ND senior travels to Vatican, meets Pope Francis

first_imgThe head of the Roman Catholic Church now owns a copy of the book “The Chapels of Notre Dame,” thanks to senior Juan Manuel Segura, who traveled to Rome with his family in October to briefly meet Pope Francis. Segura and his family have been good friends with Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mejia for the past 20 years, and he said the Cardinal’s acquaintance with Pope Francis made the meeting possible. “[Cardinal Mejia] has visited our house in Washington, D. C., and he has confirmed and baptized a lot of members in our family,” Segura said. “It’s through him that my family and I were able to get the opportunity to go to Rome and be a part of the papal audience, especially to meet [Pope Francis] and actually shake hands with him and say a couple words.” Segura said he, his parents and two of his five siblings made the whirlwind trip to the Vatican and back, arriving in Italy on Tuesday, Oct. 1, and flying back to the United States on Thursday, Oct. 3. They met Francis following a public papal audience in Saint Peter’s Square, where the pope offered reflections on the day’s readings. “All of Saint Peter’s Square was really filled with people waiting to hear his message on a couple of readings that day,” Segura said. “My family speaks Spanish because my parents are Argentine, so when we spoke to him for about 30 seconds we spoke in Spanish.” The family was ushered to a special section at the top of the steps of the Square, Segura said, and Francis made his way down the line to talk individually to each person there. The pope kept them waiting, however, when he made a point of going directly to a separate section of people with disabilites and talking to each of them first, Segura said. “There was a special thin section at the front where people with disabilities or people in wheelchairs were, and after he gave his remarks, instead of coming to us, he went down to talk to them,” Segura said. “He said many words to each and every one of the people who were disabled, and he took his time. Then he came up to us.” Segura said he and his family were the last in the line of people who had the chance to meet Francis. “My brother, who graduated from Notre Dame in 2010, went first, and he sort of made a joke,” Segura said. “He offered him a rosary, and I think Francis was going to bless it, but my brother actually said, ‘No, no, I want you to have it. You have many rosaries already, but please have this one too.’ “And then I was next, and I was kind of shocked. I completely forgot what I was going to say.” Segura said he brought the book “The Chapels of Notre Dame” from campus to give to the pope. “I was talking to [Pope Francis] and I was saying ‘I’m a student at Notre Dame and you’re a huge inspiration,’” he said. “It was all in Spanish. There was a priest with us who had helped usher us in, and he told me, ‘The book, give him the book,’ because I had completely forgotten about that and was about to not give it to him. “So I realized where I was, I got the book and I gave it to him. I said, ‘This book shows all the chapels at Notre Dame, that’s my school, I study there. This book has pictures of each and every chapel on campus, and I want to give it to you as a gift.’” Segura said Francis didn’t say anything specifically about the gift because nearly everyone had brought something to offer him, but the moment was still very special to him. “I guess it was more of an opportunity for me to come to him, to give him something and to say something to him,” he said. “It was just a very joyful moment.” Before the one-on-one meeting, Segura said he found Francis’ reflections profound and “very inspirational.” “Francis is Italian and Argentinian, and he’s got those huge inflections in his voice, and he puts unique emphasis on all these points, which really struck a chord with us,” he said. “His voice really is compelling and draws your attention. It’s very dynamic. “It’s different from reading what he has to say versus seeing him and seeing how he says it,” he said. Francis’ statements were characterized by his humility and honesty, Segura said. “He talked about how the Church is not holy because the people are holy; it’s holy because God is holy, and everyone is a sinner,” Segura said. “He made a really special emphasis on how it’s not just the lay people who sin, but he is a sinner too; we’re all sinners. It was very enlightening to see how humble he was.” Segura said Francis continued his message of inclusion and openness with both his words and his actions during the event. “He talked about the Church’s relationship towards sinners and how we all have this mission to be holy, no matter who you are,” he said. “He said we shouldn’t necessarily look for people who are like-minded, but rather, we should be open to everyone and welcome all. That spirit and message of inclusion was huge.” After studying abroad in Rome last fall and visiting the Vatican for Easter Vigil Mass last spring, Segura said this trip was his third time in Rome this year. “I’ve been in close proximity with Francis twice now,” he said. “I went to Mass with [Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI] last fall, and every Sunday at noon [Benedict] used to say a couple words from his apartment, and I went to a couple of those. I’m lucky that I really got to see the transition of the two firsthand.” Contact Ann Marie Jakubowski at [email protected]last_img read more

Happy Birthday, Aladdin! The Stars Celebrate One Shining, Shimmering Year

first_img Aladdin Related Shows View Comments Jonathan Freeman from $57.50 Star Files What do you do when you’ve been starring in a hit show on Broadway for a whole year? Enjoy some delicious cake, of course! Aladdin stars Adam Jacobs, Courtney Reed, Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart and Jonathan Freeman snapped an adorable photo backstage on March 20 to celebrate their one-year anniversary on Broadway. Get a closer look below at the yummy treat by Beth Bennett of Bebe Bakes, then catch Aladdin, now in its second high-flying year, at the New Amsterdam Theatre.last_img read more

