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Uruguay sees opportunity to learn from massive power outage

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

The president of Uruguay’s government-owned utility UTE said on Sunday (June 16) that the massive power failure that began in Argentina and left tens of millions in South America without power would be an opportunity to improve the country’s power systems.

Speaking at a news conference in Montevideo, UTE head Gonzalo Casaravilla said: “this instance is going to be an opportunity because it placed our entire system at the same time in a situation that will definitely allow us to draw conclusions from.”

“We are in the middle of this event. Let’s keep in mind that Argentina is slowly recovering its system. We are absolutely on guard, in a state of alarm, to follow along in that process. We’ll keep you up to date,” he added.

Argentina’s grid “collapsed” around 7 a.m. local time (1100 GMT), leaving the entire country without power and cutting electricity to much of neighboring Uruguay and swaths of Paraguay, as well.

Energy distributors in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, whose populations total nearly 55 million, said power was being quickly restored to major cities and heavily populated coastal regions, including Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

UTE said it had restored power to 75% of the country by 1:30 p.m. local time (1730 GMT).

It told its customers in a statement that there existed “no other examples of such events like this in recent years.” (REUTERS)

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not face rape charges in Las Vegas

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Ronaldo posing for team photo during Real Madrid’s champions league celebrations at the Bernabeu. Courtesy: Reuters

Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo will face no charges in Las Vegas in connection with a sexual assault allegation because the case cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, prosecutors said on Monday.

Ronaldo, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time and plays for the Italian club Juventus, has maintained he is innocent of rape.

The allegation made headlines last year after Las Vegas police said they were investigating it.

The case stems from a June 13, 2009 call from a woman to Las Vegas police. She reported that she had been sexually assaulted and police took her to the hospital for an examination, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement on Monday (July 22).

But she declined to identify the person who she said assaulted her.

The woman and Ronaldo reached a civil settlement in 2010 and law enforcement did not hear again from her until August 28, 2018, when she asked police to reopen the investigation. She said Ronaldo was the person who sexually assaulted her, prosecutors said.

“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Ronaldo’s attorney, Peter Christiansen, and a representative for his sports agents could not immediately be reached for comment. (REUTERS)

(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)

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North Korea’s Kim Jong Un inspects new submarine, points out weapons systems

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Kim and officials looking around a submarine. Courtesy: Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected a newly built submarine and pointed out its tactical capabilities and weapons systems, North Korea’s official news agency KCNA said on Tuesday (July 23).

The submarine, which was built under Kim’s “special attention”, will be operational in the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, KCNA said.

KCNA released still photographs of Kim looking around the submarine, but did not describe the kind of weapons systems the submarine contained or when the inspection took place.

Kim tasked defense and scientific officials accompanying him with achieving more strategic initiatives in submarine use, state media added. (REUTERS)

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World’s longest electric vehicle trip ends in New Zealand

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Sunday, July 21st, 2019

Dutch adventurer Wiebe Wakker posing beside his vehicle the ‘Blue Bandit’, to celebrate the completion of his three-year drive across more than 30 countries in an electric vehicle. | Courtesy: Reuters

A Dutch sustainability advocate completed the longest ever journey in an electric vehicle in New Zealand on Friday (July 19) after a three-year drive that took him through more than 30 countries.

Wiebe Wakker set off from the Netherlands in March 2016 in his “Blue Bandit” to showcase the potential of sustainable transport, funded by donations from those following his trip on social media.

“So I wanted to do my bit to promote this technology and show that sustainability is a viable way of transport. So I wanted really to do something that really speaks to the imagination which is driving an electric car from Amsterdam to literally the other side of the world to show that it can be done,” he said.

The 101,000 kilometers (62,800 miles) trip took Wakker through Eastern Europe, Iran, India, Southeast Asia, before traveling around much of Australia and across to New Zealand.

Wakker gave regular updates on his blog and social media throughout the journey, detailing visiting Iran’s biggest car manufacturer in Tehran, a breakdown on the Indonesian island of Java and visits to Australia’s outback and world-famous Uluru.

The drive had relied on the support of strangers across the globe who offered the traveler food, a place to stay and the essential means to charge his car along the way. (REUTERS)

(Production: James Redmayne)

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