Despite the public holiday, recently decreed by the Rio city council to ease the city's chronic gridlock during Francis' visit, traffic stands at a near standstill in several parts of the metropolis.
Authorities' closure of Copacabana, a 2.8 mile-long stretch of beach that's also a key thoroughfare, snarled traffic in the neighborhoods of Botafogo and Flamengo, where hundreds of backed-up buses clogged the roads.
--Jenny Barchfield, AP reporter based in Rio de Janeiro
by kmahabir7/25/2013 7:22:26 PM
The crowd grows at Copacabana...
25 July 3:26 p.m. EDT
A huge crowd awaits the pope on Copacabana beach. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
by ccarlson on Jul 25, 2013 at 7:20 PM
by kmahabir7/25/2013 7:27:31 PM
25 July 3:37 p.m. EDT
Brazilians love crowds -- and most gatherings that bring out hordes of people end up taking on an almost Carnivalesque atmosphere. Thursday's mass migration to Copacabana beach was no different.
Musicians tapped out samba rhythms on tambourines, and vendors offered popcorn, biscuits and umbrellas. Groups of young people from countries including Chile, Britain and Puerto Rico also sang little jingles in a bid to compete with the chant "I'm Brazilian, with much pride, with much love" -- a frequent refrain during both Carnival and the protests.
-- Jenny Barchfield, AP reporter based in Riode Janeiro
by kmahabir7/25/2013 7:39:30 PM
25 July 3:41 p.m. EDT
Jenny Barchfield, AP reporter based in Rio de Janeiro, captured some sounds from one of the tunnels linking the Botafogo neighborhood with Copacabana, where the Pope is due to arrive in about an hour.
by kmahabir7/25/2013 7:42:32 PM
Time lapse: A stage in the making
25 July 3:46 p.m. EDT Watch this time lapse of the Copacabana stage in the making a couple of weeks ago.
Pope Francis will stand 8 meters above the crowd of about 2 million people expected to attend. And he'll have plenty of room as the stageis 33,530 square feet (3, 115 square meters).
by Eric Carvin edited by Ted Anthony7/25/2013 7:46:30 PM
25 July 3:47 p.m. EDT
Nonstop rain forced church officials to move the pope's Sunday Mass from Guaratiba to Copacabana beach. Here are some images of the muddy site.
A soldier, reflected in the truck mirror, waits to leave the area where the pope was scheduled to visit in Guaratiba, on the outskirts of Rio. (AP Photo/Nicolas Tanner)
by ccarlson on Jul 25, 2013 at 7:24 PM
Soldiers leave the area where the pope was scheduled to visit in Guaratiba. (AP Photo/Nicolas Tanner)
by ccarlson on Jul 25, 2013 at 7:25 PM
On Sunday, workers prepared a cross on the stage where the pope was scheduled to celebrate Mass in Guaratiba. The location was changed due to rain.(AP Photo/Enric Marti)
by ccarlson on Jul 25, 2013 at 7:28 PM
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by kmahabir7/25/2013 7:49:06 PM
25 July 3:51 p.m. EDT
On this drizzly winter day, enterprising street vendors sold umbrellas printed with pictures of sun-drenched Rio landmarks like Sugarloaf mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue to the people flooding Copacabana beach. -- Jenny Barchfield, AP reporter based in Rio de Janeiro
by jbarchfield on Jul 25, 2013 at 3:40 PM via email
by kmahabir7/25/2013 7:52:56 PM
Languages aplenty at the beach
25 July 3:55 p.m. EDT
by Kellen Henry on Jul 24, 2013 at 4:17 PM
Vivian Sequera, AP reporter based in Bogota, notes that whole sectors of Copacabana beach have become like hallways in which you can hear all types of languages: Portuguese, French, Spanish, German...
by kmahabir7/25/2013 7:56:03 PM
The pope's travels: Good luck catching JPII
25 July 4:00 p.m. EDT
Pope Francis didn't wait long to take his first international trip. But if he wants to catch up to the famously globe-trotting John Paul II, he has his work cut out for him.
