Brazil’s silent abortion dilemma

September 30, 2014

Julia Carneiro – BBC News, 09/30/2014

The risks faced by Brazilian women seeking an abortion has been highlighted by the brutal death of a 27-year-old woman.

Abortion is only legal under the most exceptional circumstances in Brazil – a traditionally Catholic country.

A recent poll suggested around 79% of the population opposed legalisation but figures suggest that one in five women in the country have had an abortion by the age of 40.

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Brazil releases ‘good’ mosquitoes to fight dengue fever

September 25, 2014

Julia Carneiro – BBC News, 09/24/2014

Brazilian researchers in Rio de Janeiro have released thousands of mosquitoes infected with bacteria that suppress dengue fever. The hope is they will multiply, breed and become the majority of mosquitoes, thus reducing cases of the disease.

The initiative is part of a programme also taking place in Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia. The intercellular bacteria, Wolbachia, being introduced cannot be transmitted to humans.

The programme started in 2012 says Luciano Moreira of the Brazilian research institute Fiocruz, who is leading the project in Brazil.

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Brazil’s Biggest City Is Running Dry

September 25, 2014

Mac Margolis – Bloomberg, 09/24/2014

God, the natives like to say, is Brazilian. So with the country weathering its worst drought in decades, it’s no surprise that officials in the worst-hit regions are pleading force majeure. Geraldo Alckmin, governor of water-stressed Sao Paulo, chalked up the emptying reservoirs to “exceptional” and “unimaginable” drought.

But Saint Peter, the national patron saint of rain, gets a bum rap. The great Brazilian dry spell is as predictable as Sunday mass, and this year’s is no exception. Sao Paulo owes its skyline in large part to the hands of men and women who fled the parched backlands of the northeast to become bricklayers and steelworkers in the country’s biggest metropolis. One of them was Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who wet his whistle with politics and became a rebel union leader and then president.

Now the problem has migrated, too. Sao Paulo, the nation’s most prosperous state, is facing its worst dry snap in four generations. Last week, the water level in the region’s biggest reservoir, the Cantareira complex, dropped to just 8 percent. The state sanitation authority, Sabesp, is offering fat discounts to consumers who slash their yearly water use by at least 20 percent. Dozens of cities are already rationing water.

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First domestic case of chikungunya in Brazil

September 17, 2014

Channel NewsAsia, 09/16/2017

Brazil’s authorities on Tuesday (Sep 16) reported the first domestically contracted cases of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, prompting the government to announce it was stepping up attempts to control the disease. The joint disease, which causes high fever and painful arthritis, is endemic to Africa and south Asia but has been moving north as well as west.

Brazil’s cases emerged in Oiapoque municipality in the northern region of Amapa, bordering French Guiana, where cases have also been reported. The Brazilian health ministry said the two sufferers appeared not to have traveled abroad recently, suggesting they must have contracted chikungunya in Brazil.

The country reported 37 cases between January and this month, although on each occasion the patient had contracted the disease abroad. A health ministry spokesman said the government would “step up control measures” to combat an illness which bears some resemblance to dengue fever and for which there is no vaccine.

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Brazil Removed From UN World Hunger Map

September 17, 2014

Associated Press – ABC News, 09/16/2014

The Brazilian government Tuesday hailed a new United Nations report that for the first time removed Latin America’s biggest country from the World Hunger Map.

“Leaving the Hunger Map is a historic milestone for Brazil. We are very proud because overcoming hunger was a priority for the Brazilian state,” Social Development Minister Tereza Campello said in a statement.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014 was released Tuesday by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the United Nations World Food Program. According to the report, the number of undernourished Brazilians has fallen by more than 80 percent in 10 years.

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Brazil denies blocking Africans’ entry to guard against Ebola

September 11, 2014

EFE – Fox News Latino, 09/10/2014

Brazilian immigration authorities denied Wednesday that they are blocking the entry of African immigrants due to fears that they might be carrying the Ebola virus, which has killed nearly 2,300 people in West Africa since March.

The Federal Police, who are responsible for border control, responded to press accounts that their agents are blocking the entry of immigrants from Africa in the Amazonian state of Acre, on the border with Peru and Bolivia.

“Immigration control in the state of Acre is functioning normally and there is no order to restrict the access of Africans to the national territory,” the Federal Police said in a statement. The force said that it will adopt the necessary disciplinary measures if it is verified that any of its agents have engaged in “irregularities” while handling African immigrants.

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