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It is competition time for 13 top-league samba schools who are all fighting for titles at this year’s carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

Every school has dozens of subgroups, each with its own brilliant costumes. More than 4,000 samba troupe members will dance and swivel their way down the city’s Sambadrome parade avenue.

Around 80 per cent of those taking part are poor local people who receive their costumes free. Others, who are mostly Brazilian, pay up to 300 euros to take part.

Watching them are around 80,000 spectators and of course a worldwide television audience.

The five-day carnival in Rio, which started on Friday, is more than just official parades. Whole areas across the city host block parties which attract thousands.

This year about 850,000 tourists are said to be in Rio.

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