Has the Olympics been a success for Brazil?

Fireworks at the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption With the Olympics, and the World Cup before that, Brazil has shown it can stage mega sporting events

From a purely sporting perspective, Rio 2016 has been an extraordinarily successful Olympic Games.

The sporting competition has been of the highest standard in the pool, on the track and in the gym.

There have been almost 100 World and Olympic records broken in what has, thus far, been a relatively drugs-free Games.

Indeed, for the second time in two years, Brazil has shown it can successfully stage a major international sporting jamboree.

But how many Brazilians were engaged by, or felt part of, the Rio Olympics is much harder to judge.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Some Brazilians were determined not to miss any of the action

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Rio 2016: Is Brazil ready for the Olympics?

Members of the New Zealand rowing team take photos in front of the Olympic rings at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in Rio de Janeiro (01 August 2016) Image copyright EPA
Image caption Brazil is hoping to show the world it can successfully stage a global sporting mega-event

Locals in Rio de Janeiro sometimes refer to their city as "a cidade maravilhosa" - "the marvellous city".

With its forest-clad mountains, famous long beaches and diverse communities living cheek-by-jowl, there has probably never been a more stunning backdrop for an Olympic Games.

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Rio 2016: Violence seeps back into city's favelas

Police patrol in Babilonia favela
Image caption Babilonia favela had seen business thrive before drugs gangs returned

The spectre of an Olympic Games plagued by the Zika virus may be waning, as the cold spell sweeping through southern Brazil deals with disease-carrying mosquitoes more effectively than any repellent.

But there are still many real problems and concerns for Rio 2016 organisers with two weeks before the opening ceremony in the Maracana Stadium.

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Brazil's indigenous leaders risk their lives fighting for survival

Aerial view of devastation in the Amazon
Image caption Brazil has adopted a series of measures to curb the illegal deforestation of the Amazon

Brazil's indigenous tribes are as diverse as they are numerous: from the south-western sate of Mato Grosso do Sul to the impenetrable northern jungles of the Amazon to the eastern Atlantic seaboard.

There's one thing, perhaps above all others, these tribes have in common - the relentless, insatiable pressure on their land and resources.

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Rio Olympics Zika: The trouble with Aedes Aegypti

Health workers fumigate in an attempt to eradicate the mosquito which transmits the Zika virus on January 28, 2016 in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Brazilian government hopes that fumigation will decrease the number of mosquitoes

It seems almost inconceivable that the world's biggest sporting event could be derailed by a tiny insect, the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

However distant or unlikely that possibility is, Brazil's government is going to great lengths to persuade athletes and visitors that Rio de Janeiro will be perfectly safe come the Olympic Games opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium on 5 August.

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Venezuela: Maduro evokes spectre of foreign threat

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (back row 2nd L) poses for a photo with militia members during a military parade in La Guaira, Venezuela May 21, 2016 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Maduro said the country's armed forces and militia were prepared to meet any threat

Either President Nicolas Maduro genuinely believes there is a credible threat to Venezuela's national security from an unspecified foreign power, or he is delusional.

In what were described as the biggest ever military exercises to have taken place on Venezuelan soil, President Maduro proudly declared that more than 500,000 troops from the armed forces and civilian militias loyal to the government participated in "Operation Independence 2016" over the weekend.

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Brazil politics: Dilma Rousseff the fighter battles on

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (right) and BBC correspondent Wyre Davies

Although I'd met the Brazilian president on a couple of previous occasions, including a very agreeable dinner for foreign correspondents at the Alvorada Palace, her official residence, I'd almost given up hope on a one-to-one interview with Dilma Rousseff.

Two appointments in recent years had been cancelled by her office at the last minute. Given the recent political turmoil in Brazil, an extended interview with the leader of one of the world's biggest democracies was one of those goals, as a reporter based in Brazil, that I'd just about given up on.

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'Wronged and betrayed' Rousseff defends her record

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff attends a meeting of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change in Brasilia June 5, 2013 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Dilma Rousseff looks down, but she insists she is not out

It is, to many observers, abundantly clear that Dilma Rousseff does not enjoy frontline politics.

The Brazilian president is ideologically driven, intelligent and committed to her mandate.

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Brazil crisis: There may be bigger threats than Rousseff's removal

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The beleaguered Brazilian president has faced increased calls for her removal

After the most tumultuous week in Brazilian politics since the return of democracy to South America's biggest country, it is impossible to predict with any degree of confidence whether the government of President Dilma Rousseff will survive.

The latest indicator of public opinion, released on Sunday by the respected Datafolha institute (in Portuguese), shows that 68% of Brazilians support the impeachment of President Rousseff. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case against the under fire leader, that figure "feels" about right and Ms Rousseff is on the ropes, in the political equivalent of a bare-knuckle fight for her survival.

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Indigenous community in Peru suffers after oil spill

View of the Peruvian jungle
Image caption An oil spill has contaminated the river system in this part of the Peruvian jungle

Oil and water do not mix, anyone can tell you that.

It is a basic rule of science, which certainly holds true in the jungles of northern Peru, at the headwaters of the world's greatest river system.

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