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Author Archive for Jonathan Watts in Rio de Janeiro

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Brazil police arrest close aide of president in World Cup scheme

Tadeu Filippelli, a former vice-governor of the capital and cabinet adviser, was among three senior politicians detained in Brazil’s latest corruption scandal

A new thread in the web of corruption investigations around Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, was revealed on Tuesday when police arrested a close aide for an alleged kickback scheme involving the World Cup stadium in Brasilia.

Related: Brazil: explosive recordings implicate President Michel Temer in bribery

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Outrage after Brazil football team signs goalkeeper convicted of killing girlfriend

Bruno Fernandes de Souza, who was released last month after serving partial sentence for murder of Eliza Samudio, received contract from Boa EsporteThe violence and misogyny of Brazilian society was highlighted on Monday when a second-division club sig…

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Outrage after Brazil football team signs goalkeeper convicted of killing girlfriend

Bruno Fernandes de Souza, who was released last month after serving partial sentence for murder of Eliza Samudio, received contract from Boa EsporteThe violence and misogyny of Brazilian society was highlighted on Monday when a second-division club sig…

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Cricket’s Brazilian outpost: how CCC thrive in the ‘corridor of sun certainty’

The rural backwater of Itaguaí is an unlikely hotbed of cricket, kept alive by expats and eccentricity and providing a world-class excuse for a party

“In all of this there was a comforting sense of the ridiculous.” So wrote Peter Fleming in Brazilian Adventure, which – eight decades after it was published – is still the sharpest piece of travel writing in English about South America’s biggest nation.

He was lampooning a hare-brained expedition of foreigners that set off from Rio de Janeiro in 1932 but his words could just as easily describe the cricket match that took place last Saturday in the city’s remote suburb of Itaguaí.

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Against the odds, Brazil’s Paralympics generates contagious enthusiasm

Gloomy forecasts have been brushed aside by the emotional drama, sheer entertainment value and an avalanche of home medals

Before she went to the Olympic Park this week, retired teacher Jane Mocho Moura was led to expect the Paralympics would be a furada – a disappointment or damp squib – with half-empty stadiums and disengaged audiences. What she found, however, was a contagious enthusiasm that has left her buzzing.

Related: Paralympic Games 2016: day six – in pictures

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Rio panic over Paralympics as ticket prices slashed to £2.30

Athletes fly in for opening ceremony as online campaign launched to fill stadiums with children

Less than a week before the Paralympics opens, organisers are hoping that a late surge of interest will help them to fill seats, stretch budgets and avoid criticism that the second stage of Rio 2016 will be remembered as the “neglected Games”.

Financial cuts, downgraded facilities, volunteer shortfalls and poor ticket sales have overshadowed the countdown to the opening ceremony at the Maracanã Stadium on Wednesday, prompting fears that the events could be even more sparsely attended than for the Olympics last month.

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Rio 2016: sporting showpiece threatens to become emblem of Brazil’s chaos

When Rio bid for the Games in 2009 it couldn’t have foreseen the ramshackle preparations coupled with a political and economic crisis and the threat of Zika

After more than than a decade of bidding, building, wishing and dreading, Rio de Janeiro is finally about to step into the full Olympic glare on Friday, but the host does not yet appear to have convinced its own people that it is ready or willing for the attention.

Cariocas – as Rio’s residents are known – were initially promised that the 2016 Games would mark Brazil’s long-anticipated arrival as a global power, but a final run-in of protests, bomb scares, political turmoil and financial woes, would leave many satisfied for the city to simply emerge with its reputation unscathed.

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Ecclestone mother-in-law rescued after hapless kidnappers made series of errors

São Paulo kidnappers left amateurish trail of clues that led police to rented flat where Aparecida Schunk was being held

A series of accidents and errors by bungling kidnappers led to the release – apparently with no shots fired and no ransom paid – of Bernie Ecclestone’s mother-in-law after nine days in captivity in Brazil, it has emerged.

Aparecida Schunk was found tied-up but unharmed in a rented flat on Sunday night in Cotia, a low-income district of São Paulo, after armed police from the city’s anti-kidnap division smashed down the garage door and stormed the building.

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Second fire at Olympic Village adds to woes of Rio 2016 organisers

  • Australian team briefly evacuates after fire in basement of building
  • Hosts have faced criticism for condition of competitors’ accommodation

Competitors have been forced to evacuate a building in the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro after the second fire in a week raised fresh concerns about safety standards.

Nobody was hurt in the blaze, which filled the stairwells of the building with smoke and was quickly extinguished, but it called into question the reassurances given two days ago by the Rio 2016 organising committee that the facilities were finished.

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Olympic flame extinguished by Rio protesters

• Teachers forced temporary halt and runner bussed away
• Stretch of torch relay route in Rio was missed out

Related: Olympic organisers put deadlines ahead of lives, claims Rio labour inspector

The Olympic torch relay was disrupted by striking teachers after it entered Rio de Janeiro. Video footage of the demonstration suggests the flame was extinguished while the runner carrying the torch had to be bussed to safety.

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Olympic organisers put deadlines ahead of lives, claims Rio labour inspector

• Eleven workers have died on construction projects
• Chief inspector of labour conditions criticises Rio mayor

Olympic organisers have put deadlines ahead of lives, resulting in the deaths of almost a dozen construction workers, according to Rio de Janeiro’s chief inspector of labour conditions.

