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Olympic flame arrives in Brazil for Rio Games torch relay

Europe
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Brasilia (dpa) - The Olympic flame arrived in Brazil on Tuesday for the torch relay ahead of the August 5 opening ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Games, and was lit by the nation‘s beleaguered President Dilma Rousseff.

"Brazil is ready to host the most successful Olympics in history," Rousseff said in the capital Brasilia.

Two-time volleyball gold medallist Fabiana Claudino started the first leg of the three-month relay across the country.

First torch bearers also included 12-year-old Hanan Khaled Daqqah who has fled the war in her native Syria with her family.

The flame was lit on April 21 in Ancient Olympia and arrived in Brazil by plane in a lantern from Switzerland, the home of the International Olympic Committee.

Some 12,000 torch bearers will pass through more than 320 towns and cities in a 20,000-kilometres journey before the Olympic cauldron is to be at the opening ceremony of the August 5-21 Games in the famed Maracana stadium.

Rousseff is unlikely to be in office by then as she is likely to be suspended from office next week for 180 days when Brazil‘s senate deals with her impeachment case. Vice President Michel Temer is the likely president by the time the Games start.

The impeachment is the latest news for the struggling country which has seen delays and other problems around getting ready for the Olympics amid a recession, corruption and the outbreak of the Zika virus.

Domestic ticket sales for the first Games in South America have also been slow but organizers hope that the torch relay will help boost enthusiam for the Olympics.

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