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RIO GOV. WARNS OLYMPICS COULD BE ‘BIG FAILURE’

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro’s acting governor warned Monday that the Olympic Games could be a “big failure,” because of budget shortfalls that threaten to compromise security and mobility during the games.

In an interview with Rio’s O Globo daily, Francisco Dornelles said the state is still awaiting a 2.9 billion Brazilian real ($860 million) payout from the federal government aimed at shoring up state coffers ahead of the Aug. 5-21 event. The funds were allocated last week but have not yet reached the state, and Dornelles warned that without them, police patrols may grind to a halt by the end of the week, for lack of gas money.

“How are people going to feel protected in a city without security,” Dornelles was quoted as asking.

“I’m optimistic about the games, but I have to show reality,” he said. “We can have a great Olympics, but if some steps aren’t taken, it can be a big failure.”

Rio has been particularly hard-hit by the recession besetting Brazil, which saw the economy shrink by around 4 percent last year and joblessness spike. The state is highly reliant on sinking oil royalties, and prior governments awarded billions in tax exemptions that resulted in near-empty coffers. – READ MORE

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