Well tonight is the expected Chesney interview.... I think we will be blogging live... depending of how the piece goes... because I might tune in Bill Maher instead. But in the meanwhile, here are some interesting information of the city of Manaus, from where Anderson Cooper Petting Zoo expedition is supposed to be transmited next Monday. Probably he rather pet a little piranha instead of going back to New York... that would be a great headline: Jeff Corwin saves Anderson Cooper of the Piranhas, although I think that kid - AC - knows how to swim with sharks...
Manaus (formerly Manáos) is a city in northwest Brazil and capital of Amazonas State. Located on the Negro River near its confluence with the Amazon, it is the chief port and a hub for the region's extensive river system. Manaus estimated population is 1,800,000 inhabitants.
Manaus is a cosmopolitan city and, because of its location in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, it attracts a substantial number of Brazilian and foreign tourists who can find plenty of boat and land trips into the surrounding jungle. A great diversity of wildlife can be found even in the surroundings of Manaus. It is also place for one of the most endangered primates in Brazil: the Pied tamarin.
The Amazonas Theather , an opera house built in 1896 is a notable landmark of Manaus, reflecting the massive wealth of the turn of the century rubber boom. The theatre was prominently featured in Werner Herzog's 1982 film Fitzcarraldo. The elegant interior of this 1896 opera house, completed after 15 years, contains crystal chandeliers, wrought-iron banisters, and Italian frescoes; it also contains a museum. Enrico Caruso and Sarah Bernhardt performed there.
Manaus is one of the most isolated metropolitan areas of the world, accessible by ground transportation only by two highways or by the rivers surrounding the city. The city is served by the Eduardo Gomes International Airport.
Manaus time is 1 hour earlier than Brasília, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (GMT - 3 hrs). Roughly two-thirds (60%) of the population of the Brazilian state of Amazonas (which has an estimated population of 2.8 million habitants) lives in Manaus or in the greater metropolitan area.
It is warm all year round and, there is a `dry season' in the summer months of July - August - September, the period of the conference, with the temperatures around 26 °C - 36° C.
Although the main industry of Manaus through much of the last century was rubber, it is no longer as important as it once was. Given its location, timber and Brazil-nuts make up important trades, as do petroleum refining, soap manufacture and chemical industries. Over the last decades, a system of federal investments and tax incentives have turned the surrounding region into a major industrial center as a Free trade Zone (the Zona Franca of Manaus).
On October 24, 1848 Manaus was granted city status and became the Capital of the state of of Amazonas since 1850. .
Years later, one of the most important economic booms hit the state: the Rubber Trade. During these years, northern immigrants fled the droughts and settled down near the rubber plantations. There was only one dream: to get rich. At the same time, English alliances played an important role in improving the city infrastructure. A sewer system, plumbing, electricity, a port, and electric streetcars contributed to the city's development. Many of these services did not even exist yet in other parts of the country.
The Rubber Boom was an era of great luxury during which time merchants sent their children off to Europe to study and the local buildings were built entirely of material imported from Europe. The famous Teatro Amazonas opera house and the Mercado Municipal market are highlights of this time and even today remain proud landmarks of a local architecture whose style denotes neoclassicism and art nouveau influences.
Later, for half a century the city suffered from the drastic plunge in rubber prices brought about by Asian competition. As a solution to this problem and to ensure that regional development would continue, a Free Trade Zone was created in Manaus in 1967. As a result, Manaus experienced a massive influx of tourists and a number of hotels were constructed to cater to the growing tourist industry. Today, the Free Trade Zone is still the State's main source of income.
In the last 20 years, Manaus population grew from 200,000 to almost 2 million in 2000.
Let´s see some exotic Jungle locations:
Manaus Opera House They are known for using sloths instead of puppets in their children theater. ( FYI I'm being sarcastic here!)
CIGS Zoo The Cigs Zoo is the largest animal centre in the entire Amazon region. It houses all sorts of animals from leopards to birds.
The cottages they will have to stay Manaus Tropical Hotel
Universidade Federal do Amazonas Cool Classroom!
A pity that you can't go around nekkid or at least topless...
Manaus a metropolis in the middle of the forest.
The system of river in the Amazon region, which offers one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles, is an important network of navigable freshwater waterways integrating the most diverse regions in the country. Both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans can be reached through such waterways. This fact has attracted many maritime transportation companies motivated by the average increase of 70% in exports throughout the last four years. This has awarded the Manaus Industrial sector one of the best exporting performances in the country.
The increase in exports has reflected the aggressive policy adopted by the established industries in the search for new markets. The Manaus Free Trade Zone products have at their disposal the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) comprising such countries as Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Together they add up to approximately 12-million square kilometer geographic area with a 217-million people market and a GNP in excess of U$ 1 trillion representing one of the world’s fourth largest economies.
MERCOSUR has also signed Free Trade Area Agreements with Bolivia, Chile and the Republic of South Africa that turns it into a 282-million people market.
Another potential market for the PIM’s exports is the CAN (Andean Community) Free Trade Area comprising such countries as Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru with a 105-million people market and a GNP of 267 billion Dollars. And, furthermore, NAFTA, European Union and Japan.Brazil's resurgent Amazon powerhouse By Kieran Cooke Manaus, Brazil When Jose Fujita heard his company was opening a factory in Manaus, a city in the heart of the Amazon, he jumped at the opportunity to relocate from Sao Paulo. "In Sao Paulo, life is getting difficult, crime is increasing and the pollution is very bad," says Mr Fujita, a finance manager with components manufacturing company Wapmetal. "In Manaus, there are good jobs, things are much more peaceful and my family can breath clean air." More Brazilians are following the Fujita family's lead. Twenty years ago, the population of Manaus, the capital of Amazonas - by far Brazil's biggest state - was less than 200,000. Now, nearly two million people live in the city.
The main stimulus to the growth of Manaus has been the development of a free trade zone, founded in the mid-1960s by Brazil's then military government and now cited as one of the country's great economic success stories. People call Manaus 'Brazil's China' - outsiders find it hard to believe such industry exists in the heart of the jungle Jose Johnes Lima, Wapmetal The Manaus Free Trade Zone employs 125,000 people in nearly 500 industries. Honda has one of its biggest factories outside Japan in Manaus and produces more than one million motorbikes a year both for the Brazilian market and for export. Locals boast that every TV set in Brazil is made in Manaus. Nokia, the Finnish telecoms giant, employs 1,500 in the zone, Gillette has its biggest plant in South America in Manaus, while US motorbike manufacturer Harley Davidson has its only factory outside the US in the city.
Yet this manufacturing powerhouse - located in a city surrounded by vast tracts of jungle and where temperatures rarely drop below 30C - is to some extent cut off from the outside world. There are only a few dirt roads out of Manaus. The main means of transport is either by air or by navigating the mighty Amazon - a five-day boat journey from Brazil's Atlantic coast 1,000 miles away. "People call Manaus 'Brazil's China'," says Jose Johnes Lima, the head of Wapmetal's factory in the free trade zone. "Outsiders find it hard to believe such industry exists in the heart of the jungle," he says. "This place is booming with many plants working 24 hours a day. In Sao Paulo we employ 600, but demand is growing so fast in Manaus, we decided to open a second factory here."
For many years, the Manaus Free Trade Zone functioned as a low-cost assembly area. In the early 1990s, in the midst of a currency crisis in Brazil, the government brought in new laws, which insisted on ever greater shares of local content in goods manufactured in the zone. "For a few years, life here was very tough," says Fabio Silva, a technical manager at the large local plant of Samsung, the South Korean electronics group. "People feared it might be the end of employment in the city, yet we had built up a skills and technical base and both foreign and Brazilian companies have found Manaus a very good place to manufacture. "Twenty years ago there were only three colleges in the city; now there are 19 technical colleges and university institutions, and companies come here to take advantage of the expertise available."
Manaus has had a mixed history. In the 19th Century, the city grew rich on the proceeds of rubber, tapped from trees native to the Amazon. Local rubber barons and foreign traders built mansions. The city's famous pink opera house, the Teatro Amazonas, is testament to the wealth of those times, with its ornate sculptures and lavish furnishings imported from Europe. The main market, the Mercado Central, where traders gut and sell a seemingly infinite variety of Amazon fish, was also built during the rubber boom years, modelled on the old Les Halles market in Paris. Those prosperous years came to an end as new, more efficient rubber plantations opened up in what were then the British colonies of Ceylon and Malaya. Manaus, which lies close to where the three great tributaries that form the Amazon meet, went into a long period of decline. The free trade area has reversed the fortunes of Manaus, with unemployment in the city at 5%, compared with a countrywide official figure of more than 10%.
But there are concerns that Manaus is becoming a victim of its own success. Infrastructure development has failed to keep pace with the city's growth. Manaus has no sewage plant. The bustling port is often unable to cope with the volume of goods going up and down the Amazon. Many electronics components for the city's factories are flown in, but bottlenecks have developed, particularly in the wake of the recent financial turbulence at Varig, Brazil's national carrier. There have also been complaints by workers about having to work excessively long shifts, and wages remain much lower than those paid in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's economy has expanded in recent years, with the value of exports nearly doubling between 2002 and 2006. However, environmentalists have expressed growing concern that vast areas of the Amazon rain forest are being deforested in order to feed the fast expanding trade in agricultural products. Eduardo Braga, Governor of Amazonas, says the success of the Manaus Free Trade Zone has led to his state having the lowest deforestation rate in Brazil. "Industry, not agriculture, is the driving force in Manaus," says Mr Braga. "We are proud to call the Free Trade Zone our green area. It provides jobs and income to many thousands of people, while at the same time, it helps to preserve the greatness of the rain forest." Story from BBC NEWS: