Brazil Updates Military Ahead of World Cup

tanks

With the World Cup coming in 2014, the Olympics in 2016, and the Pope’s visit to Rio this July, security is currently a major concern for the Brazilian government. In preparation for these upcoming events, Brazil been updating its military, ordering Flakpanzer Gepard tanks which have been phased out by the German military and are due to arrive in South America in June.

Whilst Brazil’s air force is thought to be the largest in South America, the country hasn’t spent much on defence over the last few decades, and it now feels a definite need to modernize its military. The defence ministry has announced recently that it will be purchasing surface to air missiles and artillery batteries from Russia, and is also building five submarines in a joint effort with France. In addition to these measures, Brazil is planning a complete overhaul and update to its air force, whose tasks apart from regular military activity include surveillance of the Amazon rainforest to help in the country’s on-going struggles with drug trafficking and illegal logging.

General Marcio Heise, the Army officer in command of anti-aircraft artillery, told the G1 news service that the first eight Gepard tanks arriving in June will intitially be deployed in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, where the Confederations Cup (a prelude to the World Cup) – kicks off on June 15. They’ll then be sent to Rio de Janeiro, for the end of the tournament, and will stay there through the papal visit in July, when the Pope will be giving a mass at Copacabana beach, praying at the Christ the Redeemer statue, and attending World Youth Day, a festival for young Catholics.

Amidst concerns about security in Brazil for the World Cup and the Olympics, this is certainly welcome news not only to the Brazilian people, but the international community and potential tourists. Along with crackdowns and improved security in the Favelas in Rio, the coming months and years might be the safest the country has ever been in its long history.

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04 2013

Gangnam Style Comes to Brazil

Now that Carnaval 2013 has come to a close in Brazil, here’s a look at some of the highlights from various cities around the country.

Nationwide, the start of the Carnaval festivities were somewhat subdued this year – after the recent deaths of 238 people in a Santa Maria nightclub fire, funerals were still taking place and the country was still in mourning. Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, did not attend the 5-day long party in Rio, but rather spent it in Bahia state, where the tragedy took place.

As usual, hotels across Rio, and indeed most of Brazil, were full to capacity, despite the practice of imposing minimum stay periods and raising prices significantly to cash in on the event.

In Rio, more than 700 processions made their way through various parts of the city, with actress Megan Fox among the international celebrities taking part. The party in the Sambodrome was electric as ever, with Rio’s samba schools fiercely competing with each other for the top honours in front of an ecstatic audience.

In Salvador, Brazil’s third largest city, South Korean pop star Psy performed. Known across the world for his song Gangnam Style, along with its accompanying dance which mimics riding a horse, he had the honour of performing in front of the largest Carnaval crowds in Brazil – even bigger than Rio!

Despite the tragedy preceding the Carnaval festivities, Brazil recovered as a country to throw yet another spectacular series of events across the country. With the World Cup being held in Brazil next year, who knows what 2014 will hold in store!

Purrr-fect Brazil Jailbreak Foiled

Not being subject to the usual security checks required of human visitors to the jail in Arapiraca, a cat with jail-breaking tools strapped to its body was sent on a delivery mission straight through the main prison gate. Although the cat had always previously been able to come and go from the detention centre as it pleased, the guards immediately noticed that this time, the cat was wearing something on its back.

On closer inspection, it turned out that the cat was carrying contraband that could be used for escape and communication with the outside world. By the time the cat’s pack had been emptied, the officers had laid out on the table a mobile phone with headphones and charger, metal files, and parts of a drill.

The jail is home to 263 prisoners, none of whom have owned up to being involved in the plot. A prison spokesperson was quoted by local paper Estado de S. Paulo as saying: “It’s tough to find out who’s responsible for the action as the cat doesn’t speak.” It’s probably safe to say this mystery will go unsolved.

The contents of the cat’s pack

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01 2013