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Brazil has expelled Venezuela’s charge d’affaires Gerardo Delgado.

It came days after Venezuela’s decision to expel the Brazilian ambassador to Caracas, Ruy Pereira.

Venezuela said Brazil had acted illegally in impeaching its former left-wing president, Dilma Rousseff.

On December 23, Venezuela also expelled Canada’s charge d’affaires, accusing him of interfering in internal affairs.

On December 25, Canada announced that Venezuela’s Ambassador Wilmer Barrientos Fernández, who was already abroad, would not be allowed to return.

Venezuela’s charge d’affaires in Ottawa, Ángel Herrera, was also asked to leave.

Relations with Brazil have deteriorated since President Michel Temer took office in 2016, following Dilma Rousseff’s dismissal by Congress for fiscal irregularities.

Image source Wikimedia

Canada Expels Venezuela’s Ambassador and Charge D’Affaires

Venezuela Expels Brazilian Ambassador and Canadian Charge D’Affaires

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro described her impeachment as “a right-wing coup”.

On December 23, the head of Venezuela’s powerful Constituent Assembly, Delcy Rodriguez, said that “diplomatic relations with Brazil will not be restored until the government reinstates the constitutional order it has effectively broken”.

The Brazilian government said the move showed “once again the authoritarian nature of President Maduro’s administration”.

Brazil and Canada have both become outspoken critics of President Maduro.

They accuse Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government of harassing the opposition and violating human rights.

Canada imposed sanctions on senior Venezuelan officials a few months ago.

Brazil and Canada were among many countries critical of President Maduro’s decision to convene a Constituent Assembly, which effectively replaced the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

The announcement prompted mass street protests, which killed more than 120 people in four months.

Venezuela’s opposition boycotted the poll in July and also held an unofficial referendum in which they said more than seven million Venezuelans had voted against the constituent assembly.

Nicolas Maduro’s six-year term ends in 2019. He is due to run for re-election in 2018.

According to Brazilian media, the body of a man found in a burnt-out car north of Rio de Janeiro is that of Greek envoy to Brazil Kyriakos Amiridis.

Police suspect 59-year-old Kyriakos Amiridis was the victim of a “crime of passion”, Rio news program RJTV reported.

The Greek ambassador’s wife is being questioned.

Quoting unnamed sources within the Rio force, RJTV said that police were working on the assumption that Kyriakos Amiridis’ wife had conspired to kill the ambassador.

Kyriakos Amiridis had traveled to the city of Nova Iguacu, north of Rio de Janeiro, to spend the Christmas holidays there with his Brazilian wife, Francois Amiridis, whose parents live in the city.

Image source India.com

Francois Amiridis reported her husband missing on December 28.

She told police that her husband had left the apartment in the car he had rented on December 26 without telling her where he was going.

The burnt-out car was found on December 29 under a flyover on one of the main access roads to Rio de Janeiro with a body inside.

Forensic tests have revealed the body is that of Kyriakos Amiridis, but police have not yet officially confirmed the test results, RJTV says.

Police investigators also said that they had found blood stains on the sofa in the apartment that Kyriakos and Francois Amiridis were staying in.

They told local media that they thought Kyriakos Amiridis had been killed in the apartment before his body was taken away in his rental car.

A member of the military police was taken in for questioning on December 29 and two other people are also being held.

RJTV said police sources had told their reporter that they suspected the police officer and Francois Amiridis of having an extramarital affair and of conspiring to murder the Greek ambassador.

It is not yet clear what the two other people who have been detained are suspected of.

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Brazilian police have found a body inside a burnt-out car that had been rented by the Greek ambassador to Brazil, Kyriakos Amiridis.

The car was discovered near Rio de Janeiro.

Kyriakos Amiridis, 59, went missing three days ago after travelling to Rio de Janeiro from Brasilia for the traditional New Year celebrations on Copacabana beach.

The Greek ambassador was last seen on December 26 in the city of Nova Iguacu on the outskirts of Rio, where the car was found.

Forensic experts are carrying out tests to establish the body’s identity.

Image source India.com

Kyriakos Amiridis’s car was discovered under a flyover on one of the main access roads to Rio.

The ambassador had phoned his wife from a flat in Nova Iguacu on December 26 saying he was about to go out. He has not been heard from since.

Police say it is unlikely that Kyriakos Amiridis was kidnapped, as no ransom has been sought.

Rio de Janeiro has a high crime rate and violent incidents are not unusual, especially in the busy season between Christmas and New Year, when hundreds of thousands of tourists travel to the city.

Brazil has deployed more than 220,000 soldiers across the country to warn people about the risks of the Zika virus.

The South American country is at the center of an outbreak of the Zika virus, which has been linked to a surge in babies being born with underdeveloped brains.

Brazil has 462 confirmed cases of microcephaly, and is investigating another 3,852 suspected cases.

Troops will hand out 4 million leaflets advising people about the risks of the virus, carried by mosquitoes.

