This morning, Time magazine named Pope Francis their Person of the Year.
He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing. The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century.
On Monday, The New Yorker's John Cassidy argued that Edward Snowden deserved the honor.
According to Time, its award, which will be bestowed on Wednesday, goes to the person who, in the opinion of the magazine's editors, had the most influence on the news. By this metric, it's no contest. In downloading thousands of files from the computers of the electronic spying agency and handing them over to journalists like Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Barton Gellman, Snowden unleashed a torrent of news stories that began in May, when the Guardian and the Washington Post published a series of articles about the N.S.A.'s surveillance activities. Seven months later, the gusher is still open. Just last week, we learned that the agency is tracking the whereabouts of hundreds of millions of cell phones, gathering nearly five billion records a day.
Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens want to arrest the Pope when he visits Britain in September.
Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church. The pair believe they can exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, when he visited Britain in 1998.
Update: The Times article quoted above is a little misleading says Dawkins.
Needless to say, I did NOT say "I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI" or anything so personally grandiloquent. You have to remember that The Sunday Times is a Murdoch newspaper, and that all newspapers follow the odd custom of entrusting headlines to a sub-editor, not the author of the article itself. What I DID say to Marc Horne when he telephoned me out of the blue, and I repeat it here, is that I am whole-heartedly behind the initiative by Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens to mount a legal challenge to the Pope's proposed visit to Britain.
Nonetheless, there is a legal challenge involving the Pope's visit underway, initiated in part by Dawkins and Hitchens. (thx, lots of people)
Used to be, back in my day, that new Popes were elected by a conclave of cardinals holed up in the Sistine Chapel burning unsuccessful ballots with a chemical compound that produces black smoke until a two-thirds majority is achieved, at which point the ballots are pierced with a needle and thread and burned, producing white smoke that the assembled masses take as a sign that the cardinals have chosen, and the Pope-elect is asked if he wants to be the Pope and, if so, what his Pope-name will be and then he chooses his papal garments from a selection of small, medium, and large -- *not* tall, grande, and venti as you might expect, that being Italy and all -- dons a ring, and is announced to the crowd in St. Peter's Square.
This new way seems much simpler.