Renewed US-Russia nuke pact won’t fix emerging arms threats

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration was quick to breathe new life into the last remaining treaty limiting U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons. The going will be slower when it turns to other arms control problems that are either festering or emerging as potential new triggers of an international arms race. China is modernizing its arsenal of nuclear weapons and has shown no interest in negotiating limits. North Korea is at or near the point of being able to threaten the U.S. homeland with a nuclear missile strike. Russia has begun deploying  exotic new weapons. Iran is the biggest missile threat in the Mideast.last_img read more

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Lawmakers push mental health days for kids amid pandemic

first_imgSALT LAKE CITY (AP) — As the coronavirus pandemic takes a mental toll on young people, more states are considering expanding opportunities for students to take mental health days to try to lessen stigma and reduce youth suicide. Lawmakers in Utah and Arizona have proposed bills that would add mental or behavioral health to the list of reasons students can be absent from class. Similar laws have passed in Oregon, Maine, Colorado and Virginia in the past two years. The pandemic has increased pressure on kids who’ve been isolated from their friends and classmates for almost a year during remote learning. The portion of children’s emergency-room visits related to mental health ballooned in 2020.last_img read more

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South Africa’s former president is warned to appear in court

first_imgJOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — A legal showdown is looming in South Africa where former president Jacob Zuma is refusing to obey court orders to testify at a judicial inquiry into corruption charges against him. Zuma has been warned that he is not above the law after he publicly stated that he intends to defy a court order to appear at the inquiry. It’s a test of whether President Cyril Ramaphosa will be able to take decisive action against pervasive corruption. Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the commission, said further action will be taken against Zuma if he fails to honor a scheduled appearance this month.last_img read more

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Expert examines Catholic marriage

first_imgSacramental marriage is a relatively new concept for Catholics, Nancy Dallavalle said in a lecture at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday. Dallavalle, associate professor of Religious Studies at Fairfield University in Conn., addressed how marriage is viewed in today’s society and by Catholics in her talk “Are you in? Catholicism and Public Life Today.” “Marriage is clearly in the New Testament, but the notion that sacramental marriage has always been viewed as a sacrament is not the truth,” she said. “Marriage generally came from families and local customs — the church did not own marriage.” As civil structures broke down, the Catholic church stepped in to claim marriage as it’s own, Dallavalle said. “Marriage became one of the primary ways the Church could act authoritative in the public square,” she said. Dallavalle also said that social patterns are changing and have been changing for a while now. “There has been an increase of about 31 percent of women cohabitating with someone before they are married to that person,” she said. “Living together before marriage is no longer correlated with failure, but it is seen as a stepping stone to success in marriage.” Dallavalle also showed the audience a Subaru commercial, which depicts an American couple on their honeymoon — pitching a tent in the woods and having time to themselves after being married. “What does this video say about marriage?” Dallavalle said. “The Subaru commercial is self-expressive and is about the two people on their honeymoon. This is more of the American way of viewing marriage and sexuality — more self-expressive and separated from the public square.”last_img read more

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Donnelly eyes Senate seat in upcoming election