Pope John Paul II greets a crowd in Mogila, Poland, on June 9, 1979.(AP Photo)
by Eric Carvin on Jul 25, 2013 at 6:51 PM
Here, by the numbers, are some details of JPII's travels during his 26 years as pope:
3: Number of times he traveled the distance from the Earth to the moon
10: The percentage of his time that he spent outside the Vatican 104: Overseas trips by John Paul II
120: Countries that he visited during his papacy 130: Trips he took within Italy
In an earlier post we heard from Jenny Barchfield, AP reporter based in Rio de Janeiro, who was standing inside one of the tunnels linking the Botafogo neighborhood with Copacabana.
Barchfield has worked her way to the tunnel exit and has sent in another audio dispatch in which she describes the festive atmosphere.
by kmahabir7/25/2013 8:12:15 PM
Views from abroad
25 July 4:16 p.m. EDT
The pope's visit is drawing praise from the Caribbean, where newspapers in the Dominican Republic say he gives hope to the faithful. Here are excerpts from editorials:
El Caribe: “He’s a human pope who is close to the faithful, who at times see’s himself more like a manager than ‘a holy father’ and it will probably give hope to the youth. His presence might also help Brazilians find a light in the way towards the building of a society that is more just, more humane.”
Hoy: “The pope has made simplicity his favorite ally and he despises all the barriers that keep him far from his followers.” And: “His sermon gives the faithful hope at time when the Church is weakened.”
--Compiled by Ezequiel Blanco, AP reporter based in Santo Domingo
by kmahabir7/25/2013 8:16:09 PM
Images of the 'slum pope' in the favela
25 July 4:58 p.m. EDT
AP photographers captured these memorable images of Pope Francis in the Varginha slum:
Pope Francis blesses a child during his visit to the Varginha slum in Rio. (AP Photo/Luca Zennaro, Pool)
by ccarlson on Jul 25, 2013 at 6:52 PM
Pope Francis waves to the crowd in the Varginha slum. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
by ccarlson on Jul 25, 2013 at 6:52 PM
Large puppets that resemble Pope Francis and the Virgin of Aparecida, Brazil's patron saint, stand tall among residents waiting for Pope Francis' arrival. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
by ccarlson on Jul 25, 2013 at 6:56 PM
People greet Pope Francis as he walks in the slum. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
by ccarlson on Jul 25, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Pope Francis gives a thumbs-up to residents of the Varginha slum. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
by ccarlson on Jul 25, 2013 at 6:59 PM
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by kmahabir edited by Eric Carvin7/25/2013 8:59:20 PM
A sip of 'mate'?
25 July 5:01 p.m. EDT
The Argentine-born pope showed his native colors: 23 minutes into his roll down Copacabana beach, the pontiff accepted a sip of what appeared to be mate, the traditional tea of Argentina that's also popular in southern Brazil.
Stay tuned for the video.
by kmahabir7/25/2013 9:02:59 PM
The pontiff takes a drink
25 July5:06 p.m. EDT
Here's the pope sipping what appears to be Yerba Mate, the traditional tea of Argentina.
by kmahabir7/25/2013 9:06:48 PM
A wave from the pope-icopter
25 July 5:07 p.m. EDT
AP photographer Victor Caivano captured this moment as the pope arrived in Copacabana.
Pope Francis waves from inside a Brazilian Air Force helicopter as he arrives at Copacabana beach. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
by ccarlson on Jul 25, 2013 at 8:56 PM
by kmahabir edited by Eric Carvin7/25/2013 9:08:08 PM
Securing the pontiff
25 July 5:09 p.m. EDT
Brazilian navy ships patrol as people arrive to see Pope Francis in Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
by Fdana on Jul 25, 2013 at 2:56 PM
Francis has built much of his schedule around high-profile events that send him straight into unpredictable, potentially chaotic environments -- without the protection of the bulletproof popemobile used by his two predecessors.
Security officials have said the stiffest challenge will be providing security for the pope's two events on 2.5 mile-long Copacabana beach.
Here's what they have planned: • Some 10,000 police officers and more than 14,000 soldiers will be on duty during the pope's visit.
• Six Brazilian military aircraft will provide transportation for the pontiff. The helicopters will let Francis avoid Rio's snarled traffic and the dangers of land travel.
• Federal, state and local governments are expected to spend a total of around $52 million on all the security and logistical measures for the papal visit. --Jenny Barchfield, AP reporter based in Rio de JaneiroandBradley Brooks, AP bureau chief based in Rio de Janeiro
by kmahabir edited by Eric Carvin7/25/2013 9:11:56 PM
25 July 5:14 p.m. EDT
From the official official twitter account for World Youth Day in English: