BRASILIA, Brazil, Jan 24, 2001 ( – A report by environmentalists seeking the restriction of human activity within the Amazon was rejected Monday by the country’s science and technology ministry. Chief among the reasons for rejecting the propositions in the article in the journal Science were that the Amazon could not be turned into an “untouchable sanctuary” since “there are 20 million Brazilians living there.”

Reuters reports that the Brazilian Embassy in Washington issued a statement questioning the January 19 article by William Laurance of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Michigan State University researcher Mark Cochrane. The Embassy noted the research was the “object of considerable controversy among the scientific community” and noted that it “does not seem to have a sound basis.”

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