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Folha de S. Paulo, Nov. 24, 2015

Brazil is facing its greatest ecological disaster in memory after a huge wave of mud, caused by the Nov. 5 collapse of a dam at an iron ore mine, has reached the ocean, pouring its toxic waste into the Atlantic, Folha de S. Paulo reports.

The startling image on Tuesday's front page follows the destruction the 40 billions of liters of mud has left behind on its more than 600-kilometer course, along with the ecological impact on Brazil's impoverished northeast regions.

Samarco, the mining company that controlled the dam, admitted it used the dam to discard some of its toxic waste. On its way to the ocean, the brown wave reached the Rio Doce river, inflicting extensive damage to its delicate ecosystem. The disaster has killed at least 12 people, with 11 still missing.

In an interview with the BBC, Andres Ruchi, director of the Marine Biology school in the Espirito Santo state, said that "the flow of nutrients in the whole food chain in a third of the southeastern region of Brazil and half of the Southern Atlantic will be compromised for a minimum of a 100 years."

Samarco has already pledged to cover expenses up to 1 billion reais ($268 million), on top of a 250-million-real fine ($66 million), though experts say the damage will be far more costly. A Folha report also reveals that between 2011 and 2014, only 8.7% of fines issued by the federal environmental agency Ibama have actually been paid.

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food / travel

Premium-Economy Pivot? Airlines Adjust Seat Size, Hope For Travel Rebound

Airlines are eyeing premium economy seating options to woo money-conscious business class travelers, and possibly weary economy passengers, back to air travel.

Changing travel patterns have led to airlines offering new products and reconfiguring cabins

René Armas Maes

-Analysis-

SANTIAGO — Back in May, I wrote that full-service airlines should start analyzing the costs, benefits, and impact of the demand of business travel, and see whether they would profit from reducing seats in executive class cabins, and from developing products like the premium economy class, which lies between business and economy in terms of comfort and price. They should start doing this in the last quarter of 2021 — I wrote back in May — especially considering that the demand for business class seats and its revenues were unlikely to recover in the following 12 months. And that is what is happening now.

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