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Brazil's president counters criticism of World Cup expenditures

The remarks came in Brasilia at a banquet for international journalists.
By Ed Adamczyk   |   June 4, 2014 at 4:07 PM   |   Comments

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BRASILIA , Brazil, June 4 (UPI) -- Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff defended the costs of World Cup construction projects and countered criticism infrastructure projects suffered.

With a week to go before Brazil hosts the globally-anticipated soccer tournament in 12 cities across the country, Rousseff told international journalists at a banquet in Brasilia the country's ambitious plans for improvement of infrastructure were not intended to be finished by the time of the World Cup. The event was merely a method of getting the projects started, she said.

Only 8 to 9 billion reais ($3. 53 billion to $3.93 billion) of the 143 billion reais ($63 billion) meant for infrastructure were dedicated to venues for the World Cup, she said, adding, "The rest isn't for the Cup, it's for Brazil."

Brazil has seen protests and demonstrations opposing the costs of world Cup projects, as well as a raise in the wages of federal police officers to keep them from striking during the three-week event, which begins June 12.

Rousseff noted a 49 percent rise in the purchase of televisions as a sign Brazilians eagerly anticipate the soccer matches.

A Pew Research Center survey, released Tuesday, indicated 72 percent of Brazilians were "dissatisfied with the way things are going in their country," and 61 percent thought hosting the World Cup "is a bad thing" in that it diverts funding from schools, health care and other services.

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