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Two Killed, 29 Wounded in Brazil Prison Riot

A police officer and an inmate were killed and 29 prisoners wounded Monday in the latest riot to hit Brazil's overcrowded prison system, authorities said.

The violence erupted in a Recife jail when an orderly protest broke down, and was brought under control only after police arrived.

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Biggest Reservoir for Brazil's Largest city is Running Dry

Halfway through the rainy season, the key reservoir for the hemisphere's largest city holds just 6 percent of its capacity, and experts warned Friday that Sao Paulo authorities must take urgent steps to prevent the worst drought in more than 80 years from drying it out.

The system of reservoirs and rivers that provide water to millions in this city have received less rainfall than hoped during the first weeks of the wet season, raising fears they won't be replenished as hoped. Rainfall during the first two weeks of January totaled just 2.9 inches (7.1 centimeters), well below the historic average for the month of 10.7 inches (27.1 centimeters).

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Protesters Across Americas Rally behind 'I am Charlie'

Hundreds in Washington, New York and Canada rallied Wednesday night in the frigid cold proclaiming "I am Charlie" in solidarity with those killed in a deadly attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Some 200 to 300 French and American protesters gathered in the nation's capital in front of the Newseum, a museum dedicated to news, waving signs and French flags emblazoned with the now ubiquitous rallying cry "Je suis Charlie."

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Commuter Train Crash Leaves 69 Injured in Brazil

At least 69 people were injured late Monday when two commuter trains collided in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state, authorities said. 

The accident occurred around 8:20 pm (22:20 GMT) when one of the trains, which had stopped at a station, was rammed from behind by another on the same track, said Rio state Transportation chief Carlos Osorio.

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Official: Brazil's Workers Party Backs Lula for 2018

Brazil's ruling Workers Party would back former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to seek a third term in 2018, the country's chief of staff said in an interview published Sunday.

Aloizio Mercadante told the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper that the popular ex-president is the only choice for the PT in the next election.

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3 Drug Smuggling Operations Foiled at Beirut Airport in 24 Hours

Customs agents at Rafik Hariri International Airport thwarted on Sunday an attempt to smuggle narcotic pills, in the third such operation in the past 24 hours, the state-run National News Agency reported.

NNA said the agents arrested an Egyptian arriving from Cairo at around 1:30 am after finding 2,050 red-colored pills inside two icons made of wood.

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Biden, Maduro Shake Hands, Exchange Words at Brazil Meet

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for "respectful relations" when he shook hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on the sidelines of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's swearing in, he said Friday.

The encounter marked the first top-level meeting between the countries since U.S. President Barack Obama signed a law allowing sanctions against Venezuelan officials suspected of violating the rights of protesters who held anti-government demonstrations last year.

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Foreign Ministry Protests Attacks on Lebanon Envoys in Brazil, Chile

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday announced that Lebanon's chargés d'affaires in Chile and Brazil have fallen victim to robbery attacks, revealing that it has sent letters of protest to demand protection for Lebanon's missions.

The complaints were filed with the foreign ministries of the two countries, the ministry said in a statement.

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Brazil's Rousseff Begins Second Term under Cloud

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff begins her second term Thursday, aiming to get economic growth back on track, and to rebuild government credibility after a major kickbacks scandal.

Thousands of supporters -- and pockets of detractors -- were due to gather and watch the 67-year-old left-wing former urban guerrilla arrive to receive the seals of office at a ceremony in Brasilia slated for 3:00 pm (1700 GMT).

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Pope Sends New Years Tidings to Partying Brazilians

Pope Francis has recorded a video message at the Vatican offering New Years greetings to two million revelers, including around 800,000 tourists, preparing to party on Rio's famed Copacabana beach.

The message, which will be broadcast as the city also celebrates 450 years of existence, "will be presented just before the traditional midnight fireworks display," a Rio city hall spokesman said, confirming that it had been received Monday.

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