Atom smasher to be retooled
The world’s largest and most powerful atom smasher goes into a two-year hibernation in March, as engineers carry out a revamp to help it reach maximum energy levels that could lead to more stunning discoveries following the detection of the so-called “God particle.” With the reopening of its US$10 billion proton collider in early 2015, the stage will be set for observing more rare phenomena — and unlocking more mysteries, said James Gillies, chief spokesman for the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN). Physicists at CERN will not exactly be idle as the collider takes a break. There are still reams more data to sift through since the July discovery of a new subatomic particle called the Higgs boson — dubbed the “God particle” — which promises a new realm of understanding of the universe.
Church to allow gay bishops
The Church of England has dropped its opposition to gay clergy in civil partnerships becoming bishops, provided the men concerned promise to remain celibate, it confirmed on Friday. The announcement by the church’s House of Bishops is likely to reignite a row that has split the state church since 2003, when gay cleric Jeffrey John was forced to withdraw as bishop of Reading under pressure from traditionalists. Women remain banned from becoming bishops. Gay men and women who are in civil partnerships have been allowed to join the clergy since 2005 so long as they vow to remain celibate.
Man’s tweets kill celebrities
Former Cuban president Fidel Castro, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Pope Benedict XVI — Italian Tommasso Debenedetti has killed them all in fake tweets aimed at exposing shoddy journalism that have earned him global notoriety. The latest victim of Debenedetti’s unusual hobby is British author J.K. Rowling, whose death in an accident he announced from a fake Twitter account purporting to belong to fellow writer John Le Carre. Debenedetti said the tweet was retweeted hundreds of times and a Chilean TV station even gave the false news as fact. The literary fake artist says his aim in all of this is to “show that Twitter has become a news agency — the least reliable in the world.” Among his many claims to Internet infamy, Debenedetti boasts of having forced Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi to deny the pope had died after sending a false tweet purportedly from Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone.
Hitler statue causes outrage
The country’s chief rabbi on Friday voiced outrage over a statue of Adolf Hitler kneeling at a Holocaust site in Warsaw, part of an installation by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. “When it comes to showing the figure of Hitler, we have an extra special responsibility to be sensitive to those who suffered because of what Hitler created, to Holocaust survivors, to non-Jewish survivors, to those who didn’t survive,” Rabbi Michael Schudrich said. The wax statue depicts Adolf Hitler with a child’s body dressed in a grey suit, kneeling in prayer. It was installed in a courtyard of the former Warsaw Ghetto in mid-November. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem also recently slammed the statue. Nazi Germany imprisoned nearly half a million Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto inside a walled-off 4km2 area of the city. About 100,000 died inside from starvation, disease or summary execution, while others were deported to death camps.