Monday, October 16, 2017

Peru's Indigenous Language Push

Argentina Lithium starts digging at Arizaro

Argentina Lithium starts digging at Arizaro: Lithium explorer Argentina Lithium & Energy has initiated its first drilling and subsurface brine sampling programme at the 20 500 ha Arizaro lithium project, located on the Arizaro Salar in Salta province.
The TSX-V-listed company initially plans to drill three to four holes, with depths up to 400 m, based on targets defined by the previously completed vertical electric sounding (VES) geophysical survey completed earlier this year.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Rio de Janeiro's Post-Olympic Blues

Crime in BrazilRio’s post-Olympic blues

Feuding gangs and empty coffers are pushing up the murder rate
IN THE warren of alleyways that make up Rocinha, Brazil’s largest favela, the air is heavy with foreboding. A feud between factions of the Amigos dos Amigos (Friends of Friends, or ADA), a drug gang that has controlled the slum since 2004, erupts in daily violence. Police in patrol cars creep through the lanes, their rifles poking out of the windows. Residents share news of shoot-outs on WhatsApp. “We are scared to walk around,” says Raquel, who sells colourful prints to a few brave tourists. At a command post a squad of policemen prepares for yet another operation. “It’s a never-ending war,” sighs José (not his real name), an officer drafted in from a nearby neighbourhood.
The city of Rio de Janeiro, which hosted the Olympic games in 2016, is having a grim year. Shoot-outs in favelas, or shantytowns, have killed dozens of people. A third of adults aged 18 to 24 are out of work. Many Olympic venues are abandoned; a fire in July damaged the velodrome. “Rio is in a real hole,” says Robert Muggah of the Igarapé Institute, a Rio-based think-tank.

Latest updates

See all updates
Before the games began, Rio’s then-mayor, Eduardo Paes, boasted that the city would be the “safest place in the world”. Thanks to the deployment of 85,000 soldiers and police officers during the games, the claim did not seem ridiculous. Construction work temporarily protected cariocas, as Rio’s residents are called, from Brazil’s deep economic recession. Despite embarrassments like green diving-pool water the games were a success.
Not so the aftermath. The state government recorded 2,976 homicides in the first half of 2017, a rise of 14% on the previous year. Fifteen gun battles a day take place in Rio’s metropolitan region. More than 100 policemen have been killed so far this year in the state. Some experts fear that the murder rate could go back to levels of a decade ago (see chart). In July the federal government sent 8,500 troops back to Rio.
Rocinha, whose 100,000 people are crammed into one square km (250 acres), was thought to be relatively safe until recently. McDonald’s and Caixa Econômica, a bank, opened branches in the 1990s. The feud within the ADA, which began on September 17th, makes life a misery. The police make it a three-way battle. “It can be difficult to work out who is firing at whom,” says Eduardo Carvalho, a local journalist. The Dr Albert Sabin health centre shut down briefly for the first time in 35 years.
On September 22nd, after violence had spilled over into the prosperous areas of Gávea and Leblon, Brazil’s defence minister sent 950 troops into Rocinha. They restored calm, but withdrew seven days later. The mayhem has since risen. “Rogério 157”, the leader of an ADA faction, has defected to Comando Vermelho, a rival gang, splitting the favela into two territories. That could worsen the violence. “We will be here for a while,” says José, tapping the barrel of his carbine nervously.
Rocinha is suffering from a failure of policing, compounded by financial mismanagement and economic misfortune. The government of the state of Rio is nearly bankrupt. In September Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, approved the second federal bail-out in two years.
In 2008 the state started sending “pacifying police units” (UPPs) to 38 favelas. They were made up of 9,500 officers, many trained in non-violent policing and human rights. In Rocinha the UPPs reduced the circulation of heavy weaponry, says Misha Glenny, author of a book about the favela. The state gave bonuses to officers in areas where crime dropped most. Although the UPPs did not dismantle the gangs, violence fell. By 2015 the homicide rate had dropped to its lowest level in 25 years.
Optimism did not last. Despite their training, some policemen committed abuses. In 2013 Amarildo de Souza, a bricklayer from Rocinha who had gone out to buy seasoning for his dinner, went missing after questioning by UPP officers. This provoked violent protests; 25 officers were accused of torturing him and causing his disappearance. “The credibility that the UPPs had built up suddenly disappeared,” remembers Mr Carvalho.
The second phase of the community-policing programme—investment in health, education and social projects—was a failure. That is because the state and municipal governments paid too little attention and were weakened by economic crisis. From 2002 to 2016 Rio had the lowest growth rate among Brazil’s 27 states, points out Mauro Osório of UFRJ, a university. The state government depends heavily on income from the oil industry, which fell by two-thirds from 2013 to 2016. Corruption makes things worse. On September 20th this year Sérgio Cabral, the former governor of Rio state, was sentenced to 45 years in prison for embezzlement.
In return for financial aid, the federal government has demanded deep cuts to spending. The state slashed its security budget by 30% last year and stopped paying the salaries of many public workers, including police officers. Ballerinas at the municipal theatre became Uber drivers. Around 2,000 policemen lost their jobs in the past three years and 40% of patrol cars are out of service. The federal government gave extra money until the Olympics for UPPs. Now the units are in danger of disappearing, says Mr Muggah.
Favelados say that the UPPs, despite their failures, offer the best hope of reducing violence. A poll conducted in August in 37 favelas found that 44% of residents want UPPs to be improved, for example with better training, but not dissolved. A further 16% want them to continue as they are. The city and state governments need to increase non-security spending, too.
The region’s leaders do not inspire confidence. Marcelo Crivella, the city’s mayor since last year, is a Pentecostal bishop and enthusiastic crooner. His favourite ditty is “My Rio”, which asks God to “take over” the city. He consults the Bible more readily than security experts, say critics. Luiz Fernando Pezão, the state’s governor, has more practical plans, including a scheme to divert oil royalties from an environmental programme to one that combats violence. But he is suffering from cancer.
The problems of the region’s politicians encourage the federal government to play a bigger role. In addition to extra aid, it plans to send a multi-agency task force, modelled on initiatives in Colombia, Northern Ireland and South Africa, to prosecute police and politicians involved in organised crime. Everyone in Rio hopes for a recovery in the oil price, which would provide more money for public services. But oil prices are uncertain. Peace in neighbourhoods like Rocinha should not be.
Reuse this content

