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Chinese solar panel company defaults on $541 million worth of bonds

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Chinese solar panel giant Suntech Power announced Monday that it was in default on its debt after failing to make a payment on $541 million worth of bonds.

One of the world’s top two solar cell and panel producers, targeted last year by US trade sanctions, Suntech said it had already entered an agreement with 60 percent of the bond holders to hold off legal claims while a debt restructuring can be negotiated.

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The non-payment on the bonds triggered cross-default clauses with other lenders, putting Suntech in default on debt to the International Finance Corp. and Chinese domestic lenders.

The company said in a statement that it was unaware so far of any legal proceedings against it from creditors.

“Suntech intends to continue to engage with holders of the notes and other lenders with a view to achieving a consensual restructuring.”

“It is currently a very difficult time for our company and our industry, but the management and board of Suntech are committed to finding a way forward,” said Suntech chief executive David King in a statement.

“We are currently exploring strategic alternatives with lenders and potential investors, which could help to set us on a path towards longer term success.”

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Earlier this month, Suntech announced it was shutting a plant in the US state of Arizona and named a new chairwoman, ousting founder Shi Zhengrong.

US and European solar panel producers have blamed Suntech and other Chinese producers for flooding the global market, pushing prices down.

The European Union began an anti-dumping investigation into Chinese solar panels in September last year, followed by an anti-subsidy probe in November.

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The United States last October confirmed hefty anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on Chinese solar cell makers, adding to trade tensions between the two economic powers.


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Trump hammered by ex-intel officials for sucking up to the Saudis after Florida naval base shooting

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President Donald Trump is taking heat from former U.S. intelligence officials for taking a very soft tone with the Saudi government after Friday’s shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.

Not long after the shooter was identified as a second lieutenant in the Saudi Arabian military, the president tweeted out words of sympathy from the Saudi king after a phonecall, writing, "The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people."

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Former right-wing presidential candidate scamming Americans with toxic bleach cure

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Former diplomat and Reagan adviser Alan Keyes is a well-known gadfly who has run multiple times for president and for Senate, most famously against future President Barack Obama in 2004.

But lately, according to The Daily Beast, he has been involved in a different pursuit: the promotion of a dangerous pseudoscience scam known as the "Miracle Mineral Solution," or MMS.

The substance, which is actually just the powerful bleach chlorine dioxide, is supposedly a cure for everything from viral infections to infertility, and there was even a cultlike church known as the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, that promoted it as a gift from God. MMS has particularly taken root in developing countries like Uganda, but it also has a following in the United States, and many autistic children have been forced to drink it. Versions of this scam have even been promoted on Amazon.

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American exceptionalism is killing the planet

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Ever since 2007, when I first started writing for TomDispatch, I’ve been arguing against America’s forever wars, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere. Unfortunately, it’s no surprise that, despite my more than 60 articles, American blood is still being spilled in war after war across the Greater Middle East and Africa, even as foreign peoples pay a far higher price in lives lost and cities ruined. And I keep asking myself: Why, in this century, is the distinctive feature of America's wars that they never end? Why do our leaders persist in such repetitive folly and the seemingly eternal disasters that go with it?

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