President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva last week pledged massive spending to build highways, railroads, ports and housing projects, in a bid to help ensure the economy maintains its brisk expansion. Millions of jobs will be created as Brazil becomes an “immense construction site,” the president said in a 10-minute year-end speech broadcast nationwide. Lula said USD 285 billion will be invested in transportation, energy, housing and sanitation projects in the next few years. Another USD 10 billion will be spent improving public safety and education through 2010, he said. (AP)

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