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Why Malaria Is Spreeading In Venezuela

Embraer To Open Johannesburg Training Center

Departamento - Venta - Bariloche, Río Negro - 420361047-19

Departamento - Venta - Bariloche, Río Negro - 420361047-19

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Monday, October 9, 2017

On The Cocktail Trail In Brasil (Sao Paulo) A Favorite Spirit Gets Frisky

A bartender at Frank Bar in São Paulo. CreditTuca Vieira for The New York Times
As in many large countries, most of the popular stereotypes about Brazil unravel with the slightest tug. A nation of sunny beaches and exquisite tans on svelte bods? Sure, and chilly mountain towns and linebackers in the German enclaves in the south, as well. Dysfunctional politics? In the extreme, but what is functional politics nowadays, anyway?
Yet, in one area the homogeneity holds: the nation’s drink. If you said anything other than cachaça and the caipirinha, you’re thinking of the wrong place.
Across an area the size of the contiguous United States, there are thousands of cachaça stills, many unlicensed, that produce hundreds of millions of liters of the spirit annually.
What is clear is that the vast majority of it is consumed in Brazil and is a cheap variety, lacking in complex flavor, akin to fuel ethanol, and typically drunk neat or as a part of the caipirinha cocktail, said Felipe Jannuzzi, the co-founder of Mapa da Cachaça, which is an amalgam of sorts of sociology, guide and advocacy for high-quality cachaça.
But in São Paulo, the Brazilian metropolis that has always bucked some of the clichés about the nation (there are no beaches, for one), a few bars and bartenders are working to elevate cachaça as a connoisseur-worthy drink and as a key component of the city’s nascent cocktail culture. On a recent visit, I decided to stop in at a few of these to see how such cachaça was being used.
Continue reading the main story
To get a sense of the wide variety of cachaças available, Mr. Jannuzzi and I took a seat at Empório Sagarana, a bar in the Vila Romana neighborhood (there’s also a second location in hip Vila Madalena) that is styled as a traditional boteco of the state of Minas Gerais, a stronghold of cachaça production. Instead of a typical selection of just a few cachaças, Empório Sagarana sports a menu of dozens, many with tasting notes. It also begins with a manifesto of what is good cachaça, which Mr. Jannuzzi helped write.
Guarita in São Paulo. CreditTuca Vieira for The New York Times
While Empório Sagarana serves a few pre-bottled cocktails, it is mainly a cachaça and beer place. As we sipped from shot glasses of Serra Limpa, one of the first organic cachaças, and another from Fascinação, Mr. Jannuzzi explained that cachaça comes in two main varieties: industrial and artisanal. Both are made from fresh sugar cane juice (unlike most rums, which are made from molasses), but the former is made on large column stills; the latter, the only type connoisseurs consider worthy to drink, is made on a smaller scale using pot stills. Like rum, cachaça is sold both unaged and aged. Unlike rum, however, cachaça producers don’t limit their aging to just oak — instead they may use barrels made from any of a couple dozen different Brazilian woods. Moreover, a small avant-garde of producers has recently started highlighting different varieties of sugar cane as well as releasing vintage cachaças, Mr. Jannuzzi said. All of this gives the handful of bartenders working seriously with cachaça in craft cocktails in São Paulo a wide gamut of flavors to experiment with and the ability to create cocktails highlighting an individual bottle, he said.
“They are making cocktails thinking of the brands, they use only one cachaça. I really like that. A cocktail custom-made for one brand of cachaça,” he said.
When I visited the bar Guarita in the Pinheiros neighborhood, the bartenders Jean Ponce and David Barreiro said that they often choose a cachaça for a cocktail based on the wood the cachaça was aged in. Amburana wood-aged cachaças, for example, work well in classic cocktails and with vermouth, while white cachaças and those with the almond and anise notes that come from bálsamo wood pair well with lime.
“Bálsamo wood is the future of cachaça,” Jean Ponce said via Greg Caisley, the bar’s owner and chef (Mr. Caisley, an Australian expat, served as translator for my conversation). “It is a very complex wood, it is a wood that speaks, it has minerals, herbs, citrus, it is perfect for cocktails.”
“You’ll understand when you taste it,” Mr. Ponce added, whipping me up a caipirinha made with Canarinha, a bálsamo-wood aged cachaça from Salinas, a city in the state of Minas Gerais and a stronghold of cachaça production. The Canarinha added more complexity than a typical caipirinha with unaged cachaça, as well as some bitterness; overall, it was a drier and, perhaps, a less-beach friendly concoction.
