No phones at Mass: pope
Pope Francis on Wednesday took snap-happy bishops, priests and pilgrims to task, telling them Mass was a time for prayer, not an opportunity to whip out camera phones. “At a certain point the priest leading the ceremony says: ‘Lift up our hearts.’ He doesn’t say: ‘Lift up our mobile phones to take photographs,’” the pope told those gathered in Saint Peter’s square for his weekly audience. “It’s so sad when I’m celebrating Mass here or inside the basilica and I see lots of phones held up — not just by the faithful, but also by priests and bishops. Please.” The 80-year old Argentine pontiff is no stranger to the world of social media, with more than 14 million followers on his English-language Twitter account alone, and often posing for selfies with enthusiastic young pilgrims. He has called the Internet, social media and text messages “a gift of God” if used wisely, but has also tried to persuade today’s youth to swap their smartphones for pocket-sized Bibles.
Sheep recognize faces
Sheep have been trained to recognize the faces of celebrities, including former US president Barack Obama, by University of Cambridge scientists who hope it may help with understanding neurodegenerative diseases, such as Hungtington’s disease, that develop over time and affect cognitive abilities. In a specially equipped pen, sheep were shown pictures of people on two computer screens, on one side would be an unknown person and on the other would be one of four celebrities. The animal would receive a reward of food for choosing the photograph of the celebrity by breaking an infrared beam near the screen displaying it. If they chose the wrong photograph, a buzzer would sound and they would receive no reward. The sheep eventually managed to identify the familiar face eight times out of every 10. “We’ve shown that sheep have advanced face-recognition abilities, comparable with those of humans and monkeys,” professor Jenny Morton, who led the study, said in a statement.
F-word no longer banned
It may be still be too blue for English speakers, but authorities have ruled that the F-word is no longer taboo on French language broadcasts as its use is so commonplace. The Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council had previously classified the word as being suitable only for adults in both French and English, banning its use on radio and television to beyond the evening watershed and even then, only with a warning. However, after complaints from listeners that the French-language Montreal radio station CKOI-FM had twice aired clips with the word this year, it changed its mind in a ruling released on Wednesday.
Man ticketed for honking
A St Louis man is feeling pretty ... pretty ... pretty ... pretty miffed over a recent traffic ticket. In an instance of life imitating art — in this case a recent episode of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm — computer programmer Scott Smith said he was ticketed for honking his horn at a police officer. Smith told the St Louis Post-Dispatch that he repeatedly honked at the officer in an unmarked car on Friday last week because the light had turned green and the officer was not moving. He was pulled over and used his cellphone to record the heated exchange with the plainclothes officer, who asked: “Is your horn stuck?” Smith replied: “Is your brake stuck?” Smith was ticketed for excessive noise from a vehicle. He plans to file a formal complaint.
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
SPACE RACE: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp mission aims to land a robotic rover and put a probe into orbit around the planet China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious Mars mission, which includes landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the Red Planet, the company in charge of the project has said. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to catch up with its rival, the US, and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022. Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for some time this year,
China is poised to enshrine individuals’ rights to privacy and personal data for the first time, a symbolic first step as more of the country of 1.4 billion people becomes digitized — and more vulnerable to leaks and hacks. The legislation is part of China’s first civil code, a sweeping package of laws that is being deliberated during the annual meeting of China’s National People’s Congress, which began on Friday after a delay of more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent draft, an individual has a right to privacy and to have their personal information protected. Data
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed