eyes on the U.S.

Instant Reaction Polls Give Romney Big Debate Victory



Instant reaction polls, conducted late Wednesday night, showed Republican candidate Mitt Romney won the first presidential debate in Denver, in a performance expected to raise GOP hopes just one month before the election.

According to a CNN/ORC poll of 430 people who watched the debate, 67% of registered voters thought Romney came out on top, with only 25% believing Obama won.

The poll also suggested that 58% of voters felt Romney had shown himself to be a strong leader, while 37% said the same about Obama.

A poll of undecided voters, conducted by CBS News, also gave Romney the advantage with 46% believing Romney won, 22% siding with Obama and 32% remaining undecided.

The New York Times is reporting that the 67% swing, swaying toward Romney in the CNN poll, was higher than any of the figures in the 2008 surveys, where Obama scored 51% in the first debate and 58% in the third and final debate against Republican John McCain.

It remains unclear how much impact televised debates have on the final electoral outcome, however CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen called it Romney's best performance.

"A week ago, people were saying this was over. We've got a horse race," Gergen said.

Romney on a roll, inventing a new tax policy as he goes; Obama with that sourpuss look, head down. Not a good start for him.#denverdebate

— chrissatullo (@chrissatullo) October 4, 2012

Romney ticks off five-point plan for jobs with good verve.As Jim Fallows said, Mitt has some game when it comes to debates. #denverdebate

— chrissatullo (@chrissatullo) October 4, 2012

Romney appeared coherent and forceful last night compared to Obama, who was hesitant, drawn and defensive.

Democrat Strategist James Carville told CNN: "It looked like Romney wanted to be there and President Obama didn't want to be there ... The President didn't bring his "A" game."

#forwardnotback Obama was calm and respectful tonight Romney acted like he was a real housewife at a reunion show

— Stephen Wren (@ImNotTan) October 4, 2012

Romney wants to cut health carePre existing conditions ----privatize social security privatize everything -- why didn't Obama fight ?

— John Cusack (@johncusack) October 4, 2012

The economy dominated the 90-minute debate with the two presidential candidates sparring over healthcare, employment and tax-cuts - with Romney denying he intended to extend Bush-era tax-cuts for the wealthy.

"I'm not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut. That's not my plan … So you may keep referring to it as a $5 trillion tax cut, but that's not my plan," the Republican candidate said.

He did, however, claim he would cut funding for the public broadcasting television network PBS:

WTF Mitt Romney... :(

— Big Bird (@BlGBlRD) October 4, 2012

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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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