ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing

ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing
Kristen Gillespie

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

Violent clashes continued on Wednesday in Muammar Gaddafi's last stronghold in the Libyan capital. Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tripoli reports that Gaddafi's headquarters in the Bab al-Aziziya district was hit by mortar shells fired from a nearby neighborhood. "There are snipers on the buildings in Bab al-Aziziya," said rebel commander Nouri Mohammed.

The Syrian military campaign in the central city of Homs continues, with one resident filming a tank in the street from what looks like behind a tree. The person filming says it is Wednesday, and that the tank is on Zeer Street in Homs "firing randomly on people in the streets." Gunfire is heard in the background.

Here is a video also said to be taken on Wednesday in the town of Talbisa. What sounds like a young man curses the armed soldiers. "Fire, you motherf*#*er – I'll f*#K your sister," the person filming says, and shortly thereafter at :30, the soldiers in the armored vehicle open fire. The camera pans to enormous holes, 6-8 inches wide, shot into the boarded up stores on the street. The soldiers "are trying to break up demonstrations on UNESCO Street." But as the crackle of gunfire resounds, the chants of "Allahu Akhbar" from a nearby street grow even louder. At 1:39, the firing gets close to the young men filming and they begin running, cursing the soldiers. At 2:39, viewers can see quick glimpes of empty streets, with all the shops closed. As he is running away, the man filming says mockingly of the soldier firing, "he can't shoot because he's a motherf*#*er." As the firing stops, the camera, and the young man who is still filming, peers around a street corner. When no soldiers are seen, he slowly moves into the empty street, filming bullet holes and posters of men ("martyrs') who have been killed in the uprising. It is a first-person, visceral six-minute chronicle of war.

The Syrian Facebook group is now billing itself as the "Syrian Revolution General Commission." Protests will continue this Friday, the group announced, calling it the "Friday of patience and resilience." The group now has more than 265,000 members in its Arabic version.

The Lebanese Prime Minister told An-Nahar newspaper that his government is doing "everything it can" to find the four Hezbollah members convicted of assassinating former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005. One of the indicted men gave an interview to Time Magazine last week in which he said that authorities "know where to find me if they wanted to."

August 24, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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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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