Monday, January 23, 2012

Elena And I Celebrate 11 Years Together!

I took Elena to La Costenera last night. This is a charming restaurant right on the Pacific Coast in Moss Beach, California. Monty Heying and his special partner Sandra joined us. We had a wonderful meal. Elena thank you for all of your love and support over the last eleven years. Thank you for making me more humane and civilized. You're a tough lady who can really take "heat" and stress! I love you very much!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Brazilian Beach Beauty, Refined And Untouched


A Brazilian Beach Beauty, Refined and Untouched

Andre Vieira for The New York Times
Beach at Praia do Rosa. More Photos »
FROM the balcony of Quinta do Bucanero, a pousada in the center of Praia do Rosa, the appeal of the Brazilian seaside town is obvious. Perched on top of a cliff, the 10-room hotel is surrounded by a tropical jungle and forested mountains, with views of a long, sweeping stretch of golden sand and two lagoons. Surfers dot the waves, and orchids scent the air.


It’s this natural beauty that first attracted Jacqueline Biazus, who owns Bucanero along with her husband, nearly four decades ago, when she was an 18-year-old hippie — and to return 15 years later to build the hotel. “Back then, there was nothing here in Rosa,” she said as she sat at a balcony table overlooking the scenery. “It’s not like it is today.”
Located in the southern state of Santa Catarina, Praia do Rosa is about one hour by car south of Florianópolis, the popular state capital, known for the more than 40 beachesthat have become a mainstay for the international jet set.
Despite its lovely setting, Rosa has been slower to attract travelers or a tourism infrastructure. Even today, it has only two paved streets; the rest are simply dirt tracks. But a stream of new residents who have settled here in recent years to open pousadas, restaurants and bars is turning this formerly undeveloped spot into a chic beachside destination that may begin to draw some of Florianópolis’s regular visitors. For now, it offers delightful natural beauty and a curious combination of sophistication and a barefoot, laid-back atmosphere.
During the antipodal summer, night life usually begins at sunset, when groups of board-carrying surfers head back from the beach, and couples start filling the tables of the elegant boîtes, some of which overlook the ocean and lagoons. As the evening progresses, a smartly dressed, mostly under-40 crowd spills out of the handful of bars around the town’s half-paved main street, sipping mango caipirinhas and glasses of the latest Argentine vintages. Sounds of live reggae and international D.J.’s spinning pop remixes are a constant backdrop.
Praia do Rosa literally means “rosy beach.” The name comes not from the color of its sand but from Dorvino Manoel da Rosa, one of the first fishermen to occupy a house by the beach in the 1970s. Back then, there wasn’t much activity here; the main road leading to the town, BR 101, which connects Rosa with Florianópolis, didn’t yet exist, and access was difficult. Rosa was merely a simple fishing village.
A few years later, groups of Brazilians in their late teens and early 20s discovered the area. Many of them, including Ms. Biazus, came from Porto Alegre, a large coastal city about five and a half hours south. “The beaches down by us were ugly so we headed up north to find better ones and stumbled onto Rosa,” said Ms. Biazus, who first visited in 1978. Why Rosa? There simply weren’t options closer to home that had the same remoteness or such perfect waves for surfing, she said.
Since there were no hotels, she and her friends rented homes from fishermen living by the beach and spent their days taking advantage of the waves. Evenings were spent around bonfires, playing guitar and listening to bossa nova. They were unfazed by the lack of electricity, which locals say didn’t arrive until sometime in the early ’80s.
Today, these same hippies are at the root of the new wave of activity in Rosa. Well-educated entrepreneurs like Ms. Biazus, who trained as a lawyer, have opened restaurants, hotels, bars and boutiques. Others have followed, and in recent years more than three dozen businesses have opened. Judging by the number of buildings under construction, there is more growth to come.
The population is still small — there are about 20,000 people living in Ibiraquera, the area that includes Rosa, compared with 400,000 in Florianópolis — though things are beginning to change.
