A Brazilian judge on Thursday overturned a lower court ruling that suspended work on a massive hydroelectric dam in the Amazon jungle state of Para.
Federal judge Ronaldo Desterro ruled last week that Brazil’s environmental agency had erred when it approved work to begin on the Belo Monte dam.
He said 29 environmental conditions had not been met, such as the recovery of degraded areas and measures to guarantee the navigability of rivers.
On Thursday, Judge Olindo Menezes of a higher federal court overturned the suspension, saying in a statement there was no need for all the conditions to be met before construction begins.
The US$11 billion, 11,000-megawatt dam, to be constructed on the Xingu River feeding the Amazon, would be the world’s third-largest hydroelectric energy producer behind China’s Three Gorges dam and the Itaipu, straddling the border of Brazil and Paraguay.
The government says the dam will provide clean, renewable energy and is essential to fuel the South American country’s growing economy.
Officials say they spent years planning to protect the environment and local residents before the dam was approved. Environmentalists and indigenous groups say it would devastate wildlife and the livelihoods of 40,000 people who live in the area to be flooded.
Celebrities including British rock star Sting, film director James Cameron and actress Sigourney Weaver have joined activists in lobbying against the dam. When Cameron participated in protests against the project in Brazil last year, he compared the anti-dam struggle by indigenous people to the plot of his film Avatar, which depicts natives of a planet fighting to protect their homeland from plans to extract its resources.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big