Amid cuts, Panasonic steps in to aid Rio Olympic ceremonies
Jan. 09, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Facing severe budget cuts in almost all aspects of the games, the Rio de Janeiro Olympics are boosted by Panasonic signing on as a sponsor of the opening and closing ceremonies.
In a statement, the Japanese electronics company said it would provide an array of equipment to project visual images and sound for the ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Panasonic is one of the International Olympic Committee's top sponsors, but taking a role in the ceremonies is unusual, and reflects the reality of Brazil's dire economy.
The country is in the midst of a steep recession, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is fighting impeachment, and inflation is running at over 10 percent. Hanging over this is a massive bribery scandal involving state-run oil giant Petrobras.
Brazil's attorney general also said last month he was investigating allegations that bribes were paid to a powerful lawmaker to help secure contracts for venues and other works for Rio's games.
Rio organizers are trying to cut about $500 million in expenditures to stay within a $1.9 billion operating budget with the games opening in just under seven months.
The cuts reach everywhere, including the use of unpaid volunteers.
Fernando Meirelles, the Brazilian filmmaker who is part of the creative team for the ceremonies, complained months ago about sharp cuts to the ceremony budgets.
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