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MSF Demands Probe, Zuckerberg Black Eye, World Ends

MSF Demands Probe, Zuckerberg Black Eye, World Ends

MSF DEMANDS KUNDUZ WAR CRIME PROBE

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said it will take the unprecedented step of calling on the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) to investigate Saturday’s bombing by U.S. forces of its hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz that killed 22 people, swissinfo reports.

  • The IHFFC was set up in 1991 under the Geneva Conventions and has never been used before.
  • "We cannot rely on internal military investigations by the U.S., NATO and Afghan forces," MSF chief Joanne Liu told reporters in Geneva on Wednesday. “We ask signatory states to activate the commission to establish the truth and to reassert the protected status of hospitals in conflicts."
  • Commander of the U.S. and NATO war in Afghanistan General John Campbell testified Tuesday to a Senate panel that the U.S. special operation forces called in the deadly airstrike. Joanne Liu called this an "admission of a war crime," The Guardian reports.

FIRST SYRIAN AND RUSSIAN JOINT ATTACK

Russian and Syrian military forces carried out their first coordinated attack against insurgent positions in Syria on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports. Russian airstrikes are aimed at backing government forces and allied militia such as Hezbollah on the ground in the north of the Hama province and in areas of the Idlib province. This could mark a military escalation in the four-year war, although there has been no sign of government advances on the ground, a member of the Observatory says. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera is reporting the first civilian deaths caused from Russian airstrikes.


YEMEN HOUTHIS AGREE TO UN PEACE PLAN

The Houthi rebels in Yemen have said they will commit to a United Nations peace plan aiming at ending the seven-month long conflict. The confirmation came in a letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, which the BBC has obtained. Houthi representatives reportedly agree to a seven-point plan that includes a ceasefire, the removal of armed militias from the cities and the return of the government to the capital, Sanaa. Also on Wednesday, Amnesty International accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes against the Houthi rebels, citing evidence of "unlawful airstrikes."


VW RECALL TO START IN JANUARY

Volkswagen will start recalling the cars affected by its fraudulent emissions system in January, the chief executive of the German firm and Europe’s biggest carmaker Matthias Mueller told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He also said the affected cars should be fixed by the end of 2016. Some 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide are thought to be affected.


EU LAUNCHES ANTI-SMUGGLER OPERATION

The European Union launched Operation Sophia, which allows EU naval vessels to board, search, seize or divert ships suspected of being used for human smuggling in the southern Mediterranean, France 24 reports.


BURKINA COUP LEADER CHARGED

Photo: Remi Zoeringre/Xinhua/ZUMA

The leader of a short-lived coup in Burkina Faso last month, General Gilbert Diendere (pictured), and the former Foreign Minister Djibril Bassole were charged Tuesday evening with crimes including threatening state security, collusion with foreign forces, voluntary assault and willful destruction of property, and murder, Jeune Afrique reports. They will likely face a military tribunal. At least 10 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in the coup attempt. Burkina Faso is set to hold national elections Sunday.


NOBEL PRIZE FOR CHEMISTRY AWARDS DNA RESEARCH

The Nobel prize in chemistry has been awarded to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar, respectively from Sweden, the U.S. and Turkey, for their research into the mechanisms that cells use to repair DNA, the daily Dagens Nyheter reports.


MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD



EXTRA!

With the EU’s ruling on Internet privacy sure to hurt Facebook, the famously tongue-in-cheek German daily Die Tageszeitung chose to illustrate the blow for Mark Zuckerberg's social media by giving the 31-year-old billionaire a nice shiner.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

For 25 years, the Sri Lankan military waged war against the Tamil Tiger rebels, killing and displacing thousands of people. Though it ended in 2009, militarization remains and people haven't been able to reclaim lands, Julien Buissou reports for Le Monde: "Rather than withdrawing after the conflict ended, the army has settled in. Who would have thought that the tourist complex of Thalsevana, where families relax around a swimming pool, would be among the "high-security zones'? But to book one of the "luxury rooms," the phone number actually directs callers to the Ministry of Defense. The place is defined by strict rules, such as the obligation to remove sandals two meters from the swimming pool, no more no less. Those who go a bit too far away from the resort can see a man with a khaki uniform emerging, a crackling walkie-talkie fixed on his belt."

Read the full article, Lives Remain In Ruin Six Years After Sri Lanka Civil War.


ON THIS DAY


One of the biggest mouths of TV history was born on Oct. 7. This, and more, in today’s 57-second shot of history.


VERBATIM

"It’ll be gone forever. Annihilated." According to the eBible Fellowship, the world is supposed to end today. Something to do with last week’s blood moon and the fact that God is about to obliterate the world with fire. Hope to see you back here at Worldcrunch tomorrow!

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Green Or Gone

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

Xinhua/ZUMA

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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