Gamma-ray burst brightest ever seen

A cosmic explosion caused by the death of a massive star has been analysed by scientists. The blast of radiation, called a gamma-ray burst, was spotted earlier this year by space-based telescopes and has been confirmed as the brightest ever seen. Researchers believe the distant star was about 20-30 times the mass of the Sun. The findings are published in the journal Science. (BBC)

France says Central African Republic on verge of genocide

Central African Republic has descended into violence and chaos since Seleka rebels, many of them from neighboring Chad and Sudan, ousted President Francois Bozize in March. France said on Thursday that Central African Republic was "on the verge of genocide" and it expected the United Nations to give Paris and the African Union permission to intervene. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia man arrested for giving out free hugs

Abdulrahman al-Khayyal went out onto the streets in Riyadh along with a friend carrying a placard saying ‘free hugs’, apparently inspired by a viral video of a campaign posted on YouTube earlier this week. Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice arrested the two men for violating local laws and engaging in “exotic practices”, Al Hayat newspaper said. They were then made to sign a pledge that they would not go out again. (Independent)

Struggle for agreement at UN climate talks as green groups walk out

Environmental campaigners walked out en-masse from climate talks in Warsaw saying they felt no progress was possible. Several hundred people left the national stadium venue amid anger over the slow pace of negotiations. But UK climate secretary Ed Davey told reporters he still expected "modest progress" to be made. (BBC)

Extinct frog resurrected with ‘de-extinction’ technology

An Australian science project to resurrect an extinct frog species has been named one of the world's best inventions.Famous for giving birth through its mouth, the native gastric-brooding frog has been extinct since 1983. The Lazarus Project centres on a genome technology developed by researchers from the University of Newcastle. The project team say they hope Lazarus will provide a stepping stone for the long-extinct Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine. (Guardian)