Hippies singing around campfires on the beach have been mostly replaced by sun-tanning women in bikinis and men in board shorts, like Fernanda Pereira, 29, and her husband, Ricardo, 30. The couple, who live in the Brazilian city of Curitiba, an inland city in the state of Paraná, started vacationing here annually a few years ago and said the increasing number of hot spots, combined with the attractive setting, keeps them coming back. “There is a cosmopolitan vibe to Rosa that didn’t exist before,” said Ms. Pereira, who works in advertising, “but it’s just as unspoiled.”
Beleza Pura, for example, is one of the bars that have perked up the after-dark scene, which now often goes until 3 or 4 a.m. during the high season (December through April; most establishments are usually open only on weekends the rest of the year). Its owner, Luciano Menu-Marque, 35, came to Rosa a few years ago from Buenos Aires for a weekend trip with his surfing friends and ended up staying after seeing that the town had no night spots. Large enough to hold 300 — there is additional space on an outdoor patio — the bar has a cosmic-themed mural on its ceiling and is decked out with pieces Mr. Menu-Marque has collected from his global travels, including autographed soccer jerseys. The bar regularly hosts live bands and D.J.’s from around the world, performing for packed crowds.
Restaurants, drawing from the plentiful seafood coming in from the ocean, are also a draw. The most notable is Lua Marinha, opened in 2001, which serves unfussy but refined seafood dishes using only local ingredients. From a wooden deck that overlooks a lagoon, diners can see fishermen setting out to catch offerings for the next night’s dinner. A recent meal started with an octopus ceviche that got its heat from a sprinkling of finely minced jalapeños, followed by a main dish for two of small and exceptionally sweet shrimp, accompanied by a thick sauce of mixed herbs.
For most of these proprietors, setting up shop in Rosa is less about getting rich and more about soaking up the riches around them. Mr. Menu-Maruque said he used to run watering holes in Ibiza and Buenos Aires — where he earned more than he ever has at Beleza Pura. “There are better places to do business than Rosa so you’re not necessarily going to come here for a financial windfall,” he said. “But no other place in the world is as beautiful.”
Indeed, stunning vistas are available almost anywhere in town, and walks through the surrounding mountains lead to beaches accessible only by foot and completely empty. You might even spot whales breaching, most commonly July through November. During those walks, keep an eye out for colorful flora, including red and yellow bromeliad plants, ruby colored açucena flowers, orchids and jackfruit trees laden with football-size fruit.
As travelers have taken notice, rooms at pousadas are getting harder to come by during the peak season and are also fuller during the off-peak months. Ms. Biazus said that Bucanero is almost completely booked three months in advance starting in December and is now also busy during the typically slower spring; as of a few years ago, her off-season guests were sparse. The Morada da Praia do Rosa is a year-old pousada that’s fully booked on weekends even during the off-season according to its owner, Demian Alaimo, another Buenos Aires transplant.
But while those who come here might think of Rosa as the next must-visit destination on the Brazilian coast, residents aren’t interested in it being the next anything. “Of course we need travelers to come support us, but we don’t want everyone to discover Rosa and for it to have a reputation as a party town,” Ms. Biazus said. “Coming here is really about enjoying the beauty and peacefulness, and with too many people, it’s hard to do that.”
Quinta do Bucanero, (55-48) 3355-6056; Carved into the side of a cliff, this luxurious 10-room pousada has a small spa and beautiful gardens. Rates from 450 reais, or $255 at 1.76 reais to the dollar.
Morada da Praia do Rosa, (55-48) 3355-7342; Rates from 240 reais.
Beleza Pura, (55-48) 8829-1253; Cocktails are 10 to 15 real. A meal for two, without drinks, is about 60 reais.
Lua Marinha, (55-48) 3354-0613; Dinner for two, without drinks, is about 150 reais.
Sapore di Pasta, (55-48) 3355-6100; Dinner for two, with wine, is about 180 reais.
Arrange tailor-made trips to Rosa through the Latin-American travel specialistDehouche, (800) 690-6899;, based in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

