Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire

    Read more

  • Holland beat hosts Brazil 3-0 to finish third in World Cup

    Read more

  • Afghan presidential candidates agree to full vote audit, Kerry says

    Read more

  • France’s Kadri wins eighth stage at Tour de France

    Read more

  • Legal challenge to French mayor’s ban of Muslim hijab on beach

    Read more

  • Last of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, dies aged 62

    Read more

  • Video: Outrage in wake of deadly Casablanca buildings collapse

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces ‘executed prisoners in reprisal’ for ISIS killings

    Read more

  • Ukraine promises retaliation after rebel assault

    Read more

  • Putin revives old Cuban flame and eyes Latin American minerals

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Cleveland's NBA fans hail 'return of king' LeBron James

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Magnitude 6.8 quake, small tsunami hit east Japan

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

Brazil gets swept up with carnival

©

Latest update : 2008-02-02

Brazil's annual carnival festivities were in full swing Saturday. More than 200,000 foreign tourists were joining millions of Brazilians in the coastal city of Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil's annual carnival was in full swing Saturday, spreading a summer-party atmosphere nationwide, buoyed this year by a general feeling of prosperity far removed from the economic chill fallen on other countries.

The drum beat of festivities in cities and towns was building towards the event's climax Sunday and Monday: the spectacular parades by near-naked models and drum bands accompanied by fantastical floats in the festival's capital, Rio de Janeiro.

More than 200,000 foreign tourists were joining millions of Brazilians in the coastal city, whose streets were taken over by bands playing to gleeful, sweaty crowds.

Overnight, 40,000 children put on dressed-up dance moves to a delighted audience, an innocent taster of the more adult shows to follow.

The carnival festivities, echoed in other forms in other parts of the world, are meant to be a last indulgence in excesses before the 40-day period of fasting traditionally associated with Lent in the Christian calendar.

In Brazil, the partying was enthusiatic.

The country believes it is sheltered from the economic downturn slugging the United States and unsettling Europe. Forecast growth of 4.5 percent, record direct foreign investment, a seemingly unstoppable rise of the real against the dollar, and blooming activity in the stock market have encouraged that thinking.

On a more everyday level, citizens have taken heart at the news that the national homicide rate has fallen steadily since 2003, though it still remains extremely high by US or European standards. There were "only" 46,660 murders in Brazil in 2006, the latest statistics showed.

The leftwing government led by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a blunt-speaking politician risen from working-class roots, remains popular, especially with the poor majority.

About the only cloud over Brazil's carnival is a fierce row between police and Rio's state authorities.

Forty-seven officers have resigned to protest the sacking of their chief and nine other commanders who permitted miltary police to hold a protest over pay and conditions.

Both sides have vowed the dispute will not affect carnival security in the city, tasked to 9,700 military police officers.

The cops, though, put on another defiant demonstration Friday, planting 586 symbolic crosses in Copacabana beach to represent comrades killed while earning "less than 30 reals (17 dollars) per day."

Authorities meanwhile were making an effort this year to ensure the party-goers "have fun responsibly," as Lula put it.

They were cracking down on Internet sellers of illegal drugs such as LSD and ecstasy, and a ban has been imposed on streetside sellers of alcohol.

Authorities in the northern city of Recife have also overcome opposition from the Catholic Church to distribute the morning-after pill to women who have had unprotected sex.

The federal government has also dipped into its recently purchased stash of one billion condoms to make 19.5 million available to those taking the carnival crush to carnal extremes.

Date created : 2008-02-02

Comments

COMMENT(S)