However, critics have said the move would not helping reduce mosquito numbers or stop the spread of Zika.Zika outbreak Brazil 2016

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global public health emergency over the possible connection between Zika and microcephaly, a condition marked by abnormally small heads in newborn babies that can result in developmental problems.

The link with Zika has not been confirmed, but the WHO and other public health bodies have said it is strongly suspected.

On February 12, the WHO said it expected that a link would be established within weeks between Zika, microcephaly and another neurological disorder, Guillain-Barre syndrome.

The microcephaly cases have been centered in north-east Brazil, but the Zika outbreak has affected people in more than 20 countries in the Americas.

Some governments have advised women to delay getting pregnant. Already-pregnant women have been advised not to travel to the countries affected.

Rio de Janeiro is to host the Olympic Games in August. A diving test event is to take place in the city next week, and organizers said on February 12 that some of the 270 athletes taking part had expressed their concern over the Zika virus.

Brazil expects to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus in about a year, health officials say.

However, two more years would be needed for any large-scale rollout, health minister Marcelo Castro said.

Brazil is at the center of an outbreak of the Zika virus that has been linked to a surge of brain malformations in newborn babies.

Separately, officials have said the death of a third adult in Brazil had possible links to Zika.

Marcelo Castro announced that Brazil would invest $1.9 million in research for the Zika vaccine over the next five years, in partnership with scientists at the University of Texas.

Researchers have agreed that the testing of the vaccine would happen simultaneously in mice and monkeys, and not separately, to speed up the process, he said.

Photo AFP/Getty Images

Photo AFP/Getty Images

A vaccine could be ready for distribution within three years, Marcelo Castro added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global public health emergency over the possible connection between Zika and microcephaly, a condition marked by abnormally small heads in newborn babies that can result in developmental problems.

The link with Zika has not been confirmed, but the WHO and other public health bodies have said it is strongly suspected.

Brazil has seen more than 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly since October – a huge surge considering it had fewer than 150 cases in the whole of 2014.

Officials there believe as many as 1.5 million people could be infected by Zika.

Brazil has also announced a partnership with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for studies about the possible relation between the virus and the condition.

The microcephaly cases have been centered in north-east Brazil, but the Zika outbreak has affected people in more than 20 countries in the Americas.

Some governments have advised women to delay getting pregnant. Already-pregnant women have been advised not to travel to the countries affected.

Brazilian researchers found the Zika virus in the body of a 20-year-old woman who died last April from respiratory problems in the north-eastern state of Rio Grande do Norte, the health minister said.

Two other patients last year also died from complications while they were infected with the virus, before the outbreak had been discovered.

“We are still studying this in greater detail,” Marcelo Castro said at a press conference.

WHO director general, Margaret Chan, is expected to visit Brazil on February 23, Brazil’s health minister said.

According to new figures, more Brazilian babies were born with abnormally small heads to mothers infected with the Zika virus.

There have been 3,893 cases of microcephaly since October, when the authorities first noticed a surge, up from 3,500 in last week’s report.

The Zika virus is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also spreads dengue and chikungunya.

Brazil is experiencing the largest known outbreak of Zika.

The Zika virus has already killed five babies in the country, said the health ministry. Another 44 deaths are being investigated to determine if they were caused by Zika.

Last week, the Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Castro said a new testing kit was being developed to identify quickly the presence of either of the three viruses.

Marcelo Castro also announced extra funds to speed the development of a vaccine for Zika “in record time”.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

At the moment the only way to fight Zika is to clear standing water where mosquitoes breed.

There has been a sharp rise in the number of cases of Zika in several other Latin American countries.

In Colombia, more than 13,500 cases have been reported.

“We are the second country [in Latin America] after Brazil in the number of reported cases,” said Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria.

He has advised women in the country not to get pregnant for the rest of the outbreak, which he said could last until July.

In Bolivia, the authorities have reported the first case of a pregnant woman diagnosed with Zika.

“She has not travelled outside the country. This is a home-grown case,” Joaquin Monasterio, director of Health Services for the eastern department of Santa Cruz told the AFP news agency.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an alert on January 15 advising pregnant women to avoid travelling to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where outbreaks of Zika have been registered.

The travel alert applies to Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

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Mining giants BHP Billiton and Vale’s assets in Brazil have been blocked by a federal judge over the deadly collapse of a dam.

The joint-venture company they own, Samarco, does not have enough resources to cover the potential damages, estimated at 20.2 billion reais ($5.2 billion), the judge ruled.

Samarco owned the dam, which held back waste water from iron ore mining.

The dam burst last month, flooding a vast area and killing at least 13 people.

Anglo-Australian company BHP Billiton and Brazil-based Vale said they had not been officially notified.

Judge Marcelo Aguiar Machado’s ruling was published on December 18.

The two companies will also have to implement “immediate damage-mitigating environmental measures” or they will be liable to a daily fine of 150 million reais ($38 million), ruled Judge Marcelo Aguiar Machado.

Photo AP

Photo AP

On November 28, the Brazilian government filed a lawsuit against Samarco for the environmental damage caused by the accident.

Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the accident in the south-eastern state of Minas Gerais had “a huge impact from an environmental point of view”.