Brasil's Ruling Family Of film

Brazil’s Ruling Family of Film

Chad Batka for The New York Times
Paula Barreto (left), with her parents, Luiz Carlos and Lucy Barreto at their Manhattan apartment.
SOMETIMES they limit themselves simply to producing movies, though on many other occasions they have also written, directed or actually filmed them. But by any standard the Barretos — Luiz Carlos and Lucy and their children, Bruno, Fábio and Paula — are the first family of cinema in Brazil.
Alan Arkin (left), star of “Four Days in September,” with  the film's director, Bruno Barreto.
New Yorker Films
Rui Ricardo Diaz in “Lula, Son of Brazil.”
New Yorker Films
From left, Jose Wilker, Sonia Braga, and Mauro Mendoca in the 1978 hit film, “Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands,” directed by Bruno Barreto.
Since the founding of the family production company, LCBarreto, 50 years ago, the Barretos have, in one capacity or another, helped make more than 80 films, the latest of which,“Lula, Son of Brazil,” opened in the United States this month. Those films — in a variety of styles and genres ranging from romantic comedies like“Bossa Nova” to political dramas like “Memoirs of Prison”— have won prizes at Cannes, been nominated for Academy Awards, jump-started the careers of actors and directors and set box-office records.
In the history of Brazilian cinema, “there is before the Barretos and after,” said the actress Sonia Braga, who first came to international prominence in the mid-1970s in“Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands,” directed by Bruno Barreto and produced by his parents. “They are people who live, breathe and eat cinema, and the result is that they’ve built up a patrimony that continues to endure.”
Born in Brazil’s arid northeast, the family patriarch, Luiz Carlos Barreto, now 83, was raised in the coastal city Fortaleza. He has a boyhood memory of watching Orson Welles filming the never-released “Four Men on a Raft” at a beach there and being “fascinated by all that equipment.” But when he moved to Rio de Janeiro at the age of 17, it was to play soccer semiprofessionally and work as a journalist.
From the late 1940s on he worked for Cruzeiro magazine, similar to Life or Look, first as a reporter and then also as a photographer. He met Lucy, then a music student, while on an assignment, and they married in 1954.
Crucially, Mr. Barreto covered movie stories and got to know directors like Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Glauber Rocha and Carlos Diegues, associated with what by the early 1960s was evolving into the Cinema Novo movement. That eventually led to an invitation to write the screenplay of “Assault on the Pay Train,” a commercial success in 1962 and one of the first films of the gritty, socially engaged Cinema Novo to win attention and awards at international festivals.
“From the beginning the Cinema Novo was a movement that was as much political and ideological as cinematic,” Mr. Barreto, his bushy eyebrows rising and falling, said during an interview this month at the family’s New York apartment on the Upper West Side. “When ‘Assault on the Pay Train,’ which had all those elements, exploded at the box office, that gave us credibility.”
He was then enlisted as the cinematographer on Mr. Pereira dos Santos’s “Barren Lives”and as cinematographer and producer of Mr. Rocha’s “Earth Entranced,” both of which won prizes at the Cannes Film Festival. True to the Cinema Novo’s motto that all that is necessary to make a film is “an idea in the head and a camera in the hand,” both of those influential works, as well as many others that went on to great success in Brazil and abroad, were edited in the small guest house behind the Barretos’ home in Rio.
“Luiz Carlos was 10 or 12 years older than most of the rest of us, which meant he was one of the few to have a home and wife, the normal life of a married man,” Mr. Diegues recalled. “So his house became a home away from home for all of us, a place where we not only worked, but plotted and planned on behalf of Brazilian cinema.”
Attentively observing all this were the Barretos’ children. Bruno, the oldest, born in 1955, has vivid memories of afternoons like one when he was 10 and sitting in the backyard listening to a conversation between the Italian neo-realist director Roberto Rossellini, in Rio for a film festival, and Glauber Rocha and other leading figures of the Cinema Novo.
“It was very exciting, like a seminar on film, to hear them discussing Eisenstein’s films and all of that,” Bruno Barreto said of those days during a telephone interview from Rio. “They were always very encouraging to me and gave me tips. Glauber in particular would always stop and explain things to me, like the dialectic of editing, perhaps because that was a way of explaining things to himself.”
