Monthly Archives: April 2015


RIO DE JANEIRO — The prospect of hosting the 2016 Olympic Games was presented to the people of Rio de Janeiro as a chance to showcase the city to the world, generate investment, and improve the lives of its residents — but two recent events illustrate how the combination of construction for the games and a worsening housing crisis has prompted accusations that Olympic preparations are riding roughshod over Rio’s most vulnerable inhabitants.

On Tuesday, police evicted squatters from an abandoned apartment building that onetime Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista had leased from the Flamengo soccer club, hoping to convert it into a swanky hotel for the Olympics before the collapse of his oil and mining empire.

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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO — Brazil’s economy will shrink by 1 percent in 2015, down markedly on previous forecasts, according to a report by the IMF released on Tuesday.

“Latin America’s outlook will continue to weaken due to lower commodity prices. Brazil’s outlook is also affected by a drought, tighter macroeconomic policies, and weak private sector sentiment,” the report said.

The IMF analysis also cited the risk of water and energy rationing and repercussions from a sprawling corruption scandal at state-run oil giant Petrobras, Brazil’s largest company, as complicating the country’s economic outlook.

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BBC News

 Watch the TV report here.

RIO DE JANEIRO — Exploring feelings through playing different roles is recognised as helping people with mental health problems. And the theory has led one doctor to bring Shakespeare to Rio de Janeiro.

“Ser ou não ser, eis a questão!” – “To be, or not to be. That is the question!” bellows a rugged, masked Hamlet, against the stunning backdrop of the Brazilian city’s golden Ipanema beach.

His fellow actors begin chanting Shakespeare’s famous words, before setting off in giddy skips, their faces in theatrical grimaces, around the circular stage. These performers are not part of a professional theatre company.

They are patients from the Nise da Silveira Psychiatric Hospital – many have diagnoses of severe schizophrenia and chronic psychosis.

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SÃO PAULO — Brazil’s hideously overcrowded prisons see frequent outbursts of extreme violence and murders, and are infamous for being in the stranglehold of sophisticated criminal gangs that are capable of orchestrating anything from synchronized mutinies to contract killings from inside their cells.

The country’s prison population is so vast and the authorities’ ability to contain it so stretched, the lack of security at some penitentiaries is almost surreal.

This week it emerged that inmates at a jail in Piauí, one of Brazil’s most impoverished states, are regularly slipping out to go on late-night crime sprees, robbing locals of a wish list of items banned in prison.

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