Briefly: Americas

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Hundreds of thousands of people turn out for the largest of the “blocos,” packed, sweaty open-air dance parties where the crowd sings along to a repetitive medley of Carnival songs — usually in Portuguese, of course.

As many as 850,000 tourists descend on Rio for the five-day-long Carnival free-for-all, and blocos offer plenty of nonverbal opportunities for fun: If drinking till you pass out doesn’t suit your fancy, you might try racking up as many snogging partners as humanly possible during a single street party, a common Carnival game here.

HONDURAS

Market fire sweeps through capital

TEGUCIGALPA — A weekend fire swept through street markets in the capital of Honduras, a nation traumatized just last week by a fire that killed 358 people at a prison.

Authorities say 11 people were injured and about 1,800 stalls burned, but there were no deaths.

Saturday’s fire burned through several blocks of three markets and sent thick plumes of black smoke wafting over Tegucigalpa, the capital. The fire appeared to have hit stands selling mainly clothes and sneakers.

Mayor Ricardo Alvarez said two women were rescued, one with a head injury and another with symptoms of asphyxiation.

PARAGUAY

Soy producer apologizes to women, farmworkers

ASUNCION — The head of Paraguay’s largest soy producer is scrambling to apologize for remarks that outraged women and farmworkers.

Tranquilo Favero took out ads in national news media on Sunday to ask forgiveness for telling a Brazilian newspaper that Paraguayan farmworkers are lazy and that “you have to treat them like a bad woman, with a stick.”

Thousands of workers are demanding that the government expropriate nearly 650 square miles of Favero Group’s holdings and distribute them to the landless. Paraguay is a major exporter of soy.

Farmworker leader Victoriano Lopez recently questioned the Brazilian-born Mr. Favero’s loyalty, saying he was not Paraguayan.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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