每日新闻播报(January 2)

British Union Jack flag flies in front of the clock face of Big Ben in London, Britain August 29, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

>Big Ben to sound again

Britain's Big Ben bell in parliament's landmark clock tower will ring at midnight on New Year's Eve, marking the start of a year for the first time since its restored blue clock face was revealed from behind scaffolding halfway through restoration work.

The 96-meter-tall Elizabeth Tower, one of the most photographed buildings in Britain, has been enveloped in scaffolding for the last two years as the four clock dials are reglazed, ironwork repainted and intricately carved stonework cleaned and repaired.

Since it was silenced in 2017 for restoration work, Big Ben has only sounded for some important events, such as Remembrance Day and the New Year.

The restoration of the entire Elizabeth Tower, which will cost an estimated £61 million and see the landmark repaired and redecorated, is due to be completed in 2021.


Nine-year-old Belgian student Laurent Simons poses with his dog Sammie at the University of Technology in Eindhoven, Netherlands November 20, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

>Child prodigy dumps degree

Child prodigy Laurent Simons has left his university course, following a dispute over his graduation date.

Laurent, 9, made world headlines in November when news emerged that he was due to finish his studies in electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) in the Netherlands in December.

Now, a dispute between TUE and the Simons family has seen Laurent terminate his studies without graduating.

TUE said it had recommended Laurent finish his studies by mid-2020, rather than at the end of December, because of the number of exams he still has to pass.

But Laurent's father, Alexander Simons, had repeated his explicit wish that his son should obtain his bachelor degree at the age of 9.

Ultimately, the family decided Laurent would leave TUE to study for a doctorate at a university in the US.


Photo by Damir Kopezhanov on Unsplash

>Cell phone detection cameras

The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) rolled out "high-definition detection cameras", designed to catch drivers using cell phones behind the wheel.

Andrew Constance, New South Wales' minister for roads, said the "world-first" technology would target illegal cell phone use through "fixed and mobile trailer-mounted cameras."

The cameras will use artificial intelligence to review images and detect illegal use of cell phones, according to Transport for NSW.

For the first three months, drivers caught out by the technology will receive a warning letter, after which offenders will face a fine of up to $344, or $457 in a school zone, and penalty points on their driver’s license.


He Jiankui is reflected in a glass panel as he works at a computer at a laboratory in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong province, Oct 10, 2018. [Photo/IC]

>Man jailed for gene-editing

Chinese researcher He Jiankui was sentenced to three years in prison and fined 3 million yuan for illegally carrying out human embryo gene-editing intended for reproduction, in which three genetically edited babies were born, according to a court in Shenzhen city.

The Nanshan District People's Court of Shenzhen said He, former associate professor with the Southern University of Science and Technology, and two others were convicted of illegal medical practice.

Zhang Renli and Qin Jinzhou from two medical institutes in Guangdong Province received jail terms of two years, and 18 months with a two-year reprieve, respectively, as well as fines.

He claimed in November 2018 that the world's first genetically edited babies were born with their DNA altered to prevent them from contracting HIV.

The news made a scientific splash and prompted an immediate investigation from authorities.

According to the verdict, the three, not qualified to work as doctors, had knowingly violated the country's regulations and ethical principles to practice gene editing in assisted reproductive medicine. It said their acts were "in the pursuit of personal fame and gain" and have seriously "disrupted medical order."

The three pleaded guilty during the trial.


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