first_imgEditor’s Note: This story is the first in a series featuring the race for the Indiana seat in the United States Senate. U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly sees his potential new role as U.S. Senator as an opportunity to help bring the American dream to a greater number of Hoosiers. “[This campaign] is about people, it’s about the challenges families face and trying to make everyone’s American dream come true – to help be a small part of that,” Donnelly said. On Nov. 6, Donnelly will face off with Republican Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock to become Indiana’s next member of the U.S. Senate and the first Notre Dame graduate to ever sit in the upper house of Congress. Donnelly said Indiana voters’ choice on Election Day will come down to a few fundamental issues. “The choice in this election here in Indiana is crystal clear: it’s a question of who will fight for you and who will fight for middle class families,” he said. “My opponent, Richard Mourdock, has said that Medicare is unconstitutional, that Social Security is unconstitutional and that he doesn’t believe in bipartisanship.” Donnelly said if Mourdock were to win the race, it would be a departure from a tradition of moderate leaders representing Indiana. “He’s an extreme Tea Party candidate, and I’ve been – from the first day I started in Congress, an independent moderate,” he said. “Indiana has a long tradition of moderate, common sense U.S. senators like Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh, and that’s the tradition that I have served in the House and I intend to serve in the United States Senate.” Having worked in the private sector and other public roles in Indiana before his 2006 election to the House of Representatives representing the district including South Bend, Donnelly said a continued focus on his Indiana roots best prepares him to represent the state in Washington. “I think the most important thing is working back home in Indiana for 27 years in just a regular job, helping to run a printing business, practicing law and everyday raising my family back home,” he said. Donnelly said the campaign for Senate has differed from his experience campaigning for and serving in the House of Representatives because of the broader constituency he’s gotten in touch with. “It’s a chance to meet even more people from our state and see the incredible amount of diversity we have – in people, in geography – but at the end of the day, we’re so similar in that we want a job, to see our family have a wonderful life, and to see our country grow stronger,” he said. “In that way, all Hoosiers are the same.” As the media continues to maintain a major role in elections, Donnelly said the coverage has been more of an asset than a challenge. “I just look at it as a chance to talk to people from our state,” he said. “When I’m talking to [the media], I’m talking to the people of our state. So I look at them as a positive, a chance to continue the conversation, and a chance to hear what people think.” A 1987 graduate of the University, and a 1991 graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, Donnelly said the University has played a crucial role in his personal development. “Notre Dame has helped shape who I am as a person. I’ve known so many wonderful priests at Notre Dame, have been able to go to school with so many extraordinary people and have been taught by so many wonderful professors,” he said. “It’s helped shape who I am. I met my wife at Notre Dame. My children went to Notre Dame.” Donnelly said he has been thankful for the level of political engagement by Notre Dame students and alumni. “In the past I’ve had interns working in our congressional office almost every semester, a number of Notre Dame grads serve on my staff – both on the campaign staff and on the congressional staff. What we’ve seen is the talent level and ability of graduates from the University is off the charts,” he said. “I feel very lucky … we have a lot of Fighting Irish doing a lot of extraordinary work.” Donnelly said Notre Dame students with political ambition should pursue those aspirations, but said those who don’t see themselves as leadership material should keep an ear open for the call to lead. “I just practiced law here, worked at a small business, and hadn’t ever thought of running for congress. One day, I was blessed to have friends who talked to me about it, and it developed,” he said. “Don’t feel any pressure to have to do it one day or the next day … being a part of Notre Dame, you have the confidence, the ability and the talent to make anything come true.” Donnelly’s last bit of leadership advice comes from University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh. “I’ve always tried to keep Fr. Hesburgh in my heart. He always said whenever you have a decision to make, do the right thing,” Donnelly said. “That’s the Notre Dame way, and that’s what I try to do.”last_img read more

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Seniors spend fall break at thesis boot camp

first_imgWhile some seniors spent fall break at home, on a road trip or in Las Vegas, 29 members of the Class of 2014 got a jump start on their theses in Thesis Camp, sponsored by the Hesburgh Library and the University Writing Center. Matthew Capdevielle, director of the University Writing Center, said the program, which began in fall 2010, is intended to help students get to know themselves as writers. “The goal of the camp is to help writers develop a clearer sense of their own best practices and to build a healthy momentum that will see them successfully through the project,” Capdevielle said. The Writing Center and the Library achieved this goal by offering daily breakfast and lunch to students, making specialist librarians available to them, sponsoring speakers to address them and dedicating a special space for seniors within the library, Capdevielle said. “We want to create an immersion experience for them … but it’s also an opportunity to develop some really healthy and productive writing habits that will stick with them throughout the duration of this project,” he said. Laura Bayard, graduate outreach services librarian and a coordinator of Thesis Camp, said the program offers a perfect balance for students through non-mandatory programming and dedicated work time. “We know it works because the students inevitably say, ‘I had no idea I’d get this much done on my paper,’” Bayard said. Bayard said departmental librarians met with students to discuss specific resources available to them, and other programming targeted science majors who have more quantitative projects. Seniors also interacted with graduate students who were conducting dissertation research, she said. For those feeling pressure to complete their theses, a staff member from the University Counseling Center even spoke to the students about stress relief, and a tai chi session was held, Bayard said. Every day, representatives from the University Writing Center opened and closed the day with guidance, Capdevielle said, and they were also available for one-on-one consultations. “We do group goal setting sessions in the morning and kind of a writing warm-up and a check-in at the end of the day where we wrap up, we share our accomplishments, we put our list of accomplishments up on the board,” Capdevielle said. In these sessions, tutors from the University Writing Center presented useful writing strategies, Capdevielle said. “One of the tools that we invite writers to use during this camp is something we call the thesis log or the project log, and that’s just a process log for writers to capture information about their own process,” he said. Matt Hayes, a senior Italian and Program of Liberal Studies major, said these writing strategies helped him to be productive during Thesis Camp. “They were very helpful in teaching us various strategies on how to get things done,” Hayes said. “One is called ‘the pomodoro.’ … It’s Italian for ‘tomato.’ It was working in 25-minute increments and then you give yourself a five-minute break.” Zach Leonard, a senior classics major, said he most appreciated the special library space. “The most helpful resource [was] probably dedicated space,” Leonard said. “They put all the seniors in the bottom floor and that was helpful because I could pretty much have the same desk every day and it was quiet down there. The working environment was good.” Hayes said he is glad he attended Thesis Camp because he knew he would not have written the 10 pages he completed if he had been at home. “I’m a very easily distracted person, and I know if I went home I would have probably laid in my bed all day and watched Netflix. … Just forcing myself to wake up every morning at 8 a.m. to get there at 8:30 for breakfast, and just that uninterrupted time in the library, was probably the most productive I could’ve been over this break within reason,” he said. Leonard said his goal was to write 15 pages for his thesis, and he came close to meeting it. “My thesis is due by Thanksgiving, so I really needed to get a head start on it and finish up a lot of work. … I did not plan to stay in South Bend for my final fall break. It was annoying to see my friends go out and have so much fun, but in the end, it really was worth it to have done this,” Leonard said. For seniors continuing to write their theses, Capdevielle said the University Writing Center offers programming throughout the year, including “Write First” mini camps that take place from 8 to 10 a.m. from Monday to Friday in the Writing Center, one-on-one consultations with tutors and read-ahead service for thesis writers. Bayard said all seniors submitting theses should apply for the Undergraduate Library Research Award due Apri. 10 with a $1000 first prize award. “For senior thesis entries … it’s not given on the strength of the senior thesis,” she said. “It’s given on the essay written about library resources and how the libraries and our resources informed the paper.” Contact Tori Roeck at vroeck@nd.edulast_img read more

