WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has installed new heads of three federally funded international broadcasters after abruptly firing Donald Trump-appointees at the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Kelu Chao, acting CEO of the agency, made the announcement after dismissing the previous directors of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks late Friday. Chao also announced new corporate board directors for the broadcasters. The moves follow the forced resignation of Trump’s agency head, Michael Pack, only two hours after Joe Biden took office Wednesday. Pack had been accused by Democrats and others of trying to turn Voice of America and the other networks into pro-Trump propaganda machines.
BEIJING (AP) — The former head of a Chinese state-owned asset management company has been executed on charges of taking bribes in one of the most severe penalties imposed in a recent corruption case. The government said Lai Xiaomin, 58, formerly of China Huarong Asset Management Co., was put to death by a court in the eastern city of Tianjin. The court ruled in January that the unusually severe penalty was justified because Lai took “especially enormous” bribes that exceeded 600 million yuan ($93 million) in one instance. Most death sentences imposed by Chinese courts are suspended for two years and usually are commuted to life. Death penalties without the chance of a reprieve are rare.
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the city was reviewing the teachers’ union latest proposal on COVID-19 safety protocols to return to classrooms. The development came hours after her demand for a deal by the end of the day. Lightfoot declined to say what she would do if the Chicago Teachers Union doesn’t reach an agreement by the end of the day. Lightfoot has threatened to lock out teachers from remote learning if they don’t show up to class as expected. Students are already scheduled to have Friday off, so negotiations could potentially stretch through the weekend, although Lightfoot insists that would not be acceptable.
The Notre Dame Coalition for Human Dignity formed this semester with the goal of fostering communication among clubs working on issues of human dignity, as well as raising awareness of the work these clubs do on campus. Freshman organizer Matt Caponigro said the coalition derives its strength from the cohesion and spirit of cooperation shared among its member groups. “We thought that maybe if we started a dialogue with each other that we could help each other to move forward on some of these human dignity issues, to be more effective and reach out to more people,” he said. Caponigro said the Notre Dame Coalition for Human Dignity was founded as a passionate answer to a heartfelt request from Father Jenkins. “The coalition is our response to Father Jenkins’ call to make this university a healing, unifying and enlightening force in a world that’s deeply in need,” he said. “That has been our rallying call.” Caponigro said the coalition is inspired and driven by Notre Dame’s special status as a university focused on social concerns issues. “We at [Notre Dame] have a unique calling, especially among other universities, to do some real good for our brothers and sisters to start serious dialogue about human dignity issues,” he said. Caponigro said the coalition hopes to become a powerful advocate for human dignity by bringing together a diverse spectrum of clubs and individuals from across campus. “We want to build a coalition that bridges the gap between students, administrators and faculty members so that we can be truly effective in restoring human dignity to all people,” he said. The coalition has already grown to include organizations such as Right to Life and the Black Student Association, and hopes to further expand as it becomes better organized, Caponigro said. He said the coalition is empowered by its diverse membership, but this diversity can complicate its ability to make unified decisions. “The coalition revolves around partnership, sitting down at the table and talking about what we’ve been working on,” he said, “But it’s tricky, because there are a lot of different people at the table.” In the future, the coalition hopes to host a signature event before the end of the year to raise awareness and encourage student participation in the fight for human dignity, Carponigro said. “We’re hoping to do something like a concert on South Quad that brings everybody together, that shows our classmates and the rest of the Notre Dame community that we really do care about human dignity issues,” he said. Caponigro said he is excited for the coalition to forge closer bonds with Notre Dame as it matures and expands as an organization. “We’re looking forward to developing stronger relationships with the administration and with our peers so that we can really work together as a unified front,” he said.
