World briefs: Britain plans nuclear plant

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LONDON -- The British government and EDF Group, the French state-controlled utility, announced Monday that they had reached a long-elusive agreement to build the first nuclear power station in Britain in a generation, at Hinkley Point in southwest England.

The overall costs would be 16 billion pounds in 2012 terms (about $26 billion) with consumers and taxpayers covering most of the bill. Two Chinese companies, China General Nuclear Corp. and China National Nuclear Corp., will take a stake of 30 to 40 percent in Hinkley Point.

The Hinkley Point project represents an attempt by the British government to bolster the domestic energy industry. The government wants several other plants to be built to replace Britain's aging nuclear stations, including at least one other plant operated by EDF.

Rain woes at nuclear plant

TOKYO -- The operator of Japan's wrecked nuclear plant said Monday that rainwater from a weekend storm became contaminated as it collected behind barriers meant to stop radiation leaks. The toxic water overflowed at several locations, with some of it possibly spilling into the Pacific Ocean.

It was the latest in a litany of lapses and aggravations for the problem-plagued cleanup of the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The Tokyo Electric Power Co. said water from heavy rain had accumulated behind foot-high concrete walls that encircle clusters of storage tanks. TEPCO built those barriers to contain spills from the tanks, a problem that has led to intense criticism of the company.

Suicide bomber kills 6

MOSCOW -- A female suicide bomber blew herself up on a city bus in southern Russia on Monday, killing six people and injuring about 30, officials said. The attack in Volgograd added to security fears ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The suspected bomber was from the North Caucasus, a region in southern Russia where an Islamic insurgency has been simmering for more than a decade. A local official said the 30-year-old suspect was married to an Islamic militant. No one immediately claimed responsibility.

Rights activist arrested

BEIJING -- China's authorities have formally arrested a well-known entrepreneur as part of a continuing crackdown on a citizens rights movement to which he belonged and on dissent in general, his lawyer and activists said Monday.

Wang Gongquan, a respected businessman who had made his fortune in real estate and in the Silicon Valley, was placed in criminal detention last month and charged with "gathering people to disturb order in a public occasion." His formal arrest was made Sunday, but news of it reached his lawyer Monday. It increases the likelihood of him receiving a prison sentence.

It comes on the eve of China's appearance before the U.N. Human Rights Council today for an examination of its human rights record, and underlines the extent of the Communist Party's intolerance of peaceful criticism, activists say.

Also in the world ...

A passenger train derailed Monday in Pakistan's resistive Baluchistan province when a bomb detonated next to it, killing at least seven people and injuring at least a dozen more. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. ... Category 3 Hurricane Raymond, with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, remained nearly stationary off Mexico's southern Pacific coast Monday, though it threatened to hurl heavy rains onto a sodden region already devastated by last month's Tropical Storm Manuel.


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