YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Several thousand demonstrators have called for the Armenian prime minister’s resignation while protesting in the square outside the government’s headquarters. Some of the demonstrators clashed with police on Thursday, and officers arrested 21 people. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has been a target of popular discontent since November, when he signed an agreement to end fighting in the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The agreement ceded land in Azerbaijan that had been under Armenian control since the mid-1990s. The 44 days of fighting left some 6,000 people dead. Pashinyan has refused calls to step down but raised the possibility of holding an early election.
LONDON (AP) — Police in southeast England have charged a 53-year-old man with sending a suspicious package to a coronavirus vaccine production site in north Wales earlier this week. A spokesman for Kent Police said Saturday that Anthony Collins has been charged with dispatching an article by post “with the intention of inducing the belief it is likely to explode or ignite.” Collins is set to appear before a court around 40 miles (65 kilometers) southeast of London. The arrest had taken place on Thursday, a day after all staff had to be evacuated from a site in Wrexham as the package was investigated.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia’s government is privately telling Biden administration staffers that its embattled Tigray region has returned to normalcy while new witness accounts describe terrified residents hiding in bullet-marked homes and a vast rural area where effects of the fighting and food shortages are not yet known. An emergency official with Doctors Without Borders warns of a large population suffering with fatal consequences. One former official in a phone call from rural Tigray says hunger among peasantry is crippling in remote areas bordering Eritrea after soldiers burned or looted crops just before the harvest. Ethiopian officials say nearly 1.5 million people have been reached with humanitarian aid.
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Trump flags still fly over homes across South Dakota, showing enduring support for the former president. In a state where Sen. John Thune, the second-ranking Republican leader, looms large over politics, GOP voters have closely watched how he’s dealt with Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. By many accounts from rank-and-file Republicans, GOP senators now facing Trump’s impeachment trial are in a no-win situation. They’re caught between backlash from Trump supporters and frustration from establishment Republicans who see them as letting the Trump off the hook. Across South Dakota, there are plenty of voters still loyal to Trump, and they’ll help decide whether to send Thune back to the Senate next year.
Greater acknowledgement for even the smallest life is at the heart of Respect Life Week, Right to Life club president Sam Stempky said. Stempky, a junior, said the week is intended to bring attention to matters relating to human life that may not otherwise attract the necessary dialogue. “We need a greater appreciation for the importance of these issues,” she said. “[Abortion] is a prevalent issue that isn’t talked about.” Respect Life Week is a part of the national Respect Life Month, held in October each year. Senior Ann Marie McCabe, the club’s Respect Life Week commissioner, said the weeklong celebration has become a campus tradition. “This is an opportunity for the greater student body to be aware of Respect Life issues in a very prayerful way,” she said. The most recent statistics published by the National Center for Health Statistics report 231 abortions for every 1,000 live births in 2007 — a nearly 1-to-4 ratio. According to PlannedParenthood.org, one in three women will have an abortion by the time she is 45 years old. “We have a very loving focus on a very hurtful issue,” Stempky said. “We’re not about throwing graphic images in people’s faces, yet we want people to know the truth.” Events already held this week include Monday’s presentation and lecture by Rebecca Kiessling. Kiessling was conceived by rape and nearly aborted twice. She speaks around the country for pro-life events, Stempky said. Club vice president Jason Taulman said around 40 people showed up for the talk. “As a woman conceived in rape and a family law attorney, she has a great balance of personal anecdotes and academic arguments,” he said. “Her entire existence is a reminder that this is not a purely philosophical, moral or legal debate, but in reality, human lives are at stake.” Abortion and its moral implications can hit close to home, even for Notre Dame, Taulman said. “As a student at this fine university, I think many of us, myself included, forget how real and how prevalent this issue is in our world, and hearing this talk was a great reminder of the inherent value of life, no matter whether it was created within the most violent of situations or the most positively life-giving marriage,” he said. A rosary was prayed with University President Fr. John Jenkins Tuesday evening in the Basilica. A showing of the documentary, “Thine Eyes: A Witness to the March for Life,” will be held tonight in Geddes Hall Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. The documentary focuses on the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. A display of crosses will be placed on South Quad near the flagpole Thursday