The Latest: Israeli Troops At Gaza Border, Musk Cuts Off Bitcoin, Hakka In Parliament

Nurses protesting in front of the Argentinian Congress during yesterday’s International Nurses’ Day. The pandemic continues to hit Argentina hard, with 24,475 new cases and 496 deaths reported on Tuesday.
Nurses protesting in front of the Argentinian Congress during yesterday’s International Nurses’ Day. The pandemic continues to hit Argentina hard, with 24,475 new cases and 496 deaths reported on Tuesday.

Welcome to Thursday, where Israeli troops are massing at the Gaza border, Elon Musk undermines Bitcoin and a New Zealand politician performs a protest Hakka dance in Parliament. We also have a warning from Latin America about the environmental risks of trading with China.

• Israel gathers troops along Gaza border amid rocket fire and air strikes: Israeli troops massed along the Palestinian enclave of Gaza this morning, while Hamas continued to launch scores of rockets at Israel. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a civil war on Wednesday night as street clashes led to several attempted lynchings by mobs on both sides of the conflict. Meanwhile foreign leaders urged deescalation, as the overall death toll neared 100.

• China accused of jailing Uyghur religious leaders: A new report made by a Uyghur rights group accuses China of having jailed or detained at least 630 imams and other Muslim religious figures since 2014 in its repression in the Xinjiang region. The report also shows that 18 clerics had died in detention or shortly after release.

• Trump critic Liz Cheney ousted by Republicans: House Republicans voted on to evict top lawmaker Liz Cheney from a party leadership post after she spoke out against former President Donald Trump.

• Mixing COVID vaccines increases side effects: A study shows that chills, headaches and muscle pain were more common when different vaccines doses were mixed.

• Tesla suspends use of Bitcoin over climate concerns: Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in a tweet that the company will stop accepting Bitcoin payments due to climate change issues, provoking a 10% decrease for the cryptocurrency.

• Italy to appoint first female spy chief: Former ambassador Elisabeth Belloni becomes the first woman to lead Italy's Department of Information Security, overseeing the country's foreign and domestic intelligence services.

• Indigenous leader removed from NZ Parliament after hakka dance: Maori party co-leader Rawiri Waititi was removed from New Zealand's parliament after denouncing racist rhetoric from the opposition and performing a hakka dance.


Newspapers around the world have been devoting ample coverage to the outbreak of deadly violence in the Middle East. In its Thursday edition, Turkish daily Sabah focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict's toll on children, including at least 10 killed since the latest outbreak of attacks.

sherehe ya kuapa

Swahili for "swearing-in ceremony." On Wednesday, Ugandan's President Yoweri Museveni was sworn in to his sixth-term, making him one of Africa's longest-serving leaders.

Latin America Needs New Deal With China, For The Planet's Sake

The coronavirus pandemic is not just a global health crisis, writes Diana Castro Salgado of Ecuador's Andina Simón Bolivar University, but the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. And it's happening as the world faces the potentially far more devastating prospects of climate change.

Castro Salgado, writing in America Economia magazine notes that Latin American countries are not just seeing more poverty, unemployment, insecurity, economic slowdowns and public spending gaps, but also some dire effects of climate change such as floods, droughts and deforestation, among others.

Where does that leave the region in its ongoing economic relationship with a rising China? The Asian superpower's rapid growth over three decades has fueled demand for goods and services to meet its energy demands, provide food security and keep its industrial activity humming.

China only has 7% of all arable lands and 6% of the world's water resources (ECLAC, 2017). Latin America, in contrast, has 24% of all forests and arable land, more than 30% of the world's water resources and extensive oil and mining resources (Isabel Studer, 2019).

Little wonder that China has had an increasingly marked presence in Latin America and the Caribbean, hastening environmental degradation through increased pollution and overuse of water resources, deforestation and expansion of farming lands, exhaustion of non-renewable resources, threats to the survival of local communities, and the renewed dependence of Latin American economies on primary or raw materials.

So it's time that Latin America leaders in the public and private sectors renegotiate with their Chinese counterparts — for ecological, as much as economic, reasons.

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€102 million

Italy's antitrust authorities have fined Google €102 million (around $123 million) for the competition law charge of "abuse of dominant position."

I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.

— Liz Cheney, the Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, declared her intention to continue to denounce former President Donald Trump. The statement came after Cheney was removed by fellow Republicans of her party leadership position Wednesday, for criticizing Trump's role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. "We cannot both embrace the ‘big lie" and embrace the Constitution," Cheney said, referring to Trump's insistence that voter fraud was the reason he lost to Joe Biden.

✍️ Newsletter by Emma Flacard & Rozena Crossman

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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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