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A dancer from Mocidade samba school parades during carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday Feb. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

A dancer from Mocidade samba school parades during carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday Feb. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Rio Carnival

With a burst of fireworks and a thumping drum beat, Carnival festivities kicked off in Rio de Janeiro on Feb. 17.