The Nicaraguan Congress has approved a proposal to have a canal built linking the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans.
A Hong Kong-based company has been granted a 50-year concession to build the waterway, which will rival the Panama Canal.
The $40bn plan has been criticised by environmentalists, who say cargo ships will create a permanent risk to Lake Nicaragua.
But President Daniel Ortega says the project will bring prosperity.
Nicaraguan leaders have for centuries dreamt of building a canal linking its Caribbean coast to the Pacific.
Several initiatives failed and the project suffered what seemed to be a final blow when the United States decided to build a canal in Panama, which opened in 1914.
"One of Nicaragua's great riches is its geographic position, that's why this idea has always been around,'' Sandinista government congressman Jacinto Suarez in Congress on Thursday.
"Opposing it is unpatriotic,'' he added.
The projected was approved in Congress by 61 to 28 votes.
A Chinese company - the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co - was chosen to carry out the project.
Critics say the company lacks the necessary experience to undertake such a huge project.
The concession can be extended for another 50 years once the canal is operational.
The Nicaraguan government will get a minority share of the profits generated by the canal.
he latest plan to build a barrage across the Severn to generate electricity has been severely criticised by a committee of MPs.
Hafren Power had outlined a £25bn tidal scheme to generate up to 5% of the UK's electricity needs.
But the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee said it could not recommend the plan.
It said that on both economic and environmental grounds the case remained unproven.
In 2010, the then Energy Secretary Chris Huhne pulled the plug on public efforts to build a barrage saying there was no strategic case for the project.
However, a private consortium called Hafren Power put forward another plan for an 18km-wide (11 miles) fixed scheme between Brean in England and Lavernock Point in Wales.
It would feature 1,026 bi-directional turbines that the twice daily tide would turn, generating 16.5 terawatt hours of electricity per year, equivalent to three nuclear power stations or 3,000 wind turbines.
But MPs were not convinced by the company's plans. There was concern that while the construction of the barrage would be privately funded, significant levels of government subsidy for the electricity would still be required for 30 years.
"We are not convinced that the economic case for the proposed barrage is strong enough," said committee chairman Tim Yeo, MP.
"We do not believe at this stage that the barrage would be competitive with other low carbon technologies."
Concerns were also raised over the environmental impact of the plan.
There were worries that such a large artificial dam would impact flood risks, cause damage to intertidal habitats and harm fish.
According to Tim Yeo, the company had failed to answer serious environmental questions.
"Far more detail and evidence is needed before their project could be regarded as environmentally acceptable," he said.
Rescuers used helicopters to pluck families from rooftops in the southern German town of Deggendorf on Wednesday as the Danube flood crisis continues.
Meanwhile more than 30,000 people in the eastern city of Halle have been told to leave their homes after rivers reached their highest level in 400 years.
Floodwater is also threatening parts of Austria and the Czech Republic.
At least 13 people have died and two are missing as a result of the floods.
Rising waters have been triggered by heavy rain following a wet spring.
Eight deaths were recorded in the Czech Republic and three in Germany, while two people were reported dead and two missing in Austria, according to a European Commission update on Tuesday evening.
Parts of Germany have not seen such severe flooding in centuries. However, in the Czech Republic, the water level has stabilised in the capital Prague, where there had been fears of a repeat of disasters in 2002 and 1997.
Helicopters started removing residents from their homes in Deggendorf on Wednesday after two levees along the Danube and Isar rivers broke.
Firefighter Alois Schraufstetter said the floodwater in the Bavarian town was 3m (9.8ft) high. "This is a life-threatening situation," he was quoted as saying by Germany's DPA news agency.
German newspapers said water levels in the eastern city of Halle were at their highest for four centuries.
Officials said the city was in acute danger after floodwaters from the Saale river damaged a section of dykes.
The level of the River Elbe in the historic German city of Dresden, where at least 600 people were evacuated, is not expected to peak until Thursday morning.
Coaches reportedly ferried people out the town of Muhlberg, about 40km (25 miles) northwest of Dresden, as thousands were told to leave on Wednesday afternoon.
Chemical plants next to the swollen rivers have been shut down and their chemicals removed over safety concerns, the Associated Press reports.
An ancient water mill in Northamptonshire will soon be generating power from the River Nene.
Work has begun on installing hydropower technology so that Hardwater Mill at Great Doddington, near Wellingborough can produce electricity.
It will soon generate enough electricity to power the mill and produce extra for the National Grid.
Several other mills on the same stretch of river are also looking at producing energy.
Andy and Anne Newman, owners of the grade 2 listed mill, said it has taken most of their savings and more than two-and-a-half years to achieve.
Mrs Newman said: "We're quite green people, we're into recycling and we have an air source heat pump and that sort of thing, and this power rushing under the building all the time was something we felt we wanted to harness.
"We're looking at this not only for ourselves, but our children and even their children because this will go on for years and produce power endlessly," added Mr Newman.
The couple have set up the Nene Valley Hydro-electricity group involving 12 mill owners along the river.
One of them is Woodford Mill at Ringstead where the original water wheel has been restored to power a tea room, holiday lets and a neighbouring marina.
Mr Clive Hodgson-Jones said; "It has always been an ambition of mine to get electricity from water. Even before I bought the mill it was something I'd always thought of and when I bought the mill it all came together as a really brilliant idea."
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