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Police Move to Wrest Control of Brazil's Largest Favela

Police forces here launched a major operation early on Sunday to wrest from criminals’ control of the Rocinha favela, the largest in Brazil.

The shantytown has been controlled by narcotraffickers for the past 30 years.

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Sources: Wael Abbas was Held in Syria for 20 Days

The ringleader of the gang that kidnapped the seven Estonian tourists, Wael Abbas, stayed in the custody of the Syrian authorities for 20 days before being handed over to Lebanon’s General Security Department last week, official sources said.

The sources told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat published Monday that Syrian authorities questioned Abbas over his fake Venezuelan passport and other documents after Qatar arrested him at Doha airport and deported him to Syria.

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Chavez Calls for 'Cancer Summit'

Venezuelan president and cancer survivor Hugo Chavez on Sunday announced a summit in early 2012 of Latin American leaders who have beaten the disease including Brazil's current and former presidents.

The 57 year-old Chavez had surgery in June to remove a malignant tumor. After several rounds of chemotherapy, mostly in Cuba, he claimed last month that he was cancer-free.

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Three Dead, 17 Hurt in Rio Blast from Gas Leak

A powerful explosion likely triggered by a gas leak ripped through a restaurant in downtown Rio de Janeiro early Thursday, leaving three people dead and 17 injured, the Brazilian city's mayor said.

Three of those hurt were in serious condition, Mayor Eduardo Paes told reporters at the scene of the explosion, which occurred around 7:30 am (1030 GMT).

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Gunmen Arrested Trying to Meet Brazil President

A man with a pistol tried to enter Brazil's presidential palace on Thursday and threatened to kill himself if he was not allowed to meet with President Dilma Rousseff, officials said.

The man did not get past security and was arrested.

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Woman Aged 61 Pregnant in Brazil

A woman who at 61 is expecting not a pension check but her first baby has stirred some controversy in Brazil over just when it might be too late to give birth.

The woman in question, whose case has appeared in local media, asked that her name be withheld. She is post-menopausal, married to a man who is 38, and became pregnant with a donor egg. She is due in November.

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Piranha Problem Takes Bite Out of Brazilian Beach Fun

Authorities in a state in Brazil's northeast are scrambling to take the fright and the bite off the beach after piranhas sunk their teeth into about 100 beachgoers, UOL Noticias reported.

The problem -- rather fearsome given piranhas' horror-movie teeth and ability to sink them into human flesh -- has been the biggest at the main beach area in Piaui state; authorities said they need to act fast to reduce a piranha overpopulation situation.

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Argentina, Brazil Play out Goalless Draw

Argentina and Brazil, both missing their Europe-based stars, played out a lackluster goalless draw in the first leg of the Superclasico de las Americas here on Wednesday night.

The South American heavyweights are both looking to put disappointing performances in the Copa America behind them.

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Brazil will Have 4G Phones by 2014

President Dilma Rousseff says Brazil will have access to high-speed internet via the latest generation of cell phones before the country hosts the 2014 World Cup.

Brazil's president says 4G cell phones will be available in time to watch the matches.

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Brazil Subdues 10-Man Ghana in Friendly

Leandro Damiao's first half strike gave Brazil a 1-0 win over 10-man Ghana in a no-holds barred friendly here on Monday.

Damiao got the only goal with a clinical finish as the five-time world champions took advantage of extra space in the Ghana defense following Daniel Opare's dismissal.

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