Meet Vadim Sarkozy? Birth Of A False Twitter Scoop On Carla Bruni's 'Baby Boy'

Over the past two weeks, the Internet and mainstream media combined to make a mess of the truth on the news France was waiting for: the arrival of the baby of Carla Bruni and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. On Twitter, the ex-supermodel gave birth over

Bruni-Sarkozy in Paris a month before giving birth (americanistadechiapas)
Bruni-Sarkozy in Paris a month before giving birth (americanistadechiapas)
Samuel Laurent

PARIS - Carla Bruni-Sarkozy gave birth on Wednesday for about the 12th time in just the past few weeks. Of course this time, the heureux événement (happy event) was real. She and her husband, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, are the proud parents of a baby girl. French journalists and bloggers might be forgiven, however, if they first met the news with a healthy dose of skepticism. Twitter, after all, had been abuzz in France with false announcements of the "first baby," who's been the butt of a running-gag for several weeks now.

On several occasions, paparazzi tried to storm the Muette Clinic in Paris' 16th arrondissement only to find out that Carla Bruni hadn't actually arrived yet. That's exactly what happened on Sept. 28, when news spread that the presidential family had reserved a whole floor of the hospital. Turns out it was a false alarm -- a Twitter prank, actually.

Once again, the Internet came off looking like the reign of rumors. Never mind that often the rumors are sparked by journalists themselves. When it comes to events that are both public and private, and about which information is scant, the clumsy race for the scoop seems inevitable these days.

The Belgian radio station RTL announced the baby's birth on Oct. 8. It would have been a heck of scoop if the announcement hadn't preceded the actual birth by 11 days. What was RTL's source? Europe 1, another radio station, which got the news from a Flemish daily called De Standaard, which got the news from Europe 1. What? It turns out that at Europe 1, a radio impressionist named Nicolas Canteloup performed a comic sketch about the event. Not getting the joke, De Standaard reported the fake birth announcement as straight news. "According to the papers, I've already given birth three times," Carla Bruni told a friend.

The Internet feeds on the press, which in turn feeds on the Internet, thus creating an uncontrollable loop. On Oct. 9, a blogger named "tomsias' tweeted: "Pal Sarkozy is proud to announce that Vadim Sarkozy was born on Sunday, 4:20 p.m." The message listed the baby's birth details - . 2,920 kg, 51 cm (6.44 lbs, 20.09 inches) – and ended by saying "the mother is doing well." The news was widely repeated, although there was nothing genuine about it. By now, firing off an erroneous fact in order to later make fun of those who will re-tweet has become a mainstay amongst Twitter's self-anointed comediens.

This time, however, the prank got out of control. Agathe Lecaron, one of French radio station RTL 2's presenters, repeated the news. In her defense, she admitted she hadn't double-checked the facts. Later she admitted it had all been false. But the name ‘Vadim" given by the prankster would live on: feminine websites, like, devoted articles to that rare Slavic first name, meaning "glorious reign."

Vadim Sarkozy, born on Twitter, lasted a few days, thanks to several rumors sometimes created by well-known users such as Bruno Roger-Petit, who tweeted no less than four times in three weeks the same cryptic message: "He is born."

And so he is – only he is a she. That's been confirmed by the President himself.

Read the original story in French

Photo – americanistadechiapas

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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

— 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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