In Court

Published: Saturday 31 May 2008

Amazon dam project frozen: A Brazilian judge has issued a restraining order on a controversial dam in the Amazon basin. In response to a suit, the court ruled that the government has illegally awarded technical and economic feasibility studies for Belo Monte Dam to civil construction companies even before conducting proper environmental studies. Besides, there was no competitive bidding process for the contract, it ruled. The 11,181-mw Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu river would be the worlds third largest dam in terms of generating capacity. It has been facing opposition from a coalition of indigenous groups, scientists and environmentalists who say the dam will harm the environment by flooding large tracts of rainforest and block key migration routes for fish.

politically correct: A federal court in Australia has upheld a decision granting native title to Rubibi Aboriginal people over much of Broome, an old pearling town in Western Australia. The state government had appealed against a 2006 ruling arguing that native title should be recognized at a smaller group level. But the federal court said that the Rubibi peoples claim on 300,000 hectares of coastal area was valid and should be upheld. Traditional owners have welcomed the decision which they say affirms their connection with the land.

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