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By Alastair Macdonald BRUSSELS (Reuters) - When Theresa May met Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Friday, she might just have heard the sounds of carpenters working on new offices for the European Union executive's Brexit negotiators. Having briefed fellow national leaders over dinner at her debut EU summit late on Thursday, the British prime minister had a late lunch on Friday with Juncker, whose executive staff, with their counterparts in Whitehall, will do the heavy lifting in negotiations expected to start early next year. After the glamour of sitting at the European Council top table for the first time, stepping across the road to Juncker's European Commission and its civil service may have seemed more prosaic.
A US destroyer sailed close to a cluster of islands claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea on Friday, the Pentagon said, amid continued tensions in the contested waterway. The USS Decatur passed close to the Paracel Islands and "conducted this transit in a routine, lawful manner without ship escorts and without incident," Pentagon spokesman Commander Gary Ross said. The maneuver is the third South China Sea "freedom of navigation" operation conducted this year by the United States, which has repeatedly stressed it will ignore China's "excessive" maritime claims.
Burkina Faso said Friday it thwarted a "vast conspiracy" earlier this month by forces loyal to ousted leader Blaise Compaore, which aimed to seize power in the impoverished Sahel state. The plot called for attacking the presidential palace and detaining "certain authorities", said Interior Minister Simon Compaore, who is no relation to the ex-leader. Some 30 troops from the ex-president's security unit also planned to free comrades who were part of a failed September 2015 coup against the transitional government that took power after his fall, the minister said.