Brazil's federal government pledged 1.18 billion reais (USD 512 billion) to help southern states hit by floods and landslides that have killed 86 people, while police stepped up security to stop looting in the area. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed a decree to free up funds the country keeps as reserves for disasters, the official government news agency said. The sum will go to Santa Catarina state's Civil Defense department, as well as the ministries of defense, health, transport and cities. The government would provide at least 40 million reais to help repair damage, and Santa Catarina Governor Luiz Henrique guaranteed enough financing to help families affected by record rainfall. (Bloomberg)

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