More than 100 Holy Cross priests gathered in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Saturday to witness Notre Dame alumnus Matt Kuczora profess his final vows and become an ordained member of the priesthood. Kuczora said the ordination Mass revolves around three important actions: the laying of hands, the handing over of the Eucharist and the anointing of chrism. “[The bishop] lays his hands on my head, an ancient and biblical symbol of handing on authority and blessing,” Kuczora said. “After the offertory, he hands the chalice and paten on to me too as a symbol of my ministry at the Eucharist. Those actions, along with the anointing of my hands with chrism oil, really mark the ordination of a priest.” Kuczora presided over his first Mass on Sunday. Despite his nerves, Kuczora said it was a “wonderful” and “freeing” experience. “Before it started, I just said a quick prayer and said, ‘God, this is your prayer. This is your Mass, not mine,’” he said. “I let go, and let God take over from there.” Kuczora said he was attracted to the priesthood because he wanted to serve others. “I worked for a year after graduation from Notre Dame, and I found myself volunteering and teaching and coaching sports teams,” he said. “The more and more I thought about it, I wanted to make a life out of that kind of service and of helping people.” According to a press release from the Congregation of Holy Cross, Kuczora has spent the past year putting his desire to serve others into practice as a deacon at Nuestra Madre Santisima de la Luz Parish in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. “Our parish there has over 40,000 parishioners,” Kuczora said. “There’s a lot of sacramental need.” Kuczora said he performed a variety of sacramental duties while in Mexico. “I did communion services in the absence of a priest. I brought communion to the sick and homebound,” he said. “I did weddings, many funerals and many baptisms. Sacramentally, I was very busy.” He said he also assisted with the parish’s education program. “I also helped to run the catechesis program for 900 children,” Kuczora said. “There was a lot of teaching with that and organizing that, and providing ongoing education for our Sunday school teachers as well.” Kuczora said he plans to return to the same parish in Mexico for the next few years with the goal of “making God present to the people there.” “There’s a lot of violence, especially related to drug trafficking right now in Mexico,” Kuczora said. “[It’s about] making God known to the people there, and letting them know God is with them in their suffering, and God cares about them and loves them. Despite all the violence in their lives, God is still there with them and is offering them healing in this life and in the life to come.” In anticipation of his life as a priest, Kuczora said he is most excited to share in people’s spiritual lives. “[I look forward to] serving people, helping them have experiences of God … and walking with people in their journeys, which are so different,” he said. “People have struggles, but also a lot of joys. [I look forward to] just being with them, helping them to see God and realize God is with them and loves them.”
With an announcement made last Wednesday, Jan. 22, President Obama launched a new White House Task Force for protecting students nationwide against sexual assault.Obama is giving the task force, comprised of U.S. Government administrative officials, 90 days to come up with sexual assault prevention and response suggestions for colleges. The group is also tasked with proposing ways to increase public awareness and possibly creating a reinforcement system of federal agencies for schools that do not confront this rising problem.Prompted by a report made by the White House Council on Women and Girls, the President’s announcement states that 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted at college, with only12 percent of assaults reported. The report said issues of sexual assault on college campuses related to drug and alcohol use should be especially examined because these substances have been found to have incapacitated many victims of sexual assault.Obama said he sees a need for college to be a safe place that harbors individual growth and that “it’s not just these individuals and their families who suffer … our communities- our whole country — is held back.”Notre Dame has already made strides independent of the federal government’s efforts, attempting to address this serious concern.Student body president Alex Coccia said Student Government’s “One is Too Many” campaign has been put in place to “bring the topic of sexual violence into mainstream consciousness and conversation and to develop an attitudinal shift that leads to a culture that understands sexual violence and actively works to prevent it.”Coccia spoke on this topic before the National Campus Leaders Council, where he said Notre Dame can stand as an example for other schools and the task force to turn to when looking for solutions.“The discussion nationally is crucial to our efforts on campus. It shows that our efforts here at Notre Dame have the backing of the national conversation, and that no one is alone in their efforts to respond to and prevent sexual violence,” said Coccia.The University administration has taken similar steps, creating the Committee on Sexual Assault Prevention and working directly with student government to develop policies directed toward preventing sexual assault, student body vice president Nancy Joyce said.Joyce said she has worked on the sexual assault issue in the past and is in favor of this new initiative from the White House. Joyce said she believes the new task force will work in tandem with the system that Notre Dame has in place, bringing about increased awareness not just on campus but across the entire United States.“The timing of President Obama’s announcement both enhances and supports our ‘One Is Too Many’ campaign,” Joyce said.The approach Obama indicated is similar to that taken thus far by the University and Student Government, with some adjustments to the unique aspects of Notre Dame, Joyce said.“President Obama mentioned that he hopes a stronger sense of peer pressure on college campuses will help to prevent sexual assault,” she said. “To some degree, this is the approach we are taking here at Notre Dame, but I think Alex and I are more focused on the idea that Notre Dame’s sense of community is what will enable us to take better care of each other.”Coccia said he hopes the White House initiative will finally bring due attention to this increasing problem from the rest of the country. Coccia also said he is optimistic this announcement will stand as an important commitment by the White House to preventing sexual assault.“Our goals nationally and on campus are to break that silence and ensure that men take responsibility in these efforts,” Coccia said. “This is so important in the residential structure at Notre Dame, where leaders in male dorms have the unique opportunity to set the standard of behavior for all classes within the dorm.”As for the future of Notre Dame and the White House task force, Coccia said he believes promoting active bystander intervention, speaking out against trivializing sexual assault language and supporting the healing of survivors will be the main responsibilities of all those involved.Tags: Alex Coccia, Nancy Joyce, One is too many, President Obama, sexual assault, Student government, White House Council on Women and Girls
In his years as president, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh always kept his office door open to students who wanted to visit him, even in the middle of the night.And all through Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, students took him up on the offer one last time, visiting the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in a steady stream through the night to pay their final respects.“It says a lot that even though we didn’t get to experience everything he did, or we weren’t there during his most active times, we’re still here tonight,” McGlinn sophomore Priscilla Quaye said at 2 a.m.Courtesy of Matt Cashore Residence halls were assigned priority hours through the night to organize the flow of people. Even at 1 a.m., the wait time to enter the Basilica and proceed through the lines inside was about an hour and a half.“So many people want to pay their last respects to Fr. Ted, and [everyone here] is just a fraction of the people he’s affected,” McGlinn sophomore Cindy Do said. “It was well worth the wait.”For some students, this was the first time they were able to see Hesburgh in person, and they didn’t want to miss the chance to say both hello and goodbye.“I never met Fr. Hesburgh, but I know he shaped a place that’s been pretty integral to my development,” Quinn O’Heeney, a senior in Siegfried Hall, said. “I just had a hard time fathoming someone could have that type of influence over this many people and just have that type of effect on so many lives.”For others who had met Hesburgh before, the night was equally powerful.“I met Fr. Hesbrugh during my freshman year, and he was just such an amazing person who had contributed so much to Notre Dame and to civil rights and to a lot of different things,” Keenan Hall senior Samuel Leung said. “So for me, it was very important to be able to give respect to this man.“Inside there, you could feel that there was a lot of respect for this man, and everyone was there to honor him. It was a very special moment.”A tent set up outside the Basilica kept visitors out of the 20-degree night as they waited their turn to go in. Once inside, students were ushered into lines and made their way through the Basilica to stand before the casket, two by two.“I think it’s extremely impressive, first of all, because I never anticipated this many people would be here, especially this late into the night,” Mike Fernandes, a Siegfried Hall senior, said. “Standing in line all this time just reinforced the fact that Notre Dame is a pretty special place. You see the solidarity in people especially in times like this.”“I never got to meet him, so I really wanted to just come and see him in person and pay my respects and thank him for making Notre Dame the place that I love today,” McGlinn Hall senior Elena Brindley said. “It was a really cool testament to see how many people he touched, to see that it’s 2 a.m., and there’s a tent full of people waiting through the night.” Tags: Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Hesburgh, memorial, visitation
The Bookstore Basketball finals were held Sunday at 8 p.m. and resulted with Finnigans ND squeezing out a win against the Holy Cross Seniors with a final score of 21-17.The Finnigans team included sophomore Conor Colpoys, senior Colin Terndrup, junior Patrick Mazza, junior Brian Spahn and senior Tim Cole.Freshman Rebecca Wiley was in the audience during the game and said she was not expecting it to be as suspenseful as it was.“From my personal experience, when my Bookstore Basketball team had a game it was very relaxed,” Wiley said. “You could tell both teams were playing for something really big … so they put everything they had out there.”Fans endured the nearly two-hour game despite the unusually cold weather for late April. Wiley said the high attendance by fans was indicative of the spirit of the tournament.“You can tell the Bookstore Basketball means a lot to the Notre Dame community considering so many people came out to watch the game even though it was freezing,” Wiley said.Members of both teams suffered minor injuries during the game, and at one point Colpoys was pulled out so that a cut on his knee could be bandaged, although he had barely noticed the cut amidst the excitement of the close game.“It was very surprising how many injuries and blood there was,” Wiley said. “The play was very rough and it just showed how much both teams really wanted to win to represent their respective schools.”Freshman Erin Callaghan said she was impressed by how both teams played, especially after experiencing the competitiveness of Bookstore Basketball with her own team.“Their dedication was obvious,” Callaghan said. “The play was very organized and you could tell they put a lot of thought into their practices and communicating very well on the court.”Callaghan said both teams’ dedication was the key element towards their advancing in the tournament.“Aside from sheer basketball talent, I think that what helped bring both teams to the finals was cohesiveness as a team and a shared desire to win,” Callaghan said.Wiley said she believes the key to making it to the finals is team enthusiasm for the game. She said her favorite part about this tournament is the humor the students brought to it.“It’s been fun seeing people dress up and build humor and community through a sport,” Wiley said. “This game was a great finish to the tournament because it engaged a lot of the Notre Dame community and it was a game that kept everyone on the edge of their seats.”Tags: Bookstore basketball, Bookstore Basketball final 2015
