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There is no doubt that sports never fail to bring the world together. It provides a platform for national unity and city pride. Hosting international sports events such as the Olympics, Fifa World Cup, or the Super Bowl is the reason for a significant amount of economic development in countries. However, these economic developments can be beneficial but also very costly for host countries. 

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It is no shock that developing countries have the lowest access to healthcare. According to the Global Economic Symposium, “low and middle-income countries bear 93% of the world´s disease burden, yet account for only 18% of world income and 11% of global health spending.” While this lack of access to medical services is common on the demand side of the healthcare industry due to people not being able to afford the costs of the treatment, another prevalent issue occurs on the supply side.

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In an age where low and negative interest rates dominate the central banking scene for most of the developed world, one major nation has a target interest rate of 14.25%. The country in question has been all over the news in the past few years, from the World Cup and the Olympics, to the impeachment of a president and a deep recession. It is Brazil whose official interest rate stands at 14.25%, which is entirely counterintuitive given the information that Brazil is mired in a deep recession. Brazil has to maintain such a high official interest rate due to the fact that they are facing issues with inflation that have persisted for years. Since 2000, Brazil has only had three years where average inflation in the country ran below 5%, and in both 2015 and year to date 2016 Brazil has seen inflation run above 9%. The inflation issue has hampered Brazil’s ability to encourage growth through monetary policy and as such Brazil’s recession, which now spans over 2 years dating back to 2014, has persisted. In recent months, however, Brazil’s economy has hit several key targets and as such a rate cut is officially on the table.

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Earlier this month on October 5th, Brazil’s congress approved the key points of a polarizing bill, which would allow foreign investment in the nation's offshore oil fields. The bill overturns parts of a 2010 bill which was aimed at increasing government control over the lucrative oil fields. This law mandated that the state-run oil company, Petrobras, be the lead operator and hold a minimum of a 30% stake in any offshore drilling operations in so-called “pre-salt” fields.

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After suffering a drop in soybean yields due to a drought this past year, Brazil is now facing a large shortage in its corn harvest. While many farmers had planted the corn seeds during good weather conditions, more hot and dry weather hit Brazil causing the second harvest of crops that were in the process of forming to die out.

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In 2009, Brazil won the 2016 Summer Olympics bid. Their economy was healthy, the sixth largest in the world by 2011, and the Olympics were expected to be exceptionally profitable. Despite this, with less than one month until the start of the Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil may be experiencing one of their worst economic crises since the 1930's. Brazil has been declared a state of financial disaster, and has remained entrapped in a recession causing their economy to shrink 3.8 percent in 2015. A federal bailout of $900 million given to the government was insufficient to revert the crisis. Government corruption, tax exemptions, falling commodity and oil prices, and the Zika outbreak are all contributing factors to the economic turmoil.

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The Olympic Games are the biggest collection of sporting competitions in the world. Occurring every two years, a multitude of countries compete for medals in a variety of sporting competitions ranging from track and field to basketball. This year, Brazil will be hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics which has raised a lot of debate considering Brazil’s current economic, health, and political situations.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) will convene in an emergency committee in Geneva, Switzerland this Monday, January 31. The topic of this emergency meeting will be the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is spreading “explosively” across Latin America. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, addressed the executive board stating that “The level of alarm is extremely high…Questions abound. We need to get some answers quickly.” 

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The United States Federal Reserve’s recent rate hike after a decade has prompted fears of financial turmoil in emerging markets. This rate hike is significant to global markets because the strengthening of the U.S. dollar could cause trouble in countries where firms have borrowed heavily with American currency, and the weaker domestic currencies could make it more difficult to pay back the dollar debt. In 2015, investors have withdrawn $500 billion from emerging markets, and this new development could prompt a larger outflow in the coming months from emerging markets.

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Earlier this year, we wrote about how the Brazilian e-commerce industry was growing rapidly despite a troubling economic state. This is due in part to the growth of an online payment system called EBANX. Partnered with local banks, this system allows Brazilians to make online purchases from international vendors. More than 60% of Brazilian citizens lack access to an international credit card, and before EBANX, this segment was unable to purchase from international e-commerce sites at all.

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The once mighty emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, and China are currently experiencing the negative consequences that come with the title "Emerging Markets". Brazil and Russia are experiencing terrible recessions, China is attempting to control a stagnant market, and India is struggling with economic reforms. To give an indication of the severity of the situation, Goldman Sachs, whose former chief economist coined the title given to the BRIC countries, has recently pulled its BRIC fund after years of continued losses. 

