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It's not quite Moneygall ... as Obamas take in Rio

He might be on his way here shortly -- but before that US President Barack Obama and his family took in a little sightseeing during an official visit to Rio de Janeiro.

The American leader ended his stay in Brazil with a night-time walking tour of Corcovado Mountain to the Christ the Redeemer statue, symbol of Rio.

Mr Obama held his daughters' hands as they walked around the base of the massive steel and stone statue, lit brightly against the night sky, its open arms over the city.

At one point the family huddled around a map of the south-east panorama and Sasha pointed as she tried to pick out landmarks below.

Mr Obama has held up the South American nation as a model of democratic change in a time of uprisings and crackdowns across the Arab world and yet another war front for the US.

From Rio's glamorous beaches to a notorious slum to an elegant theatre, Mr Obama experienced the city's extremes.

Less than one day after announcing US military strikes against Libya's government, Mr Obama made time to kick a soccer ball around with Brazilian kids in a shantytown.

Dozens of young children pressed up against a chain-link fence trying to get a look at the US president; he ultimately stepped outside and gave a big wave.

Mr Obama and his family were flying to Santiago, Chile today.

hnews@herald.ie