Brazil is having trouble making hotel space available for the World Cup

An article in The Washington Post describes difficulties Brazil is having making sufficient hotel rooms available for visitors to the World Cup games.  As usual, the suffocating Brazilian bureaucracy stands in the way of renovating hotels that were abandoned because of disputes over title.  Much of the existing hotel space in Rio de Janeiro is already booked, and prices are very high.  One grand old hotel that will not be available for the World Cup is the Hotel Gloria, which got caught up in the financial troubles of Eike Batista.  This hotel is mentioned in Farewell Rio, first as the site of the Artists’ Ball that opens Carnival, and then as the hotel to which Kate and John repair after Kate is wounded in a shooting.

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Nobel prize winner expresses concerns about Brazilian real estate market bubble.

A Reuters article reports concerns by Robert Shiller that there may be a bubble in the Brazilian real estate market.  Shiller won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2013 for work on market bubbles.  Friends in Rio de Janeiro report similar concerns.  One friend, who lives in a glorious penthouse apartment overlooking Copacabana Beach,  would like to move  to a smaller apartment, but says he can’t afford one.  Prices in Rio de Janeiro are now like those in Manhattan.

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An article in the Washington Post discusses some problems with displaying poetry on e-readers.

An article in The Washington Post discusses some problems with displaying poetry on e-readers.  The article mentions some people  who have faced such difficulties.   The online version of the article unintentionally illustrates some of the problems — it displays a poem with pagination different from that which the author intended.  See a discussion of these difficulties and some effective solutions on this blog in five postings in the category “E-readers,” the first of which is here.

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A Brazilian hedge fund, 3G, joins Berkshire Hathaway in purchasing H. J. Heinz Co., the maker of ketchup.

A Brazilian hedge fund, 3G, has joined Berkshire Hathaway Corp. in the purchase of H. J. Heinz Co., the maker of Heinz Ketchup.    3G is an investment vehicle owned by Jorge Paulo Lemann, who is thought to be the richest man in Brazil.    3G already owns Burger King.  According to William Ackman, an investor in Burger King, 3G are among the worlds best operators of businesses.  The headquarters of H. J. Heinz will remain in Pittsburgh, PA.  However, 3G is expected to assert an active role in management.  Berkshire Hathaway appears set to play the role of passive investor.  Berkshire’s interest will include preferred shares in H. J. Heinz yielding 9% interest.

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What the Fire Is — music by Katharine Key.

Some readers may find this new musical artist interesting:  What the Fire Is — an album of music by Katharine Key.   You can listen to some recommended pre-release tracks here:

Humpty-Dumpty

Softness Can Be Strength

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Artist Jorge Selaron found dead on his famous stairs.

On January 10, according to news articles, the artist Jorge Selaron was found dead on his famous staircase in Rio de Janeiro.   It is not clear whether his death was a murder or a suicide.  The staircase is depicted on the cover of Roa Lynn’s novel, Fairwell Rio, as shown below.   The same stairway, before it was decorated by the artist, is mentioned in Fairwell Rio on page 87:

“As I descended the six long flights of concrete stairs to reach the
street, I saw Maria sitting sideways on the bottom step staring straight
ahead. She didn’t adjust her gaze or move her position as I approached.
I had to step over her thighs on my way to catch the bonde.”

Farewell Rio -- front cover

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Dilma’s government cracks down on corruption.

Official corruption has long been a serious problem for Brazil’s government.  According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, the national government under President Dilma Rousseff is going after corrupt politicians and putting more of them in jail.

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