Brazil's environmental agency has approved the clearing of nearly 600 acres of Amazon forest so that work can begin on a controversial $18bn (€13bn) hydroelectric dam.
The Belo Monte dam, which will be the third-largest such project in the world, has been strongly opposed by environmental campaigners and indigenous people.
Ibama, the Brazilian environment agency, said it had approved the clearing of 588 acres of forest at the site where the dam will be built in the state of Para.
Contracts for the dam were finally signed last August after decades of disputes about plans for a dam in the area and a series of court injunctions.
But several potential legal hurdles remain, with licences still to be granted for the actual building of the plant. (© Daily Telegraph, London)