Nation/World Briefly: Scientists to smash proton beams together today

  • Mon Mar 29th, 2010 10:42pm
  • News

GENEVA — Researchers were expected today to begin smashing two proton beams together at the highest energies ever recorded, thanks to the $10 billion, nearly 17-mile Large Hadron Collider.

Scientists hope the collisions will provide new information about the events happening in the first fractions of a second after the so-called big bang that created the universe, as well as about the existence and identity of the dark matter that comprises the bulk of the universe.

As the beams collide, they will reproduce conditions that were present less than a billionth of a second after the big bang, yielding showers of elementary particles — perhaps including some scientists have never seen before.

And no, the collisions will not create a massive black hole that will destroy the Earth. Critics “have lost all credibility,” said physicist Robert Cousins of UCLA, a lead researcher on one of the major experiments attached to the collider.

China: No communication from trapped coal miners

Rescuers pumped water from a flooded mine where 153 trapped workers are trapped as efforts stretched into a second day with no communication from those stuck deep underground. The flood at the state-owned Wangjialing Coal Mine in northern China’s Shanxi province may have started Sunday afternoon when workers dug into a network of old, water-filled shafts.

Iraq: Panel tries to disqualify six winnning candidates

Six winning candidates in Iraq’s parliamentary elections will be stripped of their votes and lose their seats — which would cost secular politician Ayad Allawi’s bloc its victory — if a federal court upholds a broad purge of candidates who are suspected of past involvement with the late dictator Saddam Hussein’s outlawed Baath Party, officials from an Iraqi commission said Monday. Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc won a narrow victory over incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition in elections earlier this month.

South Korea: Military on alert as tensions rise over sunken ship

South Korea’s president ordered the military on alert today for any moves by rival North Korea after the defense minister said last week’s explosion and sinking of a South Korean ship may have been caused by a North Korean mine. The blast ripped the 1,200-ton ship apart Friday night during a routine patrol mission near Baengnyeong Island, along the maritime border west of the Korean peninsula. Fifty-eight crew members, including the captain, were rescued; 46 remain missing with dim prospects for finding any further survivors.

Pennsylvania: 11-year-old to be tried as adult in killings

A New Galilee boy who was 11 when he was accused of killing his father’s pregnant fiance with a shotgun blast to the back of her head as she lay in bed will be tried as an adult in the deaths of both the woman and the fetus, a judge ruled Monday. Jordan Brown, now 12, is charged with criminal homicide in the death of 26-year-old Kenzie Houk in February 2009. Prosecutors have suggested the boy was jealous of Houk and her unborn son. The boy could be convicted of anything from involuntary manslaughter to first-degree murder.

Philadelphia man charged in Cantor threats

A Philadelphia man has been arrested and charged with threatening to kill the Republican party whip in the U.S. House of Representatives, the FBI announced Monday. The FBI says Norman Leboon, 38, told investigators he was the “son of the god of Enoch” and that he had posted a video on YouTube threatening the lives of Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia and his family. Enoch appears in Chapter 5 of the Book of Genesis as a seventh generation descendant of Adam and the father of Methusaleh.

Tennessee: Man pleads guilty in plot against Obama

A Bells man authorities say is a white supremacist has pleaded guilty to plotting to kill then-presidential candidate Barack Obama and dozens of other black people in 2008. Daniel Cowart, 21, pleaded guilty Monday to eight of 10 counts in an indictment accusing him of conspiracy, threatening a presidential candidate and various federal firearms violations. Under a plea agreement, he faces 12 to 18 years in prison, but a federal judge could choose a longer sentence.

From Herald news services