7 Headlines You Won’t Read Anywhere Else Today: Dec. 18

By Tina Tatarková, Epoch Times
December 18, 2013 Updated: December 18, 2013

France: Facebook hires French artificial intelligence guru

Social networking giant Facebook has appointed a French artificial intelligence (AI) expert to lead what will become the largest research facility of its kind in the world.

Professor Yann LeCun, who is currently lecturing at NYU’s Center for Data Science, has been studying AI for decades.

While for now Facebook feeds may seem like a random jumble, LeCun argues these “can be improved by intelligent systems.” …

France 24


South Korea: Free after-school classes light up hope for North Korea kids

A dozen kids rush into an old building in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, after school. They are cheerful, as if they are about to play, but only a stack of books and a few teachers await them. 

The elementary school and middle school kids come to the Kuensaem School to study with volunteer tutors from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day. The students share one thing in common: They are all from North Korea.

The Kuensaem School is a free after-school program created and supported by volunteers to assist children from North Korea, who have difficulty in following the South Korean school curriculum. …

The Korea Herald


Italy: Where Italian Tradition Meets Gluten-Free Success

Aldo Bongiovanni, a 30-year-old beanpole, laughs timidly. Where others in a crisis-stricken Italy see no hope, he sees opportunity — in a mill in the countryside of the Cuneo province, in northwest Italy, near where he played as a child.

“In Italy, complaining is in fashion,” he says. “I can’t stand it anymore. There is work. Look at me! You just need to see it.”

In 10 years, he transformed the family business, which had been flagging, into a successful homegrown company. “The world is changing, as people’s habits do,” he says. “The secret is to not let yourself become cynical.” …

Mondo via Worldcrunch


Sweden: ‘China teaches its kids to sit exams, Sweden its kids to think’

In an open letter to the Swedish education minister, Lund high schooler Saga Ringmar asks him not to fear China, despite Shanghai beating Sweden by 37 places on the recent Pisa ranking. Her test-loving school in Shanghai left her disillusioned and her kid sister depressed.

Let me shortly sum up my message. Despite taking a battering in the Pisa ranking, Sweden has nothing to fear when it comes to education in China. Nor anything to imitate from my old school in Shanghai. …

The Local


Kazakhstan: Astana adds Foster’s eye to pyramid

A new project of famous British architect Norman Foster has been unveiled in Astana, Tengrinews reports citing the Foundation of the First President of Kazakhstan.

The President participated in the opening ceremony to thank the sponsors who supported the construction of the unique building. The construction of the Nazarbayev Center was privately funded with no state involvement.

“Study of our history, world economy and politics will be conducted (in this Center). Youth will gain new knowledge in national history and learn languages,” said the President at the opening of the Center. …

Tengri News


Finland: Finns stubbing out smoking

A major study of health trends in Finland has found signs of a historic decline in smoking among men, and found that Finns’ waistlines are no longer expanding.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) says that Finns’ habits are becoming a little healthier, with the popularity of low-carb diets beginning to fade.

People seem to be returning to earlier dietary recommendations, according to THL director Pekka Puska, and the growth in obesity rates has finally stopped. Bread consumption among women is on the up, but men’s bread consumption has continued to fall. …



Iceland: Hollywood stars sign petition against Iceland film cuts

A number of renowned Hollywood filmmakers have signed a petition against the Icelandic government’s proposed 40 per cent cuts on the Icelandic Film Fund in a show of support for their fellow professionals.

Among the supporters are Terrence Malick, Darren Aronofsky and Clint Eastwood and, whose movies Tree of Life, Noah and Flags of Our Fathers have all been partly shot in Iceland. …

Ice News