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Friday Photo: Germany launches giant solar projects

Spiegel reports:

This week, two of Germany's most important solar energy projects came online -- the second biggest solar power project in the world and one of the first solar thermal "power towers." The projects are part of the country's plan to provide 20 percent of its energy through renewable sources.

Officials flicked on the switch at two of Germany's most important new solar energy sites on Thursday. In the eastern state of Brandenburg, the world's second-largest solar energy project went online. And halfway across the country, in North Rhine-Westphalia, a smaller scale but perhaps equally important facility launched -- Germany's first solar-thermal power plant.

 

MICHAEL GOTTSCHALK/AFP/Getty Images

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Japanese politicians ditch the handshake to avoid swine flu

The Japanese have been as cautious as any nation in trying to avoid swine flu Even before the first case was diagnosed in May, many Japanese were wearing masks overseas, and after the disease spread to the island, thousands of schools were closed, and testing centers were overwhelmed.

And while the thorough response has done little to halt the disease--three people have died from the virus, and on Wednesday the health minister announced a higher number of cases than expected--even politicians are taking a bold new step to prevent infection: ditching the handshake

[C]andidate Denny Tamaki is playing it safe. "Shaking hands during an election campaign is key, so this is pretty troubling," Tamaki told the Yomiuri Shimbun.

"It would be bad if I get infected myself and then pass it on to older people with weaker immune systems," said Tamaki, whose home island of Okinawa has been hit hard by the flu.

Meanwhile, students at the British International School in Shanghai are probably glad they set their world handshaking record when they did.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images