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Nearly 100 seniors go on retreat

first_imgOver the weekend, a group of nearly 100 Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s seniors took time out of their schedules to reflect at the beginning of their last semester of college.The Campus Ministry Senior Retreat took place Friday and Saturday in the Sacred Heart Parish Center, located on the other side of St. Joseph’s Lake, retreat director Margaret Morgan said.Meg Handelman | The Observer “The retreat is a chance for the senior class to come together and reflect on their time at Notre Dame and what they’ve learned. It is also a chance to look forward and think about who you are and who God wants you to be,” said Morgan, who is also the rector of Howard Hall.MC Larme, a Notre Dame senior who attended the retreat, said the experience helped her reflect on many of the questions she faces as a senior ready to go out into the world.“Out of the retreat, I feel like I got a lot of questions about my future and a framework for my relationship with God as I prepare to leave Notre Dame,” Larme said.Morgan said the theme of the retreat was “Live the Big Questions Now,” a line taken from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, and they wanted to help the seniors embrace thequestions and uncertainties in their lives.“There are so many populations who can benefit from retreats, but in a way our seniors are most in need,” Morgan said. “We often underestimate how stressful senior year can be. It’s such a crucial moment in their lives that it’s often easy to push faith aside.”Larme said many of the activities on the retreat centered on questions seniors face everyday.“Based on the question of ‘Who am I?’ we got to paint whatever came to our head,” Larme said. “We had one hour and a blank canvas. It was really cool.”Larme said even though she is a senior, the retreat still exposed her to people she had never met before.Meg Handelman | The Observer “I got the chance to talk to people that I’ve never known before and I realized they’re thinking about a lot of the same things I am and they have a lot of the same questions and concerns that I do,” Larme said. “I signed up [for the retreat] on my own accord but then it turned out that five to seven of my close friends signed up, too. But I also met a lot of people I hadn’t met before, so it was a cool balance of both.”Larme said she did not know what to think going into the retreat, but knew she wanted the chance to remove herself from her everyday life for a little bit.“I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the retreat, but I knew I wanted to take the opportunity at this point in senior year when stuff gets really busy to slow down and think about my relationship with God,” Larme said.Campus Ministry intern Rob Goodale said the retreat, which he and Morgan have been planning since October, formed after talking to several other schools about their senior retreats.“We talked to people at Villanova, Marquette, Gonzaga and Texas A&M about what they were doing with their seniors to get ideas for what we wanted to do,” Goodale said.Larme said the retreat featured typical activities such as silent reflection and small group time, but also included some creative and fun exercises designed to help students reflect.“We recorded videos of ourselves talking about where we are in our lives and sent them to an e-mail address set up my the retreat directors and they will send them to us after graduation,” Larme said. “It will be interesting to see how we have changed from now until then.”Larme said the retreat made her realize once again how much she appreciates the entire Notre Dame community.“It just reinforced the feeling that I am so lucky to be in the type of school environment we have,” Larme said. “It made me fall in love with my school all over again.”last_img read more

