Brazil's Carnival marred by tragic killings
Our own clorenz1 posted a great story on the wonders of Rio's Carnival this morning, and now two of the celebration's well-known samba dancers are murdered under suspicious circumstances. It points to increasing tension in Brazil's most famous city, just at time when the world is watching.
A leader of one of Rio's premiere samba parade groups and his wife have been shot dead, days before the city's world-famous Carnival begins.
Guaracy Paes Falcao, vice chairman of the Salgueiro samba school, and his wife were killed by unidentified gunmen as he left the group's headquarters.
The deaths coincided with an anti-drug gang raid in Rio by a new elite police force in which another six people died.
Rio's Carnival begins on Sunday with a televised traditional parade.
The shooting of Mr Falcao and his wife happened in Tijuca, a middle-class area surrounded by slums, or "favelas", on the north side of the city.
One unnamed police officer told the Reuters news agency that the shootings could be an "execution", judging by the characteristics of the crime.
Some samba schools are sponsored by illegal lottery rings, a pairing that has previously led to the death of leading Carnival figures.
Mr Falcao's relation, Waldemir Garcia, an official in Salgueiro, was killed in 2004. Reports say police suspected a link with a turf war over slot machines.