Extra! German Paper Gives Greece's Finance Minister The Middle Finger

Die Tageszeitung, March 17, 2015

Things are heating up between Germany and Greece, again. The news Monday that Germany's DAX index reached an all-time high — even as cash-strapped Athens is trying to scrape enough money to make a $2 billion debt payment on Friday — prompted the Berlin-based daily Tageszeitung to give Greece's radical-left Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis a taste of his own medicine, in retaliation to what the German media is calling the "Fingergate."

Tageszeitung"s headline "Europe gives Varoufakis the middle finger," with a hand drawn on a picture of the European Central Bank's headquarters in Frankfurt, is a tit-for-tat move against the new Greek finance minister after the emergence of a two-year-old video in which he suggested that the then government should file for bankruptcy and let Germany foot the bill, while flipping the bird to illustrate his comment.

When he was shown the footage Sunday on one of Germany's most popular talkshows on the state TV channel ARD, Varoufakis said he had "never given the finger ever" and that the video had been altered — though it was since confirmed as authentic.

This topped a difficult weekend for Varoufakis as the finance minister was also subjected to online mockery over a photo shoot with French magazine Paris Match, set in his luxurious home in the vicinity of Athens' Acropolis.

ABOUT THE SOURCE: Founded in 1978 in Berlin, Die Tageszeitung, also known as "taz," is a left-leaning newspaper famous for its tongue-in-cheek headlines.

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In Argentina, A Visit To World's Highest Solar Energy Park

With loans and solar panels from China, the massive solar park has been opened a year and is already powering the surrounding areas. Now the Chinese supplier is pushing for an expansion.

960,000 solar panels have been installed at the Cauchari park

Silvia Naishtat

CAUCHARI — Driving across the border with Chile into the northwest Argentine department of Susques, you may spot what looks like a black mass in the distance. Arriving at a 4,000-meter altitude in the municipality of Cauchari, what comes into view instead is an assembly of 960,000 solar panels. It is the world's highest photovoltaic (PV) park, which is also the second biggest solar energy facility in Latin America, after Mexico's Aguascalientes plant.

Spread over 800 hectares in an arid landscape, the Cauchari park has been operating for a year, and has so far turned sunshine into 315 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the local provincial capital of Jujuy through the national grid.

It has also generated some $50 million for the province, which Governor Gerardo Morales has allocated to building 239 schools.

Abundant sunshine, low temperatures

The physicist Martín Albornoz says Cauchari, which means "link to the sun," is exposed to the best solar radiation anywhere. The area has 260 days of sunshine, with no smog and relatively low temperatures, which helps keep the panels in optimal conditions.

Its construction began with a loan of more than $331 million from China's Eximbank, which allowed the purchase of panels made in Shanghai. They arrived in Buenos Aires in 2,500 containers and were later trucked a considerable distance to the site in Cauchari . This was a titanic project that required 1,200 builders and 10-ton cranes, but will save some 780,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

It is now run by 60 technicians. Its panels, with a 25-year guarantee, follow the sun's path and are cleaned twice a year. The plant is expected to have a service life of 40 years. Its choice of location was based on power lines traced in the 1990s to export power to Chile, now fed by the park.

Chinese engineers working in an office at the Cauchari park


Chinese want to expand

The plant belongs to the public-sector firm Jemse (Jujuy Energía y Minería), created in 2011 by the province's then governor Eduardo Fellner. Jemse's president, Felipe Albornoz, says that once Chinese credits are repaid in 20 years, Cauchari will earn the province $600 million.

The Argentine Energy ministry must now decide on the park's proposed expansion. The Chinese would pay in $200 million, which will help install 400,000 additional panels and generate enough power for the entire province of Jujuy.

The park's CEO, Guillermo Hoerth, observes that state policies are key to turning Jujuy into a green province. "We must change the production model. The world is rapidly cutting fossil fuel emissions. This is a great opportunity," Hoerth says.

The province's energy chief, Mario Pizarro, says in turn that Susques and three other provincial districts are already self-sufficient with clean energy, and three other districts would soon follow.

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