While many of the cachaça cocktails I had in São Paulo that weren’t caipirinhas were riffs on common whiskey cocktails, often with lots of vermouth, at Guarita Mr. Ponce often creates cocktails that show the spirit’s lighter side.
São Paulo
Rio de Janiero
One, made with cachaça, tonic water and simple syrup, also included turmeric and Rangpur lime and was garnished with the herb rue, known in Brazil as arruda — a nod, popular among the city’s bartenders, to the country’s incredible botanical richness. In São Paulo, I also had cocktails made with the leaves of the pitanga tree, tonka beans (known as cumaru), and the bulbous yellow-orange fruit of the cashew tree, called caju. I also encountered at least three different lime varieties in frequent use, which made decoding which particular variety was in which particular cocktail, maddening. For reference: the standard-issue green Persian lime is the limão-tahiti, the Rangpur lime goes either by limão-capeta or limão-cravo, while a limão-galego is a key lime.
Overall, bartenders say they are eager to craft cocktails that are distinctly Brazilian. However, there are some challenges that are inherent to working with cachaça.
One is that beyond the caipirinha and another cocktail, recently resurgent, called a Rabo de Galo (meaning Tail of the Rooster, or cocktail) that is made from cachaça, vermouth and a bitter, Brazil lacks an indigenous cocktail culture, said Spencer Amereno Jr., the head bartender at Frank Bar in the Maksoud Plaza hotel.
“We are creating a way to mix cachaça,” he said of the city’s ascendant class of craft bartenders. “It is hard because there is no tradition of mixing cachaça in cocktails, unlike in the U.S., which, for example, has had the book ‘How to Mix Drinks’ since 1862.”
At Frank Bar, Mr. Amereno said he turns to classic cocktails to think of how to use cachaça best. However, that doesn’t mean he’s merely recreating the classics with the native spirit.
“I don’t use the simple thinking: I’ll substitute cachaça for bourbon. I like to put tradition in typical Brazilian cocktails,” he said.
Emporio Sagarana bar in São Paulo. CreditTuca Vieira for The New York Times
For example, for the version of the Rabo de Galo that he made me he turned to the Manhattan for inspiration. The result, made with oak-aged Leblon Signature Merlet cachaça (known in the United States as Leblon Reserva Especial), two sweet vermouths (Carpano Antica and Noilly Prat) and Angostura bitters, was rich and a bit sultry.
In working with cachaça, Mr. Amereno said, he also must confront perceptions by Brazilians that the spirit, and the cocktails traditionally made from it, are low-quality and unsophisticated.
“We have a number of Brazilian customers who think cachaça is harsh and they don’t like it. I try to surprise them and put value in cocktails with cachaça,” he said.
Nonetheless, it takes only a quick glance at the menus of many cocktail bars, where drinks made from gin and whiskey vastly outnumber those made from cachaça, to understand how far the native spirit has to go before it reaches the prominence of its globalized brethren.
That doesn’t mean you have to shun cachaça in its more traditional iteration of the caipirinha. Far from a relic of a less sophisticated era or an embarrassing marker of an out-of-touch bar and an uninventive bartender, when done properly the caipirinha can capture the qualities the city’s top bartenders are striving for, being both distinctly Brazilian and a showcase of skill. It was a point made clearly when, on my last full day in São Paulo, I found myself 45 minutes from the city center at the restaurant Mocotó, a haven of Northeastern Brazilian cuisine that is so celebrated that it not only spawned more recommendations than any other place in my travels around the city, but also has inspired an haute cuisine spinoff called Esquina Mocotó.
The original remains humble, and when I walked up to the bar with Marcello Gaya, the Leblon brand ambassador, I had the option of ordering various caipirinhas made from an assortment of the fresh fruit that makes Brazil a produce-lover’s paradise.
At Mr. Gaya’s suggestion, I went with a caipirinha três limões, or a three-lime caipirinha, which includes as citrus the Persian lime, the Rangpur lime and lemon (or limão-siciliano) and was one of the first caipirinha variations to make it big, Mr. Gaya said. When it arrived, it was exquisite — hitting a perfect balance of booze, acid and sweetness achieved by only the best daiquiris (both drinks rely on the same tricky balance of flavors and like the daiquiri, the caipirinha is often served too sweet).
“That’s their knowledge, the muddling, they have different fruit every day, some days this is sweeter,” Mr. Gaya said holding up a Rangpur lime, “some days more acidic, so you have to know what you are doing.”