Brazil

These are the pieces that kept us reading today:

 

Amazon rainforest destruction. Reuters

Rio de Janeiro, where tens of thousands of delegates are gathered this week for the Rio +20 summit, is sometimes described as more of a landscape than a city. But what a landscape: the hard rock mountains and jungles that percolate down to Rio’s beaches give the impression that modernity and the environment can coexist. Read more

Twenty years on from the 1992 Rio earth summit, more than 100 leaders have convened for the Rio+20 sustainable development conference. The 1992 summit launched a number of landmark treaties, but what has actually been achieved since then?

Josefina Vázquez Mota. Photo AP

Women currently govern some 40 per cent of Latin America’s population. If Josefina Vázquez Mota wins Mexico’s presidential elections in July, that figure will rise to 60 per cent. “I will be Mexico’s first presidenta (female president),” Ms Vázquez said this month after she won the primary of the conservative National Action PartyRead more

Here come the Brics, ready to bail out the eurozone. Really? We heard this before with China and Greece. It was implausible then – unless we are talking about China snapping up a few real assets going cheap rather than buying sovereign debt – and it is implausible now. Read more

First in a potentially infinite series. Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva given world food prize for undoubtedly impressive Brazilian domestic welfare programme; advances radical notion that hungry people need food; co-opts, or is co-opted by, the aid agency Oxfam.

This must be a different Lula to the one who just got a new head of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation installed who defends land-hungry biofuels and whose government helped to block legal restrictions on agricultural export bans, a big cause of volatile food prices in the developing worldRead more

By Daniel Dombey, US diplomatic correspondent

There was a flash in Hillary Clinton’s eyes just now as she talked about the issue that is occupying ever more of her time as Secretary of State – Iran’s nuclear programme.

Last month the US-led campaign to increase pressure on Tehran took her to Qatar and Saudi.  Arabia, where King Abdullah welcomed her with a lavish lunch and watched a few minutes of a football match as he sat beside her wearing a frayed pair of Nike trainers. (Later on he switched his giant television to off-road truck racing.)

Iran has also been a constant concern for Clinton during her present swing through Latin America and the position of Brazil, which is currently sitting on the UN Security Council, is particularly important. Read more