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China has a problem. In fact, China has multiple problems, but perhaps the most concerning issue is its greying populace. Throughout the world, advances in technology and knowledge in the general population of birth control, have left advanced countries facing demographic crises. China is no different, and while not considered an advanced country, it faces similar issues that are plaguing its population.

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A year into her second term as the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff faces an economic crisis in a country that was once a rising star on the global stage. On Wednesday, Standard & Poor’s downgraded Brazil’s credit rating to junk status causing a sell off of Brazilian financial assets. Political leaders in Brazil were quick to cast the blame for this crisis on slumping markets such as China, however this crisis was more self-inflicted than anything else.

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Tomas Hult, Director of Michigan State University's International Business Center, recently wrote an article for The Conversation discussing the recent struggles that the BRIC countries are facing. The article touches on the immense economic promise displayed by Brazil, Russia, India, and China at the turn of the millennium, while also presenting the current economic standing of these nations. Follow this link to access Tomas's article and broaden your knowledge of the BRIC countries.

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Sporting events, such as the Olympics, have been thought to be large magnets for foreign investment, and large sums of money are often spent on developing state-of-the-art facilities. These sporting events have played a large role in raising awareness for the host country on the global stage and developing infrastructure. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games were recently hosted Los Angeles, California, and Brazil will be hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. China recently won the bid to host the 2022 Olympics, but the International Olympic Committee has been struggling to find suitable cities to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. However, lately there has been debates regarding the economic benefits of hosting the Olympics.

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This year, economists expect that Brazil’s economy will shrink by 1% in real terms and by as much as 15% in dollars due to maxed out credit cards, rising inflation, and government increases on prices for fuel, electricity, and transportation. In the last year, consumer spending has stagnated and could even decline by 3% in 2015. However, the Brazilian e-commerce industry seems to be excelling despite all of these indicators. Price savings and the convenience of online shopping caused Brazilians to spend $30 billion online last year, which marks an increase of 9% since 2013.

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Brazil and Mexico have renewed vehicle quotas for four years, postponing the creation of a free trade agreement to at least 2019. The two largest Latin American economies originally had free trade of vehicles for a brief period in 2011 and 2012, but transitioned to a quota system after Brazil complained of economic issues that were hurting the nation’s competitiveness abroad, especially in the auto industry. The new deal penned earlier this month permits $1.56 billion of duty-free vehicle imports for the first year of the agreement. This amount will increase by 3% every year until 2019 when the nations will return to free trade, barring any extension or renewal of the quota system.

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Oil prices dropped by 42% in 2014, and hit a five and a half year low on Monday. Many analysts are projecting that the price of oil is only going to continue to decrease in the near future. This drop in oil prices is having a drastic effect in a multitude of sectors of the economy, all across the world. What is causing oil prices, which have continually risen in the past decade, to suddenly crash? There is not a single source of this crash, but rather a plurality of causes.

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As South America’s largest market, Brazil is becoming a global player with increasing consumer expenditure. Between 2007 and 2012, Brazilian consumer spending on food and non-alcoholic beverages increased 71.4% due to an expanding middle class, according to Euromonitor. American food and agriculture exporters have the potential to tap into this growing market.

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A few months ago, Brazilian authorities officially announced that $2.3 billion will be spent on infrastructure projects alone for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. These costs will rise as projects are added along the way, and efforts to solve Brazil’s infrastructure gap continue. The pressure on the country continues as Brazil will be the first South American country to host the Olympic Games. On top of the 2016 Olympics, Brazil is also hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup this summer and has experienced delays in its infrastructure preparation. Therefore, the focus on infrastructure development has sharpened in Brazil. Now the question is: How will Brazil’s infrastructure growth impact its long-term prospects as an emerging country in the global economy?

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Brazil’s economy posted surprisingly good numbers for the fourth quarter of 2013, renewing hope that the country’s economic fortunes can turnaround. Brazil had seen its GDP contract by .5% in the third quarter, leading some analysts to speculate that the country was headed for a recession. The new numbers for the fourth quarter show that the economy grew .7% from the previous quarter and 2.3% over the entire year, numbers that no one expected to see. This news brings some relief and encouragement to Brazilian officials, who currently have their hands full with issues surrounding the economy, protests, and major upcoming sporting events.

