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Stranger than fiction: 'Elite Squad 2' opens as politician who inspired movie flees Rio

But is the congressman's abrupt departure from Rio de Janeiro actually a political ploy for the city's upcoming mayoral election?  Just another stranger than fiction event in Rio's struggle with crime.

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The case served as a somber reminder of the city's ongoing struggle to combat violent crime, after a period of time with no high-profile deaths (the last was Judge Acioli several months ago). It was also sobering for veteran journalists, since Mr. Domingos was remembered as an experienced cameraman who frequently covered dangerous stories.

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Tweaking the numbers: murder statistics under debate

Recent statistics from the Rio government showed falling murder rates, but an economist from the Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Ipea) looked at the numbers and claims they don't add up. He found that deaths without a determined cause of death--even violent ones that were clearly murders--weren't being counted as homicides. By his estimates, there were nearly 63 percent more murders in 2009 than the official statistics show. Other experts expressed support for Ipea's observations, and the secretaries of Health and Security agreed to change how they collect data.

Top drug trafficker arrested as police prepare Rocinha for pacification

The Rio state government is preparing for one of its largest military operations in history: It plans to install a pacification unit in Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio and in the entire country. Rocinha is a city within a city: With nearly 70,000 inhabitants, it has more people than 92 percent of Brazilian cities. The occupation will be difficult, and authorities are hoping to use a different strategy to avoid a repeat of pacifying Complexo do Alemão, when over 30 people were killed. But successfully pacifying Rocinha will not only be a major success for public security in Rio and the UPP program, but is also a goal of the state government before the Rio +20 next year, the Confederations Cup and the pope's visit the following year, and then the World Cup and Olympics.

In preparation for the military invasion this weekend, last night police finally caught the most powerful drug trafficker in Rocinha, who was hidden in the trunk of a car bound for São Paulo. One of the men in the car claimed to be a Congolese consular officer, and alleged he had diplomatic immunity (police later found no evidence that he was actually from the Congo). Antônio Bonfim Lopes, known as "Nem," offered police a 1 million reais ($568,000) bribe, which they refused. (For perspective, Mr. Nem typically makes $5 million a month.)

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