RIO DE JANEIRO : The Last Samba

Four days of pre-Lenten merry-making ends today with the Carnival victory celebration by winners of Rio de Janeiro's samba parade competition. Eighteen samba groups were competing with elaborate floats, costumes and dance routines--some spending up to $1 million on their entries. The Globo television network paid more than $1.6 million to broadcast the main parades Sunday and Monday nights.

The Rio samba parades are the most celebrated aspect of Brazil's annual Carnival, but far from the only celebration. There have been private parties and dancing in the streets all around the country for the past four days, all through the night. Globo TV said a million people celebrated in the streets of Recife, and hundreds of thousands in the northeastern city of Salvador.

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