Posts Tagged ‘Carnival’

Brazil: Army takes control of Rio security in bid to squash gang violence

February 17, 2018

Brazil’s military has taken full control of security in Rio de Janeiro and the surrounding state in an effort to fight gang violence. The move comes after the Defense Ministry said security in the city was “broken.”

A military officer in the Barbante slum of Rio de Janeiro

President Michel Temer has signed a decree giving the military control of security in Rio de Janeiro in response to spiraling drug gang violence.

The military already supports police in favelas, large slums overrun by drug gangs. It had previously helped provide security during the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

But the decree, which went into effect immediately, hands the military power over all police operations in Rio state. It must be approved by both chambers of Congress within 10 days.

“Organized crime nearly took over in the state of Rio de Janeiro. This is a metastasis that is spreading in our country and it threatens our people. That’s why we decided on the intervention,” Temer said at the presidential palace in Brasilia on Friday. “Our administration will give a tough, firm answer.”

The military mission will last until the end of the year.

Broken security

The dramatic decision in a country that was ruled by a military dictatorship from 1964-1985, comes after Defense Minister Raul Jungmann said last month that “the security system is broken.”

Brazilian military police in a Rio favela (Getty Images)Military units already support police in patrols in Rio slums

On Friday, he said the decree will put in place “a more robust, better coordinated security system, with a better intelligence service.” It would not impact the country’s democracy, he said.

Highlighting the dire state of security in Rio, Carnival in recent years was marked by violence and muggings.

“The total confusion and lack of coordination of the security forces during the Carnival” prompted Temer’s decree, David Fleischer, professor of political science at the University of Brasilia, told the Agence France-Presse.

Arthur Trindade, a university professor and former security secretary for Brasilia, told AFP the decree is also aimed at cleaning up a corrupt police force.

Other motives

Former National Security Secretary Jose Vicente da Silva told The Associated Press that the military invention would help, but not totally end systemic drug gang violence.

“Rio state can’t solve this any time soon and the military could be effective in keeping some smaller groups that have operated lately off of the streets,” da Silva said.

Analysts say the move is also an attempt to distract from Temer’s single-digit poll numbers and failure to advance pension reform ahead of a general election scheduled for October.

The military intervention also raises questions over accountability. If soldiers commit crimes during patrols, they will not be tried by civilian courts. It is the first time the military has taken control of a state’s security since the return to democracy in 1985.

cw/cmk (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

http://www.dw.com/en/brazil-army-takes-control-of-rio-security-in-bid-to-squash-gang-violence/a-42622360

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Brazil Lawlessness Continues — Brazilian army deploys in Rio ahead of carnival

February 14, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Buses were torched as Brazilian anti-austerity protesters clashed with riot police in Rio de Janeiro, on February 1, 2017

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Troops began deploying Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the city’s famed carnival to boost security following violent anti-austerity protests and low morale among police.The defense ministry announced late Monday that “from this moment, the defense ministry is mobilizing troops” in Brazil’s second biggest city.

There were no details about the scope of the deployment but Defense Minister Raul Jungmann was to give a press conference Tuesday.

The decision to send in the army comes as relatives of police officers in Rio continued to attempt to blockade several stations in protest at conditions and late payment of salaries.Street police are barred by the constitution from demonstrating.

However, the tactic of relatives camping outside stations to paralyze the officers’ movements has recently been employed across Espiritu Santo state to the north of Rio, sparking a complete breakdown in law and order.

The protest movement was on a much smaller scale in Rio, but several bases, including the headquarters of the elite Shock Battalion riot police, have been partially shut down for days. Police officials acknowledge that morale is low but have warned officers not to strike.

An insufficient number of police was widely blamed for violence at a Botafogo-Flamengo football match on Sunday in Rio where one person was shot dead and seven others were injured.

Rio de Janeiro is also on edge after violent crackdowns over the last two weeks by riot police against demonstrators protesting the planned privatization of the state water utility. More protests were expected this week.

Adding to the security challenge, February is carnival season and big street parties take place every day, building up to parades by the city’s top rival samba schools on March 26-27.

Troops are frequently used in Brazil to augment the frequently stretched police or to quell crime waves.

They were sent into Espiritu Santo to replace the striking police and have also been deployed in large numbers in Rio for recent legislative elections and during the 2016 Olympics.

