup matches, and dozens of other cities.

Massive public spending on the large-scale sporting event, coupled with a transit fare hike, first sparked anti-government protests a year ago, but as the June 12 to July 13 World Cup nears, protests have started up again.

The Association of World Cup People’s Committees (Ancop) presented a list of grievances they want authorities to address, including their demand to protest freely during the championship, compensation for the families of construction workers who died building the stadiums and other venues, a guarantee that families displaced to make way for the new stadiums will be provided with adequate housing, a freer press and more government spending on public transportation systems and a free fare.

In Sao Paulo, groups of protesters blocked several major avenues, including streets near the city’s Corinthians Arena, site of the inaugural match between Brazil and Croatia on June 12.

In Brasilia, the Movement of Workers Without Shelter (MTST) occupied the offices of a state-run real estate agency and demand the government fulfill its pledge to help those unable to afford a home.

Demonstrations also took place in Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre and Salvador, as well as smaller cities.

The protests appear to contradict Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo’s assertion on Tuesday, that protests during the World Cup will be ” isolated events.”

Editor: yan

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2014-05/16/c_133337241.htm

New Snowden documents detail political and corporate espionage by US, UK [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Andrew Lukashenko, Belarus, Brazil, China, Colombia, Germany, Guatemala, Mexico, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Peru, Russia, Somalia, Syria, U.K., Ukraine, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela, Yemen on April 7, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Thomas Gaist
31 March 2014

The US National Security Agency (NSA) and British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have been engaged in aggressive surveillance operations against Germany’s political and corporate establishment and against more than 100 heads of state around the world, secret documents disclosed by Der Spiegel and the Intercept show.

The classified files leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden to the two publications show that the NSA targeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel and more than 100 other leaders of foreign governments as part of a program known as “Nymrod.”

Heads of state listed on on the leaked files include, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf, Peruvian President Alan Garcia, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, Malian President Amadou Toumain Toure, Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, and Ukrainian Prime Minister and oligarch Yulia Tymoshenko.

The documents also show that GCHQ targeted three German firms in complex operations that involved infiltration of their computer systems and surveillance of employees…

…These are only the latest revelations showing that the NSA’s surveillance activities have targeted Germany’s leadership. As of yet, Germany has been hesitant to mount a legal challenge to the operations, as such a move could exacerbate already growing tensions between US and German imperialism. “The launch of legal proceedings against GCHQ agents or NSA employees would quickly become a major political issue that would further burden already tense trans-Atlantic relations,” Der Spiegel wrote.

The documents also show that the NSA’s Special Source Operations (SSO), which oversees the agency’s “corporate partnerships” with US telecommunications companies including Google, Microsoft, Verizon and AT&T, received an open-ended FISA court authorization in 2013 to conduct surveillance against targets in Germany.

According to Der Spiegel’s report, the FISA court has granted similar authorizations for blanket surveillance operations against Mexico, Venezuela, Yemen, Brazil, Guatemala, Bosnia, Russia, Sudan and China…

Excerpted; full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/03/31/nsas-m31.html