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Revellers take to the streets at Rio Carnival

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Thousands of boisterous samba fans have come together to watch the first night of Rio's Carnival parades.

Tourism officials say almost 730,000 visitors arrived this year for the big party, a 5% increase over last year.

It's the first Carnival since Rio de Janeiro was named as host to the 2016 Olympics, and officials have been working hard to show that the city, known for the drug-gang violence that pervades its slums, can safely host major events.

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