• Brazil interim leader says he’s ready to be booed at Olympics

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    BRASÍLIA: Brazil’s interim president Michel Temer said Saturday he is fine with the likelihood he will be booed when he appears at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games next week.

    “I am totally ready. As (Brazilian writer) Nelson Rodrigues used to say, in Maracana (stadium) even the moment of silence gets booed,” Temer told local media on a visit to Porto Alegre, ahead of South America’s first Olympics, which he will open at the fabled football pitch.

    Temer, the vice president who has been acting head of state since May, will preside over the opening ceremony and declare the Games open, amid the country’ contentious political situation.

    Suspended president Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor and left-wing ally Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, meanwhile, have said they will boycott the ceremony.

    Rousseff is currently suspended for an impeachment trial for breaking government budget laws, while Lula, who as president was instrumental in Rio’s winning bid as Olympic host, faces serious corruption allegations.

    “I have to fulfill my institutional responsibilities. And I also understand the ex-presidents are not going to be in attendance. So the fun part is they can save all the boos just for the president,” Temer quipped.

    On Friday, Temer said Brazil’s political uncertainty must be resolved by the end of August — its Olympic-hosting month — by reaching a verdict in the impeachment trial.

    “The world needs to know who is the president” of Brazil, he said.

    The Rio Games got some good news Saturday as a new metro line opened in time for the landmark Games.

    Fears that the massive project would not be ready melted when, after months of delays, Temer opened the number 4 line between Ipanema and Barra de Tijuca.

    The new line will be key to logistics and transporting 22,000 passengers per hour during the Olympic Games August 5-21 and the Paralympic Games September 7-18.

    Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said “it’s a miracle that (Rio de Janeiro) state got this wonderful public work completed. Rio is a different city now.” AFP

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