China’s HNA Group says creditors want it declared bankrupt

first_imgBEIJING (AP) — HNA Group, a debt-burdened Chinese airline operator that faced opposition in Washington to its attempt to buy a Wall Street hedge fund during a costly global acquisition spree, says its creditors have asked a court to declare the company bankrupt. HNA said it would cooperate with the court and “actively promote debt disposal.” It gave no details of the company’s status or an indication whether the court agreed to the petition.  HNA, which began as a one-plane airline in 1993, was struggling with $75 billion in debt when last year’s shutdown of global travel to fight the coronavirus pandemic devastated its core aviation business.last_img read more

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Lacrosse brings hope to Ugandan children

first_imgPlaying lacrosse gives children in Uganda whose parents have been afflicted by AIDS one thing they can’t find anywhere else — something to call their own.“They love playing lacrosse specifically because they all have their own stick when they get to play, and they don’t really own anything,” said Kevin Dugan, Notre Dame’s director of men’s lacrosse operations at Notre Dame. “That is just an incredible experience for them because they‘re just not used to having something [that is their own.]”Children in Uganda have been able to play lacrosse and other sports since Dugan created Fields of Growth International, a non-profit organization that strives to facilitate development in Uganda.Notre Dame athletes, and particularly members of the men’s lacrosse team, work with the organization to empower both children and their parents in Uganda.“Lacrosse is certainly not the main priority in what we’re doing. The main priority is social entrepreneurism, AIDS education and real, grassroots village economic development,” said Dugan, a 2001 graduate of Notre Dame. “What we really want to do is be able to intersect the things that bring us passion and joy with the need in the world.”Sophomore lacrosse player Jake Brems will travel to Uganda this summer to intern with the organization.“I’m excited to get over there and be able to help other people. I’ve never done an international service like this,” Brems said.Brems will study the effectiveness of the organization’s poultry-rearing project, which is meant to benefit women whose husbands have died from AIDS.“It’s a $500 project where we build a chicken coop. We buy about 100 young chicks and we buy the family the vaccinations they need to keep the chickens healthy,” Dugan said. “We buy them all the things they need to get the project up and running.”The family can then sell the eggs for profit or use them for familial nourishment, he said.Dugan said the organization will pilot the poultry-rearing project in May.“The woman is 31. She is HIV positive. Her husband just died of AIDS and she’s got 7 kids,” Dugan said. “Creating this poultry-rearing project makes it easier for her … If they take care of it and run it effectively, it changes their life forever.”Fields of Growth International also works with the children of AIDS widows and teaches them to play sports, such as lacrosse, netball and soccer.“Here are these kids. They wake up every day and life never changes. For us to just give them our time, no matter what that may be, they’re excited, whether it’s lacrosse or flag football or kickball,” Dugan said.Dugan said he wanted to infuse the spirit of Notre Dame athletics into the program for children in Uganda, and has done so through the “Play Like a Champion Today” sign.“These kids at this orphan school, they walk out on this field and they touch the ‘Play Like a Champion Today’ sign,” Dugan said. “‘Play Like a Champion Today’ translates to these kids, ‘live like a champion today.’”Brems said he wanted to combine his love for lacrosse and service, but never had the opportunity before learning about Fields of Growth International.“There is really nothing else like that in the lacrosse world. I’ve heard people talk about having interest, but there has never really been an opportunity to,” he said. “Most of the [volunteering] events that we do around here are one-day events.”Dugan said the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team has helped generate equipment to send to Uganda and said he hopes to get the team more involved over time.“We think it’s going to be the start of an incredible team international development project,” Dugan said. “It puts our athletes, many of whom are business majors, in a position to have an experience with micro venturing and social entrepreneurism at the grassroots level.”Dugan said the project also sends a positive message to the athletes.“The main people that we’re playing lacrosse with are girls and the main people that we’re helping are women,” Dugan said. “I think it’s really powerful message for our guys to see that and for our guys to respond to that and to have Division I athletes serving and trying to empower marginalized women in rural Uganda.“[We’re] going over there with that humble spirit like, OK, I’m going to learn more from Africa more than Africa is going to learn from me … We need Africa more than Africa needs us.”Dugan said the organization is currently selling T-shirts, modeled after the TOMS Shoes one-for-one design.“We make about $6 to $7 per T-shirt. That’s how much a live chicken costs in Uganda,” he said. “You buy a T-shirt and we buy a live chicken for the AIDS widow poultry-rearing project.”For more information on Fields of Growth International, contact Kevin Dugan at kdugan1@nd.edu or visit www.fieldsofgrowth intl.orglast_img read more

