Clashes break out in Tunisia after death of protester

first_imgTUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Clashes in Tunisia between groups of young people and police have broken out, following the death of a local man in his 20s who participated in last week’s protests. He is reportedly the first fatality of the demonstrations that swept the North African nation. Angry residents fired projectiles at police and attempted to enter a security post in Sbeitla in the Kasserine region on Monday. They had blocked the town’s main road by setting tires on fire, according to state news agency TAP. Law enforcement responded with tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters, and a chase took place through city streets. TAP said that the army was deployed to calm unrest there and protect public buildings.last_img read more

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Record 4.2 tons of cocaine seized near French Caribbean

first_imgSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Officials with the French army stationed in the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe say they seized a record 4.2 tons of cocaine in nearby waters. The Armed Forces of the Antilles said Wednesday that  it found the 177 bricks of cocaine aboard a fishing vessel in the Atlantic Ocean on Jan. 17. Eight people aboard the vessel were arrested. Authorities say the seizure was a result of close cooperation with several countries that it did not identify. No further details have been released.last_img read more

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Kitsch or artwork? Controversial monument unveiled in Serbia

first_imgBELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia’s president has attended the unveiling of a grandiose monument to a medieval monk and historic ruler which has come under fire from critics who call it oversized and kitschy.  President Aleksandar Vucic’s allies say the 23-meter-high, 70-ton bronze sculpture of the legendary founder of the Serbian state, Stefan Nemanja, placed on a gilded egg-shaped construction in downtown Belgrade will be a new landmark of the Serbian capital.  Opponents think the monument is a megalomaniacal and pricy token of Vucic’s populist and autocratic rule that should be removed. The unveiling was on Wednesday night.last_img read more

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UN refugee agency: Asylum ‘under attack’ on Europe’s borders

first_imgGENEVA (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency is warning that asylum is “under attack” at Europe’s borders, calling on countries to investigate and stop illegal “pushbacks” and expulsions. UNHCR said new arrivals to the European Union continue to decline each year, with 95,000 arrivals by sea and land last year — a drop of 23% compared to 2019 and by one-third compared to 2018 when over 141,000 arrived. UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Gillian Triggs said the situation should be manageable, expressing regret that the issue of asylum remains “politicized and divisive” despite the declining numbers.last_img read more

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72-year-old Scotch whisky fetches over $54,000 in auction

first_imgHONG KONG (AP) — A 72-year-old bottle of Glen Grant single malt whisky from Scotland has fetched more than $54,000 in an auction in Hong Kong. It is the first time that the 1948 Glen Grant whisky, by independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail, was offered in an auction. It was auctioned off by Bonhams, fetching a price of $54,300 including premium. The whisky, the oldest from the Glen Grant distillery, is in a Dartington crystal decanter with an American black walnut presentation box. Despite the economic uncertainty brought by the pandemic, interest in rare whiskies remains high.last_img read more

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Project supports cancer patients

first_imgHundreds of students gathered in South Dining Hall Saturday afternoon to make fleece blankets for cancer patients at the annual Aidan Project. The project, sponsored by Circle K and Knott Hall, began in 2006 when former Knott resident Aidan Fitzgerald, then a sophomore, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Over 400 students attended Saturday’s event. Knott service commissioner Mitchell Lopes said participants made 324 blankets and raised $2,000 from T-shirt sales, both improvements from last year’s event. The money will be donated to the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis where Fitzgerald was treated. The blankets will be donated to multiple hospitals, but primarily to Riley. Lopes said Fitzgerald developed the idea for the project after he went into remission. “After he beat the cancer he thought it would be great if he could start something in tribute to cancer [treatment], so he came up with this project,” Lopes said. “He [had a friend in] Circle K and lived in Knott, so he brought the two together.” Sophomore Mara Stolee, Aidan Project commissioner for Circle K, said the project is so popular with students because of its convenience. “We run the event on campus, in South Dining Hall, which makes it extremely easy [for them] to take a few hours of their time and do something nice for others,” she said. Circle K not only purchases the fleece, but also precuts it, Stolee said, making it feasible for students to stop by only briefly and still complete a blanket. Lopes agreed that it is easy to contribute to the Aidan project. “It’s a fairly quick project, so you don’t have to spend hours of time or a full day there,” he said. “You can pop in for 15 minutes, make a blanket, and you’ve done something constructive that helps someone. There’s a sense of accomplishment being able to say, “Hey, I only spent 15 minutes and I helped this great cause.” Junior Tyler Smith has attended the Aidan Project the past three years because of his close relationship with Fitzgerald. “I came to know him through my brother, who was his roommate and best friend,” Smith said. “Going to the Aiden Project is not only a way to help those who have cancer, but to support Aidan.” Smith said Fitzgerald’s personality helps the project continue to reach high attendance numbers. “He is very well-liked throughout the Notre Dame community,” he said. “And even though he has graduated, [Fitzgerald] continues to maintain many friendships with people still here.” Sophomores Cara Curran and Colleen Kerins also participated in the Aidan Project because of personal relationships with Fitzgerald. “We went last year because Aidan was a Cavanaugh football coach, so a lot of Cavanaugh girls were involved,” Kerins said. Curran said the project is a simple way to give back to those less fortunate. “You can just go and relax and hang out with your friends,” she said. “And they make it really easy for you to make the blankets.” Stolee said the brilliance of the Aidan Project stems from the way it takes a simple idea and applies it on such a large scale. “Cancer changes the way people live their lives, but with the Aidan Project we hope to change the way that they live with cancer by offering them gifts of love and support,” she said. “Cancer patients fight a hard battle, and it is important that they know each day that people care about them and are cheering them on.”last_img read more

