Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 8th 2015 Contents A57
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in services---including discussions about whether the
athletes will have free air conditioning in their rooms.
Rio organisers are traveling to Lausanne for this
week s three-day meeting of the International Olympic
Committee executive board, which starts today.
While concerns over construction delays in Rio have
eased over the past year, organising committee chief
Carlos Nuzman will be under pressure to reassure the
IOC that the economic and political crises won t derail
planning for South America s first Olympics, which
open on August 5, 2016.
When Rio was awarded the games seven years ago,
Brazil was riding high as an emerging giant with a
booming economy. Now, Latin America s largest econ-
omy is sinking---the real has lost a third of its value
this year, gross domestic product has tumbled, inflation
is nearing 10 per cent and unemployment has soared
to nearly 8 per cent.
Meanwhile, impeachment proceedings were launched
last week against President Dilma Rousseff, whose
approval ratings have sunk to around 10 per cent. The
process was initiated by a political rival, based on
accusations Rousseff s government broke fiscal respon-
sibility laws by using money from state-run banks to
fill budget gaps and pay for government social spend-
ing.Rousseff sharply disputes the accusations, and most
analysts at this point think she will survive the test.
The Olympics have not escaped the economic slump.
Rio organisers are trying to cut 2 billion reals ($530
million), or almost 30 percent, from their operating
budget of 7.4 billion reals ($1.9 billion). Rio officials
say most of the cuts involve "behind-the-scenes"
"We are discussing with our partners, especially
the IOC, what kind of levels of service we can reduce,"
spokesman Mario Andrada said last week.
"As long as we don t compromise the games, the
quality of the competitions, the experience of the
public---then we have to look for efficiencies."
At one point last week, organisers said athletes
would have to pay for air conditioning in the Olympic
Village because of the cuts. A few days later, however,
organisers said they would provide free air conditioning
Concerns also remain over the severe water pollution
in Rio that affects the sailing, rowing and canoeing
venues. A new round of testing by The Associated
Press found the waterways being used for the Olympics
are more widely contaminated by sewage than pre-
viously known and pose a greater threat to the health
Other issues on the IOC table
TOKYO'S TURN: After months of negotiations, the
venue for the cycling events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
could be finalised this week.
Japanese organisers want to move cycling to Izu---
more than two hours from Tokyo by train---as part of
a series of cost-cutting changes that have already
saved $1.7 billion. The international cycling union
opposed the move, saying it would diminish the
Olympic experience for athletes and fans, but said
recently it was ready to accept the changes if certain
conditions were met.
The IOC is also involved in talks to recognise a
single governing body for skateboarding, one of the
five sports proposed for addition to the Tokyo pro-
gramme, along with baseball-softball, surfing, karate
and sport climbing.
MEXICO CONFLICT: The IOC will review a dispute
that has put Mexico s participation in the Rio Olympics
in question. The conflict is between the Mexican gov-
ernment and national sports federations.
The IOC opposes political interference in national
sports bodies. In October, the IOC suspended Kuwait s
national Olympic committee over government inter-
ference. Efforts to resolve the Mexican situation are
under way, and officials said there was no imminent
threat of sanctions. (AP)
LAUSANNE---The president is facing impeachment
proceedings. The economy is in free fall. The country
is reeling from a wide-ranging corruption scandal.
Such is the grim backdrop in Brazil as organisers
of next year s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro prepare to
make their latest progress report to the IOC.
With eight months until the opening ceremony, the
final stretch of Olympic preparations is taking place
amid political and financial turmoil in Brazil.
The nation s worst recession since the 1930s is
already having an impact on the games: The organising
committee budget is being slashed and leading to cuts
IOC to hear from Rio organisers
amid budget cuts, recession
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, right, with her Justice Minister Jose Eduardo
Cardozo as they meet with a team of lawyers regarding impeachment
proceedings against her at Planalto presidential palace, in Brasilia, Brazil,
yesterday. AP PHOTO
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