27 January 2016

China's anti-graft body investigates statistics bureau chief

In this Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016 photo, Wang Baoan, the head of China's National Bureau of Statistics, speaks at a press conference in Beijing. China's anti-graft agency announced Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 that the Wang is being investigated for severe disciplinary violations, a phrase which usually refers to corruption.
The head of the bureau that gathers China's economic data is under investigation by the anti-graft agency in a possible expansion of an anticorruption campaign that has shaken state companies and securities firms.
Wang Bao'an, chairman of the National Bureau of Statistics and a former deputy finance minister, is suspected of "severe disciplinary violations," the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement Tuesday. It gave no details.

French taxis, air traffic controllers, schools on strike

Taxi drivers on strike stand next to their cars as they demonstrate in Paris, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Paris taxi drivers protesting what they consider unfair competition from rival services such as Uber are joining teachers and other public servants in nationwide strikes and demonstrations.
Paris police fired tear gas and taxi drivers lit bonfires on a major highway Tuesday amid nationwide strikes and protests over working conditions and competition from non-traditional services such as Uber.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls met with taxi drivers in an apparent attempt to defuse tensions. He condemned the drivers' violence but promised to strengthen a police crackdown on the competing taxi services the drivers are protesting. He is also forming a panel of taxi company representatives and government ministers to discuss reforms in the sector.

Marvin Minsky, pioneer of artificial intelligence, dies

In this July 14, 1987, file photo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Marvin Minsky, speaks to the audience during a panel discussion whose topic was, "Artificial Intelligence: Society's Atlas or Achilles," at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. A pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence at MIT who saw parallels in the functioning of the human brain and computers has died. The university said Minsky died Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston of a cerebral hemorrhage. Minsky was 88.
Marvin Minsky, a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who saw parallels in the functioning of the human brain and computers, died Sunday at age 88.
The university said Minsky died Sunday at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The cause of death was a cerebral hemorrhage.
Minsky viewed the brain as a machine whose functioning can be studied and replicated in a computer, and he considered how machines might be endowed with common sense.

Abe Vigoda, sad-eyed character actor, dead at 94

In a June 9, 2006 file photo, actor-comedian Abe Vigoda attends the Friars Club celebrity roast of legendary comedian Jerry Lewis in New York City. Vigoda, whose leathery, sunken-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series `Barney Miller' and the doomed Mafia soldier in `The Godfather,' died in his sleep Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, at his daughter's home in Woodland Park, N.J. He was 94.
Character actor Abe Vigoda, whose leathery, sad-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series "Barney Miller" and the doomed Mafia soldier in "The Godfather," died Tuesday at age 94.
Vigoda's daughter, Carol Vigoda Fuchs, told The Associated Press that Vigoda died Tuesday morning in his sleep at Fuchs' home in Woodland Park, New Jersey. The cause of death was old age. "This man was never sick," Fuchs said.

Clock ticks down on EU passport free travel dream

A member of the Greek Red Cross waits for migrants and refugees to arrive on a beach of the Greek island of Lesbos Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. More than 850,000 people, most fleeing conflict in Syria and Afghanistan, entered Greece by sea in 2015, according to the UNHCR, and already in 2016, some 35,455 people have arrived despite plunging winter temperatures.
Passport-free travel and hassle-free business in Europe has never been in more danger.
With more than 1 million people streaming into the European Union hoping for sanctuary or jobs, nations have erected fences, deployed troops and tightened border controls.
"What we have worked for, for so many years, we are seeing it crumbling now in front of us," Roberta Metsola, a leading EU lawmaker on migration, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.