Source AP ©

Catholic bishop tries to stop river project with hunger strike

A massive river diversion project is temporary halted because a Roman Catholic bishop organizes a hunger strike.

Judge Antonio Souza Prudente ordered the government to suspend work on the US$2 billion (1.4 billion EUR) project to divert the Sao Francisco river, Brazil's fourth largest, to help irrigate the country's arid northeast.

In an injunction issued late Monday, Prudente accepted arguments by prosecutors that the National Water Resources Council had ignored several technical criteria in approving the project. He did not mention the hunger strike in the injunction.

Bishop Luiz Flavio Cappio, who is on the 15th day of a hunger strike, said he planned to continue despite the judge's decision because the government will likely be able to have the injunction thrown out in a higher court.

"We are very happy with the decision, it is a great sign of hope but we have not arrived at the end," Cappio said in a statement. But he said he was "determined to go ahead with the fast and prayer" until the project is stopped and the army engineers leave the sites.

The National Integration Ministry, which oversees the project, said it had not seen the judge's decision and would not comment until it had.

Cappio has said he was prepared to die if the government does not stop work on the project, which critics say will do irreversible environmental damage and principally benefit large agribusiness interests and builders.

The government estimates the plan will benefit about 12 million people in the desperately poor region.

In 2005, Cappio ended a similar hunger strike after 11 days when the government promised to hold public debates on the project. He accuses the government of failing to honor its promise.

Since he began the hunger strike on Nov. 27, Cappio said he has lost over 4 kilograms (9 pounds). He continues to drink water and doctors said he was still in good health.

Comments
Argentina hides the truth about the death of San Juan submarine
Russia's Prokopchuk loses Interpol election
Russia's Prokopchuk loses Interpol election
Russia close to recognising Donetsk and Luhansk republics after Donbass elections
Unemployment in Russia hits record high of 15 percent
Third Rome and geopolitics of Orthodox schism
Putin wants Russian army rearmed almost completely by 2021
Japan ratifies agreement to supply weapons and ammo to warring states
Argentina hides the truth about the death of San Juan submarine
Argentina hides the truth about the death of San Juan submarine
Putin and Erdogan launch first section of TurkStream pipeline in Istanbul
Why Trump tries to re-industrialize America
Why Trump tries to re-industrialize America
Unemployment in Russia hits record high of 15 percent
Kuril Islands dispute between Russia and Japan: The impossible is impossible
Russia to ban capture of killer whales and belugas in 2019
North Korea destroys security points in demilitarised zone
Russia to ban capture of killer whales and belugas in 2019
Third Rome and geopolitics of Orthodox schism
Five years after Maidan revolution, Ukraine remains one of Europe's most corrupt states
The Amazon and the New Conquistadores