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Rio Fights Phony Olympic Souvenirs With Official Knockoffs

Rio 2016 mascot Vinicius
Rio 2016 mascot Vinicius

Organizers of the Olympic Games in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro are taking a novel, fight-fire-with-fire approach to tackle counterfeit merchandise, a local newspaper reports.

As is often the case at international sporting events, prices of souvenirs at official stores in Rio are high — a pocket replica of the Olympic torch costs $34 in the Olympic Village — unattainable fare for most Brazilians in a country where the average minimum wage is just $270 a month, Brazilian newspaper O Globo notes.

It's the kind of niche that counterfeiters like to exploit. So, Rio 2016 organizers came up with an unusual idea — selling their own "knockoff" goods, the daily reports.

At Sahara, a popular market in the city's downtown area, customers can get almost the exact same products that are available at official stores — but for half the price, O Globo reports. A children's T-shirt that costs $25 at the Megastore on Copacabana beach sells for just $10.80 at the Sahara. The fabric is a bit thinner and the stitching is not quite as good as the Megastore one but the item is not counterfeit. It's an official, Rio 2016-sanctioned garment, albeit one of the Grade B variety, the paper says.

"Is it official?" one French tourist Pascal Le Maurice wonders about the polo shirt he spotted in the Sahara market for $18, O Globo reports. Megastore charges $43 for the same item but both have a hologram sticker proving their authenticity.

"For the quality, the value is very good," the newspaper cites the customer as saying. "I'll take it as a souvenir."

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Geopolitics

Limits Of Convenience: Why Russia-China Cooperation Won't Last

Moscow and Beijing may seem like strategic partners, but it's revealing itself clearly as a marriage of convenience. And ultimately they are naturally competitors, wary if the other grows stronger.

Limits Of Convenience: Why Russia-China Cooperation Won't Last

February 2022. Vladimir Putin attending the remony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin Pool / Planet Pix via ZUMA Press Wire
Petro Shevchenko

-Analysis-

Long before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping were growing closer. China’s goal? To revamp the current world order, significantly weaken the West and its leaders, and to become the world-dominating figurehead over and above the United States.

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Russia’s war in Ukraine has become an essential element of this plan to destabilize the global situation.

When the West began imposing stringent sanctions on Russia, China instead chose to economically support Putin and left its markets open to accept raw materials from Russia. But don’t think this means China is Putin’s lapdog. Quite the contrary: Beijing has never helped Moscow to its own detriment, not wishing to fall under the punitive measures of the US and Europe.

At the same time, the Russian-Chinese alliance stirred dissatisfaction amongst the elite in both Beijing and Moscow. China was not expecting Russia’s plans to occupy Ukraine in a matter of days to fail and as a result, China’s aim to destabilize the West alongside its Russian partner failed.

Add to this the various alliances in the West emerging against Beijing and fears for China’s economy on home turf is beginning to grow.

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