Nicaragua approves massive canal proposal

Nicaragua gives little-known Chinese company concession to build canal rivaling Panama's

Associated Press
Panama's boom helps drive Nicaragua canal dreams
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In this June 7, 2013 photo, people push a boat into Lake Nicaragua, near Granada, Nicaragua. A multi-billion dollar Chinese plan to plow a massive rival to the Panama Canal across the middle of Nicaragua was headed for approval by the leftist-controlled National Assembly Thursday, June 13, 2013, capping a lightning-fast approval process that has provoked deep skepticism among shipping experts and intense concern among environmentalists. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) -- A multi-billion dollar dream to plow a massive rival to the Panama Canal across the middle of Nicaragua has been approved by the country's leftist-controlled National Assembly. It caps a lightning-fast approval process that has provoked deep skepticism among shipping experts and concern among environmentalists.

The assembly voted Thursday to grant a 50-year concession to plan and build the canal to a Hong Kong-based company whose only previous experience appears to be in telecommunications.

The legislation expected approved Thursday contains no specific route for a canal and virtually no details of its financing.

Nicaraguans have tried for centuries to attract investors who would build a canal across the nation.

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