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Maracanã – Brazil’s Flagship

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‘Problems’ as Maracana stadium reopens in Rio

Venue organisers tried to show the renovated stadium in its best light, but Brazilian media said there were many problems with the venue

Rio’s world-famous Maracana stadium has reopened after nearly three years of renovations to prepare it for the World Cup finals in 2014.

Workers who helped with the renovation and their families were treated to an exhibition match between teams of stars past and present.

But leading newspapers reported problems with the new facility.

The reopening follows controversy over delays, costs and the future privatisation of the site.

The renovation was completed four months behind schedule.

Days before the test event, seats were still being installed and pavements laid near the venue.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor Eduardo Paes were among the 30,000-strong crowd watching the friendly between teams captained by Ronaldo and Bebeto.

But the Jornal do Brasil said Saturday’s visitors “needed patience to deal with the many problems” at the venue, arising from the rush to complete it.

It highlighted uneven flooring with small gaps and holes, flooding in the VIP area and a dysfunctional lift, and said some staff had tried to prevent journalists taking pictures of the affected areas.

Workers were still finishing building a stadium wall, and ticket offices, turnstiles and gates were not working, said another paper, the Folha de Sao Paulo.

International test

But in a statement quoted by the Folha de Sao Paulo, the Rio de Janeiro state government pointed out that this was a test event, using only 30% of the stadium’s full capacity, and did not represent the full reopening.

It said it was “natural” that some more work remained to be done.

“Maracana will be delivered fully ready on the date set by Fifa: 24 May,” it reportedly said.

Former Brazil star striker Ronaldo, who captained one team for the exhibition match against former teammate Bebeto, said the stadium looked “amazing”.

“I’m happy to see the stadium ready again. The Maracana is a symbol of this country,” he said, according to the Assoociated Press news agency.

Former Brazil coach and player Mario Zagallo said he had “goose-bumps” when he arrived, AP said.

The first major international test of the facility will be a friendly between Brazil and England on 2 June before the Confederations Cup begins two weeks later.

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Spinach Soup

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Could sewage be Brazil’s Olympic embarrassment?

20,000 litres of sewerage a second

Guanabara bay will host both rowing and sailing when the Olympics arrive in Rio in 2016. But the bay is contaminated by sewage. Brazil’s olympic yachtswomen hopefuls Isabel Swann and Martine Grael say at times the water is more like spinach soup.

They are concerned that if the bay is not cleaned up the pollution will be an embarrassment during the games.

Taxis

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Idea for a post from my regular commenter Tempo…

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Paz, Bolivia – would you ride in a Bam Bam taxi?

 

Peru also has ‘colectivos’ usually old 1960s American cars of dubious character (some drivers too) that ply between many cities. A hair raising trip between Ica & Nazca is a great one.

 

New Delhi, India

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, I think, Tempo…

Or would you prefer one from Jakarta, Indonesia…

Rio de Janeiro building collapse

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The bodies of at least four people have been recovered by rescue workers searching through rubble after the collapse of three multi-storey buildings in Rio de Janeiro.

Rescue workers were looking for at least 22 people, but say it is unlikely many will be found alive.

Officials are investigating if illegal building works caused structural problems that led to the collapse.

The buildings, one of which was 20 storeys, collapsed late on Wednesday.

The buildings were located near the Municipal Theatre and the headquarters of oil giant Petrobras. Dozens of emergency workers attended the scene and police cordoned off the area.

Source: BBC News Read more

The buildings were literally a stone’s throw from the famed Cinelândia district which has many historic buildings and is a major tourist attraction.

There have been five bodies recovered so far and 21 people still missing.

Engineers have now almost totally excluded supposed reasons for the collapse with the likely cause to be an illegal removal of a load bearing wall during extensive renovations by the major occupier of the 20 story building, an IT company, who haven’t so far been able to produce architectural and engineering assessments approving the work.

Rio de Janeiro – This morning

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Aerial view of Praça Tiradentes

Praça Tiradentes (Tiradentes Square) is pretty close to the main area of downtown Rio de Janeiro. Early this morning it was rocked by an explosion in a local restaurant as gas cylinders exploded after leaking during a public holiday.

The explosion had the force of about 10kgs (22lbs) of dynamite and caused widespread havoc and the evacuation of a hotel next door. Three deaths and many injured. Tonight six of the injured (three critically) are still hospitalised.

The restaurant was operating under a provisional licence with conditions that had never been complied with. There is also a Fire Brigade report that bans the use of gas either in cylinders or piped into the building.

Who is at fault?

Bureaucracy!

The frontage destroyed by the explosion - Photo - Globo.com.br

Pride of Rio de Janeiro

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When people talk about Rio de Janeiro in Brazil there are some things that are always mentioned; Corcovado (The Statue of Christ), Pão de Açucar (Sugar Loaf) and always the bonde (tram) to Santa Teresa.

The Bondinho (Little Tram) high above Lapa

Tourists and locals (because the tram is public transport, it costs the same as the city buses) use the tram from the station  in the shadow of Petrobras’ building behind Carioca Square and travel high above Lapa on the Arcos (Arches).

The Bondinhos are public transport

Once across Lapa the bondinho wound its way up the narrow streets of Santa Teresa competing with cars and buses.

Today (27th Aug) ended in tragedy. One of the trams left the rails, apparently losing its brakes and out of control.

The tram derailed in Rua Joaquim Murtinho, Santa Teresa - BBC

Five died instantly and more than 60 taken to hospitals, 10 in a serious condition. There were tourists and locals on the tram and many had to be freed from the wreckage.

Read more on BBCNews

The tram service has been suspended, amid accusations of poor maintenance, and will remain so until after the police enquiry.

It would be sad to see this as the end of an era that stretches back more than a century.

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