The government of Burma announced on Friday that it will halt work on the Myitsone Dam, a project that would have forced 15,000 Burmese from their homes and returned little of the dam's hydroelectric production to Burma itself. In a nod to escalating popular opposition to the project, President U Thein Sein told parliament that construction on the Myitsone Dam on the Irrawaddy River would not proceed under his government, a startling reversal of Burmese government policy and a possible signal of a thaw in the country's political climate. In March, Burma—also known as Myanmar—transitioned to civilian control after decades under a repressive military regime. The proposed dam would have decimated several species of fish on the Irrawaddy, an historically symbolic river and the country's largest waterway. Construction by a Chinese firm began earlier this year and was expected to cost $3.6 billion. Under the construction agreement, as much as 90 percent of the dam's hydroelectric power, and 60 percent of its profits, would have flowed across the border to China.
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