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Preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro have been full of controversies and hurdles along the way. A severe recession in Brazil, a nationwide Zika outbreak and the governor of Rio declaring a state of financial emergency added strain to the difficult task of building venues and infrastructure. When Rio were awarded the Games back in...

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A judge in Brazil has blocked nationwide access to WhatsApp indefinitely, blocking the messaging app for the third time in two years. The move comes after Whatsapp failed to hand over information requested in a criminal investigation. WhatsApp also faces fines of 50,000 reais (£11,700; $15,300) per day until it complies with the judicial order. A company spokesperson said:...

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The Cuban economy minister has been removed from his post following President Raul Castro's warning last week that people would have to tighten their belts amid the continuing economic crisis in Venezuela. The government says Marino Murillo will now have responsibility for spearheading market reforms. Cuba's economy is closely tied to that of its socialist ally, Venezuela. But Venezuela...

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Tree species in the Amazon rainforest are so many and varied that it would take three centuries to catalogue them, a major study has estimated. In research published in the journal Scientific Reports, more than 500,000 museum specimens dating back 300 years were audited. They say nearly 12,000 tree species have been discovered so far. Based on...

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Mining giant BHP Billiton says it will fight the suspension by the Brazilian Supreme Court of a settlement for damages caused by a dam burst at an iron ore mine. The flood down the Rio Doce in November sent a wave of waste water into the river valley and flattened two towns. BHP and the Brazilian company...

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A Chinese container ship has become the first vessel to sail into the newly expanded Panama Canal. Thousands gathered as the ship, called Cosco Shipping Panama, entered from the Atlantic en route to the Pacific. Construction on the new lane for the canal, which runs for 77km (48 miles), began in 2007 and was due to finish in 2014....

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The mayor of Buenos Aires has announced that his administration has taken over the running of the city's zoo after a series of scandals about the condition of its animals and buildings. It will now become an eco-park promoting environmental conservation. Its 2,500 animals will be moved to sanctuaries in other parts of Argentina and abroad where...

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"I saw my daughter dead in my arms," says Severina Carla da Silva, 32, describing the moment that her six-month-old baby Nivea Heloisa passed out after being breastfed. "She became purple, stopped breathing and passed out. Then I remembered how to do cardiac massage and did it. That's how she came back to life." Nivea is one of the...

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Brazilian prosecutors have made a formal allegation of tax evasion and money laundering against former tourism minister Henrique Alves. Mr Alves resigned on Thursday after being linked to a corruption scheme. Brazil's Attorney General Rodrigo Janot presented evidence to the Supreme Court saying that Mr Alves had a secret bank account in Switzerland. He became the third cabinet minister...

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The Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro has declared a financial emergency less than 50 days before the Olympics. Interim Governor Francisco Dornelles says the "serious economic crisis" threatens to stop the state from honouring commitments for the Games. Most public funding for the Olympics has come from Rio's city government, but the state is responsible for areas such...

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