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Two crises are in the headlines today, but I'll let the Associated Press handle the one that took place in the Salvador airport, where two sexagenarian German tourists were arrested for changing their clothes in public. (They didn't think it was offensive by Brazilian standards to strip in public, or something like that.)
But the dominant news is the disastrous December numbers out from the Brazilian government on industrial production: down, overall, 14.5 percent compared to December 2007, and the worst December in 17 years. Economists are busy recalculating their estimates for how much the overall economy will shrink in the fourth quarter (around 2 percent, it seems), and perennial crisis-denier Lula is finally admitting that the economy could be retracting. A chart in the business newspaper Valor Economico (not on its website, as far as I can find) shows which sectors were hit the hardest. And the loser is: office machines and computer equipment, down 29.1 percent. Also bad: electronics (-20.8 percent) and rubber and plastic (-16.5 percent). On the other hand, food production increased slightly (+0.4 percent) and pharmaceuticals showed an impressive increase (+14.8 percent), which is good news for me, because I'm hungry and I have a headache.