Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Historian Jean Garrigues: 'For the first time, François Hollande knows what he is doing'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

New French economy minister signals changes to 35-hour week

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Valls ♥ Business

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

  • Russian troops have entered Ukraine, says Kiev

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • New Ebola case in Nigeria brings death toll to 1,552

    Read more

  • Video: 'Neither Baghdad nor the US can defeat the Islamic State'

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • Erdogan's inauguration paves way for constitutional change

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Air France suspends flights to Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    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

COMMENT(S)