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Dozens of blue macaws to be reintroduced to Brazil

About 50 of the last Spix’s macaws, the blue parrot made famous in the hit animation movie “Rio,” will be reintroduced to the wild in Brazil from captivity in Europe, officials said Saturday. Brazilian Environment Minister Edson Duarte is due in Brussels on Sunday to sign the agreement with Belgium and Germany for bringing the birds back in the first quarter of next year.

The Spix’s macaw originates from north-east Brazil but is considered extinct in the wild, with only scores remaining in captivity. The medium-sized parrot sports feathers in a variety of shades of blue. It was last seen in the wild in 1990, according to the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP), which partners the Brazilian government on the project to revive the species.

The current batch of survivors being repatriated from Europe will initially stay in a special centre due to open in Berlin, where they will be prepared for the transition.  They will then move to a 72-acre reintroduction centre in a conservation area of Brazil’s north-eastern state of Bahia, with the first being released into the wild in 2021.

Brazil’s environment ministry said that international breeding programs for the birds in captivity have seen the population grow from 79 in 2012 to 158 this year.  Destruction of habitat and capture for trafficking are the main reasons for the near disappearance of the parrots.

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Brazil homebuilder MRV to boost housing starts after hitting profit estimates

MRV Engenharia e Participações SA, Latin America’s largest homebuilder by units sold, is planning to launch a new round of projects in the coming months.

 MRV have reported a first quarter net income of 160 million reais, up 22 percent from the same period last year.

The company also reported healthy margins, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) coming in at 229 million reais, up some 44 percent from the same period a year ago.

MRV’s improving figures represent a large rebound in Brazilian real estate, Co-Chief Executive Officer Eduardo Fischer said real estate demand was strengthening and operational numbers at the homebuilder would continue to improve throughout 2018.

“We’re very optimistic about the rest of the year,” he said. “We’re seeing very strong demand for real estate.”

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China Expands Brazil Frontier as Investment Grows

After acquiring a Brazilian builder last year, Beijing-based China Communications Construction Co broke ground in March on a port in the northeastern state of Maranhao that will ship millions of tonnes of agricultural exports per year, most of them likely soybeans that will find their way to the Chinese market. The 1.8 billion-real ($520 million) investment is being financed by Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world’s largest lender by assets, which set up shop in Brazil in 2013.

The project is part of a new wave of investments in Latin America’s largest economy by Chinese companies which have started to move into logistics, services, telecoms and even financial institutions. For China, it’s an opportunity not only to secure access to natural resources, but also to strengthen its foothold in a region traditionally under U.S. commercial influence.

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Yellow Bike Share start up in Brazil

Yellow, a Brazil-based mobility startup, just raised a $9 million seed round for its dockless bike-share service.
Yellow was founded by Ariel Lambrecht and Renato Freitas, who sold their ride-share company 99 to Didi in a $1 billion deal earlier this year. Yellow’s third co-founder is Eduardo Musa, former CEO of bike manufacturer Caloi.
Yellow intends to use the funding to deploy its first 20,000 dockless bikes. This summer. Yellow plans to deploy a total of 100,000 bikes. Ultimately, Yellow envisions deploying more than one million bikes.
“As local residents, we’re acutely aware of the pain points caused by Brazil’s inefficient public transit, and we built Yellow specifically to address them,” Musa said in a press release. “Our goal is to improve circulation of urban traffic and curb harmful greenhouse gas emissions by providing a fun, cost-effective mode of transportation that integrates with other public transit systems to optimize daily routes in big cities.”
Since e-scooters and e-bikes are the new craze, it’s no surprise Yellow also plans to deploy those modes of transportation.

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Brazil designates two new marine protected areas

The Brazilian government has designated two new marine protected areas this week. The protected areas around the São Pedro and São Paulo archipelagos and the submarine volcanic chain that connects the Trindade island to the Martin Vaz archipelago are home to a rich marine life, including sharks, turtles, rays and whales.

The designation increases the Brazilian marine protected areas from the current 1.5% to 24.5%, surpassing the target set by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which recommends the protection of 10% of marine and coastal areas by 2020.

The announcement was made during the 8th World Water forum taking place in Brasilia until Friday, March 23rd,

The protected areas will be of mixed nature. Some areas will allow the development of regulated economic activities and others will be considered natural heritage, thus protected from any form of exploitation.

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Siemens to triple investments in Brazil

Siemens AG has signed a memorandum of understanding, or MoU, with the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, known as Apex-Brasil, and will invest 1 billion euros ($1.24 billion) in the country during the next five years.

The German company said the MoU addresses Brazilian infrastructure shortcomings, particularly in energy, transportation and health care. The agreement will also focus on raising productivity to support competition among local industries.

In the next five years, Siemens will triple its investments in Brazil and focus on electrification, automation and digitization to promote social and economic development.

“With these measures being directed to key strategic areas, this could be an important catalyst for attracting up to EUR50 billion from other investors all over the country, creating up to 1.2 million jobs over the next five years,” said Andre Clark, chief executive officer at Siemens Brazil.

Siemens has invested over EUR1 billion in Brazil for the last 15 years in project implementation, production localization, research and development, as well as human resources and training measures. It currently employs almost 6,000 people in the country.

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UK agrees sale of HMS Ocean to Brazil

The MOD has agreed to sell HMS Ocean to the Government of Brazil after 20 years of service.

Sold to the Brazilian Navy for around £84M, the profit generated from the sale will be reinvested in defence at a time when the Royal Navy is being strengthened with two types of brand new frigates and two huge aircraft carriers.

Throughout HMS Ocean’s impressive 20 years service, she has covered more than 450,000 nautical miles. Her military record spans from Operation Palliser during the Sierra Leone civil war to Operation Ellamy as part of an international coalition in Libya in 2011.

Most recently, HMS Ocean bolstered the hurricane relief effort in the Caribbean last summer. It is fitting that one of her final operations mirrored that of her first, when in early 1999 she was deployed to Honduras and Nicaragua in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch.

HMS Ocean will decommission from the Royal Navy in March, with plans for the Brazilian Navy to take possession of the ship in June 2018. Modifications to the ship will be made by UK companies Babcock and BAE Systems in the meantime, with this work funded by Brazil.

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Ship Repair Yard being built in Paraiba

The total of cargo transported by sea in Brazil from January to September 2017 was 800 million tons, according to a survey by the National Agency of Waterway Transportation (Antaq). A large number of ships are needed to move such a volume and many of these ships will need repairs of various kinds. McQuilling Services, headquartered in New York, will be leading a project to invest nearly a billion in Lucena, on the coast of the northeast state of Paraíba, for the installation of the Brazil Basin Drydock Company (BBDC) repair yard projects. It will be the first dedicated ship repair yard for medium and large-sized ships in the South Atlantic basin

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Brazilian developer Cyrela reports fourth quarter sales jump

Sales at Cyrela Brazil Realty SA rose sharply in the fourth quarter while the volume of project launches remained roughly flat, the company said late on Wednesday, as the upscale developer benefits from a real estate rebound in Brazil.

In 2017 overall, sales rose 17.8 percent to 3.26 billion reais, while project launches grew 3.9 percent to 3.05 billion reais.

Cyrela and other development companies are benefiting from a real estate rebound in Latin America’s largest economy after a severe downturn that led to several major bankruptcies.

In particular, Cyrela’s lower-end peers, such as Construtora Tenda SA and MRV Engenharia e Participações SA are on aggressive expansion drives.

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