Olympic venues nearly prepared for TV; huge worries elsewhere

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 10:14 PM

The International Olympic Committee team will discover most of the venues prepared to indicate off to billions of television viewers when the games open in just below four months.

Olympic venues nearly prepared for TV; huge worries elsewhere

Olympic inspectors are taking their final see this week at Rio de Janeiro's preparations.

The International Olympic Committee team will discover most of the venues prepared to indicate off to billions of television viewers when the games open in just below four months.

But trouble lingers behind the cameras.

President Dilma Rousseff is fighting impeachment and could be out of office when the Olympics open Aug. five. The country'south in its worst recession since the one thousand nine hundred thirty with unemployment at tenth percent. Many Brazilians have more serious worries than S America'south first games.

Latest week the Greek Olympic Committee said Rousseff would pass the Olympic torch-light ceremony on April twenty-one in Greece.

Far from politics, the Zika virus and raw sewage in area waters may be scaring far fans and even some athletes, budgets are being slice everywhere including with security, and there are suspicions that corruption has touched some Olympic-related building projects.

Here'south a quick look:

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VENUES

Organizers declare the venues are ninety-five % complete. However, the velodrome and tennis middle in the Olympic Park are behind schedule as is the equestrian middle in the northern cluster of Deodoro. All should be prepared for the games.

Venues for sailing, rowing, canoeing and open-water swimming contain high levels of viruses and, in some cases, bacteria from human sewage. Organizers have repeatedly said the waters are safe. However, a risk assessment based on an Associated Press analysis found that athletes who ingest just three teaspoons of water have a ninety-nine % chance of being infected by a virus. That doesn't imply they'll automatically become ill.

Athletes will come with antibiotics, wetsuits, bleach for paddles and oars and hand sanitizers — and they'll attempt to limit contact with the dirty water.

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ZIKA VIRUS

Zika may hold some foreign tourists from going to the Olympics and it also poses a risk to youthful athletes. There'south powerful proof the virus is to blame for an expand in birth defects and doctors fear pregnant women sickened by the virus might give birth to babies with abnormally small heads.

The World Health Organization has advised pregnant women to avert travel to areas with Zika outbreaks, and Brazil is at the epicenter. Scientists have also well-known that Zika can be sometimes spread through sexual transmission. WHO recommends taking precautions to avert mosquito bites, including the utilize of repellent and wearing trousers and long sleeves.

Rio organizers declare they're draining stagnant water at venues where mosquitoes could breed and are relying on cool, dry weather in the S American winter when the games open.

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LUKEWARM TICKET SALES

Only fifty % of 3.5 million tickets allocated for Brazilians have been sold. International sales are also reported to be lukewarm. Paralympic sales are worse. New Sports Minister Ricardo Leyser has promised to boost sales and avert an embarrassment with television showing banks of empty seats.

Rio executive hope this week'south draw for the Olympic soccer tournament will boost sales. They argue Brazilians aren't accustomed to buying tickets in advance.

Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes broke a promise to buy 1.two million Olympic tickets and disseminate them free to schools and poor children.

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SUBWAY LINE EXTENSION

Executive declare the line will be finished just days before the games open but number one seems sure. The extension links the Ipanema and Copacabana areas to the western suburb of Barra da Tijuca, site of the Olympic Park. Without it, travel will be harrowing. Even if it'south running, some stations will be closed. Work on a Map B using buses has been reported. The subway is the largest project tied to the Olympics.

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SECURITY

Brazil will deploy about 85.000 soldiers and police for the games. Number one doubts the Army'south capabilities but questions are being raised about the police force running by the state of Rio de Janeiro. Latest mo the head of that force, Jose Mariano Beltrame, said his budget had been slice by 2 billion reals — about $550 million — a reduction sure to impact Olympic security.

Justice Minister Eugenio Aragao promised latest week Brazil will be ready.

"We have to be prepared," he said. "This is the Brazilian government's job."

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BUDGET CUTS

Rio organizers have trimmed about $500 million to hold their operating budget balanced. Cuts will impact nearly everything behind the television cameras: food service, reduced seating in venues, bus schedules, resources for the opening and closing ceremonies. One proposed slice would've had athletes pay to have air conditioning in their rooms at the Athletes Village. That ended with the Zika virus. Athletes will have air conditioning and will be told to near their bedroom windows to hold out mosquitoes.

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CORRUPTION

Some of the construction companies in the Olympic projects are also embroiled in a $3 billion bribery case at the state-run oil company Petrobras. The Brazilian construction behemoth Odebrecht is involved in many Olympic venues and other construction to prepare the city. Company CEO Marcelo Odebrecht was recently sentenced to nineteen years in jail for corruption connected to the Petrobras scandal.

Rio de Janeiro city councilman Jefferson Moura has asked for an inquiry into the contracts while federal police involved in the Petrobras probe are also looking at Olympic contracts.

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AP writer Maria Cheng in London contributed to this report.

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