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U.S. advisor details foreign policy goals

first_imgDr. Shaun Casey, Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, spoke Tuesday at the Hesburgh Center for International Studies on the growing role of religious engagement in U. S. foreign policy.As the inaugural holder of this office, Casey said he welcomed the challenge to “launch a new office at the State Department that might have a long term impact on our foreign policy.” He said one reason his position now exists is that Secretary of State John Kerry “is deeply convinced that the United States needs a firmer grasp on the power of lived religion across the globe.”Casey began his job in July 2013 and has since set to work on its “three overarching missions,” the first of which is to fulfill his role as advisor on faith-based and community initiatives, he said.“Eighty percent of what Secretary Kerry does today has religion-related issues,” Casey said.Second, the office had to build capacity and organize within the State Department to further and systemically engage with religious communities. Casey said his office is attempting to unify the efforts of the State Department relating to religious engagement.“We do a tremendous amount of religious engagement, but it’s never been systematized; it’s never been examined,” he said.The third mission incorporates Casey’s goal for “external engagement” that will make his office “the point of contact, the customer service window … for external faith communities,” he said. In this capacity, Casey and his staff work with religious groups and addresses their needs and concerns while working to connect their communities with the offices inside the State Department that are best suited to handle their specific issues.Essential to these missions was the need for the “U. S. to show up,” Casey said.“Too often we’ve been content with simply looking at big-hat religious leaders and the things that they write,” he said.Examining only the opinions of prominent figures does not provide a full understanding of what is occurring in any given country, Casey said. Religious training centers help identify areas of concern and offer a fuller understanding of the religious dynamics in a country beyond what the “big-hat” religious leaders have to say, he said.“We live in an era where no one has really figured out analytically the right relationship between international relations theory and interpreting religion,” Casey said.Casey said his office faced criticisms that it would either be too Christian or not Christian enough. Other complaints suggested religion is “inherently icky” and, because of that, the State Department should refrain from religious engagement, Casey said. To counter the critics and provide standards for their efforts, Casey and his office developed certain maxims to follow.The first maxim is “do no harm,” Casey said. Second, the department must “be radically inclusive” and, third, recognize that “context is everything.” Casey explained that his office must be inclusive of all groups to avoid any sense of favoritism and must respect the geographic and historic differences within individual faith traditions, such as the distinct characteristics of Catholicism in Ethiopia and in Poland.The fourth maxim involves being skeptical of grand theories of peace and instead addressing issues in an ad hoc manner, Casey said. The fifth states that the State Department should consult “actors with local experience about lived religion.”For the final maxim, Casey said the State Department needs to “spend more energy in assessing and evaluating interfaith peace building.” He said that it is not enough to simply engage other faiths and nations, but that the department should examine the outcomes of their attempts to build peace through religious engagement.Tags: Foreign Policy, peace, religion, Shaun Casey, State Departmentlast_img read more

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Saint Mary’s hosts World Cinema Festival

first_imgSaint Mary’s Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) is screening four international films on campus this week as part of the annual World Cinema Festival. Mana Derakhshani, director of CWIL, said in an email that the festival is part of the effort to internationalize campus and aims to bring students and faculty an opportunity to acquire a more global perspective through the cinema of other countries.“Saint Mary’s World Cinema Festival continues to support the ongoing internationalization of the curriculum and the College community,” she said. “In addition, the festival brings to light the rich cinematic body of work that is being produced outside of the United States.”Julie Storme, associate director of CWIL, said in an email that internationalization of the campus and curriculum is one of the College’s strategic goals.“Internationalization requires that all members of our community have a greater awareness of the world beyond Saint Mary’s and beyond the United States,” she said. “A world film festival contributes to this awareness, particularly because films offer us a glimpse into other cultures — their values, perspectives and they way that people live in them.”Derakhshani said the festival is showing films from France, Iran, Argentina and Japan that are both popular and award-winning films from France, Iran, Argentina and Japan.Storme said Saint Mary’s students were able to suggest films to be included in the festival.“We’re showing a variety of films. Selection was based on a number of factors — their recognition, the picture they give of the way individuals live in the particular country, vignettes of life that those of us in this country might not expect to exist in the countries of origin of the films we’re showingYesterday evening the festival began with a showing of “The Intouchables.”“About Elly,” “The Secret in Their Eyes” and “Linda, Linda, Linda” will be shown Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, respectively.  All films will be shown at 7 p.m. in the Vander Vennet Theatre in the Student Center.Tags: CWIL, SMC, World Cinema Festivallast_img read more

