Zika outbreak: Brazil's race to find a vaccine

Butantan Institute
Image caption Scientists at Sao Paulo's Butantan Institute quickly pivoted from diphtheria to Zika

The Butantan institute in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo is world-renowned for its impressive collection of snakes, spiders and other fascinating creepy crawlies.

Founded right at the start of the 20th Century, the centre is these days equally famous as one of the world's leading producers of biopharmaceuticals and immunobiological products.

This week the BBC visited the research and development laboratories at Butantan.

Here, biochemists were working on a batch of vaccines for diphtheria, one of the many established illnesses and diseases that the centre helps to combat. But now there's a new enemy in town and it has forced a change of priorities.

Unknown quantity

The warnings and concern over the Zika virus are not overblown or unjustified, maintains Alexander Precioso, the institute's director of clinical trials and pharmacological vigilance.

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Venezuela elections: Why did Maduro's Socialists lose?

President Maduro Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Maduro's Socialist party lost control of Congress for the first time in 16 years

Hugo Chavez was the Fidel Castro of recent times - the two men were close friends, with the younger leader often travelling to Cuba for the kind of advice and counsel he was unlikely to find elsewhere.

But the Venezuelan military man-turned president took his mentor's ideology and reasoning one step further.

Read full article Venezuela elections: Why did Maduro's Socialists lose?

Venezuela vote: Oil row may damage President Maduro

The letter “R” on a house in Tachira
Image caption The letter “R” in Tachira means that house ownership is being reviewed for possible demolition

Located in the extreme west of Venezuela, the largely rural frontier state of Tachira is a long way from the urban sprawl of the capital Caracas in more ways than one.

For trade, commerce and travel, locals tend to look as much to their neighbours in Colombia as they do to the rest of Venezuela and they have often responded with suspicion to attempts by central government to regulate their affairs.

Read full article Venezuela vote: Oil row may damage President Maduro

Argentina's Macri faces no shortage of challenges

Argentina's president-elect Mauricio Macri gives a news conference in Buenos Aires on 23 November, 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mauricio Macri gave a news conference just hours after being elected

The most striking thing about Mauricio Macri's first news conference as president-elect of Argentina was, well, that there was a press conference at all.

Argentine journalists have become accustomed, after eight years under Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's presidency, to getting little or no access to the person at the top.

Read full article Argentina's Macri faces no shortage of challenges

Argentina election: 'Two country' poll highlights divisions

Supporters standing over a sign that reads "Peronismo" appear sad Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dejected: Supporters of Mr Scioli who had gathered at his party's headquarters were shocked by the result

Only the most ardent, committed and perhaps blinkered of governing Peronist party supporters could interpret Sunday night's elections in Argentina as a victory.

Yet for several hours, that is what pro-government media outlets and even the current president's handpicked successor, Daniel Scioli, were doing.

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Argentina elections: There may be trouble ahead

Daniel Narezo in the Peron, Peron bar, Buenos Aires
Image caption Bar owner Daniel Narezo is a keen Peronist supporter

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner certainly divides opinion in Argentina.

"I think that Cristina has been one of the top five leaders in the world", says Daniel Narezo, a Peronist activist and owner of the Buenos Aires bar Peron, Peron.

Read full article Argentina elections: There may be trouble ahead

Rio de Janeiro: Beguiling, beautiful and brutal

Relatives and friends carry the coffin containing the remains of Eduardo Felipe Santos Victor, a teenager who was shot dead at Morro da Providencia favela, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 30 September 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Mourners condemned Eduardo Victor's killing, but police say he was shot in self-defence

Beguiling, beautiful and brutal.

Rio de Janeiro is all of the above.

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Migrant crisis: Middle East refugees who chose Brazil over Europe

Media captionIbrahim fled to Brazil to avoid being drafted into the Syrian army, as Wyre Davies reports

When Ibrahim landed in Brazil he spent three days sleeping on the floor and wandering around aimlessly at Sao Paulo's Guarulhos airport.

"I couldn't speak the language and I didn't know where I could find help. I was alone," says Ibrahim, who asks me not to use his family name because of fears for the safety of his relatives still in Syria.

Read full article Migrant crisis: Middle East refugees who chose Brazil over Europe

Rousseff's woes worsen as Brazil's protesters smell blood

Protesters march calling for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff along Copacabana beach on 16 August 2015
Image caption Thousands gathered at the famous Copacabana beach in Rio calling for the president to step down

In cities across Brazil on Sunday, thousands of anti-government protesters again took to the streets to demonstrate against corruption and impunity.

President Dilma Rousseff is fighting for her political survival in the midst of an unprecedented corruption scandal, centred on the state owned oil giant Petrobras. Her woes are exacerbated by an economic downturn that threatens to undermine some of the social and economic progress of the last decade.

Read full article Rousseff's woes worsen as Brazil's protesters smell blood

2016 Olympics organisers hope for post-Games Rio revival

Media captionThe BBC's Wyre Davies takes a helicopter tour over Rio de Janeiro to survey the preparations for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Little more than a year ago, International Olympic Committee Vice-President John Coates, described Rio de Janeiro's preparations for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games as the "worst ever".

Wounded and spurred into action, organisers reacted positively and with just 12 months to go before the opening ceremony, few people here are in any doubt that the venues will be ready for competition.

Read full article 2016 Olympics organisers hope for post-Games Rio revival