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municipal governments

Evangelical Rio mayor skips Carnival, drawing ire and praise

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella did the unthinkable over the last week: He snubbed the city’s legendary Carnival. And in doing so, the retired Pentecostal bishop exposed sharp divisions in a society known for easygoing attitudes toward sex and celebration but with a large-and-growing …

Hong Kong ivory trade faces uncertain future as bans loom

HONG KONG (AP) — Wong Lai-ngan hunches over a battered workbench, his electric rotary tool whining as he carves two phoenixes facing each other into a smooth white tusk. Decades ago, Wong’s canvas would have been elephant ivory. But since a 1990 ban on international trading, Hong Kong’s dwindling tribe …

Rio is stuck with big bills and vacant venues after Olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro pulled off last year’s Olympics, keeping crime at bay and fending off dire forecasts of corruption, environmental degradation, and cost overruns. Six months after South America’s first games, the flood gates have burst open. Rio organizers still owe creditors about $40 million. …

Romanian government seeks loophole on corruption

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s government is on a high-risk mission: devise a legal and politically acceptable way to remove penalties for some types of official corruption. First, the government tried to effect the change by imposing an emergency decree without public debate. The move backfired badly, sparking massive demonstrations …

Protesters in St. Petersburg decry handover of cathedral

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Protesters rallied in St. Petersburg on Saturday against plans by the city authorities to give a landmark cathedral to the Russian Orthodox Church amid an increasingly passionate debate over the relationship between the church and the Russian state. “We won’t give St. Isaac’s to the …