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Now that so many businesses are expanding into the BRIC countries, one major focus should be how are they going to secure the best and brightest to work for them.  The needs and wants from employers by professionals in countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China are unlike that of employees in developed countries. Companies need to learn how to tailor their workplace in these countries in order to identify, secure, and retain top talent.

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Within the next two decades, Brazil is expected to triple oil production and move from the 12th top oil producer to the 6th according to the 2013 World Energy Outlook Report generated by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The predicted success of Brazil’s energy industry can be attributed to the auctioning of the Libra oil field which holds 8 to 12 billion barrels of recoverable oil. With a supply of oil this substantial, the world’s crude oil demand could be fulfilled for up to 9 weeks alone by Libra.

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Foreign direct investment has a large effect on the economy of countries. It can increase production, employment, exports, imports, and economic growth. Over the past five years, emerging markets have seen an increase in foreign capital from investors in search of higher yields. Three popular emerging market countries among foreign investors that have experienced political instabilities in the past month are Brazil, Turkey, and Egypt. The political instability could prove to be detrimental to emerging market financial growth in the short run, but investors should be more worried about the slowing economies of these countries.

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Brazil, a nation with incredible amounts of fertile land, is currently undergoing an economic boom in the agricultural industry. However, there is one problem. Two different people claim they own the land. The natives want their ancestral rights to the land, while the settlers who have been farming on them and boosting the Brazilian economy. There are 428 Indian land tracts fully registered and 178 that are in the process, but not registered yet. While the government decides what belongs to the natives and what doesn’t, there has been plenty of tension on the ground. At risk is the $124 billion industry (2011), one-fifth of the entire Brazilian economy.

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From the hustling cities of Asia to the scorching desert cities of the Middle East, business travel is booming in emerging countries. Last year business traffic in the emerging markets of Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East grew substantially and major infrastructure projects are underway to accommodate the rapid growth in these markets. Most emerging cities are experiencing an expansion of airports, hotels, and highway. This trend is further testament to the dynamism and growth prospects of emerging markets.

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Starting a business is not an easy task. It’s one that takes hard work, dedication, and an entrepreneurial spirit that is willing to take on challenges. Despite the many challenges faced by entrepreneurs, starting a business has become easier in certain parts of the world as policymakers begin to recognize the importance of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial activities are extremely crucial for the economic well-being of almost every country. As the driving force of innovation and job creation, entrepreneurship has taken on a new level of significance in the global economy. However, certain countries lag behind others in terms of entrepreneurial activities. Differences in culture and business climate are the major factors affecting the level of entrepreneurship within a country.

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When the financial crisis hit the world in the fall of 2008 most sectors of the economy came crashing down with it. International trade was no different, and by some measures the decline was more pronounced. When world GDP began to contract and hit its bottom in 2009, exports dropped nearly 30%. One would expect a certain amount of withdrawal when a crisis of this magnitude hit but with such a huge drop off the question arises what other factors could have played in? The answer is not as simple as it may seem.

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Brazil has been a steady pillar of South America and the BRIC for the past few years, but things seem to be taking a turn for the worse.  Not only has the economic powerhouse been losing steam when it comes to industry domination, but also labor costs are being set ridiculously high.  KPMP’s 2012 Competitive Alternatives Report, which compares the structure of costs for companies in various countries while taking into account, taxes, labor, rent, and cost of capital, studied 19 industry sectors in the BRIC and nine other industrialized countries.  The commentary revealed that Brazil is the most expensive developing nation for doing business, only about 7% cheaper than the United States.

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Scientific advancements regarding genetic modifications have enhanced agricultural economies all throughout the globe.  Most recently, researchers have implemented a gene in soy that resists drought. Formerly used in sunflowers, the gene has been transferred and is being applied to soy in Brazil. Agriculture plays a prominent role in Brazil’s economy, accounting for 36% of exports; $7.9 billion alone was in agricultural exports to China. This reconstructed soy will not only allow for drought resistance, but also the ability to grow in salty soil, thus allowing soy development in previously uncultivated areas in Latin America. Of course, this expansion may lead to issues, both environmentally and economically.

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In Brazil, where young workers have typically opted to join large corporations in the public or private sector, statistics now confirm a rise in young entrepreneurs choosing instead to run their own franchise. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the number of Brazilians aged 18 to 24 that attempted entrepreneurship increased by 74% between 2002 and 2010, with the franchising model being the simplest and safest way to run their own business. The sector has experienced a 10-13% average annual increase since 2002, generated a profit of $44 billion USD in 2011 (89 billion reals), and is responsible for 837,000 jobs.

