How Brazil is revisiting its past in a bid to stop government collapsing

For the first time in Brazil’s political history, a former president is expected to become a serving minister in a bid to stop the government of Dilma Rousseff collapsing under a mammoth corruption scandal, and stave off the threat of presidential impeachment. The unprecedented move to appoint former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (best known as Lula) to a key ministerial role in President Dilma Rousseff’s government also, many observers noted, provides protection for the former Brazilian

A ballerina has received groundbreaking prosthetic limb allowing her to dance again

An amateur ballerina in Brazil, whose lower left leg was amputated after a road accident, has spoken of her joy after becoming among the first people to receive a pointe foot prosthesis allowing her to dance classical ballet again. The breakthrough design opens up the possibilities for other amputees across the world who may have enjoyed amateur ballet dancing before losing a limb. The carbon fibre and gypsum mould was manufactured for Melina Reis by São Paulo prosthetic specialist Dr José Andr

Penguin returns home every year to the Brazilian man who saved it

This incredible video shows the touching relationship between a penguin and the Brazilian man who rescued him from certain death. Retired bricklayer and part time fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, from an island village just outside Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, discovered the tiny penguin languishing on rocks in 2011. The helpless creature was starving and covered in oil but Mr de Souza took him in and nursed him back to health, naming the South American Magellanic penguin Dindim. It took him

Meet Dindim, the penguin who returns to his human soulmate every year

Four years ago, Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, found a South American Magellanic penguin covered in oil and starving on a beach on an island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. A friendship was born. Since they met in 2011, the creature, which normally breeds on the Patagonia coasts of Argentina and Chile, three to five thousand miles away, has become a faithful companion, swimming every year from its habitat to spend up to eight months living with the retired fisherman in his house on the island.

Rio citizens to receive new app to record police violence in favelas

A palpable sense of fear pervades Morro da Providencia – the oldest favela in Rio de Janeiro – on the morning after a night of intense gunfire between local criminals and police. For three hours, hundreds of bullets ripped through the public square of Praca Americo Brum on that recent night, in a location known as Coracao (Heart) at the top of the hillside Providencia. It is where a local resident, Cosme Vinicius Felippsen, sits to explain how a new mobile app, being launched this month, will

Brazilian tycoon who lost £25BILLION in 'throws £130,000 into ocean

Once the richest man in Brazil, Eike Batista is claimed to have resorted to one of the oldest superstitious rituals in the world in the hope of rebuilding his billion-pound empire, throwing money into the biggest wishing well he could find – the South Atlantic Ocean. The flamboyant businessman, who suffered one of the largest personal and financial collapses in corporate history, tossed over 700 thousand Brazilian reais (£130,000) in gold coins onto the waves off the coast of Rio de Janeiro's I

Why a fallen Brazilian business mogul is offering gold to the Queen of the Sea

Once the richest man in Brazil, Eike Batista is claimed to have resorted to one of the oldest superstitious rituals in the world in the hope of rebuilding his billion-pound empire, throwing money into the biggest wishing well he could find – the South Atlantic Ocean. The flamboyant businessman, who suffered one of the largest personal and financial collapses in corporate history, tossed over 700,000 Brazilian reais (£130,000) in gold coins into the waves off the coast off Rio de Janeiro’s Ipane

Excommunicated Brazilian obstetrician fights for women's right to abort Zika babies

Dr. Olimpio Moraes is used to being at the center of controversy. He’s been excommunicated twice by Brazil’s Roman Catholic Church for actively supporting abortion. Recently, the obstetrician has thrown his weight behind a civil rights campaign preparing to launch a legal challenge for the rights of pregnant women to abort fetuses with the Zika virus-linked microcephaly. The abortion-rights lobby has won support from Católicas Direito de Decidir (Catholic’s Right to Decide

Fifty people hurt in Brazilian piranha attacks as killer fish strike

Hundreds of swimmers in Brazil are being warned to stay out of the water following a spate of attacks by shoals of deadly piranha, which has left more than 50 people injured in just over a month. Unsuspecting tourists have had chunks of flesh bitten out of their hands and feet as drought conditions in the South American country force the lethal predators to migrate from their natural habitat to deeper waters packed with holidaymakers. This weekend at least eight bathers were savaged by man-eat