Before a memorial ceremony for the families of the bereaved on Friday and amid continued unease about the slipshod conditions inside the athletes village, Raul Vital Brasil, who heads the security and health section of the work supervision bureau, said rushed construction caused by delays and poor planning was the primary factor in the high number of fatalities on Games-related infrastructure projects.

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Bernie Ecclestone’s mother-in-law reported kidnapped in São Paulo

Aparecida Schunck, mother-in-law of the Formula One billionaire, reportedly held at ransom amid concerns about safety in Brazil ahead of Rio Olympics

The Brazilian mother-in-law of Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has reportedly been kidnapped in São Paulo and is being held for ransom.

A ransom of $36.5m (£28m) has been demanded for the release of 67-year-old Aparecida Schunck, who was abducted last Friday night, according to the magazine Veja.

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Rio 2016: more than half of Athletes Village buildings still to pass safety tests

Less than two weeks before the start of the Games, 19 of 31 buildings have yet to pass full checks, with teams hinting they may demand compensationLess than two weeks ahead of the Olympics, the Rio 2016 organising committee has acknowledged that 19 of …

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Rio mayor Eduardo Paes: ‘The Olympics are a missed opportunity for Brazil’

From the Zika epidemic to a collapsing cycle path, the build-up to the 2016 Olympic Games has been dogged by controversy – but the host city’s mayor says criticisms of the way Rio has invested its Olympic funds are ‘crazy’

The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, believes crisis-hit Brazil has missed the opportunity of the Olympic Games to showcase itself on the global stage – but in an interview with the Guardian, strongly denied that Rio’s billion-dollar Olympic investment has ignored the poorer parts of his city.

Every host city faces controversy in the build-up to the mega-event, but a combination of recession, security breakdowns, the Zika epidemic, the Brazil president’s impeachment, budget cuts, infrastructure delays, environmental scares and complaints about displacement and gentrification have inflicted serious damage on the images of both Brazil and Rio.

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Brazilian soldiers begin patrolling Rio Olympic venues amid rising crime rates

Security operation of 85,000 personnel deployed month before summer games to ease concerns over violence, police strikes and economic and political turmoil

Brazilian troops have begun patrolling Olympic venues in an attempt to reassure athletes and visitors about a public security situation that even the Rio de Janeiro mayor has described as “horrible, terrible”.

With one month until the opening ceremony, rising crime and falling police budgets have pushed their way to the front of a long list of concerns, which also include water pollution, the Zika epidemic, recession and political turmoil.

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Rio Olympics committee warns athletes to take precautions against Zika virus

Rio 2016 organising group insists Games in August will not be affected by virus but tells visitors and athletes to shut windows and use mosquito repellent

Olympic organisers have insisted that the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro this August will not be affected by the outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil, but also warned athletes and visitors to smother themselves in mosquito repellent to minimise the risks.

At a press conference staged the day after the World Health Organisation declared that the clusters of brain-damaged babies – linked to but not proven to be caused by the Zika virus – constituted a global health emergency, the Rio 2016 organising committee said it would follow the guidelines issued by international and local authorities, but stressed this has not so far included a travel ban.

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Two African refugees aim to make history at 2016 Rio Olympics

The judoka, who are seeking asylum from the conflict-riven Democratic Republic of the Congo, are being considered in a new category of refugee athletesWhen Popole Misenga and Yolande Mabika fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo three years ago and …

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Fifa scandal fallout: critics scent blood as Brazilian old guard feel the heat

As Zico ponders throwing his hat into the ring to succeed Sepp Blatter, former Brazil strikers Romário and Ronaldo join calls for corruption to be wiped out to usher in a new era for the world game

In Brazil, the fall of the Blatter empire has unleashed a glorious turmoil that has set football legends against the kleptocrats who have long run the game.

Romário and Ronaldo, former national team strikers, have called for the resignation of the president of the Brazil Football Confederation. Zico has declared he may run to replace Blatter. And a grassroots organisation of professional players is demanding major reform.

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Brazil launches congressional inquiry into corruption after Fifa arrests

• Romário announces that support has been secured for inquiry
• Ex-CBF president José Maria Marin was among those arrested in Zurich
Fifa corruption crisis: the key figures

The fallout from the police swoop on Fifa executives continues to grow in Brazil, where the police and congress have launched inquiries into alleged money laundering and tax evasion.

The focus of the investigation is the former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) José Maria Marin, who was arrested in Zurich on Wednesday, but is likely to widen to include his predecessor and other senior football officials.

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Brazilian surfer ‘shot by off-duty police officer who had been on drinking binge’

Accusations by family of Ricardo dos Santos come as thousands attend funeral for 24-year-old in Guarda do Embaú

Brazilian surfing professional Ricardo dos Santos was shot in the back as he walked away from an off-duty police officer who had been on an all-night drinking binge, family members have told the Guardian.

The allegations emerged as thousands of mourners, including some of the world’s top surfers, attended a funeral for the 24-year-old on Wednesday at Guarda do Embaú, near where he was killed on Monday after an altercation with the officer, Luiz Paulo Mota Brentano, and the officer’s younger brother.

Will always remember him… So fearless in the water in heavy waves and so kind and gentle on land! Life is so so precious!

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