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Brazil expresses concern over report of NSA spying

PARATY, Brazil -- Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said yesterday his government is worried by a report that the United States has collected data on billions of telephone and email conversations in his country and promised an effort for international protection of Internet privacy.

The newspaper O Globo reported over the weekend that information released by NSA leaker Edward Snowden shows that the number of telephone and email messages logged by the U.S. National Security Agency in Brazil in January alone was not far behind the 2.3 billion reportedly collected in the United States.

Patriota, speaking from the colonial city of Paraty where he was attending Brazil's top literary festival, expressed "deep concern at the report that electronic and telephone communications of Brazilian citizens are being the object of espionage by organs of American intelligence.

"The Brazilian government has asked for clarifications" through the U.S. Embassy in Brazil and Brazil's embassy in Washington, he said.

In Havana, meanwhile, Raúl Castro stood shoulder-to-shoulder Sunday with Latin American countries willing to take in Snowden, but made no reference to whether Cuba itself would offer him refuge or safe passage. Venezuela and Bolivia both made asylum offers to Snowden over the weekend, and Nicaragua has said it is also considering his request. -- AP

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