Tag Archives: Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro First Responders Greet Tourists at Airport with “Welcome to Hell” Sign

Ain’t socialism grand?


From TotalProSports: The Rio Olympics get underway in a little over a month, and on Monday a group of firefighters and police officers were at the airport greeting tourists with a sign that says “WELCOME TO HELL” in big bold letters.

The sign wasn’t talking about the dreaded Zika virus, or the notoriously polluted water that is apparently teaming with what news outlets are calling “super bacteria.” It’s talking about the fact that the state of Rio de Janeiro recently declared a “state of calamity” because they are on the brink of a “total collapse in public security, health, education, transport, and environmental management.” Specifically, the Rio first responders were warning that, because firefighters and police aren’t getting paid, visitors will not be safe.

That wasn’t the only welcome sign, either. Take a look at the one somebody painted on an overpass outside the airport:


You want some context? Just recently 20 armed men stormed Rio’s largest hospital, leaving one person dead and two injured. So yeah, it’s pretty ‘hard to blame the people of Rio for protesting. Would you want to host the Olympics if your town didn’t even have police, firefighters, or hospitals?



Rio counting on ‘luck’ to avoid major outbreak of Zika during Olympic Games

Sounds like a brilliant plan.


From Fox News: “This is not an Olympic issue,” Rio de Janeiro’s mayor, Eduardo Paes, told a reporter when he was asked about the possibility that a Zika outbreak might happen during the Games. “The Olympics are taking place when the mosquito is not procreating, not active. August and July are the driest months, and they’re less warm, so you have a lower incidence of mosquito bites,” he said.

The Olympics are set to take place from Aug. 5 to 21 in Brazil’s second-largest city, followed by the Paralympic Games from Sept. 7 to 18. Tens of thousands of athletes and fans from every country on Earth will flood Rio in that time, only to return home potentially having been exposed to the Zika virus.

It’s a scenario that might concern any epidemiologist. Even so, no “special preventive actions” like fogging with pesticides will be taken during or before the Olympic Games, Cristina Lemos, the city’s Health Department superintendent told Fox News Latino.

“We will not direct our campaign at tourists,” she said. “We’re just instructing them to use personal protection, like long-sleeved shirts, long pants and to avoid exposure to places that may have mosquitoes.” “And also to use insect repellent,” Lemos added.

But many are skeptical of the city’s preparations. “We are counting on luck, we are counting on weather,” Brazilian biologist Mario Moscatelli told FNL. “The problem is that a city hosting an event like this should be taking actions to prevent the spread of disease, not depend on external factors.”

He added that while it’s true that winters in Rio are relatively cooler and drier, “The mosquitos are still out there, and any change in weather – and we have seen extraordinary changes in these last months – could cause a disaster. The neighborhood where most of the competitions will take place is also where we have the highest concentration of Zika and dengue fever cases.

The numbers would seem to validate his concern. Since April 2015, more than 100,000 Brazilians have contracted the Zika virus – which has been linked to the increase of cases of microcephaly, in which babies are born with abnormally small heads.

Although summer ended two months ago, in May the country’s southeast region, where Rio is located, surpassed the northeast, where the epidemic began in 2015, in number of cases of Zika with 46,318, according to Brazil’s Health Ministry.

2006 Prof. Frank Hadley Collins, Dir., Cntr. for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, Univ. of Notre Dame This 2006 photograph depicted a female Aedes aegypti mosquito while she was in the process of acquiring a blood meal from her human host, who in this instance, was actually the biomedical photographer, James Gathany, here at the Centers for Disease Control.  You’ll note the feeding apparatus consisting of a sharp, orange-colored “fascicle”, which while not feeding, is covered in a soft, pliant sheath called the "labellum”, which retracts as the sharp stylets contained within pierce the host's skin surface, as the insect obtains its blood meal. The orange color of the fascicle is due to the red color of the blood as it migrates up the thin, sharp translucent tube. The first reported epidemics of Dengue (DF) and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) occurred in 1779-1780 in Asia, Africa, and North America.  The near simultaneous occurrence of outbreaks on three continents indicates that these viruses and their mosquito vector have had a worldwide distribution in the tropics for more than 200 years. During most of this time, DF was considered a mild, nonfatal disease of visitors to the tropics. Generally, there were long intervals (10-40 years) between major epidemics, mainly because the introduction of a new serotype in a susceptible population occurred only if viruses and their mosquito vector, primarily the Aedes aegypti mosquito, could survive the slow transport between population centers by sailing vessels.

The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which also transmits dengue and yellow fever. The mosquito breeds in small pools of stagnant water that collect in and around residences, such as flower vases, buckets, old tires, even wet floors and in the tanks of toilets.