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Ryan Hall to host Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

first_imgRyan Hall will host the fifth annual Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, one of the hall’s signature events, this SundayJunior Christina Fernandez said she hopes to see the bracket-style tournament continue to grow in terms of participation this year.“[Wheelchair basketball] started in 2012 with only 18 teams registered and last year, in its fourth year, we had over 70 teams registered,” Fernandez, the former Ryan Hall president, said in an email. “We’re hoping that in its fifth year, the tournament will be bigger and better than ever.”This tournament connects to the sentiment behind the Ryan family’s donation of Ryan Hall, Fernandez said.“The Ryan family chose to donate our hall because of a special connection to individuals with disabilities through their son, Corbett,” she said. “Despite his physical disabilities, Corbett Ryan graduated from Notre Dame and lived on campus during his time here. This led the Ryan family to donate funds for a fully handicap-accessible hall so that all students, regardless of ability, would have their needs met.”Fernandez said the event was started by Emily Voorde, a 2015 Notre Dame graduate who lived in Ryan Hall and had brittle bone disease. Fernandez said Voorde always said wheelchair basketball was not all that different from regular basketball — it’s just played on wheels.“[Voorde] knew this would be an amazing event that captured the spirit of Ryan Hall,” Fernandez said. “Wheelchair basketball brings athletes with and without physical disabilities together to level the playing field while creating an environment of inclusion.”Sophomore Grace Weissend said in an email the event’s accessibility makes it enjoyable for everyone who participates.“Wheelchair basketball is especially fun because it sort of levels the playing field for everybody out on the court,” Weissend said. “If you think you’ve got game, wait until you try and get that layup after rolling down the court in your wheelchair. Everyone comes out to have a great time, and we love watching everyone laugh and shoot hoops. … I hope that everyone who participates comes away from the experience feeling humbled by their — probable — lack of game on wheels, full from all of the free Chick-fil-a and fulfilled knowing that they contributed to an incredibly impactful organization.”Fernandez said all funds raised from the $25 signup cost for each team of five players would benefit Whirlwind Wheelchair International.“Whirlwind Wheelchair International is a nonprofit social enterprise that provides individually-catered wheelchairs to those who need them,” she said. “Given that Ryan Hall is the most handicap-accessible hall and was built to provide this residence hall experience to all who need it, Whirlwind Wheelchair International’s mission to make it possible for every person in the world who needs a high-quality wheelchair to obtain one really struck a cord with us.”Sophomore Emily Casey saidhosting this tournament to support Whirlwind Wheelchair International is a top priority for the hall.“Whirlwind Wheelchair is a cause that is very near and dear to our hearts,” Casey said in an email. “Whirlwind was able to provide 45,000 wheelchairs to those in need between 2008 and 2014 and continues to produce 15,000 a year. Their efforts are made possible through generous donations and we want to help as much as we can.”Freshman Grace Seibert said she values the chance to make a difference with her dorm.“It’s important for me to find a way to give back in any way I can, and this is a great way to give back, gain perspective and work with my fellow Wildcats,” Seibert said in an email. “I hope students leave with an understanding of how challenging it is to be in a wheelchair [and] become more aware of Whirlwind Wheelchair International. It’s an amazing organization and cause. The wheelchairs this organization provides change people’s lives.”Seibert said she is excited about the opportunity the tournament provides for a new experience.“Wheelchair basketball is super fun to play and not something you have the chance to do every day,” Seibert said. “Additionally, you get to put yourself in the shoes of someone who actually needs a wheelchair and know that the money you are helping raise goes towards durable, sustainable wheelchairs for people that couldn’t otherwise have them.”Weissend said she appreciates the charitable side of the event as well as the community-building aspects.“I chose to work on Wheelchair partly because it’s one of our Ryan Hall signature events, but more importantly because it supports such a fantastic and important cause,” Weissend said. “I love that Wheelchair Basketball brings together groups of friends on their respective teams and all the participants in the tournament bracket while allowing everyone involved to be connected to the global community through Whirlwind Wheelchair International. The event has a very communal feel to it, and that’s really special.”Sophomore Vanessa Acosta said there will be other activities and competitions in addition to the bracket tournament to entertain participants.“Wheelchair Basketball is my favorite Ryan Hall event because it’s for a good cause and it’s fun,” Acosta said in an email. “We’ll have a contest going for the most creative team name. Lots of teams coordinate outfits for it, so this is a great way to show some spirit with your friends. We’ll have lawn games set up so you can play while you wait for your turn on the court.”Casey said students can sign up their teams through a Google form on the event’s Facebook page or on the Student Shop website.Tags: Ryan Hall, Wheelchair Basketball Tournamentlast_img read more

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