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Franchises have been booming worldwide. Close to 10 million employees work at approximately 400,000 franchise locations worldwide. Franchise owners enjoy that they can open a restaurant without as much risk, and the restaurants enjoy the increase in revenue coming from new stores in a variety of countries. One of the most recent booms in the franchise world is the massive growth in Latin markets. In the past year alone Brazil has experienced a 15% growth in franchises, Mexico has had a 13% increase, and Argentina also had double digit growth with 10.5%. 

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With large amounts of minerals and natural resources, the South American country of Brazil has received large amounts of attention as it economy continues to expand at a rather rapid pace. In 2010, the Brazil economy grew by a large 7.5 percent and has been named one of the key “BRIC” economies of the world along with Russia, India, and China. Brazil’s economic growth has far outpaced the United States and has also positioned Brazil as the world’s sixth-largest economy, just passing the United Kingdom’s economy this last year.

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With the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics both being held in Brazil, this large South American country is preparing for a major tourism boost to further advance its economy. Currently, Brazil’s tourism industry is not featured in the global top ten with only five million overseas visitors this past year. There are numerous reasons why Brazil remains a relatively untapped tourist destination but perhaps one of the biggest reasons is the perception of high crime levels. However, with the two major international events around the corner Brazil is looking correct to this problem in order to double the number of people visiting the country and expand its tourism industry.

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When world economies develop, massive urbanization soon follows.  As of 2008, there are now more people living in cities than rural areas around the world.  Countries currently experiencing significant urban growth have an opportunity to learn from developed nations that have experienced similar trends in the past.  With access to modern technology, cities can develop in smarter ways than ever before.  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is using thoughtful planning and foresight to establish a new standard for urban development that other regions are likely to follow.  

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Brazil has been growing like a weed and companies from all over the country and in all different industries have been benefiting. As the Brazilian economy continues to expand, consumers have found more and more discretionary income that needs to be spent. Two industries that have received a lot of this new wealth are the fast and casual dining sectors. Consumers have voted with their wallets - they are very hungry and are willing to pay for it.

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In 2009, China became Brazil’s largest trading partner in the world, overtaking the position that the United States has held since 1930. Brazilian exports are increasing rapidly to meet China’s immense demand for raw materials and commodities. On the other side of this trade relationship, cheaper goods imported from China are opening new horizons for Brazil’s growing middle class. This commercial relationship between these countries is continuing to grow and has reached an entirely new level.

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Valentine's Day, contrary to popular belief, is a holiday filled with history and tradition worldwide. There are several different legends that surround Valentine's Day and Saint Valentine himself. Legends vary from culture to culture, and so do the traditions and the ways that the holiday is celebrated.

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With China being one of Brazil’s most important trading partners, the two have created a whole lot of business and money-making opportunities for both countries. No person knows this more than Eike Batista, a Brazilian minerals tycoon that is now the eighth richest man in the world, with a wealth of $27 billion. He’s gotten there quickly, thanks in large part to China.

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Over the past ten years, Brazil has emerged as a major global power capable of wide scale competition in the international marketplace. Being the world’s fifth-largest land mass and the eighth-largest economy, Brazil has become one of the top global producers of market necessities including vegetables, minerals, water, and energy. Brazil’s economic growth correlates with the relative decline of United States influence in Latin America and the rise of new economic powers in Asia. Now, Brazil is looking to exert its force as a global heavyweight with an ambitious foreign policy.

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Although many people would not expect it, the eighth largest economy in the world is gradually remaking itself into the silicon valley of the rainforest and the next hot venture capital market. This is being fueled by a predicted growth rate of 7.1% and expectations to continue this tear through the end of the decade. It also sports 1.7 million IT professionals, 123 national institutes of science and 400 technology incubators throughout the country. There is also a great political environment where the government and private companies are currently spending 1% of GDP on developing high-tech industries such as aerospace, agribusiness, information technology, business-process outsourcing, semiconductors and telecommunications.

Investors have their checkbooks ready and are catching up on their Portuguese.

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After panic spread last year as the price of Sugar rose due to poor weather conditions in Brazil and India, things look hopeful as prices become more stable.  Sugar production is seasonal and is heavily affected by weather conditions.  Last year India struggled to produce sugar due to a long drought after the Asian Monsoon.  While India was waiting for water, Brazil struggled to keep the water away as it had heavy rains which created waterlogged crops. 

