Rio de Janeiro Gets Ready to Celebrate

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Tourists arrive in Rio de Janeiro as the city wraps up preparations for the New Year. The big attraction is the New Year's party on scenic Copacabana beach, with an impressive fireworks display planned.

Thousands of tourists have already arrived in Rio de Janeiro, to celebrate 2011 in the city's famous New Year's party at Copacabana beach.

Two million partygoers, dressed in traditional white, are expected to come here to watch the 20-minute fireworks show.

It's going to be a globally televised fireworks display.

Some 25 tons of explosives, distributed among 11 rafts along the shore of the two-and-a-half mile beach, will mark the height of the night.

Brazil's Hotel Association says 90 percent of Rio's 29-thousand hotel rooms were already occupied by Christmas Eve. This is an increase from last year.

[Antonio Pedro Mello, Rio de Janeiro's Tourism Secretary]:
"We managed to anticipate this holiday season, during which Rio de Janeiro already has a large number of tourists here for the New Year."

Hundreds of workers are hurrying to finish setting up health centers and four stages that will host concerts on that special night.

[Carla Santiago, Tourist]:
"I am very excited, but also worried about the violence that we saw on the news and on the media. But, I am confident."

Last month, drug gangs launched a wave of violence in the city.

46 people were found dead when police and Army officials seized a notorious slum in the northern region of Rio.

Police Officer Antonio Carlos Miranda said he had high expectations of 2011.

[Antonio Carlos Miranda, Police Officer]:
"Each one of us must work hard to make changes, to spread peace and harmony so that Brazil can achieve a great success in 2011, because here is the land of the future."

A couple of hours before the turn of the year, Rio officials will launch the logo of the 2016 Olympic Games.