Photo courtesy of Meg Brownley The fundraising committee announces the total amount of money this year’s Dance Marathon raised at the end of this year’s event, which took place in the Pfeil Center at Holy Cross College on Saturday.“I assisted those lovely ladies just with an immense amount of enthusiasm and positivity,” Spears said. ‘It’s very easy for your feet to hurt, legs to shake and your mind to just want to go home, but one day of standing for 12 hours is nothing compared to what those children at Riley go through.” Dancing for just one day lends both financial and emotional support to patients and medical staff at Riley Hospital for Children, Spears said.“It is a way to take a self-centric time of young adult’s life — college — and put their ends in a compassionate direction,” Spears said. “[Dance Marathon] is a movement full of nothing but, love, support, hope, happiness and way too much fun. I feel that it is important for all these qualities to be more present in the world.” To further this mission and movement, Spears said committee members and executives try to accomplish more than raising money.“We really focused on becoming a movement, more than a philanthropy,” Spears said. “We aren’t just asking people for money. We are showing every child at Riley Hospital for Children how many people support them and realize how strong they are. I can’t imagine what those children go through, but if they ever need an extra push of strength and hope, they know Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon believes in them and knows they can get through it.”Tags: Dance, Dance Marathon, riley hospital for children On Saturday, dancers at Saint Mary’s 12th annual Dance Marathon — which took place at Holy Cross College’s Pfeil Center — took all the right steps to raise $133, 363 for patients at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.Paige Spears, senior and morale executive, said the event — during which participants stay on their feet for twelve hours — raised a record-breaking amount and still has to account for last-minute donations.“This year, being on stage watching the hundreds of people dancing like nobody is watching for such an amazing hospital … my heart has never felt more full,” Spears said in an email. According to Spears, this year’s event raised about $25,000 more than last year’s, thanks to the executive committee for Dance Marathon.“The 16 people on the executive committee with me are easily what contributed to our gain,” Spears said. “These women have a passion people wanted to either enhance or emulate.”Spears said serving as a morale executive enabled her to boost the energy and spirit of the Marathon.
In an effort to explore the relationship between psychology and conflict, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, together with the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 48, will host the first Psychology and Peace Conference this weekend. The conference will include workshops, speeches and panels given by leading experts in the interdisciplinary field of peace psychology.“The conference topics are pretty broad-ranging, and the idea is to create an inclusive picture of what the future of peace psychology could look like and to really emphasize the role of rigorous empirical work as a contribution to social justice,” Laura Miller-Graff, assistant professor of psychology and peace studies, said.As a member of the conference planning committee, Miller-Graff has played a role in choosing and inviting speakers to campus who will encompass many areas of expertise in psychology and violence, reaching from small-scale interactions to conflicts that play out on the world stage.“We have a speaker who’s addressing genocide and a psychologist who’s addressing climate change, to more interpersonal forms of violence, so we have a speaker who will be talking about bullying,” Miller-Graff said. “We have something that would attract a lot of different audiences and give them a forum for thinking about how all these things relate to one another in terms of creating the big picture of addressing violence and conflict in global and local contexts.”The idea for the conference, Miller-Graff said, came from a suggestion by former APA Division 48 president, Scott Moeschberger, who attended a conference on global psycho-social care held by Miller-Graff and E. Mark Cummings, another psychology professor at Notre Dame. APA Division 48 focuses on the study of peace and conflict.“[Moeschberger] has been wanting to reinvigorate the division in terms of bringing in young scholars, enhancing the focus on rigorous empirical work,” Miller-Graff said. “He pitched the idea when we held that conference of exploring the possibility of us holding it at Notre Dame, and so when we returned from that conference we started the process rolling.” The conference has been in the works for about a year and a half, with Miller-Grant contributing to the general conference planning, as well as handling the logistics of hosting scholars and guests on campus. Notre Dame students and faculty may attend speeches and panels free of charge.“Since I’m here at Notre Dame, I’m also spearheading all the nitty gritty details of working with the conference office and making sure everybody can get where they’re going, sorting things out from this end of campus,” Miller-Graff said.”It’s been really fun — I’ve gotten to work with a lot of different people and it’s been great. It’s been crazy, but it’s been great.”The interdisciplinary nature of the conference, she said, allows for unusual engagement that can open the doors to new research.“We have about a hundred people who are registered to attend, and doing work in diverse areas related to violence and conflict and a lot of those people … don’t often attend the same professional conferences, so this is a pretty unique opportunity to bring together people’s work in a really interesting way,” Miller-Graff said. “I think I’m most excited for some of the informal conversations and collaborations that will emerge from this.”Tags: American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association Division 48, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, peace psychology, Psychology and Peace Conference