Jerusalem Clashes, Hong Kong Mass Arrests, Lewinsky Speaks

A man distributes Iftar food to Muslim devotees waiting to break their fast during the sacred fasting month of Ramadan.
A man distributes Iftar food to Muslim devotees waiting to break their fast during the sacred fasting month of Ramadan.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A 16 year-old Palestinian who was allegedly kidnapped yesterday by Israelis, in an apparent retaliation for the death of the three abducted Israeli students, was found dead early this morning in a forest west of Jerusalem, AFP reports. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said “Israel bears full responsibility for this incident. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said an investigation had been launched and condemned the murder as “despicable,” urging all sides not to take the law into their own hands.

The news sparked unrest in East Jerusalem, where some 200 young Palestinians clashed with the police. Hours earlier, following the burial of the three Israeli teens, Haaretz reported that the police arrested 50 people after “several hundred right-wing extremists” demonstrated in Jerusalem, with some of them shouting “Death to Arabs” and attacking Arab civilians. Read Haaretz live blog for the latest updates.

The United Nations said in a report that more than 4,000 children around the world had been recruited by various different organizations to be used as soldiers in armed conflicts, and described the rise of jihadist group known as ISIS in Iraq and Syria as “creating extremely volatile and dangerous conditions for children,” AP reports. This comes as UNICEF and Human Rights Watch urged ISIS to release more than 100 young boys and girls kidnapped in Syria more than a month ago. In an audio message, ISIS self-declared “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on Muslims to emigrate to help build his caliphate,.

Hong Kong police arrested 511 demonstrators early this morning as a massive rally that gathered tens of thousands of people yesterday continued into the night and turned into a sit-in, South China Morning Post reports. Organizers said that a total of 510,000 pro-democracy protesters marched in the city center with reports saying that this was the biggest demonstration in a decade, while the police put the number under 100,000. Protesters were also demanding a real choice in the election of the Chinese autonomous city’s next leader in 2017, amid fears that their freedoms are being eroded.

After he was detained for questioning yesterday, France’s former center-right president Nicolas Sarkozy was placed under formal investigation over allegations of “active corruption,” “influence peddling” as well as “concealment of a violation of an investigation process,” Le Monde writes. He is suspected of having used his lawyer to obtain inside information on the investigation over his campaign financing in 2007 from a senior judge, in exchange for helping the magistrate obtain a top job in Monaco, French website Mediapart explains.

After the heartbreaking loss to host Brazil, a diehard Chile fan ponders the real meaning of the World Cup in a world with so much else to worry about: “The importance I give to soccer is ironically centered around its very simplicity. The value of soccer is in that abstract ability that allows all sorts of people to turn away from their problems for 90 minutes. More important still is its unifying potential, the attachment to the 23 players was felt by a great many Chileans, both for the initial victories and the defeat against Brazil. As seldom happens, millions of Chileans shared moments of joy and sadness together, and this is rare in our increasingly fragmented society. Soccer goes beyond the social and political distinctions that provoke so much hate in our country.”
Read the full article, courtesy of America Economia/Worldcrunch: Finding Soccer's Universal Light In Bitter Defeat.

A man distributes Iftar food to Muslim devotees waiting to break their fast during the sacred fasting month of Ramadan in Lahore, Pakistan.

The foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France are due to meet today in Berlin in another attempt to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine, as fights continue one day after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ended a temporary ceasefire. A French diplomat told Reuters "there is not a precise objective...we do not want to raise expectations."

U.S. soccer goalkeeper Tim Howard delivered a record-setting performance during his team's game against Belgium Tuesday by making a total of 16 saves. Despite Howard’s efforts, Team USA lost 2-1, in overtime.

After 10 years of self-imposed exile, Monica Lewinsky has given her first TV interview.


A controversial scientist has sparked angry reactions from his colleagues after he deliberately modified the infamous H1N1 flu virus to create one that the human immune system can do nothing against. Read more from The Independent.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

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.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!