Rio tries to contain slums with concrete

Mayor builds seven-mile network of 10ft walls 'to protect the rainforest'

Tom Sutcliffe: Secrecy on pay can keep salaries down

Here’s a simple question: is the public disclosure of top salaries more likely to drive prices up or down? I assume that senior staff at the Information Commissioner’s Office (salaries on application) must have asked themselves the same thing before issuing new guidelines about transparency on the amount of public money that goes into private pockets ... and presumably their broad assumption was that this measure would be most likely to save public money in the long run.

Britons held hostage in Rio

Two British tourists have told how they were held hostage in Brazil by robbers armed with guns and grenades.

Architect, 101, denied chance to add final flourish to city he created

It is probable that at 101 years old, Oscar Niemeyer, the guru of modernist architecture whose greatest project was the city of Brasilia, is old enough to withstand disappointment, even as large as the one he has just suffered. He thought he was on course to adorn the city’s skyline with one last flourish. But now, suddenly, he isn’t.

DVD: Elite Squad, Retail & Rental, (Optimum)

While 'City of God' explored the gangs of Rio de Janeiro, 'Elite Squad' plunges into the corruption-clogged heart of its police force.

Album: Binario, Binario, (Far Out)

Imagine the cheek of it! A band from Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro who prefer post-rock and wobbly psychedelia to the sand-between-the-toes sound of bossa nova or bottom-wiggling samba.

Simon Calder: A New Romantic rendezvous in Rio de Janeiro

Travelling in South America comprises a grand tour through improbability. Uncertainty can beset the traveller immediately on arrival: forget the usual red channel/green channel arrangements, because in some countries it is usual at Customs to assess whether inbound passengers have something to declare on an entirely arbitrary basis.

Golding holds steady behind leaders

As Jean-Pierre Dick continued his charge at the front of the Vendée Globe solo round the world race, with Roland Jourdain and Sebastien Josse disputing second place, Britain's Mike Golding was playing steady as she goes in fifth place, less than 100 miles behind.

Pirate warning as world race nears start

Fewer icebergs but more pirates will keep hazard levels as high as ever as the eight-boat Volvo fleet leaves Alicante on Saturday for its first, 6,500-mile ocean leg of a round the world race that covers 37,000 miles and ends over eight months later in glittering St Petersburg.

Dorival Caymmi: Leading figure in Brazilian song

In February 1939 a young, unknown singer-songwriter got the most fabulous break of his life by recording a duet of his swinging samba "O Que É Que A Bahiana Tem?" ("What is it about Bahian Women?") with Brazil's biggest ever vocal star. The song became one of Carmen Miranda's signature pieces just before she took Hollywood by storm, and launched Dorival Caymmi as a leading figure in Brazilian song.

A Fighter's Heart, By Sam Sheridan

A sports writer boxes clever in his attempt to understand the longstanding appeal of combat sports

Campbell to face charges over Heathrow bag row

The supermodel Naomi Campbell is to be charged over an alleged air rage incident at Heathrow last month. She was hauled off a British Airways plane in handcuffs after apparently reacting badly to news that one of her bags had been lost amid chaos at the recently opened Terminal 5.

Ghetto fabulous: Why Seu Jorge will never forget life (and death) in the favela

Jorge Mário da Silva doesn't do mornings. And though it's 3pm in São Paulo, the Brazilian actor and musician – otherwise known as Seu Jorge ("Mr Jorge") – is only just coming round. But between yawns, he's enthusing about his forthcoming trip to London. "I love playing abroad," he says. "I've got lots of friends in London. Also, the shows are earlier over there. I played in Rio last week and I got on stage at one in the morning!"

Rio Carnival rated best festival for travellers of an independent mind

Ever since its explosive inception in the mid-19th century, one public spectacle has captured the world's imagination more than any other by virtue of its noisy flamboyance and lavish, unashamed sensuality.

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