Scientists and technicians applauded themselves Wednesday after successfully firing particle beams in both directions around the 17-mile Large Hadron Collider (LHC) under the Swiss-French border. The $3.8 billion LHC, the world's largest and most complex machine, was built to try ultimately to recreate – in miniature – the heat and energy of the so-called "Big Bang," which is thought to have occurred 15 billion years ago.Skip to next paragraph
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Once again, senior Russian officials warned that their nation's ballistic missiles "could" be aimed at the proposed US defense shield in eastern Europe. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, en route to Warsaw for consultations with Poland's leaders, accused them of "a mean action and a political mistake" in agreeing to allow American interceptor missiles to be based there. Poland, he said, "took revenge on us for having defended the Ossetians" last month.
Both sides in Zimbabwe's power-sharing negotiations appeared upbeat after a session with mediator Thabo Mbeki. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change told reporters, "There's been a positive development." He wasn't specific, but the official Herald newspaper suggested it had come in the matter of who should have the top post in government, Tsvangirai or President Robert Mugabe. The Southern African Development Community, which has been monitoring the situation closely, postponed what was to be a special meeting with Mbeki until Thursday.
Prices for future deliveries of crude oil were showing little fluctuation Wednesday despite the decision by OPEC to lop 520,000 barrels a day from its output. But the cutback will come in what is excess production, since members regularly have been pumping more than the cartel's daily quota of 27.3 million barrels, set last November. Investors need time to assess the significance of the cut, which won't immediately affect the global supply of oil, analysts said.