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2 new solar power systems launched in South Africa

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The Austrian ambassador to South Africa officially launched two large solar power installations in Johannesburg today.

These SOLTRAIN projects include a district heating plant for Wits University residences and a solar process heating plant for the Klein Karoo International (KKI) tannery.

The Wits Junction district heating project combines solar, co-generation, and gas heating technologies, serving 14 student residence buildings that house 1,103 students with hot water from one centralised hot water plant room. This installation includes a 600m2 solar heating plant with 10m2 collectors.

The estimated costs savings delivered by this project are R40 million over the next 20 years, and Wits has seen substantial electricity savings over the trial period of eight months.

The KKI tannery section has also installed a 600m2 solar collector system as it seeks to reduce its costs and increase its competitiveness.

Stellenbosch University, which approached KKI with the proposal, predicts a payback of 6.5 years based on a financial model analysis from the feasibility study, which includes maintenance, finance costs, and all system-related expenses.

“SANEDI is delighted to be associated with such landmark developments that put the SOLTRAIN projects firmly on the renewables table,” said Dr Karen Surridge, centre manager for the renewable energy centre at SANEDI.

“The successful conference we have just held with SOLTRAIN partners indicates the relevance of this highly successful programme for the SADC renewable energy strategy and the development in successful systems across six countries.”

Presentation Board Display in the plant

Wits Junction Solar panels from drone view

Now read: South African sugar industry can help Eskom to solve electricity shortage

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Three Geeks Rescue a 50-Year-Old IBM 360 Mainframe From an Abandoned Building

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In late April of 2019 Slashdot reader Adam Bradley and engineer Chris Blackburn were “sitting in a pub on a Monday night when Chris happened across a somewhat unusual eBay listing…”

They eventually submitted the winning bid for an IBM 360 Model 20 mainframe — €3,710 (about $4,141 USD) — and proceeded to pick it up from an abandoned building “in the backstreets of Nuremberg, Germany.” (Where they tackled several issues with a tiny door that hadn’t been opened since the 1970s.) By day Adam is a railway software engineer, but he’s also been involved in computer history for over a decade at The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley, England.

Along with engineer Peter Vaughan, the three are now blogging “the saga that unfurled…and how we eventually tackled the problems we discovered.” But after much beer, whisky, and Weiner Schnitzel, Adam assures us the story ends with a victory:
The machine will shortly be headed to the UK for a full restoration to working order. We’re planning to blog the entire process and hope some of you might be interested in reading more about it.

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The hidden lives of ‘housegirls’ in Kenya

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In Uganda, young women are leaving their homes to try and find jobs as domestic workers, but for some their new lives can lead to mistreatment and abuse.

A charity in Kenya is calling for the introduction of laws to protect domestic workers, commonly referred to as housegirls, to ensure their safety.

For BBC Africa Eye, reporter Nancy Kacungira has been investigating why young women living near Uganda’s border are leaving their villages to find work in Kenya.

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U.S. ambassador to China to make first visit to Tibet since 2013: report

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad was due to begin visiting Tibet on Sunday for official meetings and visits to religious and cultural sites, according to a news report on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad speaks at an event to celebrate the re-introduction of American beef imports to China in Beijing, China June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Schiefelbein/Pool

Branstad was scheduled to visit the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province, a historic region of Tibet known to Tibetans as Amdo, from Sunday to Saturday, Radio Free Asia said in a report.

The State Department did not immediately comment on the story.

Radio Free Asia said it would be the first visit to Tibet by a U.S. official since the U.S. Congress approved a law in December that requires the United States to deny visas to Chinese officials in charge of implementing policies that restrict access to Tibet for foreigners. The U.S. government is required to begin denying visas by the end of this year.

In December, China denounced the United States for passing the law, saying it was “resolutely opposed” to the U.S. legislation on what China considers an internal affair, and it risked causing “serious harm” to their relations.

Since then, tensions have been running high between the two countries over trade. China struck a more aggressive tone in its trade war with the United States on Friday, suggesting a resumption of talks between the world’s two largest economies would be meaningless unless Washington changed course.

On Saturday, China’s senior diplomat Wang Yi told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that recent U.S. words and actions had harmed the interests of China and its enterprises, and that Washington should show restraint.

While the Trump administration has taken a tough stance towards China on trade and highlighted security rivalry with Beijing, the administration has so far not acted on congressional calls for it to impose sanctions on China’s former Communist Party chief in Tibet, Chen Quanguo, for the treatment of minority Muslims in Xinjiang province, where he is currently party chief. 

A State Department report in March said Chen had replicated in Xinjiang, policies similar to those credited with reducing opposition to Chinese rule in Tibet.

Beijing sent troops into remote, mountainous Tibet in 1950 in what it officially terms a peaceful liberation and has ruled there with an iron fist ever since.

Reporting by Nandita Bose and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Sandra Maler

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