Entries in Brazil (18)


Missing Tortoise Found Alive in Brazil After 30 Years

Zoonar/Thinkstock(RIO DE JANEIRO) -- A tortoise that went missing from a family home in Brazil back in 1982 has been found alive after spending the last 30 years locked away in a storeroom in the house.

When Manuela the tortoise disappeared from the house in Rio de Janeiro, her owner, Leonel Almieda, figured she escaped when somebody forgot to close the front door, reports the website

When Almieda died earlier this month, his adult children began to clean out a second-floor storage room he had filled with broken electrical items and always kept locked.  His adult son Leandro grabbed a cardboard box with a record player inside and was stunned to find Manuela in there as well.

Leandro told reporters, "At that moment I turned white.  I just could not believe what I was seeing."  

His sister Lenita, who had been given the tortoise as a pet, said, "We are all thrilled to have Manuela back."

No one is quite sure how Manuela managed to live for 30 years in a locked room, but a local vet thinks she may have survived by eating termites from the wooden floor and licking condensation that formed on objects in the room.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Brazil Nightclub Fire: Police Arrest Three in Santa Maria

EduAndrade/LatinContent/Getty Images(SANTA MARIA, Brazil) -- Brazilian authorities have arrested three people in connection to the fire that killed more than 230 people and injured hundreds at a nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, this weekend.

The owner of the popular Kiss nightclub, a member of the band Gurizada Fandangueira and the club's security chief have been arrested and are being questioned by police, the BBC reported on Monday.

A fourth person, who the BBC reports is a co-owner of the club, is still being sought by police.

None of the names of those arrested and being sought have been released.

Coffins lined a gymnasium in Santa Maria on Monday as family members tried to identify their loved ones after a fast-moving fire tore through a crowded nightclub Sunday morning.

A community gym near the popular Kiss nightclub has been converted to a temporary morgue were family members were led in one by one Sunday night and early Monday morning to identify the dead.

Most of those killed on Sunday were either trampled to death or died from smoke inhalation as they tried to leave through the one working exit of the club.

Firefighters attempted to break holes in the walls to free victims at the club, which was said to be filled to its capacity of between 1,000 and 2,000 people.

Authorities in Santa Maria, a college town in southern Brazil, said preliminary evidence indicated the fire was started when a member of the band shot off a flare gun into the ceiling, which caused the fire to quickly spread.

The tragedy was reminiscent of a fire at The Station nightclub in Warwick, R.I., 10 years ago when a pyrotechnics display used by the band Great White sparked a blaze that quickly went out of control, causing a panic that left 100 people dead.

The first funerals for the victims in Brazil were scheduled to begin later Monday for those families who have identified their loved ones.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Over 200 People Dead in Brazil Night Club Fire

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Over 200 people are reportedly dead after a fire broke out in a night club in Santa Maria, Brazil.

Eyewitnesses described a scene of terror with people trying to fight their way out through thick smoke and what some say was a single exit at the packed Kiss night club in the southern Brazilian town. People outside apparently tried to break through walls to get in to save those trapped inside. Hospitals in Santa Maria are at full capacity. The majority of victims are believed to have died from inhaling toxic fumes.


The blaze is believed to have ignited when a band started a fireworks display on stage, and acoustic insulation caught fire.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Cat Nabbed for Smuggling Contraband in Brazilian Prison

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A cunning feline was detained by Brazilian police after it was busted smuggling escape tools taped to its body into a prison.

On New Year’s Eve, the cat was spotted by a guard at medium security prison Judge Luiz de Oliveira Souza in Arapiraca, in the northeast of Brazil.

Taped to its body were two saws, two drills for concrete, a headset, a memory card, a cellphone, three batteries and a mobile phone charger, according to a police statement.  Officials said the material would serve to saw bars and dig tunnels.

According to officers at the prison, the cat would often be seen tiptoeing in and out of the prison gate, and they said that it may have been raised by inmates held at the prison.