By the mid-1960s Lucy Barreto, now 78, was also getting involved in the production company, which eventually also set up a distribution arm. Directors and actors who have worked with the Barretos describe her as the most pragmatic member of the team, a characterization she embraces.
“For me everything is a question of cost and benefit,” she said emphatically, shaking her head and her flaming red hair. “I’m a details person. If you think a film is going to gross X, then its cost can’t exceed Y. This is a risky business, and you can’t be guessing.”
Both Luiz Carlos and Lucy Barreto have also tried their hand at directing, he with a documentary, “This Is Pelé,” and she with “Grupo Corpo: A Brazilian Family,” about the dance troupe of that name. But both say they prefer producing.
“I don’t have the temperament to be a director,” he said. “I don’t have that obsession, that neurosis you have to have. I don’t want to define the temperament of a director —— ” His daughter, Paula, laughingly broke in to say, “so as not to complicate things with your sons.” But, Mr. Barreto continued, being a director “creates a deformity in people’s souls. You become the inventor of lives, situations. You become an alchemist.”
His shift from cinematographer and screenwriter to producer was more the result of circumstance than design. During his years as a reporter, he had come to know many politicians and bankers — the people who held the key to obtaining the money needed to make films — and so was able to “open doors for the rest of us,” as Mr. Diegues put it.
When the Cinema Novo period ended, its finish hastened by political repression, some of the movement’s leading figures, like Glauber Rocha, had difficulty adapting. But not the Barretos: in the 1970s and 1980s their production company had global hits like “Dona Flor” and Mr. Diegues’s “Bye Bye Brazil,” and in the 1990s they twice won Oscar nominations for best foreign-language film, for Fábio Barreto’s “O Quatrilho” and Bruno Barreto’s “Four Days in September” (1997).
“The boys are both very fine directors, and sweethearts to work with, but they are very different in their approach,” Ms. Braga, who has filmed with both brothers, said of them. “Fábio is more intuitive, while Bruno is more cerebral in his approach to cinema. He has an incredible technical knowledge, and even when he was 20, when we were making ‘Dona Flor,’ he had the bearing of a person who was older.”
For “Lula,” a biopic about Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a former president of Brazil, Fábio Barreto took pains to give the actress Glória Pires a more intense scene with her real-life daughter. Ms. Pires, who plays Lula’s mother, recalled that she was scheduled to be in scenes with her daughter Cléo, a rising star who plays Lula’s first wife, but they had no dialogue — until Fábio Barreto revised the script.
“He gave that scene to me as a gift, created it so we could be together, and I was touched by that,” Glória Pires said. “As the director he has so many details to attend to, so many things to keep in mind. So only somebody with a big heart would have paid such close attention and thought of a detail like that.”
But in December 2009, less than a month before “Lula” had its premiere in Brazil, Fábio Barreto, who is two years younger than his brother, was in a serious car accident that left him in a coma. Though he now responds to some external stimuli, after installation of a brain pacemaker in May 2011, he remains incapacitated. “I’m religious, so I have a lot of hope and faith,” his mother said. “I think that if he survived the trauma, which was so severe, it was so that he can return to us.”
Though Luiz Carlos and Lucy have been giving more authority to Paula in recent years, both remain active. He wants to move the company into animated films and has been seeking partners for one that would take place in the Amazon; Lucy and Paula are at work on a film about the American poet Elizabeth Bishop’s 16-year sojourn in Brazil, with Bruno Barreto as the director.
Ms. Pires has already signed on to play the aristocratic landscape architect Carlota de Macedo Soares, Bishop’s lover, in the film, which is scheduled to begin shooting in May. This will be Ms. Pires’s fifth movie with the Barretos, so by now she knows what to expect.
“They speak frankly to each other, without subterfuge,” she said. “There’s always a clarity that I think ends up improving the film, which is, after all, their common point of interest. When there are divergences, they seek a consensus. But they never stop being a family, so at times it’s mother talking to sons, husband talking to wife. That aspect is always there, and in the end, you get caught up in their passion.”