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Local caf

first_imgLula’s café, a popular restaurant and meeting spot for groups in the Notre Dame and the larger South Bend community, was notified early in October that its lease would not be renewed. It must vacate its Edison Plaza location by the end of the month. Owner and 1993 Notre Dane graduate Steve Egan has spent the last month searching for a new home for the café he opened 16 years ago. He hopes to carry over the “essence” of Lula’s to its new location. “Lula’s is a thriving business that was thrown a curve,” Egan said. “My approach has been take a positive stance, Lula’s is going to be bigger and better. We look at this as an opportunity to grow.” When the idea of Lula’s was born 16 years ago, Egan was a public accountant in Chicago. Over dinner at a Chinese restaurant, Egan’s friend and fellow Notre Dame graduate proposed the idea of opening a café in South Bend. Egan’s girlfriend at the time, who is now his wife, was considering taking a job in South Bend, so the timing was perfect, he said. Egan went around to cafés in Chicago to brainstorm ideas and to gather as much financial data as he could. He and a business partner put together a business plan, found a location and got their brand new café up-and-running. “It was a happy accident, really,” Egan said. “Lula’s was a hit right away.” Egan said Lula’s was always intended as a bridge between the South Bend community and the campus communities, including Notre Dame, Holy Cross, Saint Mary’s and Indiana University South Bend. “We want to break down barriers … misconceptions that people from town have about people from campus, and vice versa,” he said. “We want to appeal to all demographics.” When Egan was deciding on Lula’s original location, a main criterion he had was that it was close to campus. “That’s everything in a restaurant business — location,” he said. “It’s huge.” Now, he has already looked at about 40 spaces for possible new locations. He hopes to reopen by Dec. 1. “Certainly, the campus community is vital to who we are, so my first circle drawn is close to here,” he said. Keeping the “feel” of Lula’s is crucial, Egan said. He hopes to retain the same vibe, which he calls “eclectic comfort,” at the new location. Still, he said that given a new space and a new location, some things about Lula’s will inevitably be different. “People don’t like change,” he said. “However, this is an opportunity for us to implement [other things that] customers want to see. We want to keep the core ambience, but also change it and make it different and better.” Egan said there has been an outpouring of support from both Lula’s staff and customers. He said not a single employee has left despite the uncertainty surrounding Lula’s future and he started hearing from customers he hadn’t spoken to in 10 years. “It’s been overwhelmingly positive — it’s like getting to hear your own eulogy when you’re alive,” he said. “I’ve heard so many great stories. ‘I had my first date with husband at Lula’s,’ ‘Lula’s got me through Ph.D.,’ ‘I had my first kiss at Lula’s.’” Over the years, Lula’s has held cultural events to bring the different communities together, ranging from music performances to art openings to poetry readings. One new thing Egan hopes to have at the next Lula’s are guest speakers. Jennifer Stockdale, a graduate student in Creative Writing, has read twice at Lula’s as a part of the series featuring graduate students in the Creative Writing Program. “I often go to Lula’s to write. The atmosphere is conducive to writing and reading — quiet but not too quiet,” she said. Stockdale said she has met other South Bend poets for workshops at Lula’s. “Lula’s has played an integral role in maintaining the community of writers here in South Bend.” Junior Kelsey Clemson also frequents Lula’s and enjoys its welcoming atmosphere. “People there are incredibly friendly and every time I go, there is a new collection of people. I’ve seen older couples, professors, graduate students and families,” she said. “It’s just so easy to feel right at home at Lula’s. I hope they find a new location where they can create that same feeling.” While Egan admitted the sudden change has created stress and uncertainty, he has taken a positive outlook, using the move as an opportunity to improve Lula’s and cater even more to the needs of its customers. “Overall, this is a bump in the road,” Egan said. “It’s a big deal in my work life, but in the scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. Things happen in life. You have to know that things are going to be better four months, six months from now.”last_img read more

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Nobel Prize winner lectures on justice, social change