After the items were removed, the cat was taken to a local animal center.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Busted for Trying to Board Plane With 27 Snakes

John Foxx/Thinkstock(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) -- A Brazilian man was arrested for trying to board a flight at Orlando International Airport while carrying 27 snakes that he'd wrapped in pantyhose and stashed away inside stereo speakers, authorities said.

Mateus Del Maso, Jr. checked the speakers as luggage, but they were inspected and the snakes hidden inside were discovered. The creatures never made it onto the aircraft.

Dal Maso purchased the serpents at the National Reptile Breeders Expo in Daytona Beach, Fla. He admitted he was going to carry the snakes - which he valued at about $10,000 - into Brazil and breed them for commercial purposes, a release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said.

He did not have the proper authorization to take the reptiles - one ball python, seven boa constrictors, and 19 color morph corn snakes - into Brazil.

Dal Maso pleaded guilty on Aug. 23 to attempting to smuggle the snakes. He served two days in Orange County Jail and was fined $6,000. He was also sentenced to one year of supervised release, and must report to a probation officer within 72 hours of his arrival if he ever returns to the U.S.

The snakes were taken to an undisclosed care facility.

The arrest came about as a result of a multi-agency law enforcement operation that's been dubbed "Operation Snake Pit." The program seeks to prevent the illegal shipping of reptiles.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


In Brazil, Love Motels for Your Furry Friend

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Call it the 21st century version of Lady and the Tramp.  A love hotel for pets is opening in Brazil.

The U.K.’s Telegraph reports that a brother and sister duo are investing $1 million in what they say is a project inspired by the thousands of Brazilian love motels that allow couples to rent rooms by the hour.

For a mere $50 a day, dog owners can secure space for their pooch complete with a heart-shaped mirror on the ceiling. The founders hope that similar hotels will sprout up across Brazil, saying “people work all day long and do not know where to drop their pets for mating.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Brazilian Left Green After ‘Hulk’ Paint Fails to Wash Off

ABC News(NEW YORK) – A Brazilian man who tried to transform himself into the superhero “The Hulk” made a major mistake.

Instead of using easy to remove body paint, the man, Paulo Henrique dos Santos, used a paint reserved for ballistic missiles and nuclear submarines.

The result?  Dozens of baths, a trip to the doctor, fears of lead poisoning and a level of fame in his local Brazilian town, according to the Brazilian news site

The site reports that dos Santos, a 35-year-old pool attendant from Vila Cruzeiro, painted himself green to go in character as Hulk for a local running event.  Long after the run was over, however, the green stain remained.

Dos Santos took more than 20 baths and enlisted the help of family, including his mom, and friends to try to scrub him clean.  In order to sleep he had to rest in bed on plastic-lined sheets to avoid staining anything else in his reach, according to reports.

Dos Santos, the site says, became concerned that he was being poisoned by the paint but, after 24 hours and too much scrubbing to count, the paint finally came off.

The UK’s Daily Mail reports that, in addition to his pool duties, dos Santos moonlights as a disc jockey.  The paper also reports that, not surprisingly for someone who would dress up as a green superhero begin with, dos Santos enjoyed the attention, including the mobs of children who followed him in the streets.

“I turned [into] a kind of celebrity,” he said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Police Search for ‘Blonde Gang’ of Female Kidnappers in Brazil

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SAO PAULO, Brazil) -- Brazilian police are searching for a group of unlikely kidnappers and thieves: young, middle class women.

The “gang of blondes,” so called because all but one of the members have blonde hair, is operating in Sao Paulo, targeting wealthy women in shopping centers, the city’s anti-kidnap police unit told BBC.

Police have identified six suspects, who allegedly follow victims to their cars and steal their valuables, credit cards and security codes. Then, while part of the group holds the victim at gunpoint, the others go on a shopping spree, buying mostly electronics and designer clothes, as well as taking money from ATMs, BBC Mundo reports.

The gang targets other young, blonde women, posing as the victims while using their credit cards in stores.

“One or two speak more than one language, and some have been educated overseas,” Joaquim Dias Alves, Sao Paulo civil police anti-kidnap division chief told BBC Mundo. “They are really pretty girls, well-dressed and made up.”