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Report From Chile

Report from Chile

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By Guest Author - January 20th, 2012, 9:30PM
Report from Chile
David R. Kotok
January 18, 2012
There are no shortcuts to reach the Alto Puelo Lodge on the Rio Puelo in Chile. You can travel from the Argentine side through Buenos Aires and Bariloche or from the Chilean side through Santiago and Puerto Montt. Either way, the journey is long, but well worth it.
Due to the volcanic activity in Chile interfering with Argentine air travel, this trip was routed from the Chilean side. That translated into four different flights: from Philadelphia to Miami, Miami to Santiago, Santiago to Puerto Montt, and the last leg, a charter flight across the Andes Mountains from Puerto Montt to Segundo Corral, a small village with an air strip located near the lodge.
This is my fifteenth visit to the Patagonian region. Arriving at the Rio Puelo, I drink in the marvelous scenery and wonder at the natural beauty that has come to be so near and dear to my heart.
Pristine water and majestic mountains frame the Alto Puelo Lodge, which at maximum capacity accommodates eight guests. The only lodge in the area, it is a family-owned and -operated business. You can find additional information via the following links:; e-mail
With the sun shining brightly over the clear water, we decided to take a boat out and trek to the head of the lake. There we encountered a large cloud of midges swarming and performing their summer ritual. Beautiful, hungry rainbow trout were standing on their tails, gulping the midges in midair. What a sight to behold.
In order to fish a midge hatch, you must pick a fly so small it is nearly impossible to see when it is on the water. Because these are wild Patagonian trout, you need a long leader and you need to cast at a fair distance, approximately 50 to 60 feet. The entire fly is 1/8”-1/4” long, including the eye, the shank of the hook, and the hook itself. In order to get through the eye, you need a very fine leader. In this case, I used a 7x tippet. It is extremely thin and hard to see with these old eyes, let alone to tie a strong enough knot.
After several casts, we were able to land the midge imitation in the midst of the cloud. A friendly rainbow trout, gulping his way through a feast of a thousand insects, happened to bite on the midge. With a small tug to set the hook, the fun begins. The water here is deep and clear, and with a fish like this one has to be extremely careful to not “horse” the fish in. When the fish wants to run, you must concede. With the very thin leader, any pressure can break it off. After twenty minutes of many runs and much activity, we were able to get the rainbow trout into the net, take the fly out of his lip, thank him for the exercise, and release him back into the water. These experiences on the Rio Puelo entirely vindicate my 36-hour journey.
The real powerhouse on the Rio Puelo is the brown trout. These large demons of the deep turquoise waters are the trophy fish sought by all fly fishermen.
I asked Eric, our guide and owner of the Alto Puelo Lodge, which fly to use. We discussed flies at length. For some reason, as I looked around on this warm, sunny, clear day, I suggested, “If I were in the west, I would use a grasshopper. Eric, have you seen any grasshoppers?” Eric replied, “Yes! Actually, that is a good idea! I had not thought about that.”
We tied on a hopper, our backs against some rock ledges on Lago Puelo, the headwaters of the Rio Puelo. On the third cast, a trout came to take a look. He did not like what he saw. Fifty yards down, against another rocky ledge, a second trout came and took it fast. Unfortunately, this old fly fisherman missed the hook set.
The next rock ledge had a notch in the water line. It was a dark, covered area underneath the ledge overhang. These wild fish are very alert to anything not consistent to their habitat. It was a perfect place for a wily, large brown to wait for its next meal. Three false casts and then I was able to flip the grasshopper right into the dark shadow in the notch between the rocks. It landed in the cleft that had taken four million years to form, and within seconds a brown took that fly and gulped it down. A fast hook set, and off he went. The first run out towards the deep part of the lake took me to the backing on the line. A monster, he was hungry and strong from swimming in currents, and ready for battle. The results are in the photo here: After a wonderful, invigorating fight, this fish is released to swim again in Lago Puelo — until my next visit.
This remote Chilean valley is a fly fisherman’s dream. There is such diversity of fishing here, from calm to windy lakes, to streams and deep rivers with flies rising and hatches. In the midst of this unspoiled landscape sits the Alto Puelo Lodge, a wonderful, welcoming retreat where one can delve into a book or research paper.
Let’s turn to the economics in Chile. Chile is a booming place, a South American success story. Evidence of their success can be seen in their economic growth and lower unemployment rate. When you look at Chile, no matter how you examine the data for flaws, you find a continually improving account.
The Chilean central bank has expressed concern over external events, which is why interest rates were surprisingly reduced during its last meeting. It even explained that its concern originates from the crises in Europe, not from a domestic, anti-inflation central bank policy.
We like Chile; we like it as a destination, we like it as an investment, and we like it even more with each return visit. I have asked my colleague Bill Witherell, Cumberland’s Chief Global Economist, to summarize our investment position. In our Emerging Markets Model, the overall weight is 4.65%, which is much higher than the 1.52% weight in the Emerging Markets benchmark. In the International model the weight is 2.025%, and in Global MAC it is 2.0%. These compare with the 0.5% weight of Chile in the Vanguard world ex-US ETF. It is important to note that Chile is not included in the EAFE benchmark index. Chile’s stock market underperformed in 2011, -20% compared with -18.2% for EEM. As of January 12, 2012, Chile is up 3.9% compared with 4.2% for EEM.
David R. Kotok, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer

[OTE141] On the Edge with Gonzalo Lira - Max Keiser

[OTE141] On the Edge with Gonzalo Lira - Max Keiser:

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Brazil’s overtime pay law risks higher labour costs -

Brazil’s overtime pay law risks higher labour costs -

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Argentina And Brasil Are Major Food Exporters

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Update on Global Food Commodities
January 20, 2012


Corn, soybeans, rice and wheat are the most important food staples consumed in the world. We monitor these commodities because market fluctuations can lead to domestic unrest in import-reliant countries. Below is an assessment of these vital commodities.


Most countries have domestic agricultural industries. However, the majority of these countries do not produce more than what their populations can consume. Only a handful of countries are able to export significant quantities of key food staples to countries that cannot meet their consumption needs or experience temporary setbacks in their agricultural sectors.

Output from exporting countries is an important geopolitical issue. Increased demand for global food supplies can cause localized shortages and price spikes. Food shortages and price increases, in turn, can lead to political turmoil and social unrest in countries whose populations depend on these imports for survival.

The most important staple crops consumed by populations around the world are corn, rice and wheat. Soybeans have also become an important alternative source of protein, particularly in Asian diets. Corn and soybean exports are largely dominated by states in the Western Hemisphere, while global wheat supplies are primarily grown by states in the Northern Hemisphere. Asian states account for the majority of all globally traded rice, but China, the world's largest producer of rice, consumes almost all of the rice it produces.

The following breaks down the current status of each of the four major staple crops.Production forecasts are drawn primarily from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service estimates.


The United States, Brazil, Argentina and Ukraine account for more than 80 percent of global corn exports. While some 90 countries rank among the world's corn importers, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Egypt are the most import-dependent nations, purchasing more than 40 percent of all globally traded corn.

The status of the corn market depends on weather conditions in the four major exporting countries. For the United States and Ukraine, the fall corn harvest has already occurred. While U.S. production fell by only 1 percent, the country's total exports are expected to shrink by 10 percent. Ukraine, however, nearly doubled production and more than doubled exports as a result of a record-breaking harvest.

For Brazil and northern Argentina, the period from December to February is key. It is during these summer months that corn goes through its silking and filling stages. A severe drought is currently affecting the region, and the extent to which the corn crop will be affected is not yet clear. Estimates of Argentina's production have fallen by 10 percent, but the country is still projected to produce more corn this season than in each of the previous two seasons. (The most recent drought in Argentina occurred in the 2008-2009 season, during which corn production fell by about 30 percent.) Although the ongoing drought also affects Brazil, Brazilian corn output is expected to increase by several percentage points compared to 2011.

Assuming current expectations hold, Argentine and Brazilian production will reach a combined output of 87 million metric tons. Since global corn production is expected to rise by several percentage points in the 2011-2012 season, Brazil and Argentina would have to lose nearly 50 percent of their expected corn crop for global production to fall below the 2010-2011 seasonal output.


The popularity of soybeans is growing. While less soy is produced than the other three food staples, soybean production has increased by nearly 150 percent in the past two decades, nearly twice the rate of corn production. The United States is a major producer and exporter of soybeans, but the fastest growth has occurred in Brazil. Indeed, there is growing domestic and foreign investment into the South American soybean industry, particularly in the Mercosur countries -- Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina.

