Geopolitics

Mandela Back In Hospital With Lung Infection, Zuma Asks World To Pray

AFP; MAIL & GUARDIAN, NEWS24 (South Africa); SOWETAN LIVE (Soweto)

Worldcrunch

JOHANNESBURG - Former South African President Nelson Mandela has been admitted to hospital with a recurrent lung infection. The news was confirmed by current President Jacob Zuma’s office on Thursday morning, according to Cape Town’s News24.

Mandela in 2008. Photo by South Africa The Good News

The 94-year old anti-apartheid hero was hospitalized late Wednesday night and President Zuma wished Madiba, as he is fondly known in South Africa, a speedy recovery.

"We appeal to the people of South Africa and the world to pray for our beloved Madiba and his family and to keep them in their thoughts. We have full confidence in the medical team and know that they will do everything possible to ensure recovery," President Zuma said.

This is the second time this month that the Nobel peace laureate has spent the night in hospital, says the AFP, and follows a nearly three-week stay in December for the lung infection and surgery to extract gallstones.

South African daily the Mail and Guardian notes that his December stay was the longest hospital stint since he was freed from Robben Island in 1990. Mandela has a history of lung problems after he suffered tuberculosis in 1988 after 25 years spent in prison.

Mandela's cell on Robben Island. Photo by Paul Mannix

The Sowetan Live reports that Mandela’s last major public appearance was nearly three years ago, at the FIFA World Cup Final in July 2010. Having served as South Africa's president from 1994 to 1999, Mandela now spends his time in his childhood home of Qunu, a rural village in the Eastern Cape province.

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Green

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

Xinhua/ZUMA

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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