Natal Brazil

Information about the city of Natal, in Brazil.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

America is promoted to First Division

America NatalYesterday, America FC, one of the football teams in Natal, managed to qualify to play in the first division of Brazilian football in 2007.
America finished the Second Division in 4th place, and will be one of the 4 teams promoted to the First Division (the other ones are Atletico Mineiro, from Minas Gerais, and Sport Recife and Nautico, both from nearby State of Pernambuco).

This means that, in 2007, the major Brazilian football teams, such as São Paulo, Flamengo, Corinthians and others will play in Natal; it will be a good chance to go Machadao and watch some famous Brazilian players.

Since 1998, when America was demoted to 2nd Division, there had not been a team of the State in the First Division.
The other major team of Natal, ABC, is struggling to move from Third Division to Second Division (but is unlikely to succeed).
ABC is, still, the most popular team in Rio Grande do Norte (measured by number of fans). However, after several very bad seasons of ABC, some say that America is closing the gap, and may soon become the most popular.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Brazilian airports become a chaos

On September 29th, a tragedy occurred in Brazil: a Boeing 737 and a Legacy jet collided on air; the Boeing crashed, killing 155; the Legacy managed to land. Read what BBC wrote about the airplane collision in Brasil. Until today, the investigations about the causes of the accident are still in progress.

One of the possible causes is a failure in the Brazilian flight control; the failure can be human, of procedures or of equipments.
Since the accident, the flight control personnel, both military and civilian, has been declaring that they work in very stressful conditions; according to them, because there are too few flight controllers, each one of them is obliged to work long hours, and to control more flights at the same time than the recommended safe limit.

Since the last week of October, the flight controllers adopted a radical measure: they would follow ALL security rules. For example, they would work only the recommended number of hours; they would control only the recommended number of simultaneous flights; they would allow an aircraft to take off only thirty minutes after the previous one.

Result: the major Brazilian airports (Brasilia, São Paulo and Rio Janeiro) became a chaos. Some flights had delays of up to 24 hours; many flights were cancelled; the airport waiting rooms were overcrowded.

Natal was not in the center of the problem, but suffered the consequences. Most flights which arrive in Natal come from the major airports; when a plane delayed there, all the flights along the chain were also delayed.

The Brazilian authorities are trying to take measures to sort the situation, but any solution involves the training of new controllers, and it takes time.
Nobody can guarantee when the situation will return to normality.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Daylight Saving WILL NOT be adopted in Natal

At 00:00 am of November 5th, several States of Brazil, including Brasília, will adopt daylight saving time; clocks shall be setup to 01:00am. This will last until 00:00 am of February 25th 2007; then, in the States which adopted the saving time, clocks should be setup to 11:00 pm.

The States in the Northeast of Brazil (including Rio Grande do Norte) do not adopt the daylight saving time.
This means that, during that period, time in Natal will be one hour less than in Brasilia (when it is 8pm in Brasilia, it will be 7pm in Natal).
This difference may affect some activities, like watching Brazilian TV channels, or taking a long distance flight.

The intention of the daylight saving is, like everywhere in the world, to save energy.
In the Northeast, where sun rises sooner and sets later, it makes even more sense to adopt the new saving time. Actually, it doesn't make any sense to adopt the scheme in the South of Brazil and not to adopt it in the North.
It used to be the case that all States in the Northeast adopted the saving time. However, a few years ago, large States in the region like Bahia and Pernambuco refused to adopt it, alleging that, because people would have to leave home earlier, when the Sun wouldn't as high, there could be an increase in criminality.
Ever since, the entire Northeast is outside the daylight savings zone.

The maps below show the difference in time between Brazilian States.



Normal time in Brazil



Times during the daylight saving period

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A little more about the elections

Some people may find this interesting.

The elections finished at 5 pm, October 29th.

Before 9 pm of the same day, the new Governor was announced by the Electoral Court.

It took less than four hours to count all votes.
And despite the very tight difference in the number of votes (particulary in the first round), there was not any questioning by the any of the candidates. Nobody mentioned recounting, nobody doubts that the elections were free and fair.

For more than ten years, Brazil has been using electronic ballots.
After a ballot is closed, someone just picks up a diskette and takes it to the Electoral Court, where all diskettes are processed.
In this aspect, Brazil is a developed country.