Natal Brazil

Information about the city of Natal, in Brazil.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

3G in Natal

Last week, cell phone operator Claro announced that they would start to offer 3G GSM services in Natal.
Claro is offering both phone services and data transfer (internet) services.
Users of 3G GSM cell phones should, supposedly, be able to transfer data at higher rates; claro says that even live video conferences will be possible.

To transfer data, users will have to buy a small 3G modem, connected to the USB port of notebooks (this site brings information about notebooks in Brazil, as well as businesses selling and servicing notebooks in Natal).
Claro offers several plans, with different prices, data transfer volumes and data transfer rates. If you are going to contract the service, make sure to ask about all the limitations; last I checked, Claro states, in the fine prints, that they only guarantee that the transfer rate will be 10% (ten percent) of the rate established by the contract.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Governor's son is arrested

On June 13th, the Federal Police conducted an operation which resulted in the enprisonment of 13 people, one of them being Lauro Maia, son of Governor Wilma de Farias (Lauro's father is Lavoisier Maia, currently a State Representative).
Maia is accused of leading a group which commits frauds against the Public Administration. Some companies would arrange prices among themselves before the bidding process, resulting in a much higher price to be paid by the Government; several civil servants (including Attorneys and Secretaries of State) were bribed to turn a blind eye to illegalities.

The case gained national repercussion (see a wikipedia page and a report by Folha de Sao Paulo).
In Natal, newspaper Tribuna do Norte, which is controlled by a group of opposition to the Governor, published detailed reports about the affair (see here and also this note, where Tribuna recalls that Lauro Maia had also been indicted by the Federal Police in 2005, charged of using political influence to commit frauds to evade taxes).
On the other hand, the other major newspaper in Natal, Diario de Natal, which is controlled by the group which supports Wilma, published only the barely minimum about the scandal.

The Governor said that she believes in the innocence of her son.

Update, June 25th. All the 13 people were released. Members of the Government (including the chief Attorney) are saying that there was abuse of power in the Higia Operation (i.e., people were undully arrested).
The population are starting to believe that, once again, there will be political arrangements so that nobody pays for their crimes.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Natal City Park - designed by Oscar Niemeyer

The Mayor of Natal announced yesterday (Environment Day) that the Parque da Cidade (City Park), whose official name is Parque da Cidade Dom Nivaldo Monte, will be opened later this month.

The City Park will cover an area of 64 hectares, aimed at environmental preservation and education, and will comprise eco-trails, jogging lanes, library, auditorium, orchidarium and more. The symbol of the Park should be the central tower, about 30 meter high, which will house the Memorial of the City; the Memorial should maintain exhibits about the History and Development of Natal.

The area where the Park will be located is, like most of Natal, covered by dunes. It will be the second largest Park in Natal, the biggest being Parque das Dunas. And just like Parque das Dunas, this new park will have an important role in keeping a good environment health: these parks function as a large filter, which captures rain water and cleans it before reaching the freatic sheet; they help maintain thermal balance; they shelter several species of fauna and flora; they add green space to the city.

The Park was designed by world famous architect Oscar Niemeyer, the same who designed all the important buildings in Brasilia, the seat of United Nations in New York and several other known buildings around the world.