Sundance’s New Frontier Draws Art Lovers into Virtual World

Every year during the Sundance Film Festival, the New Frontier exhibition introduces technologies in storytelling. This is the second year the festival and the exhibit have gone digital due to COVID-19. VOA’s Penelope Poulou spoke with curator Shari Frilot on New Frontier’s visual platforms for art, film and performance. Video Editing: Penelope Poulou , Luis Da Costa …

Report: Anti-corruption Fight Is Stalled, COVID Not Helping

Most countries have made little to no progress in bringing down corruption levels over the past decade, and authorities’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic in many places has weighed on accountability, a closely watched study by an anti-graft organization found Tuesday. Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures the perception of public sector corruption…

South Sudan Holds Peace Olympics to Foster Reconciliation

South Sudan has held a peace Olympics to help reconcile communities divided by conflict. The “Twic Olympics” this year marked its 20th anniversary in Twic County.  At this Olympics opening ceremony, a spiritual leader blesses athletes to protect them from injury while a goat represents the belief that power comes from nature.  This is not…

At Least Eight People Dead in Stampede at Cameroon Sports Stadium 

Several people are dead in Cameroon after football fans crammed the gates of a new stadium to watch the home country play a match in the African Cup of Nations tournament.  State broadcaster CRTV says eight people were killed as thousands of fans attempted to enter Yaounde Olembe Stadium in the capital Yaounde Monday to…

US Supreme Court to Hear Challenges to Race-Based College Admissions 

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said it will hear two cases that could determine if race can be used as a factor for college admission.  The cases, brought by the conservative group Students for Fair Admissions, targets Harvard, the country’s oldest private school, and the University of North Carolina, one of the nation’s oldest…

To Stream or Not to Stream? COVID Turns Film Industry Upside Down

Just as studios were resuming theatrical releases at the end of last year, the omicron variant of the coronavirus rolled in, forcing a return to streaming or a theater release-streaming hybrid. Now that the traditional way of viewing new releases has changed, the film industry faces a crucial question: In the era of COVID-19, how…

French Fashion Designer Thierry Mugler Dies Aged 73

French designer Thierry Mugler, who reigned over fashion in the 1980s and died on Sunday, was as famous for his fantastical couture as for his blockbuster fashion shows. He was 73. Mugler’s daring collections came to define the decade’s power dressing, with his clothes noted for their structured and sophisticated silhouettes, showcased by his extravagant…

Afghan Students in the US Face Uncertain Future

Afghan students studying at universities in the U.S. through scholarship programs face a more uncertain future since the Taliban took over and many say they cannot return to their home country because of concerns for their safety.   More than 100 Afghan students came to the United States through the Fulbright program last academic year,…

UNESCO Lists Viking-Era Wooden Sailboats on Heritage List 

For thousands of years, wooden sailboats allowed the peoples of Northern Europe to spread trade, influence and sometimes war across seas and continents. In December, the U.N.’s culture agency added Nordic “clinker boats” to its list of traditions that represent the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden jointly sought the…

San Francisco’s Chinatown Opens for Cautious Lunar New Year Revelry Despite Omicron 

George Chen’s high-end China Live restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown has lost 90% of its Lunar New Year bookings made by company parties and big families fearing the spread of COVID-19 as the omicron variant rampages across the United States. Three of his 100 employees have gotten the disease since the omicron surge began.   …

New Approach to Teaching Race in School Divides New Mexico 

A proposal to overhaul New Mexico’s social studies standards has stirred debate over how race should be taught in schools, with thousands of parents and teachers weighing in on changes that would dramatically increase instruction related to racial and social identity beginning in kindergarten.  The revisions in the state are ambitious. New Mexico officials say…

Cameroon Hosts Influx of Football Fans from Neighboring Gabon, Equatorial Guinea

Cameroon says that within four days, at least 1,500 football supporters have entered the country from neighboring Equatorial Guinea and Gabon to support their teams that have advanced to Round 16 in the Africa Football Cup of Nations, or AFCON. Gabon battles Burkina Faso Sunday, while Equatorial Guinea plays against Mali Wednesday. Tournament organizers require…

Arkansas Professor Pleads Guilty to Lying About China Patents

A University of Arkansas professor pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about patents he had for inventions in mainland China. Simon Saw-Teong Ang pleaded guilty in federal court in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to one count from a 58-count federal indictment. Prosecutors say that 24 patents bearing Ang’s name were filed with the Beijing government…

Climate, COVID, China: Takeaways from Online Davos Event 

Government and business leaders have urged cooperation on the world’s biggest issues — climate change, the coronavirus pandemic and the economic recovery — at the World Economic Forum’s virtual gathering.  Speeches and discussions from the likes of Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres moved online this week after COVID-19 concerns delayed the…

Louie Anderson, Comic, Emmy Winner for ‘Baskets,’ Dies at 68

Louie Anderson, whose four-decade career as a comedian and actor included his unlikely, Emmy-winning performance as mom to twin adult sons in the TV series “Baskets,” died Friday. He was 68. Anderson died at a hospital in Las Vegas of complications from cancer, said Glenn Schwartz, his longtime publicist. Anderson had a type of non-Hodgkin…

Biden Admin Unveils Changes to Attract Foreign STEM Students

The Biden administration on Friday announced policy changes to attract international students specializing in science, technology, engineering and math — part of the broader effort to make the U.S. economy more competitive. The State Department will let eligible visiting students in those fields, known as STEM, complete up to 36 months of academic training, according…

‘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…