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With An Eye On The 2014 World Cup, Crack Addicts Swept Out Of Rio Slum

Even though Brazil's hosting of the World Cup and Summer Olympics are two and four years away, it is apparently already "clean-up" time for at least one Rio de Janeiro slum.

Favela of Rio de Janeiro (David Berkowitz)
Favela of Rio de Janeiro (David Berkowitz)

By Luiza Souto
FOLHA DE S. PAULO/ Worldcrunch

RIO DE JANEIRO - Still several years ahead of hosting the World Cup and Summer Olympics, the "clean up" of this city's slums has apparently already begun. The Brazilian goverment launched a three-day military operation in the Santo Amaro favela of Rio de Janeiro to remove crack users, driving out of the area more than 400 non-residents between last Friday and Monday.

The Santo Amaro slum is considered the largest drug distributor for the wealthy of the Rio South Area. The government announced that Santo Amaro will be occupied by the National Public Security Force for an undetermined amount of time.

Still, many local residents doubt all the attention will last after 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. "I think this is nothing more than a make-over," says one resident, who preferred to remain anonymous. "The government can't keep this up for a long period." Another added: "As soon as the big events finish, everything will return to how it was."

The atmosphere during the round-up was tranquil. According to police officers, there was no hostility coming from the residents, who seem to have no problem with the operation. "The problem is going to be down the hill," says sergent Mata, referring to the wealthier areas below. "As these users can no longer stay here, they will try to occupy the streets." In Rio, slums are located over hills distributed along the city.

Psychologist Maura Cristina, a coordinator for the Facing Crack Project, told Folha that the goal is to take users off of the streets, and bring them to shelters maintained by the Special Protection Division. In total, Rio has 2,741 places among private and public shelters.

"We can't force adults to stay at these places, but those under 18 are going to stay in compulsory shelters," she says.

Read more from Folha in Portuguese

Photo - David Berkowitz

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food / travel

Denied The Nile: Aboard Cairo's Historic Houseboats Facing Destruction

Despite opposition, authorities are proceeding with the eviction of residents of traditional houseboats docked along the Nile in Egypt's capital, as the government aims to "renovate" the area – and increase its economic value.

Houseboats on the Nile in Zamalek, Cairo

Ahmed Medhat and Rana Mamdouh

With an eye on increasing the profitability of the Nile's traffic and utilities, the Egyptian government has begun to forcibly evict residents and owners of houseboats docking along the banks of the river, in the Kit Kat area of Giza, part of the Greater Cairo metropolis.

The evictions come following an Irrigation Ministry decision, earlier this month, to remove the homes that have long docked along the river.

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