Rio's Operations Center brings together more than 30 agencies and allows them to coordinate on daily issues such as traffic, as well as on emergencies such as the frequent flash floods in hillside slums. Raphael Lima/Courtesy of the Operations Center, City of Rio De Janeiro hide caption

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Cassia Mendes, who has worked as a housekeeper for more than 20 years, cleans a house in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 19, 2012. Brazil enacted on April 2 a constitutional amendment to grant domestic workers health insurance and other benefits. AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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A woman who just bought toilet paper at a grocery store reads her receipt as she leaves the store in Caracas, Venezuela, on Wednesday. The government says it will import 50 million rolls of toilet paper amid a shortage. Fernando Llano/AP hide caption

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A drug-sniffing dog checks bags at a Brazilian border crossing with Bolivia on April 3. With an increase in illegal immigration and drug smuggling, Brazil is planning to build a virtual fence along its 10,000-mile border. Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Abimael Martinez, who was deported from Riverside, Calif., sits next to the hole he dug to live in beneath the banks of Tijuana's fetid river canal. Amy Isackson for NPR hide caption

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Maria Carlotta Santa Maria is a single mother in Mexico and is the sole wage earner in her household. Women like her are becoming more common there, and the stigma once associated with having children out of wedlock is fading. Carrie Kahn/NPR hide caption

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