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Brazil’s first female president starts work

media Brazil's new female president Dilma Roussef Reuters

Brazil’s new President Dilma Roussef pledged to build on the policies of her hugely popular predecessor Luis Inacio Lula da Silva. On the first day of her mandate, Brazil’s first female president held talks with fellow leaders.

Dilma Rousseff, who on Saturday took over from her mentor, met the leaders of Uruguay, South Korea, Portugal, the Palestinian Authority, Cuba and Japan.

She started the bilateral meetings with a face-to-face with Spanish Prince Felipe de Asturias after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez allegedly cancelled talks and flew back to Caracas.

The leaders were among those present for her inaugural address on Saturday.

Brazil’s first female president was greeted by about 70-thousand well-wishers as she drove to the presidential palace for her inaugural address.

In a television address from the balcony of the presidential palace in Brasilia, Dilma Roussef said her government's main fight would be against poverty and for the creation of equal opportunities for all.

She repeatedly paid tribute to her predecessor whom she described as a great man and whose legacy she vowed to maintain.

The new Brazilian president outlined plans for tax reforms, environmental protection, improved health services and regional development.

Brazil's economy is strong and grew by 7.6 per cent in 2010. The country is also benefitting from recent oil finds which could turn it into a major-league exporter.

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