When it comes to safety of Rio Games, media hysteria was the real crime

Teddy Greenstein – The Chicago Tribune, 08/08/2016

RIO DE JANEIRO — I’m generally not one to rip the media — that would be like A-Rod slamming narcissists — but did we ever blow it in the run-up to the Rio Games.

This headline in the Telegraph, a British publication, reflects what I mean: “Why Rio Olympics is on course to be most crime-ridden games.”

The amazing part is that the story ran Thursday, before thousands of athletes managed to march during the opening ceremony without getting mugged.

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Brazil Is Confronting an Epidemic of Anti-Gay Violence

Andrew Jacobs – The New York Times, 07/05/2016

RIO DE JANEIRO — The assailant struck as Gabriel Figueira Lima, 21, stood on a street two weeks ago in a city in the Amazon, plunging a knife into his neck and speeding off on the back of a motorcycle, leaving him to die.

A few days earlier, in the coastal state of Bahia, two beloved teachers,Edivaldo Silva de Oliveira and Jeovan Bandeira, were killed as well, their charred remains found in the trunk of a burning car.

Late last month, it was Wellington Júlio de Castro Mendonça, a shy, 24-year-old retail clerk, who was bludgeoned and stoned to death near a highway in a city northwest of Rio.

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Brazilian First Responders: “You Will Not Be Safe in Rio”

Darek Michael Wajda – NBC News, 06/28/2016

Less than two months before the Olympics, Brazilian first responders made a statement intended for an international audience.

Upon arrival to the Rio de Janeiro — Galeão International Airport, police, firefighters, and other first responders held signs that read, “Welcome to Hell.”

First responders have said they are fed up with late paychecks and poor working conditions and have concerns for the public’s safety.

Court in Brazil grants bail to defendants in deadly nightclub fire

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

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

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

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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