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FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 BRAZIL AND MAURITIUS

Joys, Tears and Floods

                             

The Blue Planet is rotating as a Football to the tune of Samba since 12 June 2014. Brazil, the host country for the FIFA World Cup (MEN) 2014, is in global focus together with the 12 cities where 32 nations and supporters express their joys and shed their tears. Mauritius is also dancing at the same wave length. At the same time NASA Satellite has clipped zones of Floods that have caused deaths and damage to property. Social instability in the ‘Samba land’ has also been in international lime light.

Brazil is the fifth largest country of the world-8,456,511million square kilometres and also the largest in South America-4,772 kilometres from north to south and 4,331kilometres from east to west. It has a population of about 205.7 million souls who live more in the eastern and coastal regions like Sao Paulo (19.9m) and Rio de Janeiro (11.8m). That is why most of the host stadiums of 2014 World Cup Tournament are located in these regions. Almost the whole of the land mass of Brazil is located in the Tropic and Sub-Tropic of Capricorn up to Latitude 360 South. However, the imaginary line of Equator crosses the northern tip of the country.

The geographical features of Brazil are very diverse naturally speaking: mountains reaching 3,014 metres; dense rain forests and jungles (mostly unexplored yet); rivers-Amazon being the longest, navigable with 200 tributaries; plains; long stretches of coastline and clusters of islands, etc.    

 As such Brazil is very rich in fauna and flora. The scientific world estimates that this country is home to about four million different species, particularly extensive populations of birds and amphibians. However, there are lots of plants and animals which are yet to be discovered both in the dense jungles and in the surrounding Atlantic Ocean. As Brazil is experiencing rapid economic development, there are about 400 plants which are under threat of extinction including 50, of which medicinal, at critical level. The major causes are: overpopulation, industrialization, deforestation and illegal logging and pollution.      

The economic development is accelerated by the discovery of a new oil field, called Tupi, 16,000 feet below the ocean's floor in November 2007. Tupi will yield five to eight billion barrels of crude oil and natural gas, making it the largest oil field discovered after that of Kashagan Field in Kazakhstan in 2000. Nevertheless, according to the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce “The great disappointment comes from the possibility that GDP growth will be lower, with expectations that it will hover around 2% in 2014. This year’s performance is frustrating...The effect of the World Cup is expected to be limited and temporary. Its greatest impact will be in the shaping of expectations: a Brazilian victory will certainly help reverse the climate of relative pessimism. A defeat, however… can deepen the confidence crisis and even change the course of the presidential election”.

Out of the 205.7 million Brazilians, 60 million citizens live in poverty. This situation generates all types of social evils-organised crimes and violence, drug trafficking, prostitution-legalised (child/teenage illegal and rampant).

Agriculture is an important industry in Brazil. The Southern region represents nearly two-thirds of the country and is has a semi-temperate, or moderate, climate, which renders the soils fertile enriched by higher rainfalls.

Its most significant products in this sphere are coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus and beef, of which coffee, soybeans, beef, sugar cane, ethanol and frozen chickens are exported. Brazil is also the second-largest producer of soybeans. It is the global leader in the production of sugarcane, harvesting more than 600 million tons annually. It produces 7,054 million gallons of ethanol (2008/9) and is the 2nd country after US.

The agricultural area of Northeast Brazil (including some of the Amazon Basin), on the other hand, is far drier and less equipped, namely, droughts, and lacks infrastructure, capital and good soil, due to minimal rainfall. 

It is also interesting to note that there were many plants, fruit trees and medicinal herbs that were introduced, by Intendant Pierre Poivre (1767-1772) in Mauritius during the French Colonisation. These were mainly from South East Asia and also from Brazil, like the guavas which is popularly called as ‘Chinese and French guavas’.

Tourism is becoming a major industry in Brazil, particularly with the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It is the most visited country in the continent of South America today.

Political and Social Turmoil

Historians and Scientists believe that the Brazilian population originated from Asian people who migrated 8,000 years ago by crossing the Pacific Ocean and/or the Strait of Bering (Arctic). Portuguese Navigator Pedro Alvarez Cabral (1467-1520), a friend of Vasco Da Gama, discovered Brazil on 22 April 1500. The Portuguese also introduced Slavery from Africa to exploit woods and agricultural produce-coffee and sugar around 1530. Gold was discovered and exported. Evangelization of the indigenous people started in 1549 when Sao Salvador de Bahia was declared capital of the Portuguese Colony. The Conquistadores also forced some sort of sexual interactions with the local people in view of causing a new ethnic or breed of people to suit their purpose in times of social distress. Such a strategy was also carried out by the Portuguese Colonization in Africa and Asia.

History teaches us that the wars among the Continental Europeans were transferred in other continents and oceans. The French colonized Guanabara Bay in 1555. The Dutch captured Salvador de Bahia, Recife, Pernambuco and others. Eventually, lots of warfare took place and treaties signed among the French, Dutch and British. The Kingdom of Brazil was formed in 1815. Pedro1 became the Emperor of Brazil on 01 December 1822. The First Constitution was promulgated on 24 February 1891. Civil Warfare and Military Coups occurred until the First Presidential Election took place in 1960.

The UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) also known as the Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro 3-14 June 1992. This is considered as a major conference and is also known as the Declaration of Rio which eventually raised issues like ‘human rights, population, social development, women and human settlements-and the need for environmentally sustainable development, climate change, biological diversity, deforestation, and desertification’. The Declaration of Rio contains fundamental principles on which nations can base their future decisions and policies, considering the environmental implications of socio-economic development.

The new currency ‘real’ equivalent to US $ was introduced on 01 July 1994.

Brazil is, today, the world’s seventh-largest economy. President Dilma Rousseff, who was former President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva’s chosen successor, became Brazil’s first female president in 2011.

Media have reported on Tuesday 10 June 2014 that the mono-rail in Sao Paulo collapsed killing one construction worker and injured two. Moreover, subway workers have also been on strike in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo which threw traffic into chaos in the city before the opening game of the World Cup. Eventually, Police in Sao Paulo have used tear gas to disperse protesters just three days before the opening game of the World Cup.

A flyover made of concrete and steel has collapsed on 05 July crushing the front part of a bus and on two lorries in the city of Belo Horizonte, killing two people and injuring some others.

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