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South America

In the opening ceremony of Rio's Olympic Games, Brazil's favelas, or shantytowns, were showcased as the birthplace of a lot of Brazil's culture.

That was showbiz. In three of the most iconic communities, the reality of how these Olympics are affecting favela residents is more complicated.

Brazil is one of the most unequal countries in the world. In Rio, at least 25 percent of the population lives in impoverished communities.

Take Santa Marta. Perched above Rio's expensive South Zone, it's the city's most internationally famous favela.

American women were not exactly a powerhouse at the 1972 Summer Olympics: They won just 23 medals, compared with 71 for the U.S. men. The women were absent from the medal podium in gymnastics. They didn't win a single gold in track and field, managing just one silver and two bronze.

But something else happened that year. The U.S. Congress passed Title IX, which bars sex discrimination in education programs receiving federal money. Sports wasn't the focus of Title IX. In fact, quite the opposite.

Steve Elliott from UK / Creative Commons

The Olympics get underway on Friday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It will be a first for rower Austin Hack of Old Lyme, Connecticut. 

Christian Haugen / Creative Commons

The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil kick off on Friday, and here in Connecticut, our state’s large Brazilian community will be watching far from home. This hour, we learn more about why so many Brazilians come to the Nutmeg State and why it’s hard to say exactly how many Brazilians live here.

Sam Wolff / Creative Commons

The normally complicated topic of international relations has lately been highlighted in a different lens: sports! This hour, we look at Russia's relationship with the world in the midst of a massive doping scandal, the political backdrop of last month's Euro Cup, and the upcoming Olympics in Brazil. 

With his wife expecting a baby in October, American road racer Tejay van Garderen has withdrawn from consideration for the Rio Summer Olympics, citing the Zika virus that's been linked to birth defects.

From a statement released by USA Cycling on van Garderen's behalf today:

Immigrants fleeing gang violence in Central America are again surging across the U.S.-Mexico border, approaching the numbers that created an immigration crisis in the summer of 2014. While the flow of immigrants slowed for much of last year, nothing the U.S. government does seems to deter the current wave of travelers.

After debating through the night, Brazil's Senate voted early Thursday 55 to 22 to try President Dilma Rousseff on charges of manipulating the budget. The vote automatically suspends her from office.

The Senate had been widely expected to vote for Rousseff to be tried in impeachment proceedings. The final tally is a resounding defeat for Rousseff, easily surpassing the simple majority (41 votes) required.

Amir Attaran, a professor in the School of Public Health and the School of Law at the University of Ottawa, isn't afraid to take a bold stand.

He has written a commentary for the Harvard Public Health Review, published this week, with the headline, "Why Public Health Concerns for Global Spread of Zika Virus Means that Rio de Janeiro's 2016 Olympic Games Must Not Proceed."

Lori Mack / WNPR

Community members and organizations gathered for a meeting at the Consulate of Ecuador in New Haven on Monday night to discuss relief efforts following the country's 7.8 magnitude earthquake. 

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Ecuador on Saturday has left more than 400 people dead and many more injured.

Thousands are homeless, The Associated Press reports, and highways, air traffic control towers and buildings along the coast have collapsed.

Rescue workers were working to find and aid survivors, while officials warned the general public of the perils of digging through the rubble.

In a landmark vote on Sunday evening, Brazil's lower house of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, supported impeaching President Dilma Rousseff, The Associated Press reports. The vote was 367 to 137 with seven abstentions. Two deputies were not present. The total easily surpassed the two-thirds majority required to send the proceeding to Brazil's Senate.

In one of the largest waves of Cuban migration in decades, more than 70,000 have fled the island this year, rushing to the U.S. out of fear that its preferential policy toward those escaping the Castro regime might change.

Dealing a big blow to President Nicolas Maduro's Socialist leadership, Venezuelan voters handed a majority of congressional seats to a coalition of opposition parties.

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports the opposition gains control of congress for the first time since Hugo Chávez ushered in victory for the leftist movement in 1999. She filed this report for our Newcast unit:

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