Court in Brazil grants bail to defendants in deadly nightclub fire

May 30, 2013

Ben Brumfield, Marilia Brocchetto - 05/30/2013

When Brazilian judges announced their decision to grant bail to the defendants in a nightclub fire that killed 242 people, a woman in the courtroom let out a yell.

Her son died when a botched pyrotechnic display set concertgoers ablaze at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria in January.

For many loved ones attending the hearing, it felt as if those responsible for the deaths were getting off scot-free. Anger and disappointment at the decision spread Wednesday.

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Little done in Brazil to improve safety after fire

May 23, 2013

AP/ABC News, 05/23/2013

Little has been done to improve the safety of public gathering places since a nightclub fire killed 242 people earlier this year in southern Brazil, relatives of the victims said Wednesday.

The relatives met in Brasilia to discuss what safety measures have been adopted in Brazil since the Jan. 27 fire that destroyed the Kiss nightclub in the city of Santa Maria.

“Almost nothing has been done to improve the safety of nightclubs,” said Adherbal Alves Ferreira, whose 22-year-old daughter, Jennefer, perished in the fire. “We need more vigorous laws and demand they be followed and obeyed.”

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Frenzied scene as toll tops 200 in Brazil blaze

January 28, 2013

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 01/27/2013

A fire ignited by a flare from a band’s pyrotechnics spectacle swept through a nightclub filled with hundreds of university students early on Sunday morning in Santa Maria, a city in southern Brazil, killing at least 233 people, officials said.

Health workers hauled bodies from the club, called Kiss, to hospitals in Santa Maria all through Sunday morning. Some of the survivors were taken to the nearby city of Porto Alegre to be treated for burns. Valdeci Oliveira, a local legislator, told reporters that he saw piles of bodies in the nightclub’s bathrooms.

Col. Guido Pedroso de Melo, the commander of the city’s Fire Department, said in televised remarks that security guards had blocked the exit, which intensified the panic as people in the club stampeded to the doors.

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Sao Paulo crack addicts face obligatory treatment

January 14, 2013

BBC, 01/14/2013

Officials in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo are to begin making people addicted to crack cocaine get treatment.

A new law allows mandatory treatment for drug users in “advanced stages of addiction” and at risk of death. Social services, not police, will identify potential patients on the streets, the state government says.

A similar policy already targets addicted minors living on the streets of Rio de Janeiro.

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Death of boy, 10, sheds light on Brazil’s large-scale raids on ‘cracklands’

January 11, 2013

Rodrigo Viga Gaier – Reuters/NBC News, 01/10/2013

A 10-year-old Brazilian boy was hit by a car and killed on Thursday as he fled a drug sweep by police and social workers, reigniting debate over the government’s tough response to a surge in crack cocaine use.

The incident occurred around 4 a.m. on one of the main thoroughfares in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s main tourist destination, the city’s social welfare department said in a statement.

The boy, whose name was not released, was part of a large cluster of crack users who scattered as police and social workers approached.

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Brazil police banned from giving first aid to victims injured in violent crimes

January 10, 2013

Fox News/AP, 01/09/2012

Police in Brazil’s most populous state can no longer give first aid to victims injured in violent crimes or in shootouts with law enforcement officers.

Sao Paulo State Public Safety Department says in a statement posted on its website that as of Wednesday only emergency response teams and paramedics can provide treatment to victims at the scene of the crime or shootout with police.

Department head Fernando Grella Vieira said the state government enacted the measure “to safeguard the health of victims and guarantee the preservation of the crime scene for forensic investigations.”

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Rio state has 60,000 unsolved murders in 10 years

July 13, 2011

Associated Press/Miami Herald, 07/10/2011

Rio de Janeiro’s public defenders’ department says the Brazilian state has accumulated more than 60,000 unsolved murders in the last 10 years.

The department investigated the matter for the federal Ministry of Justice as part of a national plan to improve public safety.

The survey shows that 24,000 of the victims haven’t even been identified.

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Brazil, Paraguay agree to join forces against organized crime

June 30, 2011

Ronan Graham – InSight, 06/30/2011

Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota and his Paraguayan counterpart, Jorge Lara Castro, signed a number of bilateral agreements yesterday at the first day of a Mercosur summit held in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion.

The two countries agreed to improve their methods of exchanging information, and committed to share and co-ordinate research and technology related to drug trafficking.

The agreement also focuses on improving “public safety,” with the two countries committing to coordinating their efforts on preventing drug abuse and dealing with crimes connected to drug trade.

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