But Brazil parties away the global woes
BRAZIL is this weekend laughing-off all thoughts of the world economic slowdown as the country embraces Carnival.
The celebration has proved immune to the crisis devastating economies in Europe and the US, said the president of Rio's tourism department, Antonio Figueira de Mello. "There is no crisis that can take down Carnival."
Brazil is one of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies, which many hope will help kickstart global economic recovery.
Showered in confetti and flanked by sequinned samba queens, Rio's mayor symbolically relinquished control of the city to its rotund Carnival king on Friday to kick off the five-day festivities.
"I am giving over a city at the height of its rebirth," said Mayor Eduardo Paes, handing the key to the city to Milton Junior, who is serving this year as King Momo, the mythical jester who reigns over the extravaganza.
Rio's star is rising of late, as the city prepares to host the final matches of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, and this year's Carnival is forecast to be an even bigger blowout than usual, with 20 per cent more tourists expected than in 2011.
Mr De Mello added that the city will welcome three million visitors this summer, about 850,000 of them during the raucous free-for-all. Rio is one of the country's main centres for Carnival as is the country's third largest city of Salvador. The carnival in Sao Paulo, meanwhile, takes place over this weekend.