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Group discusses diversity, inclusion

first_imgIn Wednesday night’s Student Senate meeting, senior Luis Llanos, chair of the diversity council, and junior Carolina Ramirez, student government liaison to the diversity council, presented the council’s resolution in support of recent changes to community life and its recommendations to the University for moving forward. Ramirez said the resolution praises the University’s many useful resources for combating discrimination and harassment on campus, including speakup.nd.edu. “We’ve also received a lot of great feedback for the new training that rectors and hall staff went through,” she said. “Our goal is to make sure everyone feels welcome in the dorms regardless of their backgrounds.” However, Llanos said the resolution proposes suggestions for improvement in these areas. “We’re requesting that a visible statement of inclusion be placed in each classroom,” Llanos said. “This is about making sure everyone – students, faculty and staff – feels ‘at home under the dome.’” The resolution also recommends Halal and Kosher foods be made accessible to students with dietary restrictions, that it be made mandatory for faculty and staff to attend diversity in-services, that the University add a “cultural enrichment” course requirement, and that Notre Dame increase efforts to recruit and retain ethnically and culturally diverse faculty members. Senior Daniel Colston, director of internal affairs, said the crucifix that already hangs in each room on campus is already an effective symbol of inclusion.  “If I were to say a racially insensitive slur, seeing a piece of paper up on the wall wouldn’t prevent me from doing that more than Jesus would,” he said. The resolution also suggested rectors be “required to collaborate in the process of choosing a Freshman Orientation staff.”  “We want to get the word out to students – especially students from diverse backgrounds – that it’s important to be a part of their dorms. … What we hope to do is to push them to be a part of the Frosh-O staff so that the freshmen have a better time,” Llanos said. “… Frosh-O can really play a huge role in how your freshman year goes, and we really want everyone to have someone not only they can trust, but who can empathize with them.” Alumni Hall senator Juan Jose Daboub said the suggested changes to Frosh-O are too extreme. “I feel like we’re trying to put people in a bubble and protect them from all of this. And it’s great that we’re trying to help them, but what if in the end we’re actually hindering them?” Daboub said. “What if they get into the real world and they realize they’re not going to be babied?” Llanos said he does not think these measures “baby” students.  “The only thing we’re looking for is for people to feel at home. It’s not babying, it’s just saying, ‘Hey, don’t transfer. Why are you miserable?’ I think that’s the Catholic thing to do,” Llanos said. Contact Margaret Hynds at mhynds@nd.edulast_img read more

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Professor emeritus to visit China

