Here’s Geek God Review’s weekly wrap-up of world news to the canonization of Mother Teresa in Vatican City, to the victory of the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong’s election, and to England clinching the 2016 World Scrabble Championship title.
Gabon set ablaze after controversial presidential election results show Bongo winning over Ping 49.8%-48.2%
Gabon’s national assembly building in the capital city of Libreville was set ablaze late on Aug 31, as protestors demonstrated against the narrow victory of incumbent president Ali Bongo under controversial circumstances.
The protests and the fire prompted security forces to storm the opposition leader Jean Ping’s headquarters, according to the BBC. Ping said that two people were killed in the protests. He has taken to Twitter to describe the state of affairs in the country. Around 6pm local time on Aug. 31 he tweeted that his offices were under assault by the Republican Guard.
According to AFP, internet access has been cut in much of the capital. Security forces clashed with protestors in the streets of Libreville on Wednesday, soon after the electoral commission CENAP announced the results. Bongo was reported to have won the election with 49.8% of the vote versus 48.2% for Ping, a margin of just 5,594 votes out of a total 627,805 registered voters. (*1)
Dilma Rousseff impeached, Michel Temer becomes Brazil president
The Senate in Brazil impeached former president Dilma Rouseff on Wednesday in a 61-20 vote against her for tampering budget records before the last election. Rousseff reiterated that she was innocent and was a victim of a parliamentary coup after the vote came through.
Michel Temer, 75, who was the interim president will continue as the president until Rousseff’s term gets over on Jan.1, 2019. Despite Temer being in place since Rousseff was suspended in May, there has been no stability in the scandal-hit South American country. Corruption charges against most of the top leaders of the Workers’ party, the Democratic Movement party of Brazil (PMDB) and the Progressive party has crippled the country’s economy. (*2)
Google gains new ground on universal quantum computer
Bringing together the best of two types of quantum computer for the first time, researchers at Google have created a prototype that combines the architecture of both a universal quantum computer and an analogue quantum computer.
By digitizing the traditionally analogue computations that can be done with an adiabatic quantum computer, the team’s system is one step closer to a universal quantum computer that could solve any computational problem.
This is particularly relevant to some of the more complex and practical applications that scientists hope future quantum computers can tackle, including synthesizing new pharmaceutical drugs or deciphering long-term weather patterns.
A universal quantum computer is one that, in theory, can perform any computation exponentially faster than a classical computer. The race towards building a truly universal quantum computer currently involves a number of experimental groups and companies the world over – including Google, IBM and D-Wave – each of whom turn to different methods and technologies to achieve the same goal. (*3)
Mother Teresa declared a saint by Pope Francis
It was a typical Pope Francis touch, and one in keeping with the extraordinary life story of Saint Teresa of Kolkata, as the Catholic nun became on Sunday.
On papal orders, 1,500 homeless people were brought to Rome overnight on buses from around Italy to be given seats of honour at the canonisation of Mother Teresa, revered around the world for her work with the destitute and dying.
Also at the Vatican was a Naples pizza maker and 20 of his workers, invited to provide lunch for the homeless men and women. The meal was served by 250 nuns and priests of the Sisters of Charity order.
Many among the massive crowds in and around St Peter’s Square were celebrating what were, in their eyes, two saints: Mother Teresa and Pope Francis, who has dedicated his papacy to mercy, humility and serving people on the margins.
In his homily during the special two-hour mass, Francis said the diminutive Albanian nun had, by her actions, shamed world leaders for the “crime of poverty” they had created. (*4)
In Hong Kong elections: Umbrella Movement retains veto power over China
Voters in Hong Kong showed they’re willing to put their future in the hands of politicians as young as 23, casting aside some of the most well known faces in local politics in the process.
Hong Kongers turned up in record numbers for the polls on Sunday (Sept. 4) to vote for members of the new Legislative Council. The council has long been controlled by pro-Beijing politicians, but holding on to veto power with one third of the seats is necessary for the opposition to push back against proposed legislation that could tighten the Chinese Communist Party’s over Hong Kong.(*5)
England wins 2016 World Scrabble Championship title with 181-point word “Braconid” in England vs England final match
The new world Scrabble champion has described his elation after a word for a type of wasp secured victory in an all-British showdown.
Brett Smitheram, 37, from Chingford in east London, was crowned the winning wordsmith after beating Mark Nyman, 49, from Knutsford in Cheshire, in the World Scrabble Championship 2016 final at the Grand Palais in Lille.
After his win, recruitment consultant Smitheram said his opponent, a former producer on Channel 4’s Countdown, was one of his “Scrabble idols” when he was growing up.