Brazil

Rio de Janeiro's carnival is like one of those lavish parties where all the guests show up early and start guzzling away while you're still upstairs, trimming your eyebrows.

Is there another city on earth that tosses aside its troubles with such gusto, and then dives into the dressing-up box with all the wild-eyed relish of The Cat in the Hat?

The carnival hasn't even officially opened, but this weekend several hundred thousand people were already out parading and partying beneath a steaming tropical sun.

Brazil's government is relocating gang bosses tied to a weekend prison riot that left 56 inmates dead and is the country's deadliest in nearly 25 years.

The inmates believed to be responsible for a riot in the Anisio Jobim Penitentiary Complex in Manaus will be transferred to high-security institutions as they await prosecution for the 17-hour standoff, The Associated Press reports.

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Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

From the front steps of Rio de Janeiro's Municipal Theater, the ballet company danced, and opera singers belted out the strident "Carmina Burana."

It was last month, and the show was an artistic public protest. The performers, all state employees, haven’t been paid for weeks and won’t be getting paychecks until Dec. 5.

The same day, outside a state-run hospital in Rio’s Tijuca neighborhood, a doctor shrugged when asked about the long lines of people waiting to be treated. “It’s total chaos in there,” he says.

A plane carrying a Brazilian professional soccer team crashed in the mountains near Medellín, Colombia, late Monday, killing 71 people.

Five people survived the crash of the charter plane, according to authorities. Officials initially reported that the plane was carrying 81 people and that, variously, 75 or 76 of them had died.

"The British Aerospace 146 aircraft was carrying Brazil's Chapecoense soccer team to a tournament in Medellín, Colombia's second-largest city," John Otis reports for NPR from the Colombian capital, Bogotá.

Marco Ugarte / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

You’ve heard of the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance program, right?

Don’t worry, neither have most Americans – even though what TAA does should have been front and center in the presidential campaign. More important than Hillary’s crafty emails. More significant than Donald’s creepy libido. Sorry, the President-elect’s creepy libido.

Coffee lovers, alert! A new report says that the world's coffee supply may be in danger owing to climate change. In the world's biggest coffee-producing nation, Brazil, the effects of warming temperatures are already being felt in some communities.

When the test scores came out, Lucas Siqueira, 27, was really excited. His high mark on the Foreign Service exam earned him a coveted position at Brazil's highly competitive Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"They hire 30 diplomats a year and thousands of people sign up," he says in fluent English from his home in the capital Brasilia.

It was, he says, a great day.

Siqueira considers himself to be mixed race, known in Brazil as pardo, or brown.

Brazil ousts the right-wing lawmaker who pushed for Rousseff's impeachment

Sep 14, 2016
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Adriano Machado/Reuters

Brazil's lower house of Congress voted Monday to oust its former speaker Eduardo Cunha. He's the one who spearheaded the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff — only to suffer his own corruption-stained downfall.

Cunha has been compared to the manipulative villain Frank Underwood of Netflix's "House of Cards." The real-life politico was stripped of his seat in the Chamber of Deputies by a resounding vote of 450 in favor, 10 against and nine abstentions.

Weeks after he left Rio's 2016 Summer Olympics under a cloud, U.S. swimming star Ryan Lochte is being punished for his behavior in Brazil, which ranged from an altercation at a gas station to making claims that he was robbed — claims that were later deemed to be false.

Nelson Antoine / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

If you needed another reminder that the new Brazil is really just the old Brazil, here’s some handy news:

Yet another epic public fraud scheme has emerged this week – a $2.5 billion scandal involving the pension funds of Brazil’s largest state-run companies.

This latest financial atrocity adds one more fetid float to Brazil’s long samba parade of corruption – including the $3 billion bribery horror at the state-run Petrobras oil firm.

Brazil's suspended president, Dilma Rousseff, faced her country's Senate on Monday, making one last case for herself as her impeachment trial nears its end.

"I have honored my commitments to democracy and the rule of law," she told the senators, according to a BBC interpreter. "I am going to look in your eyes and I will say with the serenity of someone who has nothing to hide that I haven't committed any crimes."

The impeachment trial opens today for Brazil's suspended president, Dilma Rousseff, over alleged fiscal mismanagement.

It's the final phase of a long process that could potentially remove her from office, as NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro reports from Rio de Janeiro. "It's really the end of the line," she tells Morning Edition, and says witnesses from the prosecution and defense will appear in the Senate and face questioning.

Brazil Police via AP

COMMENTARY

I don’t wear Speedo swimsuits. I obey the unwritten law – which ought to be codified criminal statute – that middle-aged men don’t wear them.

But I’m a Speedo fan this week. Not because the company said it will no longer sponsor Lamebrain Lochte (his real first name is Ryan) for his boorish behavior in Rio de Janeiro last week. And not because most of Lochte’s other corporate patrons dumped his clueless kiester, too.

Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, American swimmers who were with Ryan Lochte last weekend when their group reportedly suffered a robbery, were pulled off their flight home from Rio's Summer Olympics on Wednesday by police seeking answers about the reported robbery.

No one would want to throw the biggest party in the world if they were in the middle of divorce, broke and being audited.

That's pretty much the situation Brazil finds itself in right now, during the Summer Olympic Games.

President Dilma Rousseff is in the midst of being impeached. Her trial starts in a few days, after the end of the games. The country is going through a historic recession and budgets are being repeatedly slashed. And the largest corruption investigation in Latin American history has taken down politicians and captains of industry alike.

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