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Harry Potter e-book to sell on Pottermore, J.K. Rowling says

Rowling plans to give Pottermore users an incentive — new material about characters, places and objects in the series which will, she says, make a visit to Pottermore an immersive experience.

New species discovered in Amazon

It’s not a bigfoot
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New species discovered in Peruvian Amazon. (BBC)

The creature discoveries are some of the first of their kind in decades. The findings were reported in Zootaxa, a scientific journal that concerns itself with neither zoos nor taxes but, rather, newly-discovered animals. The article abstract tells us the new critters have been given snazzy names —Heliotrygon gomesi and Heliotrygon rosai — and it describes them in pornographic detail, focusing in particular on the animals’ “stout and triangular pelvic girdle," and their "very slender and acute anterior extension.” If that’s got you feeling excited, the BBC has pictures, and reports that most of the specimens were discovered near Iquitos in Peru. In case you're curious, the species in question isn't a bigfoot. They're two new kinds of freshwater stingray, and they're are bigger, browner and more pancake-shaped than their non-Amazon cousins.


Brazil: Amazon dam moves forward

A Brazilian appeals court overturns last month’s ruling blocking Belo Monte Dam
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A deforested area along the border of the Xingu River, in the region where the Belo Monte dam is due to be built, Feb. 19, 2005.

Construction can now resume on the massive Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in the eastern Amazon after a Brazilian appeals court on Thursday overturned an earlier ruling blocking the project, Globo News reports.


Another heaping helping of controversy for Amazon dam

The new director of a Brazilian environmental agency says he would not have approved Belo Monte license
A Brazilian indigenous chief attends a February protest in Brasilia against the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. (EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images)

For more than thirty years Brazil has been trying to build a massive hydropower plant on the Xingu river in the central Amazon. Environmentalists hate it, economists say it’s not cost-effective and scientists say it might be a white elephant. Much of the recent drama has focused on a Brazilian environmental agency known by the unwieldy acronym IBAMA, and the fact that heads of the agency who opposed the dam tend to lose their jobs.


Judge blocks Amazon dam

Court orders work on Belo Monte hydroelectric dam halted

A federal judge ordered a halt to work on the controversial Belo Monte dam Friday, saying the environmental agency that approved the project failed to meet its own standards.

The judge, Ronaldo Desterro, in the state of Para, also barred the Brazilian national development bank from releasing any further funds for the project. Slated to be built on the Xingu river in the eastern Amazon, Belo Monte would be the third-largest dam on earth.


Indians in the lobby

Hundreds of indigenous Brazilians converge in Brasilia to demonstrate against Belo Monte dam

Hundreds of indigenous people demonstrated in Brazil’s capital yesterday, handing the president half a million signatures on a petition against the proposed Belo Monte dam in the eastern Amazon. Brazil’s government says projects like this are needed to spur economic growth -- but building the world’s third-biggest hydroelectric dam in the heart of the world’s first-biggest rainforest has sparked criticism. Environmentalists, indigenous advocates, even Hollywood types like “Avatar” director James Cameron have spoken out. Critics say the project will displace indigenous people, swamp too much jungle and, as we wrote recently, the thing may not even work. Final approval on Belo Monte is still pending, but last month the government gave a partial go-ahead to begin clearing trees on the site.

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