BBC News
The Brazilian health ministry has confirmed a link between a mosquito-borne virus from Africa, Zika Fever, and a high incidence of birth defects. The fever, it said, is behind a spike in cases of micro-encephalitis - an inflammation of the brain contracted in the first months of pregnancy. It has recorded two adult deaths and 739 cases...

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Talks have begun between Chile and the widow of an American billionaire over the donation of a vast nature reserve in southern Chile. Douglas Tompkins, who died in December, was one of the founders of the outdoor clothing brand The North Face. His widow, Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, said she had formally offered 400,000 hectares of land in...

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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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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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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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Venezuelans will be going to the polls on Sunday to elect all 167 members of the National Assembly amid tension caused by the country's worsening economic decline. Not only has Venezuela been hit hard by the continuing low price of oil, its main export, it also has the continent's highest inflation rate and is suffering from chronic shortages of...

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"They're nothing more than water circuses," Daniel Turner says of dolphinaria, or animal parks featuring dolphins. Mr Turner is a spokesman for Born Free, a charity which is actively campaigning for the closure of all dolphinaria worldwide. "These animals have no life worth living in captivity, devoid of any form of stimulation and social interaction, unable to swim hundreds...

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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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On Saturday Ivo Pitanguy, the world-renowned Brazilian plastic surgeon and pioneer of the "Brazilian butt lift" died at the age of 90 - just a day after carrying the Olympic flame through Rio. His legacy has inspired plastic surgeons around the world. And techniques like the "butt lift" have become increasingly popular with patients. The American Society of...

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