Brazil Lawlessness Continues — Brazilian army deploys in Rio ahead of carnival

German Agency Working to Clear Backlog of 435,000 Asylum Cases — Many have multiple names with multiple applications for asylum benefits filed — German police spark outrage for telling authorities to keep refugees away from carnival celebrations

February 8, 2017

BERLIN — Germany’s migration agency hopes to clear a backlog of 435,000 asylum cases within months, the organization’s new director said in an interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper on Wednesday.

Jutta Cordt, who took over as head of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) this month, told the newspaper her top priorities were to accelerate the processing of asylum applications, deepen integration, and step up deportations of those whose applications were denied.

“We carried over 435,000 cases into the new year and we want to have dealt with those this spring,” the paper quoted Cordt as saying.

She told the paper the agency had received 40 million euros ($42.57 million) in additional funding in 2017 to work on repatriation processing and wanted to start that process sooner.

“If there is virtually no prospect for a migrant to stay here, it makes sense to push for an early repatriation and to encourage that financially,” Cordt told the newspaper.

More than a million migrants from the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere have arrived in Germany since the beginning of 2015, prompting concerns about security and integration. Polls show that migration will be a key issue in September’s national election.

The issue of repatriation – and better identification of refugees – has taken on new urgency after a spate of Islamist attacks carried out by failed asylum seekers, including Anis Amri, the 24-year-old Tunisian man who rammed a truck into a Berlin Christmas market in December, killing 12 people.

Amri, who was shot dead in Italy, had lived in Germany under at least 14 different names, police have said.

Cordt told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper in a separate interview that local authorities should be taking fingerprints from migrants to better track their identities and avoid multiple asylum applications.

Migrants are currently fingerprinted by police if they cross the German border without a valid passport, then again in a migrant intake center and for a third time when they file an asylum application.

BAMF has said that it has now biometric data on all migrants, but it is not clear how many multiple applications for asylum benefits have been filed.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Alison Williams)

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German police spark outrage for telling authorities to keep refugees away from carnival celebrations

Internal email said groups of asylum seekers could trigger ‘undesirable interactions’

By Lizzie Dearden

The Independent Online
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cologne-carnival.jpg
A ‘Rose Monday’ (Rosenmontag) carnival parade in Cologne Getty Images

German police have provoked outrage by advising local authorities not to organise refugee trips to carnival celebrations because of the risk of “undesirable interactions” with locals.

Officers from the headquarters of North Rheine-Westphalia state police (LZPD) said that officers took a “critical view” of the prospect of “mass appearances of refugees and asylum seekers” at the traditional festival.

“We are aware that last year, carers of refugees and asylum seekers organised visits to carnival events,” said the memo, which was obtained by the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.

“In light of the ongoing security situation in Germany, due to the events of the past couple of years, it could lead to undesirable interactions with the population and we advise against it.”

carnival-cologne.jpg
Police officers pass a clown during a carnival parade on 7 February 2016 in Cologne, Germany (Getty Images)

The “Information for Carnival 2017” email advised anyone attending to expect “strong” security provisions and a heavy police presence, and ordered them not to carry “large bags, rucksacks or dangerous objects”.

It added that refugees should accept searches and other security measures targeting them “without criticism”.

German “Karneval” or “Fasching” celebrations officially start in November but peak around Rose Monday, the day before Shrove Tuesday, falling this year on 27 February.

Thousands of people will be joining celebrations across North Rheine-Westphalia, centring on its cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf and Mainz, where there will be parades and traditional performances, music and dance.

Petra Jennen, who runs a refugee centre in Leverkusen, told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger she was “embarrassed” by the letter.

“I will not tell our families that they should not go to the parade,” she added. “Even in an internal email, the district government and state police cannot communicate in this way.”

Read the rest:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-police-email-authorities-refugees-keep-away-carnival-celebrations-north-rhine-westphalia-a7567401.html

Obama Names “Ebola Czar” — Travel ban for Texas health care workers in Ebola case

October 17, 2014

A health care worker who may have handled a specimen from the Liberian man who died from Ebola in Dallas, is currently on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. The U.S. government is working to get her and her husband back home.

USA Today

Texas health officials have ordered any person who entered the room of the first Ebola patient at a Dallas hospital not to travel by public transport, including planes ship, buses or trains, or visit groceries, restaurants or theaters for 21 days, until the danger of developing Ebola has passed.