Lemos, the health department official, said that the city has more than 3,000 agents deployed throughout the city to inspect places where Aedes mosquitoes are most abundant. They visit homes, she said, educating residents about how to protect themselves, “searching for water deposits that can become potential breeding sites … [and] treating with pesticide larval deposits that cannot be eliminated.” In extreme cases, she indicated, they would spray homes with insecticide.

Lemos also said that squares, parks, clubs, parking lots, stadiums, vacant lots and other sites are being regularly inspected.

But Moscatelli, with his expertise in biology, is not convinced. “We did almost nothing in the last 20 years to prevent the spread of Aedes. Seven years ago we were chosen to host the Olympics, which gave us a second chance, but nothing was done. What can we do in two months? Pray for the weather to behave. That’s it.



2 million Brazilians protest against gov’t corruption, spending, and taxes

Imagine the entire population of Hawaii — every man, woman, child, and transgender — showing up for a violent protest.

How about the entire population of Hawaii (pop. in 2012: 1,392,313) AND Washington, D.C. (pop. 632,323)?

That’s how many people demonstrated last Thursday night in 80 cities across Brazil.

And yet, did you see this on the alphabet TV news?

Huge crowds of demonstrators march in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Huge crowds of demonstrators march in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Zuma/Rex Features

Jonathan Watts reports for the UK’s The Guardian, June 21, 2013:

Brazil‘s president, Dilma Rousseff, and key ministers are to hold an emergency meeting on Friday following a night of protests that saw Rio de Janeiro and dozens of other cities echo with percussion grenades and swirl with teargas as riot police scattered the biggest demonstrations in more than two decades.

The protests were sparked last week by opposition to rising bus fares, but they have spread rapidly to encompass a range of grievances, as was evident from the placards. “Stop corruption. Change Brazil”; “Halt evictions”; “Come to the street. It’s the only place we don’t pay taxes“; “Government failure to understand education will lead to revolution”.

Rousseff’s office said she had cancelled a trip to Japan next week.

A former student radical herself, Rousseff has tried to mollify the protesters by praising their peaceful and democratic spirit. Partly at her prompting, Rio, São Paulo and other cities have reversed the increase in public transport fares, but this has failed to quell the unrest.

A vast crowd – estimated by the authorities at 300,000 and more than a million by participants – filled Rio’s streets, one of a wave of huge nationwide marches against corruption, police brutality, poor public services and excessive spending on the World Cup.

A minority of protesters threw stones, torched cars and pulled down lamp-posts. Police responded by firing volleys of pepper spray and rubber bullets into the crowd and up onto overpasses where car drivers and bus passengers were stuck in traffic jams. At least 40 people were injured in the city and many more elsewhere.

Simultaneous demonstrations were reported in at least 80 cities, with a total turnout that may have been close to 2 million. An estimated 110,000 marched in São Paulo, 80,000 in Manaus, 50,000 in Recife and 20,000 in Belo Horizonte and Salvador.

Clashes were reported in the Amazon jungle city of Belem, Porto Alegre in the south, Campinas north of São Paulo and Salvador.

Thirty-five people were injured in the capital Brasilia, where 30,000 people took to the streets. In São Paulo, one man was killed when a frustrated car driver rammed into the crowd. Elsewhere countless people, including many journalists, were hit by rubber bullets.

The vast majority of those involved were peaceful. Many wore Guy Fawkes masks, emulating the global Occupy campaign. Others donned red noses – a symbol of a common complaint that people are fed up being treated as clowns.

Rio de Janeiro protests An Anonymous mask stands out in the crowd. Photograph: Pedro Koeler/Corbis

“There are no politicians who speak for us,” said Jamaime Schmitt, an engineer. “This is not just about bus fares any more. We pay high taxes and we are a rich country, but we can’t see this in our schools, hospitals and roads.” Many in the mostly young, middle class crowd were experiencing their first large protest.

Matheus Bizarria, who works for the NGO Action Aid, said people had reached the limit of their tolerance about longstanding problems that the Confederations Cup and World Cup have brought into focus because of the billions of reals spent on new stadiums rather than public services. Rio is also due to host a papal visit to World Youth Day next month, and the Olympics in 2016.

“It’s totally connected to the mega-events,” Bizarria said. “People have had enough, but last year only 100 people marched against a bus price rise. There were 1,000 last week and 100,000 on Monday. Now we hope for a million.”

Initially the mood in Rio was peaceful. When a handful of people began tearing down posters for the Confederations Cup, the rest of the crowd sat down around them and shamed them with shouts of “no violence” and “no vandalism”.

But later protesters pulled down security cameras, smashed bus stops and torched cars. Every hoarding that advertised the Confederations Cup was destroyed.

Police had increased their numbers more than 10-fold from Monday, and were quickly on the offensive.

After a confrontation near the city hall, they drove back the protesters, who fled coughing and with tears streaming down their cheeks. At least one person was hit by rubber bullets, and showed the bruise on his leg where he was hit.

Some were furious that the police action seemed indiscriminate. “Where we had been tranquil, then suddenly they started firing gas into the crowd. People were scared and appalled,” said Alessandra Sampaio, one of the protesters. “They are cowards. They wanted to disperse the crowd never mind who it was. I’m very angry. It was a real abuse of power.”

Victor Bezerra, a law student, said the police action was like something from the dictatorship era. “These are bad days for Brazil. The police were acting just like they did 30 years ago.”

The crowd were driven into side streets and back towards the central station by lines of police backed by officers carrying shotguns on horseback and motorbikes.

“Look at this. It’s hard to believe. Terrible!”, said Ellie Lopes, a 22-year-old passerby, as she surveyed the debris and flames.

Riot police eventually cleared the entire central area, but they were still dispersing gatherings in the Lapa music and bar district late into the night. As helicopters buzzed overhead, they fired teargas into the crowded square next to a concert by the band Cannibal Corpse. Hotdog kiosk vendors found themselves with sore and streaming eyes, inadvertently pushed onto a moving frontline.

Despite the crackdown, many said they would return to the streets for the next demonstration, planned for Saturday [that’s today].

Political corruption. Wasteful government spending. Oppressive taxes. Public Government schools that aren’t working. A president who’s a former student radical.

Sound familiar?

I wonder when the American people finally will have had enough . . . .

H/t FOTM’s Sunny


Turtle lives, after 30 years in a box

Turtles are famous for their longevity, many living for more than a hundred years.

One giant tortoise named Adwaita is said to have lived 255 years in the Calcutta Zoo. He finally died of liver failure in 2006.

How do turtles manage to be so long-lived?

This is fascinating: Researchers have recently discovered a turtle’s organs do not gradually break down or become less efficient over time, unlike most other animals. Instead, the liver, lungs, and kidneys of a centenarian (100-year-old) turtle are virtually indistinguishable from those of its younger counterparts.

But the survival skills of turtles may be even more astounding.

A turtle in Brazil managed to survive, after being trapped in a wooden box in a shed for THIRTY years.

Red-footed tortoise pictureA red-footed tortoise, like Manuela (photo by Fabio Maffei)

Richard Schiffman reports for the National Geographic, Feb. 1, 2013, that in 1982, a red-footed tortoise named Manuela mysteriously “disappeared” from the home of the Almeida family in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The family assumed that their pet escaped from the house after construction workers had left the front door ajar.

Flash forward 30 years.

Recently, Leandro Almeida was cleaning out a storage shed and was about to throw away an old wooden box he’d found in the shed: “I put the box on the pavement for the rubbish men to collect, and a neighbor said, ‘You’re not throwing out the turtle as well are you?’ I looked and saw her. At that moment, I turned white, I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

Inside the box was an old record player and Manuela, their long-lost tortoise, still alive after more than three decades.

Leandro’s sister, Lenita, who was given the tortoise as a childhood pet, said, “We’re all thrilled to have Manuela back. But no one can understand how she managed to survive for 30 years in there—it’s just unbelievable.”

Even the experts are stumped. Jeferson Peres, a Rio-based veterinarian, said that red-footed tortoises have been known to go without eating for two to three years in the wild—but 30 years is off the known charts. He speculated that Manuela had survived by eating termites and other small insects and licking condensation.

Turtles also have reserve fat pads that they can draw on when food is scarce, Anthony Pilny, a veterinary surgeon and specialist in birds and reptiles at the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine in New York City, said by email.

Like snakes, turtles are able to go for long periods without eating. Wild turtles can also lower their body temperatures and other physiological processes and enter into temporary states of suspended animation from which they’re able to recover. But Pilny does not recommend that pet owners try this with their own turtles.

As for Manuela, Pilny has some advice for the family. “They should go very slowly—start by warming her up and rehydrating Manuela before feeding … Give her warm water soaks and offer a small meal after she seems stable. Then take her to a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles for a checkup and some bloodwork.”


A simple quick test predicts how long you’ll live

Are you middle-aged or older?

If so, here’s a quick and simple test that can predict how long you’ll live.

The test doesn’t require any preparation or special equipment, and takes you only a few minutes to do. You can take the test in your home, in whatever you’re wearing, including pyjamas! 😉


Here are the instructions:

  1. Sit cross-legged on the floor.
  2. Without worrying about how much time you take, try and get up from the floor with as minimum support — using your knee(s) or hand(s) — as possible.
Sitting down - but can you get up again without help?

Here’s a tip:

  • When you’re sitting on the floor, first uncross your legs.
  • Now put your legs in front of you, with the knees up.
  • Now see if you can stand up, using the strength of your legs alone.

How did you do?

  • If you got up from a sitting position on the floor without using ANY support, you get a perfect score of 10.
  • Subtract a point for each support used, e.g., subtract one point if you used a hand; two if you used a hand and a knee; four if your used both hands and both knees.

The sitting-rising test reveals a person’s level of musculoskeletal fitness, which is a strong predictor of health in the middle-aged and above. How an individual scores on the test is a predictor of his/her longevity-mortality.

Dr. Claudio Gil Araujo and colleagues at the Clinimex Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, conducted a study on 2,002 men and women, aged 51 to 80, on their ability to sit and then rise unaided from the floor.

The participants were ranked on a score of zero to 10. People who scored 10 did not use any support to sit or rise from the floor.

The study found that the ability to sit on the floor before rising to a standing position was closely linked to all causes of death.

After doing the sitting-rising test, the participants were followed for an average of about 6 years. During the follow-up period, nearly 8% of the participants died. Most of those deaths occurred among people with low test scores. Only two people who scored 10 on the test died.

Compared to those who scored 8 or higher, people who scored below 8 were twice as likely to die. Those who scored zero on the test were 5 to 6 times more likely to die, according to the study. Each one-point increase in the score was associated with a 21% reduced risk of death.

Dr. Araujo explains that a high score on the sitting-rising test might “reflect the capacity to successfully perform a wide range of activities of daily living, such as bending over to pick up a newspaper or a pair of glasses from under a table. It is well known that aerobic fitness is strongly related to survival, but our study also shows that maintaining high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength, power-to-body weight ratio and coordination are not only good for performing daily activities but have a favorable influence on life expectancy.”

Although the study found an association between ability to rise from the floor and death risk, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

The study was published Dec. 13 in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention.

H/t NewsMax and Daily Mail.

If you got a low score on the test, it’s not too late to do something about it. Start doing strength exercises like squats, sit-ups, leg-lifts and lunges, to improve your musculoskeletal fitness!

We don’t want to become like that old lady in the TV commercial who fell down and can’t get up.


Rio 2016 Olympic’s amazing tower of water

One of the first failures of Obama as POTUS was his lobbying efforts on behalf of his home city Chicago to be the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Chicago’s loss is Rio de Janeiro’s gain. And it sure looks like Rio is going all out to make 2016 a most memorable Olympics. Look at these pics!!!

“Solar City Tower,” built atop the island of Cotonduba, will be the welcome symbol of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

It will be seen by the game visitors and participants as they arrive by air or water.

The tower captures solar energy. It will supply energy for all of the Olympic city, and also for part of Rio.

Water is pumped from the ocean to create what appears like a water fall. The water fall, in turn, stimulates turbines that produce energy during the night.

It will also hold the Olympic flame.

The Tower possesses an amphitheater, an auditorium, a cafeteria and boutiques. Elevators lead to various observatories.

It also has a retractable platform for the practice of bungee jumping.

At the summit is an observation point to appreciate the scenery of the land and ocean, as well as the water fall.

Solar City Tower will be the point of reference for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Before we get all excited, it turns out these images are still at the conceptual level.

According to Snopes.com, the Solar City Tower hasn’t yet been built, may never be built, and may not even be technically feasible. It is a proposal submitted in 2009 by RAFAA, a Zurich-based architecture and design studio.

You can read more about the proposed tower on RAFAA’s website.

H/t beloved fellow Terry.


Breaking News – Building collapsed IN RIO DE JANEIRO – 25 / 01 / 12

We need someone who speaks Portugese to translate this video.

TWO BUILDINGS, ONE OF 20 AND A TEN-STORY, fall in the HEART OF THE CITY OF RIO DE JANEIRO, THIS DAY WEDNESDAY 25 JANUARY 2012. These buildings were behind the Municipal Theatre.

Building collapses in center of Rio de Janeiro

 RIO DE JANEIRO — A multistory building collapsed in Rio’s center Wednesday evening, leaving rubble strewn over a wide area but confusion about the number of possible victims and the cause.

Thick layers of debris covered cars and motorcycles. A neighboring building sustained serious damage, and television showed at least two people on its roof apparently awaiting help from firefighters.

There were differing reports about possible deaths.

A spokeswoman from the city’s Civil Defense department said two people were confirmed dead, but officials from City Hall and the municipal health department later disputed that, saying no deaths had been confirmed by early Thursday. It was not clear how many people were injured.
Full Story Here