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The BRICs marketsBrazil, Russia, India and China – have survived the global economic crisis quite well, emerging even stronger than before. These counties have large surpluses in international trade as well as reserves in foreign currency, which really helped in the last downturn. They are on pace to equal the G7 in size by 2032, seven years earlier than originally predicted.

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Do you want to go out to eat? People around the world are saying “yes” to this answer, but are finding different venues to satisfy their hunger. In fact, you might be surprised to hear that 20% of the world’s food venues are street vendors! Did you know that of the 10 largest markets in the world in the food services industry, five are in East Asia? The industry is making some major shifts which are also specific to geographic location.

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When I think of Brazil, coffee, tropical fruits, and sugarcane come to mind. This is not only because I enjoy all three things, but also because Brazil leads the world in production of these goods.  Over the years, exporting these goods has been a key factor in generating growth for Brazil’s economy. Speaking of economic growth, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has been working towards poverty alleviation and economic growth for the past several years. In 2007, the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), an infrastructure development program meant to improve the country’s energy supply, road, rail, and other infrastructure needs, was established.

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How are filmmakers from developing countries helping students learn about strife and poverty across the globe?  How can a student in India earn a Masters degree in America without ever setting foot on campus?  The answer to these questions is the same: Technology.  Technological capabilities are improving at a break-neck pace.  At the same time, the demand for personal cultural awareness, advanced degrees and lower costs are more prevalent than ever.  International education now means much more than studying abroad.  In today’s society, new technological capabilities are allowing more people to develop skills at a lower cost.

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Lastly, we have the city which won the bid to host the 2016 Olympics: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! The historic selection of Rio makes it the first South American city to ever host the games, and the second ever to do so in Latin America. To better understand the effect the Olympics could have on Rio, it is important to examine the various facets of Rio and its diverse economy.

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Congratulations to the city of Rio de Janeiro for being selected as the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics Games! This will be the first time that the continent of South America will host any Olympic Games. With all the buzz surrounding this topic, we here at globalEDGE thought it would be great to do a series on each of the final four candidates that were chosen from. Each day next week we will dissect Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Madrid, and Chicago to show what makes them an international business hotspot. We hope you tune in next week for some amazing insights on four very diverse economies.

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Many people across the globe wake up every morning and require coffee within minutes to function during the day. The caffeine gives a kick-start to the long day at the office, in class, or wherever you may be. However, imagine waking up to a tea that can give you more than half the caffeinated zap of coffee plus tons of antioxidants and fewer jitters. I’m not asking you to totally end things with your old love, but simply, see other… beverages?

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With raw sugar prices soaring to a high of 24 cents per pound and the possibility of rising to 30 cents per pound, Brazil, the largest sugar-cane growing area in the world, has a few options. Brazilian factories can either continue producing ethanol, which is used for more than 90% of new cars in Brazil, or they can produce sugar, which can be sold 40% above cost.

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You may be surprised to learn that Brazil produced half of the world's coffee at one point. Although the nation doesn't enjoy this kind of pick-me-up dominance anymore, they still are the key player in the global market, and produce one-third of world's coffee beans. Despite the shear quantity of coffee coming out of Brazil, most consumers are more familiar with  Columbian beans, and Asian and African beans seem to be gaining in popularity. It's said that because of Brazil's large-scale production, the quality suffers. Poor quality controls and an economic crisis in the 80's and 90's led to less local consumption in Brazil. Their best beans were exported while they had the leftovers. I can see why coffee didn't appeal very much to Brazilians. In response to this unfavorable trend, the Brazilian Association of the Coffee Industry initiated a "coffee purity" program that was so succesful that it was expanded to 60 countries. That led to a more than doubling of sales in Brazil. Brazilians now consume more than any other nation with the exception of the United States.

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I am a huge fan of pretty much everything that Monocle publishes. They are always on the cutting edge, whether the topic is public affairs, business, or even culture and design. Recently they partnered with UK Trade & Investment to produce a series of videos on the business climate in different sectors and countries around the world. So far the topics have been: Doha, Boston, UK Creative Sector, UK Motorsport, London, São Paulo, Guangzhou, and Sofia. 

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We live in a world full of advertising. We see it on billboards, on TV, in the newspapers and online. The last time I went to the grocery store there were even LED advertisement screens hawking goods at the end of every checkout lane. Is there no place sacred anymore?!