first_imgHarvard professor and 1998 Nobel Prize winner in Economics Amartya Sen delivered the 18th annual Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh Lecture in Ethics and Public Policy Tuesday night. Sen is also this year’s recipient of the Notre Dame Award for International Human Development and Solidarity. His lecture stressed the importance of positive social change in the world. University President Father John Jenkins welcomed Sen and praised his work in justice and development. “[Sen’s work] touches the heart of what we are about at Notre Dame,” Jenkins said. Sen opened his lecture with a quote from Nietzsche about humanity’s tendency to focus on the negative aspects of life. Rather than contradicting Nietzsche, however, Sen said the world is full of hardships. “The world in which we live, I fear, is, in fact, ugly and bad,” said Sen. However, Sen’s said his seemingly pessimistic view is in the context of the many injustices in the world. He said by failing to address and acknowledge the many instances of poverty, injustice, and violence, humans also lose the opportunity for positive social change. “The common tendency to ignore how nasty the world is helps many injustices to remain unexamined and remedied,” Sen said. Sen said people should not focus on instituting justice, but rather removing sources of injustice. What needs to be eliminated from the world can be agreed upon, Sen said, but disagreement about what will make the world “perfect” will exist. In such circumstances, eliminating the injustice should take priority over attempting to achieve an ideal society, he said. Sen also stressed the importance of freedom in establishing justice. “Freedom is not only among the most valued ideas in the world, it is among the most feared human conditions,” Sen said. Sen said many oppressed people adopt a cheerful mentality to cope with their situation. Meanwhile, the oppressors are those who fear the consequences of liberation. “Those who are afraid of freedom tend to be afraid of the freedom of others,” said Sen. Sen finished his lecture by restating the Nietzsche quote. However, he did not end with on a note of defeat, but a call to engage and rectify injustices. “We can rise to the challenge with reasoning and a better understanding of the problems we need to address,” Sen said. Contact Amy Klopfenstein at aklopfen@nd.edulast_img read more

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Senate discusses DART changes

first_imgStudent Senate met on Wednesday evening to discuss two resolutions presented by the Judicial Council and Hall President’s Council (HPC).Kathryn Peruski, president of the Judicial Council, presented a resolution that defines social media rules for campaigning for student government. According to Peruski, candidates are allowed to make social media accounts and pages as part of their campaign, but the amendment will require that everything, every post, tweet and video, has to be specifically approved by the Judicial Council.This amendment tightens the procedure for campaigns from what used to be a “blanket approval” that lacked “specific rules and regulations,” Peruski said.“This change is very necessary as there was no clear cut way to deal with questions of ethics in social media previously,” she said.Michael Wajda, chairperson for the Hall President’s Council, presented a resolution that will change the name of the “treasurer” on HPC to “finance chair.” The resolution also changes the election process for the finance chair, who will now be nominated by the co-chairs at the beginning of the term.“We dropped the voting requirement and the term “treasurer” for consistency across the board in regards to the election of chair persons,” Wajda said. “Beyond that, we are an information disseminating body and these changes reflect on the different nature of HPC.”Both of the resolutions were passed by the Senate.Phil Gilroy, a student senator, presented findings from a recent study regarding DARTing procedures. Gilroy’s committee looked at prevalent issues with the DARTing system and tried to find some solutions.“We realized that we’ve been simply tolerating the current DARTing system and class search options for a while now,” Gilroy said. “It quickly became clear to us that a change was necessary.”According to Gilroy, common problems that students face include difficulties comparing classes side by side, difficulty finding specific college and university requirements and time constraints.“To modernize the DARTing system as well as increase ease of use, the committee came up with the idea to enable the program to have a mock schedule planner such as Schedulizer,” Gilroy said.Other ideas include a waitlist system to notify students when a class has an open spot, as well as more time between DARTing sections.These preliminary ideas will work to help students in the process of registering for classes, and the Senate plans to discuss the ideas further.Tags: darting, hall president’s council, HPC, Judicial Council, kathryn peruski, michael wajda, Senate, senate discusses darting, student senatelast_img read more

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NDSP hosts RAD training

first_imgExpanding their efforts to address sexual assault, the Notre Dame Security Police is partnering with RecSports to offer the Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) program to female students, faculty, staff and other members of the Notre Dame community.R.A.D. is a nationally certified program in self-defense for women with an emphasis on instruction in physical resistance and educational components including awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance strategies. It has a presence on many college campuses across America and is regularly offered by gyms and martial arts instructors certified by R.A.D.Program Coordinator Margaret Dawson said NDSP decided to offer the program through RecSports because it was an opportunity to expand accessibility.“I see students very eager to learn at the beginning of the classes and then the sense of empowerment they feel at the end of it,” she said.According to Dawson, NDSP hosted R.A.D. for the last 15 years and ran at least three programs every year. The average class size has roughly been six to 12 students, but Dawson said the new RecSports offering hopes to increase turnout and participation.“The class is designed to give students options when put in dangerous situations,” she said.According to NDSP’s website, the R.A.D. program requires no special equipment, skills or previous experience and is open to females age 13 and older. The new RecSports class will consist of six two-hour sessions running from Wednesday to March 4. Those interested in attending should contact RecSports or NDSP.Tags: NDSP, R.A.D., Rape Aggression Defense, RecSports, self-defenselast_img read more

