White House begins installing solar panels
Jimmy Carter first put them on in 1979. Ronald Reagan had them removed in 1986. And this week, nearly three years after promising to restore them as a sign of the administration’s commitment to renewable energy, President Obama is reinstalling solar panels on the White House roof. The project is “a part of an energy retrofit that will improve the overall energy efficiency of the building,” an official said.
President’s Cabinet is largely approved
The proposed Cabinet of Iran’s new president, Hassan Rowhani, survived its confirmation hearings largely intact on after four days of grilling by the conservative-dominated Parliament. At the end of the process, which amounted to Rowhani’s first domestic test, all key nominees were approved — most notably the foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, a U.S.-educated diplomat known for his understanding of the West.
Area of Amazon to be opened to oil drilling
Ecuador will open a pristine swath of the Amazon to oil drilling after the international community failed to back an ambitious conservation plan to leave the crude untouched, the government said. In a nationally televised speech, President Rafael Correa said he was dissolving the Yasuni-ITT Initiative, in which the country planned to leave more than 840 million barrels of oil untouched if other nations would pay $3.6 billion, or half the market price of the crude. “We weren’t asking for charity,” Correa said, “we were asking for co-responsibility in the fight against climate change.”
Leader walks line in WWII anniversary
Japan’s hawkish new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, observed the anniversary of his nation’s defeat in World War II by sending an offering to a controversial Tokyo war shrine instead of visiting it himself, a compromise move meant to try to satisfy his right-wing base without inflaming passions in the region. Abe’s deliberations on a possible visit to the Yasukuni Shrine — which he had talked of doing before becoming prime minister in December — were closely watched as an early test of whether he would revert to the strident nationalism of his first troubled tenure as the country’s leader.
Strong earthquake hits South Island