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Still Waters

Amazon dam approval provokes violent threats

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Brazil has given the go-ahead for one of the world's largest hydroelectric dams to be built in the Amazon rainforest, sparking immediate protests and threats of violence.

The controversial Belo Monte dam will flood almost 193 square miles (500 square km) of villages and virgin forest, displacing up to 40,000 people.

Indigenous tribes and environmentalists have fought the project for 30 years with court cases, protests and even machetes.

Most recently James Cameron, the Hollywood director, entered the fray liking the story of the tribal people under threat to the plot of his recent blockbuster Avatar.

But despite a last minute injunction, the project in the north of the country has finally been pushed through.

A consortium of nine companies won the right to build the huge dam, that developers claim is "a gift from God".

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