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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Sunday, January 21, 2018

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Rio Games Day 1: Unauthorised drones, controlled explosions and mammoth lines

Brazilian bomb squad had undertaken a controlled explosion

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – South America’s first Olympics saw a shaky start with a controlled explosion and a stray bullet.> Big News Network

A Rio spokesman confirmed that Brazilian bomb squad had undertaken a controlled explosion after spotting an unattended package close to the finishing line.

At the Olympic Equestrian Centre, a stray bullet pierced through the media tent roof and landed on the floor. No one was hurt.

The security operation is also under security after three unauthorised drones were seen flying above Maracana stadium during the opening ceremony. Sounds of helicopters were heard two hours into the ceremony, as they were sent to find and destroy the drones.

Brazil’s interim president Michel Temer was made aware of the situation. While the security officials were able to seize one drone, the remaining two were not located.

Brazil is under tight security with tanks on the side of major roads leading to the Olympic venue. Up to 100,000 officers have been deployed to secure the city and its tourists. It is the largest security contingent in Olympic history.

“With an event like the Olympics, the military police of any state of Brazil, or any police in the world doesn’t do this alone,” said Jose Mariano Beltrame, Rio de Janeiro’s state security secretary. “Whatever force, be it navy or federal police, will always be very welcome.”

Olympic organisers have apologised for mammoth lines outside the venue.

The organisers’ struggle to get crowds through the gates has left many spectators complaining about waiting in mammoth lines outside venues across the city as temperatures soar to 30 degree Celsius.

In a statement, the organisers apologised for the mismanagement, “We apologise to all spectators who have had to queue on the first day of competition. We are fully aware of the problem and frustration.” They have requested the authorities to speed up the process so that people can enter venues.

Meanwhile, many heads of state decided to give the reception welcoming foreign dignitaries to the opening ceremony of Rio Olympic Games a miss in light of the political unrest in the country.

Out of the 100 leaders expected, fewer than 25 attended the ceremony as per the list provided by the Foreign Ministry. It included presidents of Argentina, France and Portugal and Secretary of State John Kerry who represented the United States. Notable absences included from BRICS member nations Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Political and international relations experts who were watching the opening ceremony closely believe that many senior leaders decided to not show up to avoid an uncomfortable encounter or to protest what they view as a coup. Some would have even wanted to avoid the ceremony, experts said, as they shared cold relationships with Brazil.

Meanwhile, protestors say that they need to take advantage of the presence of foreign leaders in the country, drawing their attention to the coup keeping the government in Brazil from power.

Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff was suspended from the office with a pending trail. Her vice president Michel Temer assumed presidency earlier this year.

“Society should mobilise and take advantage of the Olympic Games, attended by different foreign delegations and even government officials. We need to seize the moment and reveal a coup that is keeping the legitimate government from power,” Jose Carlos de Araujo, a lawyer and protestor, said.

Meanwhile, all eyes were set on three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome on the opening day of the Rio Games but Great Britain was sorely disappointed as Froome lost his chance to grab Britain’s first gold medal.

Belgium’s Greg van Avermaet emerged victorious. Minutes before the race started, Froome had failed to hear his name being called over the public address system to register for the race.

Ginny Thrasher emerged as a surprise first gold medal winner in the women’s 10m air rifle. The biomedical engineering student defeated China’s 2006 champion Du Li to secure her first major international victory.

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