The village of Bento Rodrigues was totally destroyed and the toxic mud generated by the November 5 dam collapse polluted drinking water over a vast area.

The money will be used to compensate the victims and help repair the environment.

“It is not a natural disaster, it is a disaster prompted by economic activity, but of a magnitude equivalent to those disasters created by forces of nature,” said Izabella Teixeira when the lawsuit was filed.

About 310 miles of the Rio Doce – one of Brazil’s most important rivers – will have to be dredged in parts, vegetation replanted and fresh-water springs cleared, the minister said.

Less than a week after the accident, Samarco had its mining license suspended.

Samarco also agreed to pay 1 billion reais ($260 million) temporary compensation to the victims.

Brazil’s health ministry has confirmed a link between a mosquito-borne virus from Africa, Zika Fever, and a high incidence of birth defects.

The fever 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 of the disease, which can stunt the growth of the fetus’ head.

A World Health Organization team arrives in Brazil next week.

The Brazilian ministry said doctors had found Zika virus in the blood and tissue of a baby with micro-encephalitis in the north-eastern state of Ceara.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

It said it was also the first time in the world that adult deaths from Zika virus had been registered.

Most cases have been in the north-east of Brazil but cases also rapidly appeared in the south-east, in Rio and Sao Paulo.

The first confirmed case of death was of a man in the city of Belem, in Para state, who was being treated for Lupus, a disease of the immune system.

The second case, also in Para, was of a 16-year-old girl who was admitted with suspected Dengue fever but who was found to have died of Zika.

The virus was first detected in Brazil in April and has spread rapidly to 18 states.

It appears relatively harmless at first, causing a rash and a fever for a few days.

However, ministry officials have issued warnings to women to think carefully about getting pregnant at the moment in areas where there are Zika fever cases.

Zika is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, also known to carry the yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya viruses.

The Brazilian ministry said Zika had become a serious risk to public health and that Brazil must embark on an emergency program to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito to prevent the virus’ spread.

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has accused her political opponents of seeking to oust her government by “coup-mongering”.

Speaking at a meeting of union leaders in Sao Paulo on October 13, Dilma Rousseff also said the opposition was spreading hatred and intolerance across Brazil.

Dilma Rousseff’s comments come after an audit court last week ruled that she broke the law in managing last year’s budget.

The opposition says this could pave the way for impeachment proceedings.

President Dilma Rousseff was re-elected less than a year ago but currently has record low popularity ratings.Dilma Rousseff impeachment 2015

Addressing the gathering, Dilma Rousseff accused the opposition of practicing “deliberate coup-mongering” against a “project that has successfully lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty”.

“The artificiality of their arguments is absolute, their poisoning of people in social networks, their relentless game of <<the worse she does, the better for us>>,” she was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Dilma Rousseff’s remarks follow the ruling of the Federal Accounts Court on accusations that the government borrowed money illegally from state banks to make up for budget shortfalls.

The minister who handled the case in the court, Augusto Nardes, said the government disregarded fiscal and constitutional principles in the handling of the 2014 accounts.

The irregularities amount to more than 100 billion reais ($26 billion), according to the court.

The opposition said after the ruling it would seek impeachment proceedings in the Congress.

Also last week, Brazil’s top electoral authority said it would re-open an investigation into alleged misuse of funds during Dilma Rousseff’s re-election campaign.

The Brazilian economy has gone into recession and is expected to shrink by 3% in 2015.

The government’s popularity has fallen amid corruption scandals involving senior politicians from Dilma Rousseff’s Workers’ Party and other coalition members.

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Michael Jackson’s father, Joe Jackson, has been released from the Sao Paulo hospital where he had been treated following a stroke.

Joe Jackson, who was in Brazil to celebrate his 87th birthday, was diagnosed with a stroke associated with cardiac arrhythmia, the hospital said.Joe Jackson stroke Brazil

The Jackson family patriarch’s health had improved enough to warrant his release on August 3, the Albert Einstein hospital added.

Joe Jackson managed his sons’ musical group in the early 1960s.

He first worked with his three eldest sons, Jackie, Tito and Jermaine and then younger sons Marlon and Michael, forming the Jackson 5.

Although they would go on to achieve huge commercial success, it was reported that he was often abusive towards his family.

Michael Jackson, who went on to become a phenomenally successful pop star, died from an overdose of sedatives on June 25, 2009 at the age of 50.

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Brazil has banned the production and sale of foie gras in the country’s largest city, Sao Paulo.

Foie gras, originally a French delicacy, is made from the fatty liver of force-fed ducks and geese.

Sao Paulo councilors said animals go through a great deal of suffering for the production of the pate.Sao Paulo bans foie gras

Animal rights campaigners have hailed the move, but some of Sao Paulo’s best-known chefs have voiced concern.

Foie gras is produced worldwide. Several countries, including Britain, Germany, Italy and Argentina, have banned its production. But the sale of the pate is still allowed in most of them.

The Sao Paulo city council has set a fine of 5,000 reais ($1,500) for restaurants and bars that break the new law – which will take effect in 45 days.