The rising popularity of soy can be attributed to its being a relatively cheap source of protein for humans and livestock. Most soybeans are consumed in Asia's rapidly growing markets. China consumes more soy than any other nation. It imports more than 60 percent of globally traded soy, which represents more than 80 percent of China's total annual supply. To mitigate the risk posed by a sudden disruption in the soy trade, China stockpiles its soybeans for later consumption.

The drought that is affecting corn production in Brazil and Argentina is also expected to affect soybean production as the season progresses. Projected output for Argentina this season has dropped by nearly 3 percent, but the country still expects a slight increase in production compared to the previous season. Brazil will not be as lucky. The above-average rainfall seen in soybean-producing center-west states, such as Mato Grosso, will not further compensate for the drought in Parana state. As such, soybean production in Brazil will decrease by 2 percent. This will contribute to a 3 percent decline of global soybean production. Despite this decline, Brazil is expected to become the world's largest exporter of soybeans in the 2011-2012 season following an 8 percent dip in U.S. production.


The two largest rice producers by far are India and China. The two countries collectively produce more than half of the world's rice. Much of this rice is consumed domestically, however, and only India is a significant net exporter. Controlling nearly 80 percent of global rice exports, the top exporters of rice in order of rank are Thailand, Vietnam, India, Pakistan and the United States.

The rice market is temperamental, easily thrown off by too little or too much rainfall. The majority of rice produced in the world is consumed in the country of production; only about 7 percent of the world's rice production is available on global markets. Comparatively, 11 percent of corn produced is available on global markets, 20 percent of wheat and 37 percent of soy. This makes rice the most easily destabilized of the four key staples.

The 2011-2012 season has been more stable than the previous year, despite the flooding in Southeast Asia and the drought in China during 2011, and global production rose by just over 2 percent. With a 30 percent uptick in production over the previous year and an expected 17 percent increase in exports, Pakistan was the only top-five net exporter to have a noteworthy season.


Wheat is widely produced by countries all over the world. However, more than 90 percent of the export market is dominated by ten entities: the United States, Australia, Russia, Canada, the European Union, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Turkey and Uruguay. China is by far the largest producer of wheat, accounting for about 17 percent of global production (only the states of the European Union collectively produce more). However, China is not a major player in the global market because it consumes almost all it produces. Because most wheat is grown in the Northern Hemisphere, July and August are critical for adequate rainfall.

The current season's total wheat production is estimated to be up 6 percent from the previous season. The only major decline was in the United States, which saw a 10 percent drop from the previous season. Both Kazakhstan and Russia have had stellar years for wheat. Russian production increased from the previous year by more than 30 percent. Kazakhstan had its highest production in 30 years, representing a 132 percent increase over the 2010-2011 season and an expected export increase of more than 50 percent.

CIA's "Facebook" Program Dramatically Cut Agency's Costs

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Woman In Brasil Raped On Live Television

Big Brother woman ‘raped on live TV'

iol news pic BB brasil jan 18
Police investigation: Both Daniel Echaniz, left, and Monique Amin, right, have been removed from the Big Brother house in Brazil while police investigates claims that Monique was raped after a house party.
A contestant on Brazil’s version of Big Brother is thought to have been raped live on television.
Early Sunday, after a party that was scripted as part of the show, contestant Daniel Echaniz, 31, is alleged to have had sex with Monique Amin, 23, as cameras rolled.
Network officials told local media that authorities were investigating, because Amin apparently was asleep.
Both have denied that to police, they said on Tuesday.
"Both of them did confirm they had consumed alcoholic drinks and that they were aware of their surroundings, and they confirmed touching each other under a comforter," said policeman Antonio Nunes.
Police took the contestants' underwear and sheets from the show set, and the host voted Echaniz off for "inappropriate behaviour”.
The party was televised on Brazil's Globo TV, and showed Echaniz, a model, and Amin, a student, kissing and caressing each other, and another image shows Echaniz under the sheets presumably having sex with Amin who appears not to move.
Amin has said she did not recall a sexual act taking place, local media reported.
The next morning she was asked about the incident in the diary room, and appeared to know little of what had happened.
Police officers later interviewed her for three hours before taking her away for a rape examination.
Makers Endemol have refused to comment. - Daily Mail, AFP
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