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Steel industry The Brazilian steel industry has achieved high level of productivity and international competitiveness. That performance is due not only to successive increases in production but also to high quality, as a result of advanced technology incorporated in the manufacturing process after the privatization of the sector.
The Brazilian steel companies are establishing production plants in foreign countries, enabling the sector to expand its network of regional operations. One of the country’s biggest steel manufacturers, Usiminas, has joined the ULSAB, a consortium of thirty-five steel producers from eighteen countries, in order to develop the "steel for the future".

Environment Sao Paulo, one of the most polluted cities in the world, has held the presidency of the World Bank’s Clean Air Initiative in Latin American Cities (CAI-LAC). The city of Sao Paulo has got well-equipped laboratories and experienced researchers. An air-quality study reports that the growing number of the mobile fleet, such as motorcycles and motor vehicles, in the city has an impressive impact on air pollution.

Economy Facing difficulties in the family budget, the Brazilian population is trying to take out loans for basic necessities. The government is encouraging the country’s financial institutions to lend money with very low interest rates to these people. The trouble is the people, unemployed and with no source of income, can not borrow money.

Land reform The town of Goias Velho (Old Goias), located in the centre-west region of Brazil, has got the largest number of land reform projects in a single municipality. There are twenty-one projects, among them the oldest ones in the country, which are facing great difficulties. In contrast the recent organised settlements are showing good results.

Slave labour – In the issue no. 350, March/April 2002, Problemas Brasileiros exposed the plight of the victims of the slave labour in Brazil. Once more rural workers kept in conditions similar to those of former slavery have been discovered in the land of the same family mentioned in an article in that issue.

Genetics The book "The War against the Weak", by Edwin Black, chronicles the story of America’s long campaign to create a master race through a pseudo-science called eugenics. The author reveals that the American eugenicists have kept close cooperation with the Nazi Germany.
– The Biosecurity Law, which is now under debate in the Brazil’s Senate, has launched a discussion on the stem cell issue and on the use of the frozen human embryos in fertilisation clinics for research. Scientists and religious groups are opposed on that issue.

Communitary justice – Civil society organisations have been developing social projects to train people from communities in need to perform a job as a popular mediator in conflict resolution. These projects have begun to show results.

Education The Solidary University Programme (Universidade Solidaria) was developed by the Solidary Community and allows university students from different regions of the country to visit the neediest municipalities in the hinterlands of the north and north-east, where they participate in activities aiming at improving local health assistance, organisation and education. The programme sends teams of ten students accompanied by a professor.

Brazil In two islands off the north coast of the state of Sao Paulo, there are populations living practically isolated. Fishing, small farming and handicraft help them make a meagre living.

Economy Yoshiaki Nakano, former secretary of Finance of the state of Sao Paulo, has made a speech at the Federacao do Comercio do Estado de Sao Paulo’s Council of Economy, Sociology and Politics. He has talked about the lack of a national development programme in the country.

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