The gang is thought to be highly organized, operating for at least three years with at least 50 victims, a number that continues to grow due to media coverage, Alves said.

Police say they’ve begun breaking up the gang, arresting three suspects, including one man, BBC reports.

“Express kidnappings” like these, where victims are kidnapped and robbed or held for a small ransom, are common in Latin America, particularly in Mexico and Venezuela.

The most recent high-profile case happened in Nov. 2011, when Wilson Ramos, a Washington Nationals catcher, was kidnapped for ransom from his home in Venezuela.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


VIDEO: High-Speed Motorcycle Stunt Goes Wrong, Driver Survives

Zoonar/Thinkstock(PENHA, Brazil) -- A motorcycle stunt rider is lucky to be alive after a misjudgment in distance sent him flying 80 feet through the air during a high-speed, high-risk stunt.

Denis Borges and fellow rider Anderson Sanches were attempting to weave through three oncoming cars during a stunt Nov. 21 at the Beto Carrero World theme park in Penha, Brazil, when Borges misjudged the distance and, drove straight into one of the vehicles.

Video captured by a spectator at the riders’ “Extreme Show” performance shows Sanches successfully making it through the cars, while Borges pops a wheelie and crashes, and is then sent flying through the air.

Borges landed and rolled another 40 feet before finally landing approximately 82 feet from where the crash first occurred. Medics rushed to Borges’s aid as he lay motionless on the ground.

Both he and Sanches, as a precaution, were immediately taken to a nearby hospital but, amazingly, did not sustain serious injuries, according a statement released by Beto Carrero World.

The theme park, the largest in Latin America, also said both men were back at work the next day.

“The drivers are professionals who already have more than 10 years experience and rehearse their maneuvers on a daily basis,” Beto Carrero World said in its statement. “It was a really scary accident, but it also served to show how extreme the show is.”

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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Controversy's King Ahead of Miss Universe Pageant

STR/AFP/Getty Images(SAO PAULO, Brazil) -- A winner's yet to be crowned, but already Miss Universe is raising eyebrows.

Ahead of the Sept. 12 pageant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a few details have leaked out about Donald Trump's annual celebration of some of the world's most beautiful women. Like, Miss Colombia maybe has a penchant for not wearing underpants.

Twenty-two-year-old Catalina Robayo's miniskirts garnered more attention than usual when photographers documented what looked like a lack of garments beneath them. This week she was reprimanded by pageant organizers.

"Our supervisors talked to all of the contestants about dressing appropriately, and one of our PR people spoke to her, and apparently she said she was wearing underwear," Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe organization, told E! Online. "But regardless, it created quite a stir here for a few days."

Pageant officials refused to confirm whether or not Robayo was wearing underwear. But Colombia's brunette bombshell need not fear. Actress Vivica Fox, who will help judge this year's competition, offered advice on how Robayo, and any scandal-scarred contestant, for that matter, can rebound from a bout of bad, pre-pageant publicity.

"The first thing I would say is to breathe," she told during a conference call with reporters Thursday. "Do not put so much pressure on yourself that you freeze up. Just be yourself, be likable."

Bravo executive vice president Andy Cohen, who's co-hosting the ceremonies, had more direct advice.

"She's coming into this with some people who maybe already have opinions about her but, you know, what she's got to do … she's got to be even stronger," he said. "She can't lose her confidence. She's really got to wow. And, she should probably wear undies."

Robayo's alleged ban on briefs hasn't been the pageant's only problem. Officials were forced to return bikini bottoms from sponsor Catalina Brasil Swimwear after they were deemed too skimpy for audiences. (What flies on the sands of Rio, unsurprisingly, raises issues on prime time network TV.)

It's far from the first time controversy's reigned at one of Trump's many pageants. Carrie Prejean memorably condemned gay marriage at the 2009 Miss USA pageant, posed for partially nude photos and later lost her crown due to breach of contract. Last year, the Miss USA organization came under fire after releasing racy portraits of the contestants clad in lingerie.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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