evening, and a cupcake sale Friday will raise money for Hannah’s House, a “supervised visitation and exchange center” catering to parents and children with limited visitation rights, according to the organization’s website. Stempky said she hopes the events held during the Week will convey the gravity of abortion. “It is necessary to bring awareness to life issues and the immense impact they have on all of us,” Stempky said. “The abortion issue isn’t talked about enough. One in three women have abortions – that’s our mothers, our sisters, our friends. We want people to have all the information.” Coinciding with Respect Life Week is 40 Days for Life, an international initiative with a chapter in South Bend. Held from Sept. 28 to Nov. 6, 40 Days for Life began in Texas in 2004. Shawn Sullivan, director of South Bend’s 40 Days for Life, said there has been some student participation in the South Bend chapter. “With the last few campaigns, the primary goal has been to get more Notre Dame students and faculty involved,” he said. The event involves fasting, prayer and a community vigil at a local abortion clinic, he said. Sullivan hopes to expand participation in South Bend’s 40 Days for Life campaign beyond its current, largely Catholic membership. “We want other faith groups to get involved,” he said. “It’s ecumenical in nature.” Community outreach is also part of 40 Days for Life, Sullivan said. The group will welcome Peter Kreeft, a Boston College professor and religious speaker, to St. Pius X Church in Granger, Ind., on Oct. 14. The South Bend chapter also hosts a second 40 Days for Life during Lent, he said. “Forty days — that’s a period of transformation,” Sullivan said. “It’s representative of scripture, and we draw on that transformative period we see repeated throughout the Bible.”
In the first talk of The Quran Seminar, a project dedicated to studying passages from the Quran, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, professor of law at Emory University, gave a compelling talk about the relationship between the Quran and Islamic state law. An-Na’im said in the talk last night at the Notre Dame Law School he strongly believes sharia law and the Quran should be kept separate and not directly influence state law. “I find the term ‘Islamic law’ profoundly misleading,” he said. “Sharia has nothing to do with state law and should be kept separate.” An-Na’im noted the difference in attitudes of Islamic countries before and after the colonization of their nations by other countries. He said before they were colonized, Muslim states had no formal, central bureaucracy as we know today. “The state never exercised the function of enforcing criminal justice or criminal law,” he said. However, after Victorian-era governments colonized Muslim countries, they were influenced by the style of governance of their rulers. This persisted even after they became independent, he said. “[The colonized Muslim countries] continued the same kinds of practices of colonial governments administrations, and that is where we now come to the conclusion that sharia is supposed to be a natural state law and enforced by the state,” An-Na’im said. He said this implementation of sharia law as state law is improper. Muslim society is made up of many different viewpoints and interpretations of the text, which is encouraged, he said. However, when a state implements sharia law, this variety of opinion on the interpretation of the Quran is not present. “[State implementation of sharia law] diminishes the space for diversity of opinion, but it is arbitrary,” he said. “It depends on the leaders controlling the state, who decide what is to be enacted as the state law and what is not.” An-Na’im said the implementation of sharia law as state law takes away the ambiguity and mystery of the Quran’s text. He said throughout his talk the Quran’s meaning is too mysterious to ever fully understand. “It is the more profound intention of the Quran as a transformative text or language, where language itself is just simply a hint at what it might be or what it might lead to,” he said. An-Na’im ultimately said the implementation of sharia law as state law is impairing the Quran and the mystery the text is supposed to have. “It demystifies the Quran to its own detriment,” he said. “Not that the Quran becomes simplistic but that our simplistic meaning of it, because we need to derive a specific so called legal outcome, is what is destroying the sanctity and integrity of the Quran’s text.” Contact Madeline Inglis at firstname.lastname@example.org
In light of the ongoing conflict in Syria, Tuesday’s lecture about United Nations (UN) peacekeeping efforts had special resonance. Megan Shannon, a Kroc Institute visiting research fellow from Florida State University, said her research suggests the UN can effectively reduce violence in situations of civil war. Shannon said UN peacekeeping initiatives were put to the test in two particular missions that occurred in areas of violent sectarian conflict in Africa. The missions were ONUMOZ, the initiative in Mozambique, and MONUSCO, the initiative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Shannon said the two initiatives teach different lessons about how the UN can promote peace in war-torn countries. During the ONUMOZ initiative, a large number of armed UN troops were stationed in the country but not explicitly authorized to attack rebel forces. Meanwhile, the MONUSCO initiative deployed fewer UN forces in an enormously hostile situation and allowed