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Learning English - Words in the News
Artworks stolen during Rio Carnival
The world famous Brazilian carnival lasts for four days
Carnival dancer

Almost 700,000 people visited the city of Rio de Janeiro during the carnival, bringing in almost half-a-billion dollars, according to the local authorities. But the theft of a museum's most valuable artworks has somewhat spoiled the celebrations. This report from Steve Kingstone:

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Brazilians have partied hard for four days and Tuesday is their last chance to let their hair down at Carnival 2006. The main focus of the fun has been Rio de Janeiro, where for the last two nights, fourteen samba schools have paraded competitively in the seventy-thousand seater Sambadrome. A winner will be declared on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, one-and-a-half-million people took to the streets for a parade in the north-eastern city of Recife, while Bono, the lead singer of the band U2, was among the revellers in Salvador, a city known for its vibrant Afro Brazilian culture.

Here in Rio the festivities were marred by the theft from a museum of paintings by Picasso, Dali, Monet and Matisse thought to be worth around fifty-million dollars. The armed thieves used a carnival street parade as cover for their getaway. The Brazilian police have alerted Interpol and produced photofit pictures of two suspects. But as carnival draws to a close, there's been no sign of the stolen works of art.

Listen to the words

partied hard
taken part in the carnival activities without stopping

to let their hair down
to freely enjoy themselves much more than usual

The main focus of the fun
The most important location for the fun

paraded competitively
showed their talent and skills in order to win a prize

took to the streets
went out into the city roads

the revellers
the people who took part in the carnival activities

thought to be worth
estimated, believed to be valued at

The armed thieves
The burglars carrying dangerous weapons

photofit pictures
pictures of criminals' faces that are made up from different photos of facial features, e.g. eyes, nose, hair; the features are chosen by people who've seen the criminals

draws to a close
comes to an end

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