first_imgEmeritus chemistry professor Subhash Basu is scheduled to present the lecture, “Characterization of Biosimilar Anti-cancer Agents Using Apoptosis Assays,” in Suzhou, China on Nov. 20 as part of the 12th Annual Congress of International Drug Discovery Science and Technology (IDDST).The theme of the conference, “Shaping the Bright Future of Drug Discovery,” is part of a larger effort to provide “the perfect meeting place to exchange information and discuss breaking scientific discovery toward enabling technologies that are driving bio/pharmaceutical innovations, the drug discovery and development process,” according to the IDDST invitation letter.“I think at least 200 people are going to talk in four days, so [the conference] is very important,” Basu said. “You increase your horizons of known people. Not only do you sell your product, but you also get ideas, so it’s very important to get an invitation from there and interact with those people all over the world.”Basu said conference attendees include vice presidents, CEOs and directors from some of the largest research and pharmaceutical companies around the globe. Although the conference includes many aspects of the drug delivery process, Basu said he is presenting on the use of liposomes in cancer drug delivery.“The research is focused on finding new chemicals, which can kill cancer cells,” he said.Basu, who has worked at Notre Dame for the past 44 years in the area of breast and colon cancer drug discovery, said the goal of his lab is to use the smallest and least toxic dose of chemicals to cause cancer cells death without harming normal cells.“The dying of normal cells means the DNA gets degraded, but cancer cells, they don’t want to die,” he said. “They are immortal.”15 years ago, Basu said an undergraduate in his lab ran an experiment using the anti-cancer chemotherapy drug, Cisplatin. Results of the experiment showed that Cisplatin killed cancer cells by apoptosis, which Basu said was not known at the time.The lab published the paper and then began working on other chemicals with the ability to induce apoptosis, Basu said.“It caught the attention of the whole world that cancer cells could be induced for apoptosis, which then I said, I can bank on that … that I want to kill cancer cells by apoptosis induction,” he said.In addition to his cancer research at the University, Basu said he is currently in the process of establishing a non-profit foundation, the Cancer Drug Delivery Research Foundation.“I conceived of this new foundation [for] cancer drug delivery, how we deliver these apoptotic chemicals,” he said. “I have four or five more patents to apply for immediately so I’m preparing myself to build a new lab, a new crew and everything.”Basu said future patents will help finance cancer research, and he said he should receive all necessary confirmations to move forward with the project within the next six months.“Now, I have in my possession all the equipment,” he said. “All I need [is] declaration from the IRS that this foundation is tax exempted, and then I can accept the money from different agencies.”Until then, Basu said he plans to continue his research and attend various global conferences.Next month, “Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology” will publish a chapter on potential anticancer drugs written by Basu.Tags: annual congress of international drug discovery science and technology, anti-cancer, apoptosis, cancer cells, characterization of biosimilar anti-cancer agents using apoptosis assays, chemistry, china conference, DNA, IDDST, research, shaping the bright future of drug discovery, subhash basu, suzhou chinalast_img read more

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Baker/Kohler to head Saint Mary’s Student Government Association

first_imgSaint Mary’s College Student Government Association (SGA) announced the incoming student body president and vice president, Kaitlyn Baker and Maddie Kohler, on Friday.Election week was exciting and stressful, but Kohler felt particularly confident during her speech in the dining hall Wednesday during dinner, she said.“We were always anxious to see how the other candidates were going to campaign,” she said. “But Wednesday night, when we gave our speeches, I was so proud to be telling the students what we want to do, if elected, and express our love for the College.”Kohler said she and Baker plan to attend SGA meetings and shadow the College’s outgoing student body president and vice president, McKenna Schuster and Sam Moorhead, to prepare for their term, which officially begins April 1.Baker said she and Kohler will begin the board application process for student-run organizations like Student Diversity Board (SDB), Residence Hall Association (RHA) and Student Activities Board (SAB). Students were elected into such positions prior to this year, Baker said.Though they both have SGA experience, Kohler said she and Baker look forward to working with Schuster and Moorhead to guide them into their new positions.Kohler said she and her partner intend to add a function to the new BelleMobile app that would track Blinky, a nightly shuttle service sponsored by Saint Mary’s Security to transport students safely around Saint Mary’s campus, as well as back and forth from the Grotto.“There’s a lot of questions that need to be asked and a lot of research to figure out how we could create such a function,” Kohler said. “I’ll have to reach out to IT and try to develop that over the summer.”Baker said they want to begin promptly on some of their larger initiatives, such as the Blinky tracker and diversity within SGA.In addition, Baker said they want to talk with security about transporting students during the day.“The issue seems to be that girls come home with groceries and luggage, and they need a little help getting from point A to point B, so maybe we can talk with security about being more available during the day,” Baker said.Kohler said she wants students to know she and Baker are interested in their concerns.“We’ve already had students reaching out with ideas, and students feel like they can communicate their wants and needs to us,” Kohler said. “ I really want students to know we are approachable.”Baker said she and Kohler hope to recruit a diverse group of students to be in their presidential cabinet.“I want to make sure minority groups are represented and reach out to some of the diverse clubs to find out what their needs are,” she said. “I want to make sure their voices are heard.”SGA added an “International Chair” to ensure the needs of all students are met, and Baker said she thinks including SGA representatives within that addition may help.“We can’t really cater to the needs of diverse students if we don’t have any diversity in SGA,” Baker said.Baker said she also wants SGA to maintain its transparency while she and her partner are in office.“In our platform, we tried to be really honest and highlight ideas we know we could work towards,” she said. “We really want to hear from students and keep Senate meetings open to students to voice their concerns.”Baker and Kohler both said they are excited for the “Big Belle, Little Belle” Program to begin next fall. The program will pair up current sophomores and juniors with incoming first-year students and give new students a guide for their first year of college and beyond.“Right now, the program is voluntary and the Office of Student Affairs is in charge,” Baker said. “We hope students will want to share their Saint Mary’s experience with new students and serve as a mentor and friend.”Kohler said, overall, the elections were a good example of friendly competition amongst classmates.“All of the candidates did a great job campaigning and getting their message out there,” Kohler said. “Now I’m really excited to meet with [the] administration and communicate our ideas and figure out what plans are already in the making.”Tags: Kaitlyn Baker, Maddie Kohler, sga, sga electionslast_img read more