troops to use offensive force if needed. In explaining the difference between the interventions, Shannon said the mission of the UN in promoting peace has changed. “The UN peacekeepers were initially intended for post-conflict missions, but now they intervene as hostilities persist,” Shannon said. Shannon said she drew from a large body of research to uncover whether the peacekeeping initiatives have been successful, but she found that little information exists concerning immediate effects of UN intervention. Most of the relevant research is focused on long-term outcomes of UN efforts, she said. “We are, unfortunately, limited by research that emphasized only the broad outcome years after the UN has been present in a warzone,” Shannon said. “From what we know, it seems that the UN has little success mitigating short-term violence in conflict scenarios.” An important feature of the assessment for Shannon was differentiating between certain varieties of UN forces, she said. “The three varieties of UN forces that we can examine are observance, police and armed troops,” she said. “Observance involves officials discerning what is needed for peace resolutions, police train and protect civilians, and armed troops divide warring factions and utilize more drastic measures to promote peace.” Shannon said armed troops in large enough numbers are the most effective method for attaining peace. “As the UN commits more military troops to a civil conflict, battlefront violence will decrease,” she said. There was nearly a 75 percent decrease in monthly battlefield deaths in conflict zones when UN armed forces were present en masse, Shannon said. But, Shannon said, deploying armed forces to the Syrian warzone is impractical given the current political strife among the members of the UN defense council. Moreover, she said certain cases, such as the conflict in Rwanda, show the potentially negative impact of UN peacekeepers. “It is possible that the UN provided a false sense of security during the Hutu rebellion, resulting in more deaths,” she said. Shannon said the UN nonetheless has a great capacity to promote peace in the world. “UN peacekeeping missions are associated with reduced conflict violence, though long term conflict resolution remains uncertain,” Shannon said.
Author Lynne Tillman gave a reading of her work on Wednesday evening at the Eck Center Auditorium, hosted by Notre Dame’s MFA creative writing program.Tillman is a novelist, short story writer and cultural critic. Her work spans several genres, and she is known for her varied and unique styles of writing.At the reading, professor of English Steve Tomasula introduced Tillman as “one of the most important authors writing in contemporary America” and as “a writer’s writer … most appreciated by those who have put pen to paper [and can] appreciate the seemingly effortless ease with which Lynne Tillman makes language do things it never has before.”Tomasula noted that Tillman’s “genius is in the simplicity of her language.”Tillman said she never got a definite ‘start’ in writing, but rather “had always wanted to be a writer, from the age of 8, and started working hard on a couple of shorter works and giving reading around New York City and being published in smaller magazines.”Tillman’s art criticism is noted for its unique framing within fiction, narrated by “Madame Realism.”“I started doing unusual — I think it’s probably unique — work in the art world in that I did not write traditional art criticism, but used a character called ‘Madame Realism’ to comment on shows or exhibitions,” Tillman said. “I hadn’t trained as an artist or art critic … but I think in the face of all the things you don’t know, it’s not a bad idea to remain insecure.“So I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll write as a fiction writer,’ and then that had a certain kind of impact … I continued to do narratives rather than regular criticism, because … I didn’t want to put writing in the background, I wanted writing as an art form, and I wanted writing to be foregrounded,” she said. “I was using writing to write about art, but I was trying to use words to make art as well.”Her creative work, which includes novels, essays and short story collections, has been said to “bend narrative writing into experimental realms.”“I try to do different things depending on the subject matter, the point of view, the characters,” Tillman described. “I like to sort of thoroughly absorb myself in whatever it is that I’m writing, and I don’t believe that a writer necessarily has one style.“I believe that when you’re writing from a point of view, your character will have a style. So I try to find different ways of approaching things … I’m interested in making writing that convinces me as I’m working on it that I should keep going,” she said.At the reading, Tillman first read an excerpt from her first novel “Haunted Houses” (1987), followed by a piece from the 1991 novel “Motion Sickness,” and finally, she shared from her most recent work, “American Genius, A Comedy” (2006).Tillman is currently working on a novel that is “maybe halfway or two-thirds done,” which she hopes will come out next year.“I’m very happy to be reading at Notre Dame,” she said. “The department seems terrific, the people who are writers there, so I’m excited about that.”Tags: creative writing program, Lynne Tillman, Lynne Tillman reading, madame realism, MFA Creative Writing Program, Notre Dame Creative Writing Program, steve tomasula
