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A police officer takes up position during an operation at the Mare slums complex in Rio de Janeiro March 25, 2014. Brazil will deploy federal troops to Rio de Janeiro to help quell a surge in violent crime following attacks by drug traffickers on police posts in three slums on the north side of the city, government officials said on Friday. Less than three months before Rio welcomes tens of thousands of foreign soccer fans for the World Cup, the attacks cast new doubts on government efforts to expel gangs from slums using a strong police presence. The city will host the Olympics in 2016.
A police officer takes up position during an operation at the Mare slums complex in Rio de Janeiro March 25, 2014. Brazil will deploy federal troops to Rio de Janeiro to help quell a surge in violent crime following attacks by drug traffickers on police posts in three slums on the north side of the city, government officials said on Friday. Less than three months before Rio welcomes tens of thousands of foreign soccer fans for the World Cup, the attacks cast new doubts on government efforts to expel gangs from slums using a strong police presence. The city will host the Olympics in 2016.
(Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

Brazil’s downward spiral points toward election

Brazil’s credit rating sits barely above the junk-bond line after a downgrade by Standard & Poor’s, underscoring the country’s dramatic fall from the heights of emerging-market superstardom just a few short years ago.

The ratings agency said it was responding partly to the “subdued outlook” for economic growth over the next two years, as well as what it calls “fiscal slippage” and the government’s “constrained ability to adjust policy” in advance of a tough presidential election this fall. Which, in plainer English, means no spending cuts or tax increases can be expected from a harried government hanging on to power by its fingernails.