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Germany

Pope Benedict XVI’s Troubles At Home

The Pope was met with protests as he began a four-day trip in his native Germany. But his challenges run even deeper in a country that was protective of their native son in the early days of his papacy, but now sees him as the ultimate symbol of rigid tra

Pope Benedict XVI was greeted by Merkel and Wulff in Berlin on Thursday.
Pope Benedict XVI was greeted by Merkel and Wulff in Berlin on Thursday.
Matthias Drobinski

BERLIN - Welcome home, Holy Father. Welcome back to your native Germany, where up to 300,000 people in Berlin, Erfurt, Etzelsbach and Freiburg will pray and sing with you. But welcome also to a country where dozens of Bundestag deputies announced a boycott of your speech before the German parliament -- the first major stop on the visit Thursday -- and more than 10,000 are expected to demonstrate over the next four days against the kind of Catholicism you represent, which they consider the embodiment of all that is rigid and doctrinaire about religion.

On the first day of his homecoming, Benedict XVI met Germany's Catholic-born president, who, as a divorced and remarried man, cannot under Church rules partake in communion. His itinerary also includes a meeting with a Protestant Chancellor, married for a second time, and a Catholic mayor who is openly gay. Klaus Wowereit, Berlin's gay mayor, has expressed a certain sympathy with opponents of the Pope, and Christian Wulff, Germany's president, says he's hoping the Pope will deliver a "liberating message" for the millions of divorced Catholics like himself who have remarried.

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Future

Robot Artists And Us: Who Decides The Aesthetics Of AI?

Ai-Da is touted as the first bonafide robot artist. But should we consider her paintings and poetry original or creative? Is this even art at all?

Ai-Da at work

Leah Henrickson and Simone Natale

Ai-Da sits behind a desk, paintbrush in hand. She looks up at the person posing for her, and then back down as she dabs another blob of paint onto the canvas. A lifelike portrait is taking shape. If you didn’t know a robot produced it, this portrait could pass as the work of a human artist.

Ai-Da is touted as the “first robot to paint like an artist”, and an exhibition of her work called Leaping into the Metaverse opened at the Venice Biennale.

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