“Foie gras is an appetizer for the wealthy,” said the law’s author, Sao Paulo councilor Laercio Benko.

“It does not benefit human health and to make it, the birds are submitted to a lot of suffering,” he said.

American self-professed minister Victor Arden Barnard, who was put on a US most-wanted list for allegedly molesting two girls in a “Maidens Group” at his religious fellowship in rural Minnesota, has been arrested in Brazil on February 28.

A statement posted on the website of the Public Security Secretariat for the Rio Grande do Norte state government reported the arrest of 53-year-old Victor Arden Barnard.

The US Marshals Service also confirmed the arrest in a statement.

The Brazilian statement said police captured Victor Arden Barnard in an apartment near a paradisiacal white-sand beach in northeastern Brazil. He was being held in the city of Natal to await extradition.

According to a criminal complaint in the US, two women said they were among about 10 girls and young women who lived apart from their families in a camp that Victor Arden Barnard set up near Finlayson, Minnesota, about 90 miles north of Minneapolis.Victor Arden Barnard US sect leader held in Brazil

One woman alleged Victor Arden Barnard abused her beginning at age 13 and continuing until she was 22. The other said her abuse occurred between ages 12 and 20.

Victor Arden Barnard allegedly kept the girls isolated, and US authorities have said he used religious coercion and intimidation to maintain his control over them, calling it cult-like behavior.

Investigators believe Victor Arden Barnard abused other girls but have been unable to get others to come forward. Most of the criminal counts against him carry maximum sentences of 30 years in prison.

Brazilian authorities said Victor Arden Barnard had been living for at least six months at the apartment where he was arrested near Praia da Pipa beach, about 1,300 miles from Rio de Janeiro.

Taken into custody with him was a 33-year-old Brazilian woman. Police also confiscated computers, cellphones, pen drives and other objects.

Police inspector Paulo Henrique Oliveira told the news portal G1, the website of Brazil’s biggest TV network, that Victor Arden Barnard entered the country legally in 2012.

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Brazil is “outraged” by the execution of Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira in Indonesia for drug trafficking.

Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, 53, was arrested in 2003 after police at Jakarta airport found 13.4 kg of cocaine hidden in his hang glider.

Brazil says Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira was the first Brazilian national to be executed abroad and has warned it will damage relations.

Five other convicts from Indonesia, Malawi, Nigeria, Vietnam and the Netherlands, were executed on January 18.

Convicted of drugs charges, they faced a firing squad in Central Java province shortly after midnight local time.

Five were executed on the island of Nusa Kambangan and the other one, a Vietnamese woman, was executed in the small central Javanese town of Boyolali.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said in a statement that she was “outraged and dismayed”.

“Relations between the two countries have been affected,” she said.

“The Brazilian ambassador to Jakarta has been recalled for consultations,” the president added.Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira Indonesia execution

The Netherlands has also recalled its ambassador, after Foreign Minister Bert Koenders called the execution of Dutch citizen Ang Kiem Soe, 52, “an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity”.

Indonesia has some of the world’s toughest drug laws. The country resumed executions in 2013 after an unofficial four-year moratorium.

Indonesia’s Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo said “hopefully, this will have a deterrent effect”.

President Joko Widodo has said that he will show no mercy towards drug criminals because they have ruined the lives of so many.

Dilma Rousseff had made a plea for clemency on January 16, but it was rejected by Joko Widodo.

She told her Indonesian counterpart that she respected the sovereignty and judicial system of his country but as a mother and head of state she was making the appeal for humanitarian reasons.

Brazil says Joko Widodo said he understood the Brazilian president’s concern but said he could not commute the sentence as the full legal process had been followed.

Human rights group Amnesty International urged the Indonesian government to halt executions immediately, and eventually abolish the death penalty.

Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira said in a video recorded by a friend that he regretted trying to smuggle cocaine into Indonesia.

“I am aware that I committed a serious offence, but I believe I deserve another chance. Everyone makes mistakes.”

A second Brazilian national, Rodrigo Muxfeldt Gularte, remains on death row in Indonesia, also convicted with drug trafficking offences.

Brazil abolished the death penalty in times of peace when it became a republic in 1889.

Brazil has released thousands of mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria that suppress dengue fever.

Researchers hope the good mosquitoes will multiply, breed and become the majority, thus reducing cases of the disease.

The initiative is part of a program also taking place in Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The intercellular bacteria, Wolbachia, being introduced cannot be transmitted to humans.

The program started in 2012 says Luciano Moreira of the Brazilian research institute Fiocruz, who is leading the project in Brazil.

“Our teams performed weekly visits to the four neighborhoods in Rio being targeted. Mosquitoes were analyzed after collection in special traps.

“Transparency and proper information for the households is a priority.”

Ten thousands mosquitoes will be released each month for four months with the first release in Tubiacanga, in the north of Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian researchers in Rio de Janeiro have released thousands of mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria that suppress dengue fever

Brazilian researchers in Rio de Janeiro have released thousands of mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria that suppress dengue fever

The bacterium Wolbachia is found in 60% of insects. It acts like a vaccine for the mosquito which carries dengue, Aedes aegypti, stopping the dengue virus multiplying in its body.

