Brazil  was considered the great success story of Latin America. But as it heads to the polls, later in October, to elect the country's president - it is the legacy of the last president which looms large, among the questions about what has gone wrong under the current administration.

There are two main competitors in this presidential race, President Dilma Rousseff and the challenger Marina Silva, however there is almost a third player, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is considered to be responsible for Brazil's stellar growth where it averaged 4.5 percent between 2004 to 2010.

He handed Brazil over in very good shape to current President Dilma Rousseff, however the economy has not performed as strongly since. This week, the Central Bank said it expects this year's GDP to grow by 0.7 percent, down from 7.5 percent growth when she took office. Unemployment in August was 5 percent, its lowest for the time period since 2002.

So what has gone wrong? Will elections make a difference? And what is China's role?

Al Jazeera's Gabriel Elizondo reports from Brazil, and Carlos Pio, a professor for international political economy at Australia National University, joins Counting the Cost to discuss Brazil's economic woes.

Occupy Hong Kong  

Hong Kong has become the flashpoint for a pro-democracy movement no one really saw coming and which is challenging Beijing's longterm power.

The so-called Umbrella Revolution has been accused of spreading chaos in the financial hub. The concern is echoed by business leaders, who say that if the protests continue, Hong Kong's economy will take a hit.

Divya Gopalan reports on the economic impact of Hong Kong's occupy movement.

Argentina: An inevitable crisis?

Argentina's inability to meet its debt commitments has dashed hopes of obtaining badly needed international credit.

But while the government is in desperate need of cash, it continues to spend - much of it on social projects and subsidies which many economists warn are taking South America's second largest nation to the brink of bankruptcy.

So will the government pull back on its spending?

Lucia Newman reports from Argentina.

'Conflict minerals'

In places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, metals are unearthed, people are exploited, huge money is made, weapons flourish and so one of the most vicious long-running conflicts in Africa is fuelled. As many as five million people have died in around a decade.

However, Colombia is facing the same problem: In La Toma, mining has always been a communal affair. As their ancestors have done for hundreds of years, men and women of all ages chip away at the rocks in search of gold.

For 20 years the community has managed to defend their territory from powerful interests and large-scale mining but they say they are now proving defenseless against the latest threat.

Half a dozen illegal mines scar the river along the valley. Under control of armed men, bulldozers dig holes day and night. The community says FARC rebel and criminal gangs exploit them, leaders receive death threats for reporting their presence, and some had to leave.

Experts say illegal mining now outstrips drug trafficking as the main sources of criminal income in many regions in Colombia.

Al Jazeera's Alessandro Rampietti reports from Bogota.

Source: Al Jazeera