Brazil Gives Away Land to Defuse Amazon Tensions

Brazil's government has transferred millions of acres of federally owned land to a northern state in an apparent attempt to defuse tensions between Indians and rice farmers at odds over a vast Amazon reservation.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has signed a decree giving the state of Roraima title to more than 6 million hectares — 14.8 million acres — of land.

Roraima Gov. Jose Anchieta Junior told the government's Agencia Brasil news agency Wednesday that the transferred land could be used for the eventual resettlement of the rice farmers who are refusing to abandon the Raposa Serra do Sol reservation inhabited by some 18,000 Indians.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the land dispute later this year.