World briefs: Solar panel firm troubled

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One of the world's largest manufacturers of solar panels, Suntech Power, has nearly run out of cash and is poised to be taken over partially or entirely by the municipal government's holding company in its hometown of Wuxi, China, solar industry executives and a Wuxi official said Wednesday.

Suntech has been driven to the financial brink by an obligation to pay more than $541 million to holders of convertible bonds at the end of this week.

Suntech said Tuesday it was closing its factory in Goodyear, Ariz., at the cost of 43 jobs there. The factory put aluminum frames and electrical junction boxes on solar cells imported from China, so that the fully assembled solar panels would qualify for "Buy American" programs.

The collapse of Suntech is a milestone in the precipitous decline of China's green energy industry over the past four years. More than any other country, China had bet heavily on renewable energy as the answer to its interlinked problems of severe air pollution and heavy dependence on energy imports from politically unstable countries in the Middle East and Africa.

5 killed at Kashmir base

The first major militant assault in three years on a security force camp in Indian Kashmir killed five paramilitary police and wounded others.

Two guerrillas who attacked the base in Srinagar died in an exchange of fire.

The strike will further raise tensions after troops from India and Pakistan in January and February engaged in their most serious skirmishes in a decade along the de facto frontier that divides the disputed Himalayan region.

Attack on sporting event

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A suicide bomber attacked a popular sporting event in northern Afghanistan Wednesday, killing eight people including relatives of the Afghan parliamentary speaker, as a crowd of thousands commemorated the coming Persian new year.

Spectators said the attacker targeted the family of Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi. His brother, father, nephew and cousin were among the dead.

The bomber struck after a match of buzkashi, an Afghan sport that is similar to polo but played with a goat carcass instead of a ball.

Syria's 'lost generation'

BEIRUT -- The escalating Syrian conflict risks creating a "lost generation" of millions of children suffering physical and psychological consequences of the war, UNICEF warned in a report released Tuesday.

Children may be the major victims of the almost two-year conflict, says the United Nations' Children's Fund, which provides aid to Syrians both inside and outside the country.

Children represent about half of the more than 1 million refugees who have fled Syria. Inside the country, the young have been killed, injured, left orphaned and traumatized. One in five schools has been destroyed, damaged or converted into a shelter, disrupting education for hundreds of thousands, the report says.

Confession questioned

MOSCOW -- When a star dancer unexpectedly confessed last week to plotting the acid attack against the Bolshoi Ballet artistic director, it looked as if the curtain would be closing on an episode that had horrified and absorbed the public.

But Tuesday, 300 Bolshoi dancers, crew members and administrators declared they couldn't believe Pavel Dmitrichenko could have committed the crime. They accused the police of pressuring him to confess. They suggested the evidence looked fake.

And, in a letter to President Vladimir Putin and the public, they asked for an independent inquiry that would find the reason someone threw acid in Sergei Filin's eyes Jan. 17. Officials did not offer an immediate response.



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