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…

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…

China Struggles to Contain Omicron Before Winter Olympics 

The Chinese city of Tianjin ordered a second round of COVID-19 testing for all of its 14 million residents on Wednesday after an initial screening of the population found 97 positive cases. The port city is about 100 kilometers southeast of the Winter Olympics host city of Beijing.   Authorities locked down several of the port…

Ronnie Spector, ’60s Icon Who Sang ‘Be My Baby,’ Dies at 78 

Ronnie Spector, the cat-eyed, beehived rock ‘n’ roll siren who sang such 1960s hits as “Be My Baby,” “Baby I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain” as the leader of the Ronettes, has died. She was 78.  Spector died Wednesday after a brief battle with cancer, her family said.  “Ronnie lived her life with…

US Charges Man With Giving Illegal Drugs to Athletes for Tokyo Olympics

U.S. prosecutors have charged a man with supplying performance-enhancing drugs to athletes at the Tokyo Olympics, a first under a federal law allowing criminal charges against doping conspirators at events involving U.S. athletes, broadcasters and sponsors.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said Eric Lira, 41, distributed drugs, including human growth hormone, “for the purpose…

Indigenous People Lead Push for 2030 Winter Olympics, Paralympics in Vancouver

A group of Indigenous people is prepping a bid to bring the 2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to Vancouver, Canada. It would be the first time any Olympics was hosted by Indigenous people and could lead to further reconciliation with Canada’s First Nations. The group was known as the “Four Host First Nations” when…

Novak Djokovic Says He Made Mistakes in His Travel Documents Before Arriving in Australia

Novak Djokovic, the world’s top-ranked male tennis player, says errors were made on his entry documents about his activities in the weeks before traveling to Australia, adding another layer of controversy in his fight to compete in the year’s first major “Grand Slam” tennis tournament.  The Serbian star issued a statement Wednesday saying his assistants…

Award-winning Ugandan Writer Charged for Offending Museveni and Son

A Ugandan author who wrote critical comments about President Yoweri Museveni’s son has been charged with offensive communications. Kakwenza Rukirabashaija’s lawyer says he was tortured in detention.   Award-winning writer Kakwenza Rukirabashaija appeared before a court Tuesday and was charged with two counts of offensive communication. Rukirabashaija was arrested on December 28 and taken from his Kampala…

Australian Court Releases Djokovic from Detention, Reinstates Visa 

Novak Djokovic has been cleared by a judge to remain in Australia, ending a five-day standoff between the government and the world’s top-ranked male tennis player over his COVID-19 vaccination status.   Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly Monday overruled the government’s decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa and ordered officials to return his passport and release him…

‘Power of the Dog,’ ‘West Side Story’ Win at Untelevised Golden Globes

“The Power of the Dog” and “West Side Story” on Sunday won the top film prizes at an untelevised Golden Globes that was largely ignored by Hollywood, with awards unveiled via a live blog without any of the usual A-list glamour.    Jane Campion’s dark Western “The Power of the Dog” became only the second…

Bob Saget, Beloved TV Dad of ‘Full House,’ Dead at 65

Bob Saget, a comedian and actor known for his role as a widower raising a trio of daughters in the sitcom “Full House,” has died, according to authorities in Florida. He was 65. The Orange County, Florida, sheriff’s office was called Sunday about an “unresponsive man” in a hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando,…

Golden Globe Awards Carry On, But Without Stars or a Telecast

If the Golden Globe Awards aren’t on television, will anyone care? That’s just one of the uneasy questions facing the embattled Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is proceeding with its film awards Sunday night without a telecast, nominees, celebrity guests, a red carpet, a host, press or even a livestream. In a year beset by…

Italy Sends Back Parthenon Fragment in Landmark Loan to Greece

Greece this week takes delivery of an ancient fragment that once adorned the Parthenon temple, the country’s most important archeological site. The return from a museum in Italy is being seen as the strongest nudge yet to the British Museum, which holds the largest collection of Parthenon Sculptures and has refused for centuries to return…

NFL Teams Providing Female Fans with Clubs of their Own

Verdell Blackmon showed up for a recent NFL game and left no doubt who she was cheering for that afternoon. Blackmon’s hair, makeup, nails and dress were bright hues of blue, and Detroit Lions Women of the Pride was printed on her black shirt. The Lions season ticket holder was one of about 50 women…

Marilyn Bergman, Oscar-Winning Composer, Dies at 93

Marilyn Bergman, the Oscar-winning lyricist who teamed with husband Alan Bergman on The Way We Were, How Do You Keep the Music Playing? and hundreds of other songs, died at her Los Angeles home Saturday. She was 93. She died of respiratory failure not related to COVID-19, according to a representative, Jason Lee. Her husband…

Washington’s Trapeze School Knows How to Help You Raise Your Spirits

Whether you’re looking to fly through the air with the greatest of ease, explore the aerial arts, or just raise your spirits, the Trapeze School in Washington, DC, will make sure things are looking up. Maxim Moskalkov visited the school and met its many instructors. Camera: David Gogokhia …

The Sounds of Bells – Meet Natalia Paruz, A Unique NYC Street Musician

More than two decades ago, Natalia Paruz was hit by a car in New York. While recovering from the accident, she went to Austria, where she saw bells on necks of cows. And that simple vision prompted a huge change in her life. Anna Nelson has the story, narrated by Anna Rice. Camera: Natalia Latukhina…

In Photos: Egyptians Celebrate Coptic Christmas

In Egypt, Christmas celebrations are officially sanctioned by Islamic clerics for people of all faiths, despite objections from some conservative Muslims. On Friday, January 7, the holiday season concluded with Coptic Christmas, observed by the vast majority of Christians in Egypt. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this photo essay, with words by Elle Kurancid.  …