‘Bat Out of Hell’ Singer Meat Loaf Dies at 74

Meat Loaf, the heavyweight rock superstar loved by millions for his “Bat Out of Hell” album and for such theatrical, dark-hearted anthems as “Paradise By the Dashboard Light,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” and “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” has died. He was 74. The singer born Marvin Lee…

Brazilian Samba Singer Elza Soares Dies at 91

Elza Soares, one of the most revered singers in Brazilian samba music, died at her home in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, aged 91. She died of natural causes, her press representative said in a statement. “An icon of Brazilian music, considered one of the best artists in the world, the singer chosen as Voice…

US Drops Case Against MIT Professor Accused of Ties to China

The Justice Department dropped charges Thursday against a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor accused of concealing ties to the Chinese government, a further setback to a federal initiative that was set up to prevent economic espionage and theft by Beijing of trade secrets and academic research. The department revealed its decision in the case against…

Teen Pilot One Stop From Finishing Round-the-World Solo Flight

A 19-year-old British-Belgian pilot landed her plane on Wednesday at an airstrip near Frankfurt, Germany, one stop away from becoming the youngest woman to fly around the world solo. Zara Rutherford told reporters she wanted to “sleep for a week” after she climbed out of the single-seat Shark ultralight aircraft at Egelsbach airfield a few…

French Actor Gaspard Ulliel, 37, Dies After Ski Accident

French actor Gaspard Ulliel, known for appearing in Chanel perfume ads as well as film and television roles, died Wednesday after a skiing accident in the Alps, according to his agent’s office. He was 37. Ulliel portrayed the young Hannibal Lecter in 2007’s “Hannibal Rising” and fashion mogul Yves Saint Laurent in the 2014 biopic…

Racist Comment Results in Growing Awareness of Anti-Asian Sentiment in US

When a Korean American TV news anchor in St. Louis, Missouri, told the story of her traditional holiday meal of noodles, she received a racist message in response. That message, and the anchor’s reaction have sparked a viral conversation about anti-Asian racism. VOA’s Chris Casquejo reports. …

The AP Interview: Exiled Artist Ai Weiwei on Beijing Games

Ai Weiwei is one of China’s most famous artists, and many regard him as one of the world’s greatest living ones. Working with the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, he helped design the Bird’s Nest Stadium, the centerpiece of Beijing’s 2008 Summer Olympics.  The stadium in northern Beijing, instantly recognizable for its weave…

No Vaccine, No French Open for Djokovic as Rules Tighten

Novak Djokovic risks being frozen out of tennis as he chases a record 21st Grand Slam title, with rules on travelers who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 tightening in the third year of the pandemic and some tournaments reconsidering exemptions.  The Serbian, who has not been vaccinated, was deported from Australia on Sunday ahead of the…

South African University Students Fight COVID Vaccine Mandates

South African university students are fighting mandates that require they be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to the classroom on February 14. Even students who are vaccinated, and want others to get inoculated, are against the policy and the students’ union is threatening protests across the country. Linda Givetash reports from Johannesburg. Camera – Zaheer…

Alekos Fassianos, Known as ‘Greek Picasso,’ Dies at Age 86

Greek artist Alekos Fassianos, whose work drew on his country’s mythology and folklore, died Sunday at the age of 86, his daughter Viktoria told AFP. Described by some admirers as a modern-day Matisse and by others as the Greek Picasso, his works, which included paintings, lithographs, ceramics and tapestries, have been shown around the world.…

MLB’s First Female Minor-league Manager Living ‘American Dream’

Rachel Balkovec is aware of the negativity in her social media feeds and tries to leave it there. Her sisters see it, too, and can’t help but pass along certain disparaging reactions to her barrier-breaking journey. “It’s hilarious to me,” Balkovec said. “Because it’s the American dream.” In the clubhouse? She hasn’t seen any of…

Roman Villa Housing Caravaggio up for Auction Amid Legal Dispute

A Roman villa housing the only mural by Caravaggio and at the center of a legal battle between a former Playboy model and the sons of her late husband, an Italian prince, will go up for auction Tuesday. The sprawling property, valued at 471 million euros (almost $540 million), is a Baroque jewel with gorgeous…

Clap, Don’t Chant: China Aims for ‘Zero COVID’ Olympics

Athletes will need to be vaccinated — or face a long quarantine — take tests daily and wear masks when not competing or training. Clapping is OK to cheer on teammates, not chanting. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be sent into isolation and unable to compete until cleared for discharge. Welcome to the…

US Actor Baldwin Hands Over Phone to ‘Rust’ Investigators

Alec Baldwin has handed his cellphone to authorities as they investigate the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the Rust movie set, almost a month after a warrant was issued for the device. The U.S. actor was holding a Colt gun during a rehearsal for the Western being filmed in New Mexico in October when…

Djokovic’s Case Moves to Higher Court as He Fights Canceled Visa 

The world’s top-ranked men’s tennis player, Novak Djokovic, had his case to stay in Australia to compete in the Australian Open moved to a higher court Saturday as he fights the second cancellation of his visa for not being vaccinated against COVID-19.  The 34-year-old Serbian appeared in a Melbourne court Saturday for a 15-minute procedural…

Dartmouth Offers ‘Need Blind’ Admissions to Foreign Students

Dartmouth College, the Ivy League university in New Hampshire, has announced that it will admit international students through a “need blind” process, meaning that their ability to pay tuition will not dictate their admission. Dartmouth already had a policy of “need blind” admissions for U.S. applicants, but now foreign students will be considered for admission…

Spider-Man Comic Page Sells for Record $3.36M Bidding

A single page of artwork from a 1984 Spider-Man comic book sold at auction Thursday for a record $3.36 million. Mike Zeck’s artwork for page 25 from Marvel Comics’ Secret Wars No. 8 brings the first appearance of Spidey’s black suit. The symbiote suit would eventually lead to the emergence of the character Venom. The…

Navient Resolves US State Probes Into Its Student Loan Practices

Navient Corp said Thursday it agreed to pay $145 million to settle multistate litigation into its student loan practices. The company also said it will cancel loan balances for about 66,000 borrowers with loans that were largely made between 2002 and 2010 and later went into default. Navient said that as part of the settlement,…

Dartmouth to Offer ‘Need Blind’ Admissions to Foreign Students

In an attempt to attract more foreign students, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire says it will admit international students regardless of their ability to pay tuition. International students will be admitted through a “need blind” process used for U.S. students. The college charges about $80,000 per year for tuition and accommodation. “Talent is spread all…