Wolbachia also has an effect on reproduction. If a contaminated male fertilizes the eggs of a female without the bacteria, these eggs do not turn into larvae.

If the male and female are contaminated or if only a female has the bacteria, all future generations of mosquito will carry Wolbachia.

As a result, Aedes mosquitoes with Wolbachia become predominant without researchers having to constantly release more contaminated insects.

In Australia this happened within 10 weeks on average.

The research on Wolbachia began at the University of Monash in Australia in 2008. The researchers allowed the mosquitoes to feed on their own arms for five years because of concerns at the time Wolbachia could infect humans and domestic animals.

Three more neighborhoods will be targeted next, and large scale studies to evaluate the effect of the strategy are planned for 2016.

Dengue fever re-emerged in Brazil in 1981 after an absence of more than 20 years.

Over the past 30 years, seven million cases were reported.

Brazil leads the world in the number of dengue cases, with 3.2 million cases and 800 deaths reported in the 2009-2014 period.

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According to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), the black box recovered from the wreckage of the plane crash that killed Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos did not record his flight.

It said the audio recording FAB experts had analyzed was not related to the flight that crashed on Wednesday.

A spokesman said they were trying to determine what the recording was.

Eduardo Campos, 49, and six others died when his private jet crashed in bad weather in the port city of Santos near Sao Paulo.

Experts from the Centre of Investigation and Prevention of Aeronautical Accidents in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, have been trying to reconstruct the audio files from the black box in search for more clues as to what happened in the lead up to the accident.

The Brazilian Air Force says the black box recovered from the wreckage of the plane crash that killed Eduardo Campos did not record his flight

The Brazilian Air Force says the black box recovered from the wreckage of the plane crash that killed Eduardo Campos did not record his flight

“The two hours of audio, the maximum recording capacity of the equipment, which were received and validated by certified technicians, were not of the flight of August 13,” air force spokesman Pedro Luis Farcic said in a statement.

“It is not yet possible to determine the date of the dialogue recorded in the CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder), given that this equipment does not record this information,” he continued, adding that an investigation would determine what may have happened.

Shortly after the accident, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff declared three days of mourning and halted all her re-election campaign activities for October’s presidential poll.

Eduardo Campos, of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), had been running third in opinion polls.

It is not yet clear who will replace him as presidential candidate for the PSB.

The PSB has said it will meet on August 20.

Analysts say his running mate, 56-year-old Marina Silva, a popular politician and a former environment minister, could step in.

Under Brazilian law, the party has 10 days to choose a substitute.

It could also decide not to run and throw its support behind another candidate.

Eduardo Campos, a former governor of the north-eastern state of Pernambuco, was on his way from Rio de Janeiro to the city of Guaruja, near Santos, when the Cessna 560XL he was travelling in went down into a residential area, killing everyone on board.

Officials have blamed the crash on bad weather, but a federal investigation on the cause remains underway.

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Chiquita has rejected a $611 million takeover bid by Brazilian groups Cutrale and Safra, saying it was sticking to its plan to merge with European fruit seller Fyffes.

The banana company said the offer from Brazil was “inadequate” and that it would not hold talks with the groups “at this time”.

Fruit juice company Cutrale and investment bank Safra made a $611 million bid for US-based Chiquita on Monday.

In March, Chiquita and Irish fruit group Fyffes agreed to merge.

Monday’s offer from the Brazilian businesses sent Chiquita shares 31% higher, while Fyffes fell 15%.

Chiquita has rejected a $611 million takeover bid by Brazilian groups Cutrale and Safra

Chiquita has rejected a $611 million takeover bid by Brazilian groups Cutrale and Safra

A Chiquita-Fyffes merger would create the world’s largest banana supplier, with $4.6 billion in annual revenues.

The deal would allow Chiquita to avoid higher US taxes by relocating its statutory headquarters to Ireland.

This so-called tax inversion has been considered by other US companies, and become highly controversial as it would mean lost government revenues.

Chiquita said on Thursday that the Brazil offer was “inadequate and not in the best interests of Chiquita shareholders”.

“Having made such a determination, Chiquita has determined not to furnish information to, and have discussions and negotiations with, the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group at this time.”

Cutrale and Safra said on Monday that their offer was “clearly more favorable to the Chiquita shareholders than the proposed merger with Fyffes”.

According to the UN, the global banana market is currently controlled by four firms, Chiquita, Dole Food Company, Fresh Del Monte and Fyffes.

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Brazil’s soccer team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has resigned following his country’s failure to win the 2014 World Cup, reports Brazilian broadcaster Globo TV.

Luiz Felipe Scolari, 65, won the 2002 World Cup but the hosts could only finish fourth at this year’s event.

Brazil was thrashed 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals, their joint-heaviest loss ever and first home competitive defeat for 39 years.

They then lost 3-0 to the Netherlands in the play-off for third place.

