NICE â€" After Thursday night's horror come the questions. Along Nice's Promenade des Anglais, people gather to tell their stories and understand how such a tragedy could have happened.
Franck Sana is a postman in Nice, and he was working on July 14th. His wife and children went to the beach in front of the West End hotel in a small corner of sand where he likes to go because there's "a shower and clean toilets." At 8 p.m. he joined them on his scooter for a picnic, and they reached the beachfront an hour later to enjoy the fireworks.
"The fireworks were shortened, certainly because of the wind," he said. "We were starting to leave just like everybody when we heard screams and gunshots and of course we thought they were firecrackers, but then I quickly understood that something else was going on."
Meyerbeer Street opens onto the Promenade des Anglais. Since last night public access has been prohibited, like in the other streets near the promenade, but Franck was able to recover his scooter after he showed his identity papers.
"It's awful, there's still blood and children's shoes on the ground," he says, starting to cry. "I even saw part of an arm in a bucket." He saved his family by running, avoiding two bicycles coming toward them.
Olivier, a summer seasonal worker, is sweeping the sidewalk in front of Koudou, a stylish bar on the seaside avenue. On Thursday night, the bar where he works was crowded, and he remembers seeing "a white shadow that was moving very fast, loud screams."
He says panicked crowds rushed into the bar. "They went upstairs, hid in the toilets, in the kitchen, they were terrified," he recalled "A little girl kept asking where her mom was."
The crowd, which included some shivering because they had jumped into the sea to avoid the truck, stayed here until 1 a.m.. "They didn't want to go out because they were still afraid, until the police evacuated them."
On the Promenade, in the stretch from the Casino to the Negresco hotel, there are shoes everywhere, as well as broken bicycles, musical instruments and white sheets used to cover victims' bodies that had turned a bloodsoaked red.
A man wearing a white suit and black sunglasses comes out of the Westminster hotel. A former police officer from Monaco, he rents a room in Nice during the summer. "France has no borders any more, anyone can enter the country," he says. "Regional president and former Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi didn't want a new mosque built in Nice but the courts rejected his proposal. The truth is they hide their weapons in there."
Rachid, who manages the Djourdjoura restaurant in Nice's old town, is crushed. "If you knew how many Muslims came yesterday evening to enjoy the fireworks, you would know that these insane people attack everybody, even targeting the Muslims first," he says. "They target the Muslims who love and live in this country, who are French and who cried last Sunday night after France lost against Portugal in the (Euro soccer) final."
At Nice's train station, the platforms are crowded with tourists who just want to leave the city as soon as possible. "But how was that truck able to get there in the first place?" aks one woman. Many people in Nice, and around the world, are asking themselves the same thing.
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.
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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