Dilma Rousseff and the country's worst recession in decades
RIO DE JANEIRO, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's sports minister Ricardo Leyser said Rio de Janeiro is on track to host the greatest ever Olympic Games, despite concerns about slow ticket sales and an ongoing political and economic crisis.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Leyser vowed Rio would offer a ""harmonious climate"" that guaranteed a memorable experience for fans and athletes.

""Brazilians have endured many crises and we have always worked together to overcome our problems, guaranteeing that the country resumes its path toward economic growth and income distribution,"" Leyser said.

""This will be no exception. The crisis will be overcome and the Olympics will take place in a harmonious climate with many records falling. Brazil will be well placed in the medals tally - in both the Olympics and Paralympics.""

An impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff and the country's worst recession in decades have led to fears of apathy among Brazilians towards the Olympics.

With 100 days to go before the opening ceremony at the Maracana stadium, about half of the 7.5 million Olympic tickets remain unsold.

But Leyser said interest from fans would improve as the Games drew nearer.

""There is still time for people to get excited about the Games,"" he said. ""The Olympics are a unique opportunity for people to see great sporting idols and have direct contact with sports that, despite being spectacular, don't attract a big audience.

""Brazil is starting to stand out in sports that are barely recognized by the (Brazilian) public. Rugby, badminton, handball, table tennis and hockey are good examples. The Paralympic Games also generate a lot of excitement for many people. Brazil has some great Paralympic medallists. One of them is (swimmer) Daniel Dias, the world's best Paralympian and a three-time winner of the Laureus award, which is the Oscar for sports.

""I guarantee that the the opening ceremony for the Paralympic Games will be a unique experience. I am certain that with the start of the torch relay on May 3 and its subsequent journey through 300 Brazilian cities, the Olympics will attract even more media attention and ticket sales.""

Unlike the FIFA World Cup two years ago, Rio's Olympic preparations have mostly avoided controversy about venue delays and cost overruns.

Earlier this month the International Olympic Committee's coordination commission said it was satisfied with the progress of works.

According to organizers event venues are 98% complete overall with only the velodrome behind schedule.

""The International Olympic Committee officials who were in Brazil two weeks ago were satisfied with all of the facilities and the progress of works in this final stage of preparations,"" Leyser said. ""The dozens of test events that have been held since July last year have been very important to identify necessary adjustments. Brazil will host the greatest ever Olympics.""

According to Leyser, the government has invested in ensuring that future generations will benefit from Rio's Olympic legacy.

""Since Brazil won the right to host the Games the government has worked so that the benefits are seen throughout the entire country,"" he said. ""Some four billion reais have been invested in infrastructure, equipment and the preparation of athletes.

""We are building a national training network made up of modern arenas that are equipped with the latest facilities available in every region of the country.

""In Sao Paulo, we will have one of the biggest and best Paralympic centers in the world. Partnerships with state and local governments will see 300 sports centres built. Practically all federal and some state universities will have athletics track and field facilities that can host many types of competitions.

""This will serve as an incentive for the population to participate in sports by way of leisure, education health and elite training. Brazil's goal is to be in the top 10 medal winners for the Olympics and top five in the Paralympics.""
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A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that nearly three-quarters of American adults who use the Internet have witnessed online harassment. Forty percent have experienced it themselves. The types of harassment ranged from name-calling to physical threats, sexual harassment and stalking. Half of those who were harassed said they didn’t know the person who had most recently attacked them.

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