Brazil soccer star Neymar

Carnival in Brazil Dancers – some nearly naked, others in elaborate costumes – strutted into the final round of the Rio Carnival’s samba championship Monday, capping a wild party that has helped Brazilians forget about Zika and other worries. The six last samba schools were preening their spectacular feather headdresses and adjusting the shining G-strings and other tiny garments favored by lead dancers ahead of the all-night parades. Another six rival ensembles had their turn through the night on Sunday at the climax of a Carnival season estimated to attract five million people. A champion samba school will be announced Wednesday, closing an event that calls itself “the greatest show on Earth.” Some 70,000 fans cheered, sang and shook their hips overnight Sunday to Monday in the stands of Rio’s purpose-built dancing stadium, the Sambadrome, as competing samba schools passed in a blur of feathers, glitter and flesh. Extraordinary floats rolled down the runway, including a giant rat representing the 10.7 percent inflation hurting ordinary Brazilians in a sickly economy. Another float in the shape of a golden football had Barcelona FC and Brazil striker Neymar’s father standing on top. The outpouring of color, pounding drums, joyful song, and samba dancing helped the crowds put aside fears over the Zika virus, the economy and attempts to impeach President Dilma Rousseff. (AFP) Photos: (from top) 
 REUTERS/Pilar Olivares, REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker, AP Photo/Andre Penner, REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker  
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World-class soccer player Neymar leads the Brazil team at the Olympics.

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