Source AP ©

Brazil pushes Rio's Christ statue as new wonder of the world

Brazil on Thursday launched a campaign lobbying for Rio de Janeiro's iconic Christ the Redeemer statue to be named one of seven new wonders of the world.

Perched atop a mountain overlooking Rio's famed beaches, the 38-meter (125 foot) concrete statue of Christ with outstretched arms "mobilizes Brazilians from around the country in a common feeling of national pride," Tourism Minister Marta Suplicy said in a statement on the ministry's Web site.

Organizers hope the international "Vote for Christ" campaign will generate some 10 million votes for the statue, one of 21 finalists in global balloting hosted by the Switzerland-based New7Wonders Foundation.

People can vote by phone or online, and the winners will be announced in Lisbon, Portugal, on July 7.

On Thursday, Suplicy took a train up 710-meter (2,330-foot) Corcovado mountain and urged tourists to vote for the statue.

Designed by local engineer Heitor da Silva Costa and created by French sculptor Paul Landowski, the statue took five years to build and was inaugurated on Oct. 12, 1931.

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