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Blog: Ordem e Progresso nowhere to be seen ahead of World Cup

‘Ordem e Progresso’ proudly states Brazil’s national flag but the current situation in Rio couldn’t be further from that mantra.

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 Little order. Even less progress.  Just ask the hundreds of supporters who conveniently turned up outside the world’s TV broadcast area this afternoon on Copacabana Beach. As I write this, holed up in SBS TV’s relatively secure compound, the wail of police sirens are loud and clear. There has been much televised and written about the growing unhappiness of various groups with the way this government has carried out public spending. From allegations of corruption, to disgruntled teachers, the message seems to be a consistent one.  “The World Cup is not going to happen” came the cry, roared passionately to the furious beat of drums and blaring whistles. For easier international media consumption, leaflets are not only printed in Portuguese, but in English. A representative, conversant in three languages, gladly hands them out to the gathering press. Lia Jorgao is one of them. An employee at the Ministry of Culture, she says the current march is essential. “The government promises so much but never delivers. They have promised to increase funding for education. We are tired of it,” she said.

 It’s scenes like these, so close to the Cup, that FIFA and the Brazilian government have feared. But there’s no getting away from the fact public interest groups see the tournament not as a celebration of football, but as a bugle to voice their concerns to the world.  Major protests are predicted on the opening day of the tournament this Thursday (Friday AEST) when hosts Brazil open the 64 game, four-week affair against Croatia. If today’s local demonstration is any indication, it seems Brazil’s famed “Jogo Bonito” – the beautiful game – won’t be making headlines. More likely, ugly headlines, little order and a lot less progress. 

MH370 families to raise $5m for ‘whistleblower’ to solve mystery

 

Extended coverage: Missing flight MH370

Several families of those aboard Flight MH370 have launched a drive to raise $US5 million ($A5.

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41 million) to reward any insider who comes forward and resolves the mystery of the plane’s disappearance exactly three months ago.

The Reward MH370 campaign launches on fundraising website Indiegogo and aims to raise at least $5 million “to encourage a whistleblower to come forward with information”, the families said in a press release.

The Malaysia Airlines jet lost contact on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard – about two-thirds of them Chinese.

The Boeing 777 is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, but an extensive search has turned up no sign of wreckage so far, leaving frustrated and anguished families of those aboard suspecting a cover-up.

“We are convinced that somewhere, someone knows something, and we hope this reward will entice him or her to come forward,” said Ethan Hunt, a technology company chief who is heading the project.

Sarah Bajc, partner of American passenger Philip Wood, said a handful of families were behind the campaign to look at the unprecedented aviation mystery with “a fresh set of eyes”.

“Governments and agencies have given it their best shot but have failed to turn up a single shred of evidence, either because of a faulty approach or due to intentional misdirection by one or more individuals,” she said in the release.

Malaysia and Australia, which is leading the search far off its western coast, have promised that the hunt for the plane will continue.

An international team is now determining an expanded search zone of up to 60,000 square kilometres based on where the aircraft last communicated with an Inmarsat satellite.

Australia has also released a request for tenders for a company to be engaged as a prime contractor and provide the expertise, equipment and vessels needed to carry out the deep-sea search from August.

Malaysia – ruled by the same coalition since 1957 with a history of sweeping scandals aside – has taken the brunt of criticism from upset relatives.

The Southeast Asian country has insisted it is doing all it can and working closely with Australia, China and other countries to find the jet.

Grandparents facing poverty as more take over parenting duties

A federal Senate Committee inquiry is looking at the challenges grandparents who care for their grandchildren face, along with the support they need.

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At its first public hearing in Melbourne today, the Mirabel Foundation warned many grandparents face old age in poverty having exhausted their savings caring for their grandchildren.

The Foundation’s Nicole Patten said there was no support beyond the standard Centrelink payments for grandparents raising grandchildren.

“It means they’re using the savings they had put away for retirement,” Ms Patten said.

The Australian Foster Care Association said grandparents who are struggling to cope can be afraid to reach out for help.

The Association’s Bev Orr said there is a fear of stigmatisation.

“Particularly where their children may be living with grandparents for things that may be perceived as socially unacceptable, such as family breakdown, mental health breakdown, substance abuse,” she said.

Grandparents often find themselves caring for their grandchildren in traumatic circumstances.

Grandparents Australia said the health and wellbeing of aged grandparents can be neglected as the needs of grandchildren are put first.

Director Anne McLeish said there needs to be greater support for ageing grandparents.

“Although they are coping they do need, I think, special support from the community to fulfil their role properly and healthy,” she said.

SBS has also learnt some grandparents were put off filing submissions to the inquiry, fearing retribution from family or adverse reactions from child protection services.

The Australian Foster Care Association said it had received abuse over its submission.

“We’ve had some grandparents come back to us and criticise us, saying that we’ve done grandparenting a gross disservice because grandparenting is a wonderful experience,” Ms Orr said.