Olympic host Brazil dominates list of world’s 50 most dangerous cities

January 22, 2015

Tim Johnson – McClatchyDC, 1/20/2015

Forty-three of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world are in Latin America, according to a survey released Tuesday, including 19 in Brazil, which will host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Mexico City didn’t make the list, and Ciudad Juárez, the border city with Texas that was once the world’s murder capital, fell this year to No. 27. But the fallen Mexican resort of Acapulco was No. 3, behind San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and Caracas, Venezuela.

This is the seventh year that the Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, a Mexico City advocacy, has compiled the list, based on official murder rates per 100,000 residents of cities with more than 300,000 people.

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Why Brazil Put Its Military In Charge of Cyber Security

January 15, 2015

Robert Muggah and Misha Glenny – Defense One, 1/13/2015

Brazil has embraced the digital age with more gusto than most. It is one of the top users of social media and recently signed-off on a bill of rights for the Internet, the Marco Civil. The country is also a leader in the development of online banking with more than 43 percent of web users engaging such services, and can be proud of a thriving software industry, including some world class companies.

But as computer users around the world are beginning to grasp, the spread of the digital world has its dark side. Alongside all the great things the Internet offers, not least new forms of political and economic empowerment, it brings some very serious threats.

Brazilians are waking up to the reality of online scams, hacking, espionage and digital surveillance. And while the government is taking cyber malfeasance seriously, it may have seriously misinterpreted the nature and significance of those threats and, as a consequence, the best way to tackle them.

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Correcting Brazil’s police violence: the case of Rio’s Pacifying Police Units

December 19, 2014

Layne Vandenberg – Brazil Institute, 12/18/2014

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Widespread protests against police violence and racism have recently scattered the United States after the release of the Ferguson (Michael Brown) and Eric Garner grand jury decisions. While Americans grapple with the reality of police violence, other countries live deeply entrenched in this reality. Scholar Ignácio Cano says there is “a Ferguson every day” in Brazil, and the state of Rio de Janeiro has been trying out a new policing strategy in hopes of improving community-police relations in its slums, called favelas.

Between 2009 and 2013, Brazilian police killed more than 11,000 people, or about six people per day. The 2014 edition of the Brazil Public Security Yearbook also found that 53,646 homicides occurred in 2013, or one person every 10 minutes.

With the highest per capita rate of killing of any Brazilian state and 6,826 homicides per year between 1991 and 2007, the state of Rio de Janeiro is “comparable with urban areas of countries in civil war.” But Rio needed a quick solution for its violent reputation among the international crowd. Rio is home to Maracanã stadium, where several 2014 FIFA World Cup matches, including the final, were held and the city is the host of the upcoming 2016 Olympic games. So how do you change the face of a city and a state in time for the world’s two largest sporting events?

The Rio state government’s solution: pacification.

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Rio protest: Brazil police demand tougher protection laws

December 15, 2014

AP – BBC News, 12/15/2014

Hundreds of Brazilian police officers and their relatives have taken part in a protest in Rio de Janeiro to demand tougher legislation for crimes against the police.

They are demanding changes in the penal code so that the killing of police officers be treated as heinous crimes. Eighty officers were killed in the line of duty in Rio this year alone.

In most cases, they died fighting the criminal gangs that control many of the city’s shantytowns, or favelas. During the week, protesters laid crosses on the sand of Copacabana beach with the names of the dead. Wearing predominantly black, some 500 people staged a march on Sunday to raise awareness to the problem.

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Brazil tops banking malware list

December 12, 2014

Angelica Mari – ZDNet, 12/12/2014

Cybercriminals have placed Brazil as the number one nation in a online banking trojan ranking as attempts to steal cash online saw a massive increase during the World Cup.

New research by Kaspersky Lab covering the period from November 2013 to October 2014 lists Brazil as the country with the largest number of users attacked by banking malware, followed by Russia and Germany.

Some 299,830 users fell victim to banking malware in Brazil during the period. Second on the list is Russia with 251,917 attacked users and Germany, with 155,773 malware attacks in 2014.

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Brazilian man says he killed dozens of women in Rio de Janeiro region

December 12, 2014

Jethro Mullen and Marilia Brocchetto – CNN, 12/12/2014

A Brazilian man has confessed to killing 39 women in the Rio de Janeiro region, police said Thursday — shocking claims that, if confirmed, would make him one of the most prolific serial killers in the country’s history.

In an interview with Brazilian broadcaster TV Globo, the alleged killer, Sailson Jose das Gracas, said that he carried out the first slaying when he was 17 and continued to kill over the next decade.

“I started robbing purses and small things like that,” he told TV Globo. “And as I got older, I started having a different thoughts. My thoughts started changing. From stealing, I started thinking about killing.”

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Brazil Has ‘a Ferguson Every Day’

November 27, 2014

Mac Margolis – Bloomberg View, 11/26/2014

Like many expatriate Americans, I spent a lot of time in August staring at video replays of the protests roiling Ferguson, Missouri, and beyond. After all, the story line — white cop shoots unarmed black man, streets erupt — seemed only too familiar, one of those signal moments by which the U.S. is seen and judged by the rest of the world.

But when I commented on the tumult to a senior Brazilian political journalist in Rio de Janeiro, where I live, he seemed underwhelmed. “Ah, I heard about that,” he said, laconically. Likewise, the Missouri grand jury’s failure to indict the police officer who’d pulled the trigger got little more than a few angry tweets and Facebook rants.

My Brazilian friend was not uninterested, merely inured. Racism, rogue cops and rough justice are as familiar here as flip flops and palm trees. Brazilian police killed 2,212 people last year, the Brazilian Forum of Public Safety, a national think tank, reported in a study published Nov. 9. Between them, report the authors, Brazilian state and federal police violence claimed more lives (11,200) in the last five years than did all U.S. police combined in the last 30 (11,090).

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