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Law professor explains legal models of sex trafficking

first_imgIn the keynote address of a symposium sponsored by Notre Dame Law School, adjunct professor of law Alexandra Levy said the drama of sex trafficking makes it a “good story” for news outlets to cover. In the lecture, Levy sought to answer the question “why is sex trafficking a crime?”“Maybe more than any other crime, sex trafficking makes a great story,” she said. “The popular narrative that is told and repeated by the media shocks us with its gory details and seduces us with its promise of justice. It’s an entertaining story, as far as it’s all drama and violence and greed and rescue. “It’s a satisfying story because, at least in the most popular discourse, it has bad guys who are very bad and good guys or girls who are very good. It’s an addictive story, because it’s about sex and virtue and protection.” In her presentation, Levy detailed the three models the law community considers when discussing sexual trafficking: the traditional model, the rescue model and the labor model. First, Levy compared the traditional model and the rescue model, both of which argue that commercial sex, even if it isn’t trafficking, is harmful to societal values. They differ, however, in how women are involved — the traditional model holds women accountable for being prostitutes whereas the rescue model does not.“Unlike the traditional model, the rescue model assumes that women cannot consent to participation in commercial sex, that they are direct victims and therefore, as a matter of justice and efficiency, they cannot be subject to punishment,” she said. Levy explained the difference by using an example case in which a pimp and his “bottom” girl, or most trusted prostitute, worked together to bring an underaged girl into prostitution. Under the traditional model, the “bottom” girl can be punished, but under the rescue model, she cannot because she is also a victim.The first two models were also put into historical context. According to Levy, sex trafficking used to be considered almost anything outside the sexual norm: Interracial relationships, religious-based polygamy and other nonconformist sexual behavior was considered sex trafficking. Levy said interracial relationships in particular were frowned upon, with some even calling sex trafficking the “white slave trade.” “The women and children were nominal victims — their interests were rarely considered and never talked about,” she said. “Instead, the same ‘common good’ trumpeted by the Bitty court [US v. Bitty, 1908] animated the talk against the ‘white slave trade’ and also the talk against prostitution.” The final model, the labor model, is different from the first two in that it does not see the existence of consensual commercial sex as problematic. Rather, it is only sex trafficking that is the problem. Levy said this model views commercial sex as a labor the prostitute should be paid for and, in the case of of sex trafficking, receive restitution for. Levy said the story of sexual trafficking, as the media presents it, is contradictory in nature because it is designed to pull viewers in to witness a sensitive and private topic.“It’s an alluring story because it’s a bit pornographic,” she said. “But it’s a great story because it’s a story about sexual assault determination told in the language of pornography. It’s a story that calls on us to turn away, to respect boundaries by resisting the voyeuristic allure.”Tags: journal of legislation, law symposium, Notre Dame Law School, sex traffickinglast_img read more

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Contractor taken to hospital after construction accident

first_imgA contractor working on the Campus Crossroads construction project suffered non life-threatening injuries after a construction accident around 10 a.m. Wednesday, University spokesperson Dennis Brown said in an email.The contractor, a 31-year-old male, was hit in the head by a hose pouring concrete and taken to Memorial Hospital. Brown said the University had no further information to release at the time of the email. The Campus Crossroads project began construction in November 2014, and this is the first related accident reported to the public. Tags: Campus Crossroads, Constructionlast_img read more

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Gender Relations Center addresses depiction of violence in media

