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Olympics: Brazil's new defense minister says Rio Games first priority

An anti-terrorism rehearsal targeting a possible bomb attack during the Olympic Games at the main bus station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo / Getty
An anti-terrorism rehearsal targeting a possible bomb attack during the Olympic Games at the main bus station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo / Getty

Brazil's new defense minister says the Rio de Janeiro Olympics are his first priority.

Raul Jungmann was appointed on Thursday by interim president Michel Temer, who replaced suspended President Dilma Rousseff.

Rousseff is suspended for 180 days while her impeachment trial is presided over by the federal senate in Brasilia.

"My first priority is called the Rio de Janeiro Olympics," Jungmann said following his appointment.

"There are only a few weeks to go and we have a strategic role in the making of the Olympic Games."Jungmann said he would take "all necessary measures so that this event will show to the world that Brazil can be peaceful, as is the wish of everyone."

Rio is a crime-filled city and Brazil will deploy about 85,000 soldiers and police during the games, a force reported to be twice as large as London used four years ago.

It's being called the largest security contingent in Brazilian history.

In a recent study, Brazil had 21 cities on a list of the world's 50 most dangerous cities.The state of Rio de Janeiro is expected to supply about 65,000 police for security, although a recent cut of $550 million - 20 percent - from the state security budget is raising fears about meeting that goal.

"If I said the cuts won't impact anything, I wouldn't be accurate," State Security Secretary Jose Mariano Beltrame told The Associated Press during a sit-down interview this week. "I wish I could have more policemen. I wish they could work twice as much on the streets."

The defense department will supply the rest of the force, soldiers who are expected to guard Olympic venues across the sprawling metropolitan area of 12 million.

- AP

- NZ Herald

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