Senior Sarah Miller has been named the valedictorian of the Saint Mary’s College class of 2015.Miller, a music major and dance minor, is originally from Carmel, Indiana. Miller has been involved on campus as a member of the SMC Dance Team and has performed in the College’s choir, musicals and operas throughout her undergraduate years.Upon finding out she had received the title of valedictorian, Miller said she was pleasantly surprised, according to a College press release.“[I] feel so honored to represent women that I have learned so much from throughout my four years at Saint Mary’s College,” Miller said.The idea of writing a speech for graduation is both exciting and daunting, Miller said.“I am planning to discuss my personal experience at Saint Mary’s and the values of sisterhood and independence that I have gained here,” she said.Miller said she believes her most important moments at Saint Mary’s stem from her experience as a music major.“My immersive experiences on stage have been the most influential,” she said. “I have learned so much about my voice and myself through the hours that I have spent alone in a practice room as well as onstage in opera rehearsal.”Under the direction of music professor Laurel Thomas, who became Miller’s “mentor, teacher and inspiration,” Miller said she flourished at Saint Mary’s.According to a College press release, Thomas said Miller is a determined individual with great dedication to the arts.“Sarah has the personal strength, the patience to continually work toward her goals, the passion for music and learning that is vital to a life in the arts,” Thomas said.Following graduation, Miller said she plans to attend graduate school for vocal performance and is currently in the process of auditioning.“This is an extremely long and difficult process,” she said. “I’m crossing my fingers that I will get into a school next year, but many singers have to wait a couple years to let their voices mature. Many opera singers go to graduate school in their mid-to-late 20s.”Miller said her decision to attend Saint Mary’s was influenced by what she calls the College’s perfect pairing of the voice and dance programs, the opportunities to be exposed to science and the sisterhood she experience during her first visit.“I absolutely loved all of the girls I met when I toured Saint Mary’s and immediately knew it was were I wanted to be,” Miller stated in the press release. “The opportunities are endless, and I encourage current and incoming students to not only take advantage of learning in the classroom but also from your peers outside of that environment.“Finding a balance in college can be difficult, but luckily you will always have the Saint Mary’s sisterhood as your support system.”Tags: 2015 valedictorian, arts, Laurel Thomas, Music, Saint Mary’s 2015 valedictorian named, Saint Mary’s valedictorian 2015, Sarah Miller, valedictorian
In an email to the student body sent Nov. 23, University President Fr. John Jenkins announced plans for the commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Jan. 18. All classes and campus activities from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. will be canceled to allow for student, faculty and staff participation in the events.After receiving feedback from students, faculty and staff, the President’s Oversight Committee on Diversity and Inclusion “recommended last spring that we take time as a community on MLK Jr. Day to both celebrate the diversity that currently exists on our campus and to reflect on how Notre Dame might become even more welcoming and inclusive,” Jenkins said in the email.“The committee did so, too, in recognition of the fact that we have an obligation at Notre Dame to participate in and learn from the ongoing national and even global conversation on diversity and inclusion. All students, faculty and staff will be invited to participate, making this a special opportunity to gather as a campus community,” he said.The committee is currently planning several events for MLK Jr. Day, which include a candlelit prayer service and midnight march from the Word of Life mural at Hesburgh Library to the Grotto, the email stated. There will be a luncheon and program for 3,000 students, faculty and staff in the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center and a Celebration Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at 5:15 p.m. featuring the Voices of Faith Gospel Choir, Jenkins said.“Most importantly, I hope you will use this occasion to reflect on the values that are so central to Dr. King’s legacy and to Notre Dame’s mission. Whether in the context of the courses you are taking, through attendance at campus lectures, or in informal discussions, your participation in our ongoing dialogue about what it means to be the kind of community we strive to be at Notre Dame and the ways that we, individually and collectively, can be a force for good in the world, is critical,” he said. “At Notre Dame, we often speak of community. As president of the University, I have the privilege of experiencing the strength and depth of the Notre Dame community in many settings, in our residence halls, at alumni gatherings, in the friendships formed on campus, and in the ways we come together in times of joy and sorrow. Our commemoration of MLK Jr. Day will be an opportunity to reflect on how we can make our community more welcoming and inclusive, and what we can do to make our nation and our world more just and harmonious. I look forward to joining with you for these important events.”Tags: Diversity, MLK, MLK Day