Nuclear plant financed by Chinese is approved

The British government on Thursday gave the go-ahead for a Chinese-financed nuclear power station, two months after Prime Minister Theresa May balked at the deal.

The $24 billion nuclear plant, known as Hinkley Point C, will be the first built in Britain in decades. David Cameron, the former prime minister, had pushed hard for the project during his tenure.

But days after May took over from Cameron in July, she announced a fresh review of the plan.

The pause called into question whether the new prime minister would allow Hinkley Point to go ahead. China responded with veiled threats that scuttling the project would endanger the countries’ growing ties.

On Thursday morning, Downing Street announced that the project would proceed, but with new conditions.

“Ministers will impose a new legal framework for future foreign investment in Britain’s critical infrastructure, which will include nuclear energy and apply after Hinkley,” it said in a statement.

The plan has drawn criticism, for its cost and over concerns that giving China a stake in Britain’s energy infrastructure leaves Britain vulnerable to a country whose geostrategic interests are hardly aligned with its own.

But whatever the reservations of May and her team, Hinkley Point may have been too far along in the planning for her to cancel the project.

China is an investor in Hinkley Point, not the builder. That task has been left to the French power utility EDF, with the Chinese kicking in a third of the cost.

— Griff Witte

Both sides allege cease-fire violations

Rebels and government troops both reported violations of a cease-fire declared in eastern Ukraine at midnight on Wednesday as French and German foreign ministers were visiting the country in a bid to shore up a crumbling peace deal.

Rebels on Tuesday declared a unilateral cease-fire, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the following day that Ukraine had agreed to observe the truce.

But Russian state television on Thursday quoted rebel officials as saying that their forces came under mortar fire earlier in the day. Meanwhile, a Ukrainian military spokesman said that three service members were wounded and that rebels violated the cease-fire six times.

The February 2015 Minsk agreement helped end large-scale battles between the Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian troops, but smaller clashes have continued.

A day after meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, Steinmeier and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault traveled to Ukraine’s east on Thursday.

Speaking outside the city of Slovyansk, Steinmeier voiced hope that the truce would hold and help pave the way for progress on political aspects of the Minsk agreement.

— Associated Press

China launches second space station: China has launched its second space station in a sign of the growing sophistication of its military-backed program. The Tiangong-2 was carried into space atop a Long March 7 rocket. Plans call for the launch next month of the Shenzhou 11 spaceship with two astronauts to dock with the station and remain aboard for a month. China’s first space station officially went out of service this year.

Wing flap confirmed to be part of MH370: A wing flap that washed ashore on an island off Tanzania has been identified as belonging to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Australian officials said. The flap was found in June. An analysis by experts at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is leading the search for the plane, has confirmed that the part was from the aircraft, the agency said. The aircraft vanished March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard.

Ex-Guantanamo detainee reportedly awakens from coma: A former Guantanamo Bay detainee reportedly has awakened from a coma that resulted from a hunger strike over his unhappiness about being resettled in Uruguay and his demand to be moved to another country. A Uruguayan government liaison said Abu Wa’el Dhiab had come out of the coma. A doctor said that Dhiab was extremely dehydrated after 11 days without water but that his vital signs were generally good. The Syrian man, released in late 2014 from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could not return to his war-torn homeland and was taken in as a refugee by Uruguay along with five other freed detainees.

— From news services