RSS
10 things you need to know today: March 17, 2013
Pope Francis delivers his first Sunday prayer, Rand Paul wins CPAC's straw poll, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Pope Francis gives his first Angelus Blessing to the faithful from the window of his private residence on March 17 in Vatican City. 
Pope Francis gives his first Angelus Blessing to the faithful from the window of his private residence on March 17 in Vatican City.  Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

1. POPE FRANCIS MAKES SURPRISE APPEARANCE
Pope Francis broke with tradition and delivered off-the-cuff remarks about God's power to forgive for the first Sunday window appearance of his papacy. The remarks preceded his first Angelus Blessing as pope. His candid comments (a change from the standard written speech) and humor delighted a crowd of more than 150,000 in St. Peter's Square. He also spoke only in Italian instead of speaking in several languages as his last few predecessors have done. In just five days, Francis' straightforward, spontaneous style has already become a hallmark of his papacy; earlier in the day, he made an impromptu appearance before the public from a side gate of the Vatican, startling passers-by and prompting cheers. [CBS News]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. TWO HIGH SCHOOLERS FOUND GUILTY IN STEUBENVILLE RAPE TRIAL
Judge Thomas Lipps announced Sunday that two Steubenville, Ohio high school football players were found guilty of sexually assaulting an intoxicated 16-year-old girl from West Virginia. The four-day trial had received extraordinary attention because of video that appeared online in January of other young members of the community joking about the girl's attack. The highly publicized trial ended Saturday. Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, will serve their sentences, of at least one year, in a juvenile detention facility. [Huffington PostUSA Today]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. RAND PAUL WINS CPAC STRAW POLL
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul won the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)'s much-hyped straw poll with 25 percent of participants choosing him as the Republican Party's preferred presidential candidate for the 2016 election. Florida Senator Marco Rubio was a close second with 23 percent. [NBC News]
………………………………………………………………………………

4. FIVE CONFESS TO RAPE OF SWISS TOURIST IN INDIA
According to Indian authorities, five men have confessed to gang-raping a Swiss tourist in central India. Police said the men confessed on Sunday, but will give out more information at a news conference later in the day. The victim, a woman, was camping near a forest in India's Datia district with her husband when a group of five to seven men beat the husband and raped her, the district's deputy superintendent of police, R.S. Prajapati, said. The couple was on a cycling tour across the country. The attackers stole a laptop, the equivalent of $185 and a mobile phone before raping the woman. The victims then went to police, and the woman was hospitalized and later released. [CNN]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. CHINESE PRESIDENT CALLS FOR RENAISSANCE
New Chinese President Xi Jinping said he will fight for "the great renaissance of the Chinese nation," in his first speech as head of state on Sunday. Xi assumed office on March 14 and today closed the annual National People's Congress with a patriotic speech that reinforces the view that he will pursue a more assertive foreign policy during his decade in power. He also issued a warning to China's military, saying it should improve its ability to win battles and stressed continued economic development for the country to achieve "China's dream." China's Communist Party changes administration every 10 years. [BBC]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. APPLE AND SAMSUNG LAUNCH WARRING MEDIA CAMPAIGNS
Apple responded to Samsung's introduction of the Galaxy S4 at a high-profile Radio City Music Hall event last week by putting up a new webpage extolling the virtues of the iPhone and sending links to some of the hundreds of millions of people on its e-mail list this weekend. The webpage features classic Apple design work and competes with Samsung's own dedicated website for its new smartphone. Samsung also released a YouTube video championing the Galaxy S4's new features despite the fact the phone has received mixed early reviews. [Fortune]
………………………………………………………………………………

7. BOEHNER SAYS REPUBLICANS MUST BETTER ARTICULATE PRINCIPLES
Following this weekend's CPAC conference, House Speaker John Boehner said the Republican Party's principles aren't wrong, but that its politicians need to do a better job of communicating them to American voters. "The issue with our party is pretty simple. There's nothing wrong with the principles of our — of our party," he said, when asked by Martha Raddatz on This Week about Rand Paul's comments that the GOP old guard has become "stale and moss-covered." [Politico]
………………………………………………………………………………

8. BITTER MELON MAY FIGHT PANCREATIC CANCER CELLS
A fruit commonly consumed in Asian countries could also play an important role in fighting cancer, according to a new study in mice. Researchers from the University of Colorado Cancer Center found that the juice of the bumpy-skinned bitter melon may stop pancreatic cancer cells from metabolizing glucose — a crucial development because cancer cells need glucose to survive, and blocking off their glucose supply kills them. Researchers tested bitter melon juice's effects on pancreatic cancer cells in mice, and found that the mice that were given the juice had a 60 percent lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared with control mice. [Huffington Post]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE CLOSES SXSW FESTIVAL
Justin Timberlake capped off the Austin, Texas, music and arts festival South by Southwest (SXSW) Saturday night with a concert sponsored by Chevrolet to promote Myspace's newly redesigned website. The soldout show was a far cry from the popular event's anti-corporate, indie rock roots. Timberlake's appearance also drew attention to the singer's new album, The 20/20 Experience — his first in six years. The album was released March 15 and is rumored to have a second part to be released in November. [New York Times, Vibe]
………………………………………………………………………………

10. SCIENTISTS MORE CERTAIN THEY HAVE DISCOVERED HIGGS BOSON
CERN scientists officially announced that the particle they described finding using the Large Hadron Collider in July 2012 was, in fact, a Higgs boson. Until now, scientists were hesitant to confirm the discovery; the now-certainty is a big step forward for the scientific community. "The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is," spokesperson Joe Incandela said in a statement. [Forbes]

 
Terri is a freelance writer at TheWeek.com. She's a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, and has worked at TIME and Brides.

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week