Hu Jintao touts media freedom

Chinese President and vocal free speech advocate Hu Jintao vowed to continue safeguarding the rights of foreign media working in China, reports the state-run paper China Daily.

"It is more important than ever before that the media should establish and uphold social responsibilities," Hu said at the World Media Summit. Apparently Hu cares so much about the media doing the right thing that he employs about 30,000 "Internet Police" to discourage everything from negative news to pornography. China's Internet filtering (AKA "The Great Firewall") was especially frustrating for overseas reporters covering the 2008 Olympics in Beijing; the control of the Internet probably has something to do with why Freedom House ranks Chinese media the 181st least-free out of 195 countries surveyed, tied with Iran and Rwanda.

On the other hand, Hu did say, "The media should uphold the ideas of equality, mutual trust, mutual benefit and common development, and better facilitate exchanges and cooperation."  And if you can't trust friends like these...

Photo: PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images


"Doomsday machine" scientist linked to al-Qaeda


Near Geneva, Switzerland sits a 27-kilometer particle accelerator, the largest the world has ever seen. When it is finally switched on and makes it past the warm-up stages, it will create conditions that haven't existed since the beginning of the universe. This, naturally, scares the bejesus out of people, some taking it to the courts to stop its activation. Foreign Policy reported one group's fears:

"There is a real possibility of creating destructive theoretical anomalies such as miniature black holes, strangelets and deSitter space transitions. These events have the potential to fundamentally alter matter and destroy our planet." -Walter Wagner,

The Large Haldron Collider (LHC) at the CERN Lab has yet to reach full operation, but it will later this year. That is, unless something crazy, for instance, a CERN researcher being arrested for suspected links to al-Qaeda!

This is pretty scary to begin with, but even scarier is the fact that the man's brother was also arrested; he works at the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

The suspect has been linked to the Algerian chapter of al-Qaeda, and suggested targets in France. After being under surveillance for 18 months, the French decided to bring him down, luckily before the Death Star LHC was turned on.

CERN says the suspect was never involved with any elements that could be used for terrorist purposes; he mainly worked on data analysis.