Brazil’s soccer team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has resigned following his country's failure to win the 2014 World Cup

Brazil’s soccer team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has resigned following his country’s failure to win the 2014 World Cup

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s contract was set to expire after the tournament but Globo TV says his resignation will be confirmed on Monday by the CBF, Brazil’s football federation.

UOL News, a Brazilian website, is also reporting that Luiz Felipe Scolari has quit, quoting two CBF sources.

During the defeat by the Netherlands, Luiz Felipe Scolari, in his second spell in charge of the national team, was booed every time his image appeared on the big screen inside the stadium in Brasilia.

Luiz Felipe Scolari first took over the Brazil side in 2001 and guided them to World Cup success a year later, beating Germany 2-0 in the 2002 final in Yokohama, Japan.

After spells in charge of Portugal, Premier League side Chelsea, Bunyodkor of Uzbekistan and Brazilian club Palmeiras, he resumed control of the national team in 2012.

Brazil hosted and won the Confederations Cup in 2013, beating Spain 3-0 in the final, and wa favorite to win a sixth World Cup.

They finished top of their group after two wins and a draw from their three matches, before edging past Chile on penalties in the last 16.

They beat Colombia 2-1 in the quarter-finals, but lost top goalscorer Neymar to a spine injury and captain Thiago Silva to suspension.

In the semi-final, Brazil were 5-0 down to Joachim Low’s Germany after only 29 minutes, before losing 7-1.

Luiz Felipe Scolari described the defeat as “the worst day of his life” and asked for forgiveness from the Brazilian people.

President Dilma Rousseff has urged Brazilians to bounce back after the national soccer team devastating 7-1 World Cup defeat against Germany.

“Like all Brazilians, I am very, very sad after the defeat. But we will not let ourselves be broken,” Dilma Rousseff tweeted.

The coach of the Brazilian team Luiz Felipe Scolari called the defeat “the worst day of his life”.

Brazilian media reflected the mood of shock on Wednesday, describing the result as a “historic humiliation”.

The result was Brazil’s biggest defeat in World Cup finals history.

“I feel bad for all of us – for fans and for our players,” Dilma Rousseff said, urging Brazilians to “get up, shake off the dust and come out on top”.

President Dilma Rousseff has urged Brazilians to bounce back after the national soccer team devastating 7-1 World Cup defeat against Germany

President Dilma Rousseff has urged Brazilians to bounce back after the national soccer team devastating 7-1 World Cup defeat against Germany

Some have speculated that the team’s poor showing may affect Dilma Rousseff’s chances in the presidential election in October.

“Brazil’s historic humiliation has set off a warning signal in Dilma Rousseff’s government, which fears that the bad mood stemming from the defeat may affect expectations for the economy – already not very favorable – as well as the campaign trail,” a column in the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper said.

It added that fans in the stadium had chanted insults about Dilma Rousseff.

The German team established a 5-0 lead within just 29 minutes, adding two more goals in the second half.

By the end of the match many of the remaining Brazilian fans were cheering the German team.

The match was the first time a team had scored seven goals in a World Cup semi-final, and the first World Cup game with eight or more goals since Germany beat Saudi Arabia 8-0 in 2002.

Shakira will perform at this year’s World Cup closing ceremony, which takes place before the final in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.

The 37-year-old singer will perform La La La (Brazil 2014) at the Maracana stadium.

It is Shakira’s third consecutive appearance at a World Cup closing ceremony, after performing in South Africa in 2010 and in Germany in 2006.

Shakira will perform at this year's World Cup closing ceremony on the Maracana stadium

Shakira will perform at this year’s World Cup closing ceremony on the Maracana stadium

Shakira, whose home team Colombia will face Brazil in the quarter-finals, said she was “thrilled” to be performing.

“I have an intricate relationship with football for obvious reasons, and I truly understand what the World Cup means to so many people, myself included,” the singer said in a statement.

“The fans have shown the most incredible support for this song and I can’t wait to perform it for them.”

Shakira had a son with Spanish defender Gerard Pique last year.

She also performed the official song of the 2010 World Cup – Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) – which is reportedly the biggest-selling World Cup song of all time.

The Brazil ceremony, which marks the end of a month of football, will also see Carlos Santana and hip-hop star Wyclef Jean perform the official anthem Dar Um Jeito alongside Brazil’s Alexandre Pires.

Ivete Sangalo will perform a medley of well-known Brazilian songs, while there will be a Samba performance by students from a school in Rio.

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The worst performance at a World Cup by England, period. Eliminated just 8 days into the tournament and after only two games for the first time in the proud nation’s history.

It was never going to be easy. It wasn’t a great surprise that England were eliminated before the second round but the manner in which it happened left a bitter taste in the mouth.

Two defeats in which England had more possession of the ball, more shots on goal but allowed the opposition to score twice in each match with some of their only attempts on goal.

Manager Roy Hodgson has the backing of the English FA. Captain Steven Gerrard wants at least a week to decide over his England future. Wayne Rooney is “hurt”, apparently.