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Ricketts, Ruelas compose mental health memo to Board of Trustees

first_imgEric Richelsen | The Observer Student government compiled its new research and recommendations on mental health in a memo to the University Board of Trustees.Student body president Bryan Ricketts said the memo is an extension of a report on student stress and mental health written by Lauren Vidal and Matthew Devine, last year’s student body president and vice president, as well as Shannon Montague, their chief of staff.“We thought it was a great conversation,” Ricketts said. “Their look at student stress examined how conditions can exacerbate mental illness, or even create it for the first time. Now we’re examining some of the leftover questions, looking more at the actions taken to help students with mental illness.”Dan Sehlhorst, student body chief of staff, said the memo contained a further analysis of mental illness in relation to high-risk groups on campus, as well as information about individual colleges’ responses to student mental health needs.Sehlhorst said student government issued two main recommendations in the memo, suggesting changes to address the climate and procedures related to mental illness on Notre Dame’s campus.Ricketts said student government defined stigma reduction and emphasized the role of community as segments of its recommendation about the climate surrounding mental illness on campus.“Through a combination of academic research, campus research and data analysis we did over the summer, we were able to sit back and decide what we, as a student government, want to accomplish this year,” he said.Sehlhorst said the memo addressed five procedures related to mental illness — parental education, collegiate targeted outreach, high-risk group targeted outreach, faculty education and college referral education.Educating parents about the mental health resources on campus could help them provide support to their children in times of need, Sehlhorst said.“We want to help parents know better how to refer their students if they were identifying signs that they needed some additional help — maybe they’re way too stressed over the phone, maybe they’re really depressed,” he said.Vidal and Devine’s report highlighted freshman students and international Asian students as those with a higher risk of stress-related mental illnesses, Sehlhorst said.“We identified five additional high-risk groups: LGBTQ students, racial and ethnic minorities, students who have a background of high socioeconomic need, men and non-Catholic students,” he said. “Each of those groups face mental health issues in a different way. They often face different types of mental health issues, so they need to all be dealt with in a specific way.”Sehlhorst said different on-campus organizations have close relationships with different demographics, allowing them to serve as a resource for different high-risk groups.The memo also notes the importance of faculty education about the mental health resources on campus, such as the Campus Assessment Response and Education Team (CARE Team), Ricketts said.Sehlhorst said student government suggested broader faculty training programs to teach faculty members about ways to recognize mental illnesses and how to help put students in touch with the resources available to them.“It would start with the actual training … so they know the warning signs and resources available,” he said. “A lot of colleges do this really well already. Basically, what we are identifying is we can still improve even further.”Ricketts said it is important to continue the collaboration between the different colleges at the University, continuously evaluating the best way to help students access the resources they need.“These are all ideas, initiatives that we’re using to frame how we’re dealing with mental health and how we’re engaging with administrators and the colleges on mental health issues,” he said.To address mental illness, student government has also created a department of health and wellness and assisted in the development and promotion of the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being, Ricketts said.Members of the Notre Dame community have vocalized their desires to address mental illness on campus, Ricketts said.“This is an issue that affects students, and we want to make sure we’re continuing that dialogue and continuing student engagement with the issue,” he said.Tags: Board of Trustees, mental illness, Notre Dame, Student Government Memolast_img read more

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