Star Wars fans around the world geared up for the premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
By JENNY BARCHFIELD | Associated Press
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — In her sweat-stained Santa suit and soggy cotton-ball beard, Carina Barbosa looked every inch the picture of tropical Christmas cheer — at least until she leaned into the candy cane striped bars of her cell and peered wistfully out.
Barbosa, a 29-year-old who’s serving time for drug trafficking, was one of more than 500 inmates ringing in the holidays Thursday at Rio de Janeiro’s Nelson Hungria prison with religious plays and a cell-decorating contest.
The inmates, who are serving time for offenses from burglary to homicide, spent weeks decking out the cell blocks with holiday decorations they made from objects they have access to behind bars.
Christmas trees were made from strips of green plastic from soda bottles, the presents below out of empty milk cartons swathed in tissue paper. Wreathes were fashioned out of the aluminum plates that prison-issue meals are served on, and the floors were sprinkled with a light snowfall of ground-up Styrofoam. Tropical heat-resistant snowmen were made from white plastic cups, and family members supplied Santa suits and store-bought ornaments.
Each cell of 50 women or more also put on a skit dramatizing biblical stories, with many depictions of Jesus’ life, as well as David and Goliath, giving the prison’s would-be thespians their chance to shine. Voices soared in rapture with the religious songs, and many, many tears were shed.
The bursting of two dams at the Samarco mining operation, jointly owned by Vale and BHP Billiton, unleashed a flood of muddy waste which mostly leveled a village in Minas Gerais state. The massive mudflow left 10 people dead and an environmental aftermath polluting downstream waters.
Organizers billed the nine-day-long event as a sort of indigenous Olympics. But for many of the participants from some 20 countries, the sports themselves appear to be taking a back seat to what they say really matters — cross-cultural sharing and learning.
The day in photos from around the world.