England was eliminated just 8 days into the World Cup soccer tournament

England was eliminated after just 8 days into the World Cup soccer tournament (photo Nike)

The two England performances against Uruguay and Italy were barely encouraging. While England weren’t exactly favourites for lifting the World Cup, they were still expected to get one win out of two games. The exciting football that the team played was a treat and a rarity it must be said. The Sunday League defending and the lack of opportunities created were a big reason for England to catch the plane home early.

Only 8 nations at the 2014 World Cup had a younger squad than England. That included having 34-year old Steven Gerrard and now 36-year old Frank Lampard.

England took the most under-21 players to the tournament of all 32 nations – 18-year old Luke Shaw, 19-year old Raheem Sterling and 20-year olds Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ross Barkley.

Liverpool’s Sterling has already started both of England’s games at this World Cup, whilst Everton’s Barkley has made substitute appearances in both. Arsenal’s Chamberlain was not fit for either of the two previous matches, but if all four of these players are given a start against Costa Rica, alongside some of the senior players – surely this can only be a positive thing for England’s future.

Manager Hodgson admitted in Thursday’s press conference that he wanted to give as many of his 23-man squad an appearance during the tournament. 15 members of the squad have already made an appearance.

Two goalkeepers; Fraser Forster (26) and Ben Foster (31) are joined by Phil Jones (22), Frank Lampard (36), James Milner (28), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (20), Luke Shaw (18) and Chris Smalling (24) as those yet to play.

There’s a handful of names in this squad you think could be very great in two or four years’ time at the next tournaments provided England qualify. But how many of these do you predict to be World Class players?

How many of these players are going to go on to become the next Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Sergio Agüero, Franck Ribéry or Arjen Robben?

Since the decline of Wayne Rooney, the retirements of David Beckham and Michael Owen and the aging Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard – England now desperately need to be on the lookout for developing World Class players in the very near future if they’re even to consider reaching the final four of a major tournament, let-alone winning it.

Compared to the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, England simply don’t have the strength in depth and until that is developed the manager can only do the best with the blunt tools he has been given.

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The 2014 World Cup officially got under way with a colorful opening ceremony before hosts Brazil kicked off against Croatia.

A cast of 660 dancers paid tribute to Brazil’s nature, people and football with a show around a “living” ball on the Arena de Sao Paulo pitch.

The final act saw a performance of official World Cup song We Are One by Jennifer Lopez and rapper Pitbull.

The month-long tournament sees 32 nations compete in 64 games.

A cast of 660 dancers paid tribute to Brazil's nature, people and football with a show around a living ball on the Arena de Sao Paulo pitch

A cast of 660 dancers paid tribute to Brazil’s nature, people and football with a show around a living ball on the Arena de Sao Paulo pitch (photo Getty Images)

Many fans took to the streets to sing and chant their support for Brazil as excitement built in the hours before the tournament began.

But there were also demonstrations from those unhappy with the expense of hosting the tournament.

Performers dressed as trees, flowers and various musical instruments all performed in three acts before the central ball opened to reveal singers Claudia Leitte, Jennifer Lopez and rapper Pitbull as they sang the official World Cup song as the finale.

The opening game of the tournament between Brazil and Croatia kicks off at 17:00 local time.

No host nation have ever lost their opening World Cup game, with the previous 20 producing 14 victories and six draws for the hosts.

Brazil starts as favorite to win the World Cup for a sixth time, while holders Spain are aiming to win a fourth major tournament in a row after winning the European Championship two years ago.

The other seeded teams are Colombia, Uruguay, Switzerland, Argentina, Germany and Belgium.

FIFA said it had sold more than 2.9 million tickets, but they were still available for several matches on Wednesday, including some involving Germany, Italy and France.

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Sao Paulo riot police have used tear gas to break up a protest against Brazil’s World Cup, hours before the opening match.

At least one person was arrested and five others were injured, three of them journalists.

Protesters had tried to block a road leading to the stadium where the opening ceremony will take place.

Sao Paulo riot police have used tear gas to break up a protest against Brazil’s World Cup, hours before the opening match

Sao Paulo riot police have used tear gas to break up a protest against Brazil’s World Cup, hours before the opening match

Further protests are planned in other Brazilian cities over the expense of hosting the tournament.

In another development, striking airport workers in Rio de Janeiro blocked a road outside the airport, demanding a wage increase and a World Cup bonus.

The strike was to have lasted for 24 hours but union leaders called it off early for legal reasons.

Striking teachers also staged a rally in Rio city centre, further disrupting traffic.

Police charged with batons and riot shields, firing rubber bullets over heads of scores of protesters near a metro station on the route to the Arena Corinthians. Riot police moved in after the demonstrators refused to clear the road.

The demonstrators had been chanting “there won’t be a Cup”.

The violence happened about 8 miles from the stadium where Brazil will play Croatia at 20:00 GMT.

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FIFA’s World Cup 2014 begins today with Brazil opening the tournament against Croatia.

The month-long tournament sees 32 nations compete for a place in the final in Rio on Sunday, July 13.

The opening match will be preceded by a ceremony in Sao Paulo that pays tribute to nature, people and football.

Last year more than a million people took to the streets of major Brazilian cities to protest against what they see as excessive spending on the World Cup.

