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Einstein was right, neutrino researchers admit

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A team of scientists who last year suggested neutrinos could travel faster than light conceded Friday that Einstein was right and the sub-atomic particles are — like everything else — bound by the universe’s speed limit.

Researchers working at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) caused a storm when they published experimental results showing the particles could out-pace light by some six kilometres (3.7 miles) per second.

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The findings threatened to upend modern physics and smash a hole in Albert Einstein’s 1905 theory of special relativity, which described the velocity of light as the maximum speed in the cosmos.

The neutrinos were timed on the journey from CERN’s giant underground lab near Geneva to the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy, after travelling 732 kilometres (454 miles) through the Earth’s crust.

To do the trip, the neutrinos should have taken 0.0024 seconds. Instead, the particles were recorded as hitting the detectors in Italy 0.00000006 seconds sooner than expected, the preliminary experiment had shown.

But on Friday the OPERA team told the International Conference on Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics, being held in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, that the earlier results were wrong.

“The previous data taken up to 2011 with the neutrino beam from CERN to Gran Sasso were revised taking into account understood instrumental effects,” the team said.

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“A coherent picture has emerged with both previous and new data pointing to a neutrino velocity consistent with the speed of light.”

The initial findings had been greeted with a combination of excitement and scepticism, even from those involved in the experiment, who urged other physicists to carry out their own checks to corroborate or refute what had been seen.

As part of this verification, an experiment called ICARUS at the Gran Sasso Laboratory took a separate look at the flight of seven neutrinos that had also been recorded by the OPERA team.

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Carlo Rubbia, a Nobel winner and spokesperson for the ICARUS project announced the neutrinos had kept within the universal speed limit.


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Melania Trump statue torched near her Slovenian hometown: report

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On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that a wooden statue of First Lady Melania Trump carved from a tree outside her hometown in Slovenia last year has been burned to the ground.

"The artist who had commissioned the sculpture, Brad Downey, had the statue removed on July 5," reported Madeline Charbonneau. "Downey, who is American but works out of Berlin, had hoped his statue of the first lady would create dialogue about American politics, given that Melania Trump is an immigrant married to a president who seeks to stem immigration. Though the investigation is still pending, Downey said he hopes to interview the perpetrators for an upcoming exhibition."

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FBI investigating Chinese businessman who bankrolled media company linked to Steve Bannon

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A Wall Street Journal expose revealed that a Chinese businessman is under investigation by the FBI after he used funds to bankroll a media company with ties to a former aide to President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon.

"Federal Bureau of Investigation national security agents in recent months have asked people who know both men for information on Mr. Guo’s activities, including the source of funds of a media company linked to him that hired Mr. Bannon in 2018 as a consultant, the people said," according to the Journal. "As recently as last week, the FBI met with one person familiar with the companies tied to Mr. Guo, the people said. The probe has been underway for more than six months, and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn have been involved.

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Mike Pompeo asks Egypt to stop harassing US citizens

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday welcomed Egypt's release of a US citizen but urged the ally to stop harassment of others.

Mohamed Amashah, 24, was freed Monday, nearly 16 months after he was arrested in Cairo's Tahrir Square for holding up a sign seeking the release of prisoners, according to human rights campaigners.

A dual US-Egyptian citizen who lives in New Jersey, he had gone on a hunger strike this year to protest his conditions.

"We thank Egypt for securing his release and his repatriation," Pompeo told a news conference.

"But at the same time, we urge Egyptian officials to stop unwarranted harassment of US citizens and their families who remain there," he said.

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