The instructions, issued by the Texas Department of State Health Service late Thursday, cover more than 70 health workers involved in providing care for Thomas Duncan, the Liberian national who became the first patient to test positive for Ebola in the United States.

As state officials begin to tighten restrictions to cope with the Ebola crisis, administration officials said Friday that President Obama will appoint Ron Klain, who served as chief of staff to vice presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, to be the new “Ebola czar” to coordinate government response to the medical emergency.

Duncan, 42, died Oct. 8 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

The hospital workers were ordered to undergo monitoring twice a day, including one face-to-face encounter.

The health department said anyone failing to adhere to the rules “may be subject to a communicable disease control order.” The health workers were asked to sign a written acknowledgement of the directions when they appear for monitoring.

The new rules were issued in the wake of reports that one of the hospital nurses who treated Duncan — 29-year-old Amber Vinson — later flew to Cleveland and then took a return flight Oct. 13 on Frontier Airlines despite having a low-grade fever, indicating the possible onset of Ebola.

Amber Vinson, 29, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital contracted Ebola after providing care for an Ebola patient.(Photo: WFAA-TV)

Vinson, who tested positive for Ebola on Tuesday, was hospitalized in Dallas and later transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Another nurse, Nina Pham, 26, was the first nurse to test positive and has been transferred to the National Institute of Health hospital in Bethesda, Md.

Before Thursday’s order, the health workers involved in the Duncan case had only been asked to self-monitor for symptoms of infection after two nurses were diagnosed with the virus.

The order, signed by David Lakey, commissioner of the state health department, said any of the health-care workers affected can stay at the hospital to facilitate monitoring for the three-week period.

In a related case, a health care worker who may have handled a specimen from Duncan was reported to be on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

Industry giant Carnival says it was notified late Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that a passenger on the Texas-based Carnival Magic was a lab supervisor at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Carnival says the unnamed woman, who boarded the ship in Galveston on Sunday, has been placed in isolation on the ship and has shown no signs of illness.

The Belize government denied a U.S. request to allow the woman to leave the ship and be evacuated through the international airport in Belize City, according to Belize News.

Hospital officials and the CDC came under harsh attack at Congressional hearings Thursday over Vinson’s trip on a commercial airliner within days of treating Duncan.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, confirmed to Congress Thursday that she called the CDC and asked for permission to fly. He was told that she reported no symptoms when she called, although it has been determined that she had a low-grade fever.

Eight people in northeast Ohio were in voluntary quarantine because they had contact with Vinson, who visited family in the Akron area last weekend before flying from Cleveland back to Dallas.

Still, health officials in Ohio emphasized that Vinson didn’t show symptoms during her visit and therefore shouldn’t have been contagious yet. The disease isn’t airborne; it’s spread through direct contact with bodily fluids.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has admitted that it botched attempts to stop the now-spiraling Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff and a lack of information.

“Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall,” WHO said in a draft internal document obtained by The Associated Press, noting that experts should have realized that traditional containment methods wouldn’t work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems.

The U.N. health agency acknowledged that, at times, even its own bureaucracy was a problem. It noted that the heads of WHO country offices in Africa are “politically motivated appointments” made by the WHO regional director for Africa, Dr. Luis Sambo, who does not answer to the agency’s chief in Geneva, Dr. Margaret Chan.

In late April, during a teleconference on Ebola among infectious disease experts that included WHO, Doctors Without Borders and the CDC, questions were apparently raised about the performance of WHO experts, as not all of them bothered to send Ebola reports to WHO headquarters.

WHO said it was “particularly alarming” that the head of its Guinea office refused to help get visas for an expert Ebola team to come in and $500,000 in aid was blocked by administrative hurdles.

Guinea, along with Sierra Leone and Liberia, is one of the hardest-hit nations in the current outbreak, with 843 deaths so far blamed on Ebola.

The Ebola outbreak already has killed 4,484 people in West Africa and WHO has said within two months, there could be new 10,000 cases of Ebola every week.

