Passport

Is the China Google block a false alarm?

Several news outlets are currently reporting that Google web search has been fully blocked in mainland China. And indeed the company's website is reporting that search is blocked. However, actually Chinese web users don't seem to be having a problem. Blogger Rebecca MacKinnon is currently following the story on Twitter and retweeting reports from throughout China. So far, no one seems to be reporting any problems. 

According to Reuters, "Shares of Google were down 1.4 percent in after-hours trading to $478.00, while shares of Baidu Inc, the biggest search provider in China, rose 3.5 percent," so it would be unfortunate if this were just a screw-up. Stay tuned.  

Passport

Preparing for Olympics, Rio plans to raze favelas

Rio de Janeiro is undertaking a significant rebuilding and reconstruction effort before the 2016 Summer Olympics. The city will raze over 100 of the most "at risk" favelas and rebuild hundreds of others. According to the mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, about 13,000 families will be forced from their homes - and it's unclear where the people will be relocated and if they will be compensated.  

For the local population, the Olympics are rarely about fun and games. In the last twenty years, the Olympics have displaced over 20 million people, despite the fact that international law stipulates protection from forcible eviction. People are either removed from their homes by the government or priced out: 720,000 at the Seoul Olympics; hundreds of families in Barcelona; 30,000 Atlantans; hundreds of Roma settlers in Athens; and 1.5 million people in Beijing.

Time to "think again"?

VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images