When first lady Michelle Obama heads for China with her mother and daughters in tow Wednesday, the focus will be on education and people-to-people connections. And there will be some awesome stops at historical and cultural treasures along the way.
The first lady is expected to avoid contentious U.S.-China issues such as counterfeiting, human rights and trade during her weeklong visit.
Tina Tchen, the first lady’s chief of staff, said stressing the shared importance of education to young people in the U.S. and China was important not just for students but “vital for the competitiveness of our U.S. global economy.”
The first lady is scheduled to address American and Chinese students at Peking University on Saturday about the importance of study abroad and other cultural exchanges as well as the stakes the two countries have in one another’s success. She’ll also hold a virtual session with American students around the world.
On March 25, Obama, a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, will visit a high school in the southwestern city of Chengdu to share her own story about overcoming obstacles to obtaining a college education.
Along the way, Obama and the two generations of women accompanying her – daughters Malia and Sasha and mother Marian Robinson – will visit historical sites including the Great Wall, the famed Terra Cotta Warriors in the central city of Xian and the Chengdu Panda Base, home to about 50 pandas.
The trip also will allow the first lady to make up for the fact that she opted to stay in Washington rather than meet with her Chinese counterpart in California last year. She’ll spend Friday with Peng Liyuan, the wife of President Xi Jinping, who will take Obama on a school visit.
West pleads no contest to battery
Kanye West pleaded no contest Monday to misdemeanor battery against a photographer at Los Angeles International Airport.
West entered the plea through his attorney and did not attend the court hearing. He was sentenced to two years of probation, 24 anger-management therapy sessions and 250 hours of community service.
The rapper did not reach a civil settlement with the paparazzo, and his plea cannot be used against him in a civil lawsuit.
West was charged with misdemeanor counts of battery and grand theft after an altercation at LAX with photographer Daniel Ramos in July.
Ramos claimed West punched him in an unprovoked attack and wrestled his camera to the ground during the scuffle.
The birthday bunch
Singer Charley Pride is 80. Singer-actress Vanessa Williams is 51. Guitarist Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains) is 48. Rapper-actress Queen Latifah is 44. Comedian Dane Cook is 42. Singer Phillip Sweet (Little Big Town) is 40. Singers Evan and Jaron Lowenstein (Evan and Jaron) are 40. Actress Sutton Foster (“Bunheads”) is 39. Singer Adam Levine (Maroon 5) is 35.