Carnival set to begin in Brazil under cloud of disco fire

 Queen of Carnival, Major of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes, Rey Momo Milton Jr and the second Princess celebrate the during the official event to launch the 2013 carnival celebrations. Credit: Getty Images
Queen of Carnival, Major of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes, Rey Momo Milton Jr and the second Princess celebrate the during the official event to launch the 2013 carnival celebrations.
Credit: Getty Images

Dozens of bars and night-life events across Brazil have been closed ahead of Carnival, the country’s most popular festival, following tough safety checks in the wake of the disco fire tragedy in the southern city of Santa Maria that claimed 238 lives.

In Rio, famed for its five-day Carnival street parade extravaganza  kicking off Friday, 127 of 209 establishments inspected by firefighters have been shut, agencies have reported.

Despite the measures, some six million people – including near a million visitors – are expected to flood Rio’s streets for the festival, according to the Municipal Tourism Office.

City authorities have encouraged people to use de public transport. The subway will run continuously until the end of Carnival. “Nowadays, the population has extensive knowledge about road blockades, cleaning schedules and operations of public policy,” says tourism secretary Antônio Pedro Figueira de Mello.

On Friday, the 19 samba schools of the so-called Access Group of Rio Carnival will start the marathon parades that will continue until Tuesday. Like in a professional football league, the competition between the associations is divided into several divisions. The Special Group, with elite schools , is composed by 12 associations that parade on Sunday and Monday nights. Tickets for the parades down the Sambadrome have sold out, but tour packages usually include entries.

Jurors’ evaluations are based on various factors, such as allegories, harmony, plot and drums (the typical percussion instrument of Carnival). Animated by a theme, samba school members parade on the catwalk, singing their own song, and using costumes and floats. Since 1929, the date of the first contest, the ritual has been the same.

The favorite to win this year is Unidos da Tijuca,  the third oldest Rio samba school, whose theme this year is Germany. Unidos da Tijuca is the defending champion and it has as parade director Paulo Barros, one of the most promising in recent years. Another school quoted to win this year is Beija-Flor de Nilópolis. Traditional schools, like Mangueira and Portela, are facing internal political problems and should not be among the top positions this year.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

VIDEO: Police seek suspect in molotov cocktail attack…

Police released surveillance video on Wednesday in hopes of tracking down a man who threw a molotov cocktail inside a Brooklyn corner store.

Local

City Council budget asks for 1,000 additional NYPD…

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito unveiled the City Council's budget priorities on Wednesday, including the extra cops for the NYPD at a cost of $94.3 million.

Local

Behind the costumes at the Brooklyn Cosplay Fashion…

Echo Chronum, 17, is a quiet and reserved Brooklyn high school student who often buries herself in her homework. But there is another side to…

Local

Reddit helps man locate missing mother in New…

The Reddit community helped Josh Goldberg find his missing mother on Tuesday.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

Books

A debut novel about fate, love and moving…

Pia Padukone talks about her debut novel, "Where Earth Meets Water."

Movies

Review: 'The Railway Man' is a literal-minded look…

In "The Railway Man," Colin Firth plays a WWII vet suffering from massive trauma acquired from his days as a beaten POW.

NBA

Phil Jackson talked to Steve Kerr, pushes for…

Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke to the media for the first time since firing head coach Mike Woodson on Monday.

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC 'targeting' US international Mix Diskerud

Metro New York has learned Mix Diskerud has drawn “interest” from the expansion MLS side, NYCFC.

NFL

Jets announce they will return to Cortland for…

The tradition of holding camp in Cortland began in 2009 when Rex Ryan wanted to get his Jets away from the distractions of New York City.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."