October 13, 2001

Rio celebrates 70 years of Christ statue

                 RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) -- Residents celebrated 70 years of their
                 famous mountaintop Christ the Redeemer statue as hundreds of thousands
                 gathered elsewhere in the country to pray for peace.

                 "Christ the Redeemer 70 years - Peace on Earth," was the message of a 30-yard
                 banner mountain climbers attached under the Christ statue on the 2,200-foot
                 Corcovado mountain.

                 More than 300,000 people visit the giant statue each year. It has opened its arms
                 above Rio's 7 million residents since 1931.

                 Up to one million people were expected for an ecumenical peace show in Rio's
                 Flamengo park to be opened with an oration to Christ the Redeemer. Catholics,
                 Protestants, Muslims, Jews and Buddhist leaders called for the gathering, named
                 "National Meeting of the Family for Peace."

                 A minute's silence was scheduled for both the victims of the attacks on the United
                 States as well as those by Washington on Afghanistan.

                 The celebrations coincide with a national holiday for Brazil's patron saint, Our
                 Revealed Lady, that also drew thousands to religious services all over the country.

                  Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.