Brazil

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GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Population


Total population (millions): 178.7
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 84%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 1.2%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km²) : 8,547,400


Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
Native European54 %
African origin and half-caste 44 %
Other2 %



Main Cities Population
São Paulo 10 277 500
Rio de Janeiro 6 094 200
Salvador 2 672 500
Belo Horizonte 2 375 300
Fortaleza 2 374 900
Brasília 2 231 100



Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Recife, Brasilia, Rio, São Paulo, Pôrto Alegre (GMT-3 in winter , GMT -2 in summer).
It is  %T:%M %A  in Salvador, Fortaleza (GMT-3 ).
It is  %T:%M %A  in Manaus (GMT-4 ).



Languages
Official language: "Brazilian" Portuguese , a bit different from the Portuguese spoken in Portugal.
Business language: Portuguese and English.

Free translation tools

Systran
Free English-Portuguese-English translator of texts and web pages

Tranexp
Free English-Brazilian Portuguese-English translator of texts and web pages

Ectaco
Free Portuguese-English-Portuguese dictionary





Religion
Religious practises : Catholics 75.8%
Protestants 11.3%
Others 12.9%.


Political context

Brazil is a federal Republic state based on parliamentary democracy. The constitution of Brazil (official name: Federative Republic of Brazil) grants broad powers to the federal government.
President is both the chief of the state and head of the government, and holds the executive powers. President (as well as the Vice-President) is elected through a popular vote for a four-year term. President appoints the Cabinet.
The legislature is bicameral in Brazil. The parliament called National Congress consists of two chambers: Senate (the upper house) consisting of 81 members (3 members from each of the 26 provinces and one federal district are elected according to the principle of majority to serve eight-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house) consisting of 513 seats (members are elected by proportional representation to serve four-year terms). Each of the 26 states and the federal district of Brasilia has a separate legislature and an administration. The people of Brazil have considerable political rights.
Though judiciary is largely independent of the executive branch, but it is virtually powerless in the face of organized crime existing in the country. The judicial reforms are progressing very slowly and the general public does not trust the judiciary. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1998. The legal system is based on the Roman codes. Each province in Brazil has its own judicial system; the country has a system of courts for dealing with disputes between provinces. Brazil has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. The judicial language in the country is Portuguese.
Brazil is not ruled by law. There is a climate of lawlessness in the country. Judiciary does guarantee a fair trial to a foreign national. A high degree of corruption exists in the country, especially in the judiciary.


Major political parties

There are fifteen political parties represent in the National Congress. Since it is common for politicians to switch parties, the proportion of congressional seats held by a particular party changes regularly. Some of the major political parties are:
- PT (Workers' Party, center-left)
- PFL (Liberal Front Party, right)
- PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, center)
- PSDB (Brazilian Social Democratic Party, center-left)
- PCdoB (Communist Party of Brazil, left)


Major political leaders

President: Luiz Inacio LULA DA SILVA (since 1 January 2003, reelected the 29 October 2006) – PT, heading a coalition government
Vice President: Jose ALENCAR (since 1 January 2003, reelected the 29 October 2006) - PT


Next political election dates

Presidential and Vice-Presidential: October 2006
Senate: October 2006 (for one-third of the Senate members)
Chamber of Deputies: October 2006




Climate

 

 

 


Tourism


Number of visitors in Brazil 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 4,725 5,358 5,019
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005

 

Tourist sites
- For the Brazilians, Rio is the cidade maravilhosa (magnificent city). More than seven million Cariocas live in between the ocean and the mountain, turning Rio into one of the most populated places in the world. However, its reputation of being the world capital of pleasure should not overlook a less brilliant reality: a third of the population lives in favelas at the bottom of the mountains.
- Pão de Açúcar
- Lapa : popular old district with its famous arches
- Beautiful beaches in Rio and its region (Ilha Grande, Paraty, Buzios...)
- Corcovado with the famous and impressive Cristo Redentor (Redeemer Christ)
- Santa Teresa, pretty old district where artists settled down.
- Rio's former city centre, between the Teatro Municipal and the port, will allow you to get an idea of the carioca architecture in colonial times.
- Salvadore de Bahia: The superb churches, the houses dating from the XVIth and XVIIth centuries as well as an important colonial district are pleasant to visit in the morning. The Cathedral Basilica is the most beautiful of the town. Igeja São Francisco is a baroque church, which has been built by slaves. The Igreja NS do Bonfim is renowned for its miraculous curings: the room of the miracles is full of ex-voto. For the candomblistas, it is the most important church. One of the biggest bank holidays of the country takes place over there in January. Less famous than the carnival of Rio, the Salvador carnival is more authentic.
- Amazonia is a huge ecosystem with its rivers and forests, it covers half of Brazil and sticks out the borders. The State of Amazonas, the vastest of Brazil, covers almost the totality of the Occidental amazonian basin. Manaus, the capital, located at the edge of Rio Negro, counts 1,160,000 inhabitants.
- Ouro Prêto is the real architectural jewel of the golden age of Minas Gerais, Ouro Prêto is located in faraway mountains of the Serra do Espinhaço. This beautiful city enables walks along its paved streets. Numerous churches and museums are worth visiting. The city is 1,000 m beyond the sea level and the temperature may vary between 2°C and 28°C over there.
- Iguaçu's falls: the source is in the coastal mountains of Parana and Santa Catarina, the Rio Iguaçu covers 600 km westward. It widens majestically and goes around a magnificent forest before diving into space. They are wider than the Victoria falls in Zimbabwe, higher than the Niagara's (up to 80 m). One counts 275 falls over 3 km. The good period to go there is from August to November. Indeed, from May to July, the level of the water is too high.

For more information about tourism in Brazil , check out the following web site(s) :
Brazilian Tourism Board
Rio Convention & Visitors Bureau



Food


Traditional dishes
Arroz, white rice, feijão, preto, black beans and farofa, the manioc flour, are the main ingredients of the Brazilian food. 3 other ingredients are added: carne (meat), peixe (fish) and frango (chicken).
The feijoada, the traditional dish, is a meat and black beans stew.
Up North, where the Indian influence is strong, a lot of fruits and tubers are eaten.
On the Northeast coast, the food has a more African flavour: hot pepper, spices and the delicious dendê oils (oil of palm).
The moqueca, which is a sort of sauce or stew, is the speciality of the Bahia.
The acarajé, which is prepared with peeled kidney-beans, fried in palm oil and stuffed with vatapa (dried shrimps, hot pepper and tomato). It is sold, by the inhabitants of Bahia, in the streets.
In Minas Gerais, the comida mineira (food) is prepared: it is a pork and vegetable-based dish with kuiabo (sort of bean) and tutu (fried bean dough).
In the South, the comida gaucha is a meat-based dish.


Last modified on December 2006

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