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Activist ends 13-day hunger strike

NEW DELHI -- An anti-corruption activist ended his 13-day hunger strike yesterday with a glass of coconut water to the cheers of supporters and the relief of a government that has found itself on the defensive for a fortnight.

Anna Hazare, 74, agreed to end the fast after Parliament bowed to his demands, agreeing to create a powerful, independent lokpal, or ombudsman, with authority to go after high-level corruption.

Whether the new agency has teeth or ultimately does much to stem endemic corruption remains to be seen. What is clear, however, is that Hazare has rattled the political establishment by tapping a wellspring of public frustration over graft in ordinary life.

"I have only suspended my agitation," he told cheering supporters. "I will not rest until all the changes that I look to are achieved."

Hazare had sought a binding commitment from Parliament that it would authorize a lokpal, but settled for a less restrictive "sense of the house" resolution.

-- Los Angeles Times

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