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Rio's unpaid government workers line up for food


Inside, on the 13th floor, a food bank set up by a labor union is handing out plastic bags of groceries to help state employees as Brazil struggles through its worst recession in a century.

The state of Rio, which is fighting off bankruptcy, has stopped paying salaries and pensions amid the crisis -- leaving nearly half a million people and their families to depend on private charity.

Celia Moitas Pinto and her sister donated two large bags of food in "solidarity."

Pinto's sister works for the government herself. But she is still getting paid thanks to a court injunction requiring the state to keep paying salaries of employees in the justice system.

She is luckier than her colleagues in public health and education, who have not been paid since November.

"There are recessions all over the world, but here it's been caused by theft and corruption," Pinto said bitterly.

"I'm ashamed to be Brazilian," the 71-year-old added.

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