Brazilian bishop ends hunger protest

 Brazilian Bishop Luiz Flavio Cappio, has ended an 11-day hunger protest after the government agreed to delay the start of a massive river diversion project. Bishop Luiz, 59, made the decision after six hours of face-to-face talks with senior government minister Jacques Wagner. The government had planned to divert water from the Sao Francisco river to the north-east's drought-prone regions. Opponents said the idea would benefit only wealthy landowners, cause great hardship to the local population and great environmental damage. They also said the $2bn project was too expensive, and would reduce the quantity of hydro-electric energy currently generated by dams on the river. Bishop Luis announced the end of his hunger strike on Friday, on the steps of his tiny whitewashed church. Looking gaunt and weary, he said: "I declare that my fast is suspended in favour of life." On behalf of Brazil's president, Mr Wagner said there was now going to be an extension of the dialogue over the issue. A nationwide debate about the project is already underway and the bishop has been invited to meet President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Locally Bishop Luiz is being seen a hero championing the rights of the poor indigenous people of the region.

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