Can cable cars cut crime in Rio’s favelas?

After trying in vain to bring down the rampant crime rate in Brazil's favelas by imposing a heavy police presence, president Lula da Silva is now taking an entirely different approach. His new plan is to build cable cars. Read more...


“Sex bracelets”, a harmless craze or a dangerous game?

"Sex bracelets" are the latest craze amongst Brazilian teenagers. A successor to friendship bracelets, each of these cheap coloured wristbands relates to a type of sexual activity. While it was initially supposed to be a bit of fun, for one teenage girl, the game turned into a nightmare. Read more...


Amateur images of Rio de Janeiro's floods

At least 100 people were killed in floods and landslides in Rio de Janeiro this Tuesday, many died when mudslides buried parts of the city's hillside slums. Ordinary Brazilians took pictures of the catastrophe and posted them online. Read more...


Priest and altar boy video sparks sex abuse investigation

A Brazilian priest is under police investigation after a video of him having sex with an altar boy was sent to the country's national TV network and broadcast in a report. The author is allegedly one of the priest's victims, a 21-year-old who says he filmed the video secretly after he was abused by the priest for nine years.


Brazil’s other Olympic Games

Xikunahity (football played with the head). Image: Wagner Meier on Flickr

While Rio de Janeiro was still in raptures over its selection for the 2016 Olympic Games, 3,000 kilometres north of the city, in the Amazon basin, another sporting competition was taking place. This one, with barely a journalist in sight. Welcome to the Indigenous Peoples' Games. Read more...

Expelled for wearing a miniskirt… in Brazil

A 20-year-old tourism student has been expelled from a Sao Paulo university after chaos broke out on campus when she turned up in a short dress. Read more...


Rio police leave victim to die, free killers

A 42-year-old was beaten up and shot by two robbers last Sunday in downtown Rio de Janeiro. CCTV footage which emerged on Tuesday shows that the charity worker was still alive when two police officers passed by. But instead of stopping to help, they let go his killers and drove away. Read more...


Samba dancers too risqué for southern Lebanon

A Samba street party on its way to a town in south Lebanon was stopped in its tracks after a group of religious dignitaries labelled it "pornographic" and "against Muslim beliefs". According to one of our Lebanese Observers, the decision is a disgrace to the country. Read more...


Why Brasilia residents surround their homes with 8,000 volts of electricity

Brazil gets a bad rap when it comes to violent crime. Until recently however, the capital city of Brasilia had managed to keep up a decent reputation. Not anymore. One of our Observers in the city says the proof is in the security; electric fences around homes, private surveillance systems.... Brasilia's wealthy residents are clearly not taking any chances. Read more...


Rio shantytowns walled off

Rio de Janeiro authorities have begun building concrete walls around the city's shantytowns. Officially they're being erected to prevent environmental damage to the surrounding areas. But the residents of these favelas see it as a way of creating distance between themselves and the not-too-faraway, well-off neighbours. Read more...