Argentine Cardinal Bergoglio Elected Pope: Francis I
After a mere two days of papal conclave, Rome’s 115 cardinals elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, as their new pope. Bergoglio, the first Jesuit pontiff, took the name of Francis I, after the saint who embraced poverty and founded the Franciscans, a historically rival order. He is also the first South American pope, and was the runner up in the last conclave, losing to Benedict XVI. Speaking for a few minutes, Francis I joked in Italian that his peers went to look for a new leader at the end of the world, and asked for the people to bless him, before he could bless them. These words comforted the faithful, who know him for his humility and commitment to social justice. He is credited for leading the modernisation of the Argentinean Church, although Bergoglio is a doctrinal conservative who staunchly opposed the Argentinean government before the legalization of same-sex marriage. His role during the military dictorship of the 1970s-80s was also called into question, as it was reported that he was aware babies were being stolen from their imprisoned mothers. Two priests also accused him of giving them up to the authorities. He denies both claims.
Obama Engaged in “Tough Talk” with China on Cyberattacks
U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview with television channel ABC he has been engaged in “tough talk” with China about its cyberattacks on the U.S. ”I’ve taken some very aggressive executive actions. But we need Congress to act,” Obama said. “We’ve put before Congress what exactly we need that will protect people’s privacy and civil liberties, but will also make sure that our overall system, both public and private, are protected from these kinds of attacks.” The comments come after U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified at the Senate that hacking may represent the top threat faced by the nation. Last month, the computer security firm Mandiant published a report that linked a majority of the breaches it investigated to a unit of China’s People’s Liberation Army.
China: The Case of the 6,600 Dead Pigs
About 6,600 dead pigs have been pulled out from the Huangpu River, which crosses Shanghai, as a farm upstream said it dumped the carcasses in the stream, according to state news agency Xinhua. About 70,000 animals died in Jiaxing because of extreme weather and disease. The Huangpu River is one of the main sources of potable water in for Shanghai, a city with 23 million residents. The government assured citizens it was still safe to drink. “This river’s color is about the same as excrement, even if there weren’t dead pigs you couldn’t drink it,” said an internet user quoted by BBC News. Officials in Jiaxing denied the pigs came from there. “The tags on the pigs’ ears only indicate the pigs were born here,” said Jiaxing Animal Husbandry Bureau Vice Director Jian Hao.
Ohio Rape Trial Opens to “Bizarre” Defense
The controversial trial of two juvenile football players accused of rape opened today in Steubenville, a high school football-obsessed town in Ohio. The defense team for the boys, who are 16 and 17, said that the girl, also 16, had not been raped, although both suspects admitted she was too drunk to give her consent, a claim the victim’s attorney deemed “bizarre.” The young girl was assaulted twice at an alcohol-fuelled party as three others, including two who took a photograph and a video, looked on. Other witnesses confirmed she vomited and had trouble walking and speaking, and many participants tweeted humiliating comments about the girl. The case divided the town as accusations flew that the community tried to protect the two suspects to allow them to continue to play football. Protesters gathered outside the Jefferson County Juvenile Court, including members of the hacker group Anonymous, who obtained a video of people joking about the rape. They believe the accused aren’t the only ones who sexually assaulted the girl. “Stop blaming the victim. The world is watching,” one of their signs read.
U.S. Tax Evaders Caught Thanks to Swiss “Snail Mail”
The U.S. authorities have begun prosecuting Americans for tax evasion after finding their names on a list accidentally mailed by Swiss financial adviser Beda Singenberger, who helped wealthy clients hide as much as $184 million abroad. “He was sending mail to someone in the United States, and apparently in error he included a list of U.S. taxpayers,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Levy said last week as one of those clients was being sentenced. “The government has mined that list to great effect and prosecuted a number of people who were on that list.” Singenberger was charged in July 2011 of conspiracy to evade taxes at a New York federal court, but Switzerland does not have an extradition agreement with the U.S.