corporate diplomacy

Brazil is known worldwide for its soccer players and supermodels, its lively parties and an appreciation for living life passionately. Another well-known characteristic of the country is its high inequality spurred on by ineffective income distribution practices and clientelistic political systems.

Gender is once again on the World Economic Forum’s agenda. At this year’s Annual Meeting, a series of sessions will focus on the desirability of advancing the rights and economic power of women and girls around the world, and of continuing to close the gender gap in Western C-suites, boardrooms, parliaments and presidencies. These discussions will build on the Global Gender Gap Report 2013, published last November.

Last week saw five workers shot dead, at least thirty injured and twenty three arrested in a crackdown during a nationwide strike by garment workers, calling for an increase of the minimum wage in Cambodia from $100 to $160 per month. The deadly clashes took place near the Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh, home to factories producing clothing for brands such as adidas, Puma and H&M.

One of the mainstays of the Olympics is the myriad examples of branded merchandise that are sold to support the Games, not to mention burnish the images of official sponsors. The supporters of an effort to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens of Russia, where the Winter Games are to be held in February, are adapting that marketing tactic with a line of protest merchandise to be sold by American Apparel and promoted by athletes.

New Zealand's national airline unveiled a giant image Monday of the dragon Smaug on one of its planes to celebrate the premiere of the second movie in the Hobbit trilogy. Air New Zealand showed the 54-meter (177-foot) image that's featured on both sides of a Boeing 777-300 aircraft. The plane is scheduled to fly to Los Angeles in time for the premiere of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," which screens Monday, Pacific Standard Time at the Dolby Theatre.

The New England Patriots' cheerleaders spent two weeks in Beijing recently, leading pep rallies and cheer clinics. Former San Francisco 49ers superstar quarterback Joe Montana toured the Great Wall of China in between visits to local flag football games. They're both examples of an outreach effort by NFL China, the NFL organization tasked with recruiting NFL fans and introducing the game of American football to China's young atheletes.

A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry has entered the “kill everyone in China” row instigated by a late-night network television skit in the U.S. last month – asking for a more “sincere” apology than those already issued by ABC and show host Jimmy Kimmel. The controversial remark, made by a 6-year-old boy during an unscripted segment meant to satirize the U.S. government shutdown, has sparked protests from the Chinese-American community and calls for the comedian’s resignation.

Campaigners supporting the environmental group Greenpeace have briefly disrupted a Champions League match in Switzerland in a protest against the Russian energy giant Gazprom, a sponsor of the game. Four activists on October 1 abseiled from the roof of the stadium to the field in Basel and unfurled a banner that read: “Gazprom. Don’t Foul The Arctic.”