Contributing: Associated Press

Thanks, Nina: Video shows the emotional moment nurse Nina Pham (pictured) was discharged from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas to receive further treatment at the National Institutes of Health hospital in Bethesda, Martyland

Thanks, Nina: Video shows the emotional moment nurse Nina Pham (pictured) was discharged from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas to receive further treatment at the National Institutes of Health hospital in Bethesda, Martyland

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2795945/nurse-nina-pham-transferred-isolation-ward-nih-hospital-moving-ebola-patient-texas-hospital-treated-thomas-eric-duncan-criticism-safety-procedures-mounts.html#ixzz3GQ1YQNuV
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Jeff Hulbert from Annapolis, Maryland, dressed in a protective suit and mask holds a poster demanding for a halt of all flights from West Africa,as he protests outside the White House in Washington, DC on October 16, 2014. Top US health officials faced a grilling Thursday by lawmakers infuriated over the nation’s fumbling response to the Ebola outbreak, as the Obama administration scrambles to contain the disease’s spread. US authorities began screening for Ebola on Thursday at the Washington area Dulles airport, Chicago’s O’Hare, Newark and Atlanta airports, after New York’s JFK began screening last week.Together, the airports receive 94 percent of travelers from the Ebola-affected countries. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Mini Me! Pope meets miniature version of himself at Vatican — “This Pope Makes Us All Smile”

February 27, 2014

  • Pope Francis picked up child dressed as pontiff at General Audience
  • The young boy’s mother said the outfit was in honour of Pope Francis

By Sara Malm

After preaching peace, acceptance and inclusion of all faiths and sexual preferences, it is no surprise that Pope Francis has got himself a mini-me.

Pope Francis has quickly become one of the most admired Catholic church leaders in both the religious and secular community, which became clear during his General Audience today.

The pontiff kissed the child, dressed up as a little pope, as he drove through the crowd at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.

Scroll down for video

Mini-me: Pope Francis lifts up 19-month-old Daniele De Sanctis, dressed up as a pope, during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican

Mini-me: Pope Francis lifts up 19-month-old Daniele De Sanctis, dressed up as a pope, during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican

I want to see the pope: Paola Ciabattini, holding up her son Daniele, said she had dressed him as the pope in a demonstration of affection towards Pope Francis

I want to see the pope: Paola Ciabattini, holding up her son Daniele, said she had dressed him as the pope in a demonstration of affection towards Pope Francis

My idol and me: Pope Francis kept the young boy close as he greeted hundreds who has turned up to see him at the general audience

My idol and me: Pope Francis kept the young boy close as he greeted hundreds who has turned up to see him at the general audience

Unfortunately, 19-month-old Daniele De Sanctis was less pleased to see the pope, and begun to cry in the strange man’s arms.

Daniele’s mother Paola Ciabattini said she dressed her son as a pope in a demonstration of affection towards Pope Francis.

More…

Another child dressed in a similar white cassock and white skullcap was also on hand, as were kids dressed as Swiss Guards.

During Carnival in Italy, children often go to school and spend their weekends dressed up costumes.

Carnival, also known as mardi gras, marks the period before the church’s Lent season begins.

Mini Me! Pope meets miniature version of himself at Vatican

              

Bless him: It is likely that little Daniele did not realise just who was giving him a peck on the cheek

Bless him: It is likely that little Daniele did not realise just who was giving him a peck on the cheek

Preacher: Pope Francis, pictured today, has become one of the world's most popular religious leaders, even among the secular community

Preacher: Pope Francis, pictured today, has become one of the world’s most popular religious leaders, even among the secular community

All smiles again: Little Daniele, dressed up for Carneval, or Mardi gras, was more content once he was back in hsi mother's arms and given some keys to play with

All smiles again: Little Daniele, dressed up for Carneval, or Mardi gras, was more content once he was back in hsi mother’s arms and given some keys to play with

Pope Idol: Francis poses with a group of priests at the end of his Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square

Pope Idol: Francis poses with a group of priests at the end of his Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square

Earlier this week, Pope Francis  announced the first major overhaul of the Vatican’s outdated and  inefficient bureaucracy in 25 years.

He created an economics secretariat to control all economic,  administrative, personnel and procurement functions of the Holy See.

Australian Cardinal George Pell, one of Francis’ core eight cardinal advisers and a sharp critic of current Vatican governance, was named prefect of the  new office.

He reports to a  new 15-member economy council made up of eight cardinals reflecting  various parts of the world and seven lay experts.

Francis was elected pope a year ago on a mandate to reform the Vatican after  documents stolen by Pope Benedict XVI’s butler revealed the Holy See  bureaucracy to be a dysfunctional, Machiavellian world of petty turf  battles, corruption and political intrigue.

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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-256827
1/Francis-kisses-mini-pope-Carnival-starts.html#ixzz2uVneXJZT

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