Rio Olympics: Brazil weighs jihadi threats

CNN, 07/21/2016

Brazil’s intelligence agency said it was reviewing all threats against the Rio 2016 Games after a jihadi messaging channel called for its followers to target the Olympics.

“Many [threats] are discarded and the ones that deserve attention are investigated exhaustively,” the agency said.

Earlier this week, a jihadi channel on the messaging app Telegram called for attacks against the Games and detailed targets and methods, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

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Brazil’s Olympic Greeting: Welcome to Hell

Beth McLoughlin – U.S. News, 07/18/2016

RIO DE JANEIRO — In Brazil’s oldest favela of Providencia, Diego Deus lives with his wife and 6-month-old son. He can walk to work at the Museum of Modern Art, a gleaming new addition to the city’s port zone that has been redeveloped in advance of this summer’s Olympic Games.

Unemployment has been steadily climbing in Brazil, a country in its worst recession since the 1930s, but Deus is one of many Rio residents who has found work directly or indirectly as a result of the Games. Proud of his neighborhood, he resisted being moved when 200 people were evicted to renovate Providencia.

“They wanted to take my house out [to build a cable car], but I resisted,” Deus says. “I don’t see myself living anywhere else. It might seem strange to say it, but I feel safe here, I can go out and leave my door open. People look out for you.”

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Missing ex-Gitmo detainee unnerves Brazil

Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 07/06/2016

Brazilian police are trying to locate a former detainee of the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay after reports of his disappearance from Uruguay caused alarm in the country only a month before it is due to hold the 2016 Olympics.

The Uruguayan media reported that the former US prisoner, Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab, had been missing from his adopted home for three weeks and had possibly gone to Brazil.

“The federal police states that it has taken diverse measures and until now there is no confirmation of the entrance or presence of this foreigner on national soil,” the Brazilian federal police said in a statement.

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Brazil Replaces Antidoping Agency Chief

Will Connors – The Wall Street Journal, 06/30/2016

RIO DE JANEIRO—Brazil has replaced the head of its antidoping agency just weeks before the Olympics begin, adding to the uncertainty around efforts to keep the Summer Games clean.

The move comes after the World Anti-Doping Agency earlier this month suspended the Rio lab that was to be the center of athlete drug testing during the August games.

Marco Aurélio Klein will be replaced by  Rogério Sampaio, a former Olympic judo athlete, according to the Brazilian Ministry of Sports.

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Brazil’s Shuttered Anti-Doping Lab

Matt Vasilogambros – The Atlantic, 06/24/2016

Rio de Janeiro may not have an anti-doping laboratory for the Olympic Games this summer.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said Friday it was suspending the city’s accredited laboratory from conducting tests on urine and blood samples due to “non-conformity” with the International Standard for Laboratories. The suspension, which took place Wednesday, will remain in place until the Brazilian Doping Control Laboratory “is operating optimally.” WADA did not specify on the lab’s shortcomings.

Announcing the suspension, Olivier Niggli, the incoming director general of WADA, said:

“The Agency will ensure that, for the time being, samples that would have been intended for the Laboratory, will be transported securely, promptly and with a demonstrable chain of custody to another WADA-accredited laboratory worldwide. This will ensure that there are no gaps in the anti-doping sample analysis procedures; and that, the integrity of the samples is fully maintained.”

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Brazil minister says no plans to cancel Rio Games

Stephen Wade – Associated Press, 02/05/2016

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian organizers have reiterated they have no intention of canceling the Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of the outbreak of the Zika virus, with Sports Minister George Hilton saying the topic “is not in discussion.”

Hilton issued a statement Thursday saying he “lamented material and opinions in the press” speculating that South America’s first Olympics might be called off.

“The Brazilian government is fully committed to ensure that the 2016 Rio games take place in an atmosphere of security and tranquility,” Hilton wrote.

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Sailing Federation will test waters for viruses in Brazil’s Olympics venues

Bill Chappell – NPR, 8/1/2015

Saying that recent stories about raw sewage in Brazilian waterways that will serve as Olympics venues in 2016 helped “wake us up again and put this back on the agenda,” the head of sailing’s world governing body says his group will test for viruses and bacteria in the water.

The International Sailing Federation’s chief executive, Peter Sowrey, tells the AP that the move is prompted by concerns over athletes’ health and safety.

The news comes days after the AP published a report on pollution in Rio’s Guanabara Bay, the scene for sailing competitions in next summer’s Olympic Games, and Rodrigo de Freitas lake, which will host rowing and canoeing events.

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