first_imgAnn Curtis | The Observer Professor Mary Kearney, left, and Stanford Hall rector Justin McDevitt speak on a panel about violence in the media today.The discussion began with a montage of scenes of violence from television shows and movies such as “Gone Girl,” “Safe Haven,” “Precious,” “Oliver,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Game of Thrones” and “Gossip Girl.” These clips depicted dating violence as well as familial violence, many portraying both physical and verbal abuse. Kearney said the clip from “Safe Haven” specifically stood out, not just because of the severity of the violent struggle which occurred between the couple in the scene, but also because the girlfriend at first aims to appease the angered boyfriend.“One of the things that I find disturbing in that is the kind of gratuity of the violence up to that point,” Kearney said. “So there’s a way in which we can walk away and say, ‘Oh, but she fought back,’ and yet we as viewers were just subjected to her being brutally abused.”McDevitt also noted how the culture in violence in media has evolved over time, saying how what was once acceptable decades ago would not be appropriate today.“Our idea of what’s appropriate and what’s not has changed over time,” McDevitt said. “‘The Honeymooners’ was a black-and-white sitcom in the ’50s, and any time this character’s wife does something wrong he always says, ‘Alice, I’m gonna send you to the moon.’ And it’s funny then, but today — oh my gosh. At some point, someone ran that and thought, ‘There’s no problem with this.’”The panel also discussed how the way in which films are produced affects the viewers’ perception of violence. Specifically, the camera angles and closeness in some clips amplify the intensity of the violence on screen.“We have a handheld camera,” Kearney said. “Think about how weird it would be in this situation, to be the person behind the camera that is actually like the third member of the fight that’s going on. That puts us right in the moment as opposed to a camera shooting the scene from a distance.”Kearney revisited the clip from “Safe Haven,” noting that while it was one of the shorter videos, the violent struggle felt long and heavy for the viewer. McDevitt, on the other hand, said he was most impacted by the scene in “Oliver” because Oliver — a child — is forced to be the helpless bystander as Bill Sykes murders Nancy.Kearney said one of the reasons she enjoys teaching media is because it acts as a daily textbook and shows changes in how society displays cultures.“One question that’s kind of hanging over all of this is how, then, should we be depicting violence?” Kearney said. “I have no good answers for this. What would be an accurate, authentic, respectful and non-traumatizing way to show violence?”Tags: domestic violence, Film, Gender Relations Center, media, Television, violence The Gender Relations Center presented a panel discussion about “Violence in Media” in LaFortune Student Center on Thursday night.The panel explored the portrayal of violence in scenes from both television and film, and included Mary Kearney, an associate professor in the Department of Film, Television and Theatre, as well as director of the gender studies program. Kearney’s primary areas of study are girls’ media culture and gender and identity. The other panelist, Stanford Hall rector Justin McDevitt, has researched gender-based violence in tribal societies and modernizing societies in Tanzania and Kenya.last_img read more

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Opera Notre Dame to perform operetta ‘Pirates of Penzance’

first_imgOpera Notre Dame will present “Pirates of Penzance,” an operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan first performed in 1879, beginning this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Decio Theater at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. The show, which revolves around a lovable gang of pirates and their apprentice Fredrich, will run all weekend.The production will be the first Gilbert and Sullivan work performed by Opera ND, and Director Alek Shrader said the opera will look and sound different than what most would expect.“Gilbert and Sullivan shows were always intended to be highly comedic, very light fare. Although it’s comedic, it doesn’t diminish the performance in any way — it doesn’t cheapen it,” Shrader said. “The music and the text are so brilliant that it can support a modernization of their original work. They always intended it to be contemporary, not so lofty and stuffy.”Conductor Daniel Stowe said this kind of performance demands much from the orchestra as well as the actors.“It’s tricky, trying to stay out of the way of the singing actors and supporting them, but still giving as full a musical account as you can,” he said. “It’s a different level of challenge.”Opera ND’s production of “Pirates” has taken on its own character, Shrader said, much to the excitement of the cast and crew.“We stripped out everything outdated. We’re living in the now in this production,” he said. “I know I’m the director and I crafted a lot of the jokes, but I guarantee it’s funny.”Freshman actor Tim Purnell said he attests to the originality of this production.“I’ve actually been in Pirates three different times, but this director is so creative,” he said. “He’s done so many things that make me crack up, even though often jokes get repeated through the show. He’s just really inventive and brings the show to life.”The cast and crew have grown as individuals and as a unit over the course of production, Shrader said.“The most important thing is that the students gain not only the experience of doing this, but that they can take this experience forward in later performances, but also just in life and other studies,” Shrader said. “Each rehearsal has grown and achieved some momentum. We’re evolving the show. I can step back and let the performers take their own initiatives.”Stowe said he finds the high level of vocal performance provided by the graduate singers from Notre Dame’s Sacred Music Program in the show particularly exciting.“The graduate singers … are just tremendous — professional-quality singers, wonderful actors,” he said. “It really raises the level of performance in the show.”Each production member has a different ambition for opening night, Purnell said, and the cast’s untapped energy has resulted in plenty of anticipation for opening night.“Once everyone is on stage in front of an audience, they’ll bring all the energy they’ve been holding back in rehearsal,” he said. “I’m just excited to see everyone fully engaged.”But while the cast is excited for the stage, Stowe said nothing can prepare them for the exhilaration of performing in front of an audience.“You never know how the audience reacts until you have one,” he said. “All the planning goes out the window when you get a live audience. You hope that you guessed right — and if not, you’ll find out soon enough.”Tags: Decio Theater, Opera, Opera ND, Opera Notre Dame, performing arts, Pirates of Penzancelast_img read more

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