World Cup 2014 opening match will be preceded by a ceremony in Sao Paulo that pays tribute to nature, people and football

World Cup 2014 opening match will be preceded by a ceremony in Sao Paulo that pays tribute to nature, people and football

Brazil’s government is keen to prevent a repeat of some of the violence seen at those protests, and President Dilma Rousseff has said she will not allow violent demonstrations to mar the World Cup.

Thousands of extra police and soldiers will be deployed to ensure the matches get under way smoothly.

Hosts Brazil start as favorites to win the World Cup for a sixth time, while holders Spain are aiming to win a fourth major tournament in a row after winning the European Championships two years ago.

The other seeded teams are Colombia, Uruguay, Switzerland, Argentina, Germany and Belgium.

The host nation have never lost their opening World Cup game, with the previous 20 opening games producing 14 victories and six draws for the hosts.

A capacity 65,000 crowd is expected for the match, with their journey to the stadium eased after metro workers voted not to resume a strike over pay and the dismissal of 42 colleagues.

The host city for the opening ceremony had been braced for considerable disruption after traffic chaos was caused by a five-day stoppage earlier in the week.

As one problem eased another began, however, with airport workers in Brazil’s second largest city Rio de Janeiro announcing a 24-hour strike starting at midnight on Wednesday, meaning industrial action will continue through the opening day of the World Cup.

FIFA said it had sold more than 2.9 million tickets, but they were still available for several matches on Wednesday, including some involving Germany, Italy and France.

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Jennifer Lopez has denied the cancellation of her performance at the World Cup opening ceremony in Brazil, despite claims she had pulled out.

FIFA said earlier this week J Lo would not be performing the official tournament song on Thursday.

However, Jennifer Lopez told the Associated Press on Tuesday she was flying to Brazil later that night.

“People get nervous and I think it was a little bit premature to announce anything,” she said.

Jennifer Lopez has denied the cancellation of her performance at the World Cup opening ceremony in Brazil

Jennifer Lopez has denied the cancellation of her performance at the World Cup opening ceremony in Brazil

FIFA officials had said Jennifer Lopez was not able to attend the ceremony because of unspecified “production issues”.

However, J Lo said: “I think people get anxious, especially with me and my schedule when I’m like, <<Ah, OK, I can leave this day, that day, I don’t know if we can make it>> – but we are definitely going.”

Jennifer Lopez added she would perform We Are One (Ole Ola) alongside rapper Pitbull and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte – with whom she has recorded the song – before Brazil takes on Croatia at the opening game in Sao Paulo.

She said the World Cup song was orchestrated by Pitbull, who invited her to join on the track.

“I can’t take credit for this. This was one of Pitbull’s call-ins,” she said.

“He had this record and he’s like, <<I think this record could be great for the World Cup – will you do it with me?>> And I go, <<Yeah, of course>>.”

Jennifer Lopez added: “I’m so lucky that he gave me the opportunity.”

More than 60,000 people are expected to be in Sao Paulo’s Corinthians Arena to watch the ceremony and kick-off match. Up to a billion people worldwide are expected to tune in on television.

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Jennifer Lopez has decided to pull out of performing the official World Cup song at this year’s tournament’s opening ceremony in Brazil, FIFA has announced.

Officials said Jennifer Lopez could not attend Thursday’s show because of unspecified “production issues”.

Jennifer Lopez was due to perform alongside rapper Pitbull and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte, with whom she has recorded the song We Are One (Ole Ola).

Pitbull and Claudia Leitte will go ahead and perform accompanied by drummers Olodum.

Jennifer Lopez was due to perform at the World Cup 2014 opening ceremony alongside Pitbull and Claudia Leitte

Jennifer Lopez was due to perform at the World Cup 2014 opening ceremony alongside Pitbull and Claudia Leitte

“For production issues, Jennifer Lopez, one of the artists of the official song We Are One, will not be able to perform at the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony,” said a statement.

The 25-minute ceremony in Sao Paulo will feature 600 artists, including acrobatic gymnasts, trampolinists, martial arts-style performers and stilt walkers.

Last week, Jennifer Lopez said she was “thrilled” to be given the chance to perform at the opening ceremony.

“This is an amazing celebration of global unity, competition and sport,” she said.

Pitbull appeared not to be downhearted at Jennifer Lopez’s withdrawal from the show.

“To be performing We Are One to the world, especially in such a beautiful country like Brazil, is going to be a lot of fun,” Pitbull said in a statement released by FIFA.

“But more than this, it is going to show the world that music is the universal language.”

Jennifer Lopez also missed the January event where Pitbull and Claudia Leitte unveiled plans for the song alongside FIFA officials in Rio de Janeiro.

More than 60,000 people are expected to be in Sao Paulo’s Corinthians Arena to watch the ceremony and kick-off match between Brazil and Croatia.

Up to a billion people are expected to tune in on TV worldwide

Jennifer Lopez’s cancellation comes amid protests and strikes in Brazil, where some are unhappy about the amount of money being spent on the tournament.

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