The water’s a bit nippy: piranha are terrorising Brazilian bathers

Hundreds of swimmers in Brazil are being warned to stay out of the water following a spate of attacks by shoals of deadly piranha, which has left more than 50 people injured in just over a month. Unsuspecting tourists have had chunks of flesh bitten out of their hands and feet as drought conditions in the South American country force the lethal predators to migrate from their natural habitat to deeper waters packed with holidaymakers. This week at least eight bathers were bitten by the man-eat

Christian churches split as Zika epidemic sparks new abortion debate in Brazil

The Catholics are against it, the Anglicans undecided and the Baptists veering toward supporting the right to choose for mothers infected with Zika. This week, religious leaders from all Christian denominations in Brazil were asked by President Dilma Rousseff to use the pulpit to rally their faithful in the fight against the spread of the Zika virus. The call led to a fresh debate on abortion in a nation where terminations are illegal in almost all cases. Representatives from the National Coun

Brazil's abortion rights debate fails to convince some mothers of microcephaly babies

During the first few months of his young life, Erick Ferreira suffered multiple seizures. The convulsions left his tiny body exhausted, but as soon as the fits subsided, the baby, now 7 months old, would look at his mother and smile. “That’s when I knew God had chosen me to be his mama and God was in control of the reason for this illness,” said Erika Roque, 30, who believes her evangelical faith is supporting her through one of the most difficult trials in her life. Erick

Brazilians describe life under the shadow of Zika

Ana Carolina Caceres is on her way out to meet friends. Holding her mobile phone at an angle just above her head, the Brazilian youngster takes a quick picture and checks how she looks in the photo before she dashes out of the house. Nothing unusual there. The 24-year-old is part of a generation of selfie-taking addicts. What is unusual is the spotlight in which Ms Caceres now finds herself. Brazil is battling to stem a sharp rise in the number of babies with microcephaly, a condition that mean

Brazil street carnivals could prove 'explosive cocktail' for spread of Zika virus

This year’s annual street carnivals which begin across Brazil at the weekend could prove to be an “explosive cocktail” for the spread of the Zika virus, the country’s leading virologist has warned. As hundreds of thousands of people prepare to join week-long festivities on the streets and in samba parade stadiums nationwide, Dr Sergio Cimerman warned of a “risk of people being contaminated and the disease spreading and proliferating around the globe”. He told The Independent: “There will be la

Mothers affected by the Zika virus tell their stories

It should have been a joyful celebration for both Vanessa Oliveira and Thais Battistot. But like thousands of women across the South American continent, the two Brazilian mothers have had to come to terms with one of the most heartbreaking revelations – that their newborn arrivals have microcephaly. Throughout their pregnancies, neither women was alerted to the risks of their foetuses developing the abnormality of a smaller head and underdeveloped brain, nor to the risk of associated neurologic

A Brazilian Zika expert has revealed her frustration at the nation's failure to control the virus

With four million cases now predicted across the Americas, one of the first Brazilian medics to make the link between the Zika virus and birth defects has spoken of her frustration at Brazil’s failure to control the outbreak. Dr Adriana Melo, who works as a consultant obstetrician at the Elpidio de Almeida Health Institute maternity hospital in Campina Grande, Paraiba state, first warned of the connection between Zika and microcephaly in November 2015. “I started to get concerned at the end of

Moment 14-month-old Brazilian toddler falls from a second-floor window

This is the heart-stopping moment a 14-month-old toddler falls from a second floor window - but miraculously gets up with just a few cuts and one bruise. CCTV footage shows the young child - from Ceara, Fortaleza in Brazil - falling from a town-centre building with such force that she is pushed forward with the impact. In the first milliseconds of the accident it seems hard to believe the girl - known as Helena Beatrice Nascimento - has survived the drop. But seconds later, the toddler, who l

Bungling Rio2016 Olympic chiefs use Oscar Pistorius as a poster boy

Organisers of this year's Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro used murdering South African runner Osca Pistorius to advertise this summer's game in a highly embarrassing gaffe. The official Rio2016 Twitter account posted a video of Pistorius winning the 400 metre final at the 2012 games in London. However, since then, Pistorius shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and had his manslaughter conviction overturned and upgraded to murder. The video showed Pistorius in a video medley of several other