MCR Genes

first_imgAntibiotic resistance – one of the biggest threats to global health, according to the World Health Organization – occurs when germs learn how to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. The problem of resistance threatens the efficacy of antibiotics, making simple infections untreatable.Colistin is a drug that is considered a “last resort” antibiotic because it is one of the few options available to treat certain complicated infections. The WHO labels it as one of the highest priority and critically important antibiotics for human medicine. But now the use of colistin in medicine is having the same resistance problem due to superbug genes that have been found in nearly every country. These genes have spread by “hitchhiking” via people (travel), animals and foods (trade) around the world.To better understand the problem and how it can be stopped, University of Georgia food scientist Issmat Kassem is tracking mobile colistin-resistance (MCR) genes, which were originally found in China in 2016, and how they spread through travel and food trade. These genes have threatened the efficacy of colistin against bacterial infections and their emergence has been associated with animal farming. Colistin was used as a feed additive in animal production in many countries, until it was banned due to the emergence of the MCR genes.Tracking bacteriaWhen food enters a country, it’s normally tested in order to be deemed suitable, meaning it has no viruses or bacteria that can harm humans. But it could harbor harmless bacteria that carry these MCR genes, which can then potentially be transmitted to other pathogenic bacteria in the country that imported the food.And the MCR genes don’t just arrive on food. International travelers have been found to acquire those genes abroad and carry them back to their countries or other destinations. Controlling the spread of MCR via travel is unfeasible, because testing could be costly and intrusive. Instead, Kassem, an assistant professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, recommends that every country implement mechanisms to control MCR in order to limit the spread of these genes globally. “The current mechanism must include strict guidelines for reducing the use of colistin in agriculture and regulating its use in medicine,” he said.“[MCR genes] can occur in our gut without problems but can then can jump to other bacteria that can cause problems,” said Kassem, who works in UGA’s Center for Food Safety. “If the animal or food is imported with bacteria carrying MCR, it can spread easily in the country of importation.”Kassem started researching the genes on poultry farms then looked at nearby fresh waters in rivers and found it there. He continued to look everywhere including in saltwater, on other animals, in different foods — even in refugee camps in other countries.“When refugees get established in a camp, they are stressed and that makes them more prone to disease and resistant infections,” he said. “So, there’s a humanitarian aspect in that regard. All of this suggests there needs to be a global investment to at least rein in the problem, if that’s possible.”Antimicrobial resistance became a lot more problematic with the advent of COVID-19, according to Kassem, who has been researching antibiotic resistance for 20 years. “We’re getting to the point that antibiotics might not be working. There are a limited number of antibiotics in the pipeline. So, we need to preserve what we have already until other solutions are available.”In 2019, the World Health Organization and a special United Nations group tracking antimicrobial resistance predicted that 24 million people could be thrust into extreme poverty within the next decade and 10 million could die annually from drug-resistant diseases by 2050.While the science isn’t in question, the path forward is.A global problem“This isn’t controversial, the question is where to get the money to do more research,” said Kassem. “There are no countries where there isn’t antimicrobial resistance. Even in the Arctic, birds and other wildlife have transferred antimicrobial resistance there.”Humans and animals are facing the same issue, and the solutions are very cost prohibitive.“There are not many companies investing in antibiotics because it’s not cheap. Large pharma companies are not producing new antibiotics as they used to,” explained Kassem. “It’s not a commercially viable option to invest in a drug that takes 10 years [to develop] and then resistance develops in just a few years.”Much remains unknown about the diversity and molecular epidemiology of MCR-containing bacteria. However, Kassem believes the key to understanding and controlling the problem with MCR and other antibiotic resistance lies within the plasmids, which are transmissible genetic material that carry the genes and can survive for long periods of time.“They have specific properties — the best way of explaining it is to try to convince the bacteria to get rid of the plasmids,” he said. “But we need to understand these plasmids first.”Findings from the literature review, “Audacious Hitchhikers: The Role of Travel and the International Food Trade in the Global Dissemination of Mobile Colistin-Resistance (MCR) Genes,” were published in the journal Antibiotics with co-author Jouman Hassan from the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the American University of Beirut.last_img read more

The Salvadoran Armed Force’s Strategic Reserve

first_imgBy Geraldine Cook/ Diálogo April 16, 2019 “When we were ambushed, my reaction was to protect them,” said Salvadoran Army Master Sergeant Fredy Adolfo Castro Urbina, member of the Special Counter-terrorism Command (CEAT, in Spanish), a unit of the Salvadoran Armed Force’s (FAES, in Spanish) Special Forces Command (CFE, in Spanish). “I got them out of the truck, pushed them into a ditch, and drove a vehicle across to protect them from bullets.” Iraqi insurgents were attacking them. Master Sgt. Castro shared with Diálogo his experience as part of a contingent of 360 service members of FAES’s Cuscatlán Battalion, which took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2011.) On March 5, 2004, he led a three-vehicle convoy transporting members of the Multi-national Force – Iraq that came under attack. For his heroic deed, Master Sgt. Castro and five of his soldiers were awarded the U.S. Bronze Star Medal on November 12, 2004. The decoration is awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces for heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone. Nowadays, Master Sgt. Castro is a CEAT instructor who teaches the new generations of soldiers about the courage, discipline, and responsibility that come with belonging to special forces. CEAT is one of three special forces units of FAES’s CFE. Interagency work “We are FAES’s strategic reserve, and our goal is to meet national defense objectives,” said Salvadoran Army Colonel Jorge Miranda Martínez, commander of CFE. “We must be ready to deploy at any time, under any conditions, and with maximum operating capacity.” CFE launched as a command in 1992, bringing together the already existing elite units: CEAT, the Parachute Battalion, and the Special Operations Group (GOE, in Spanish). Although the defense of national sovereignty is CFE’s main priority, its members also conduct operations to support public security, works to benefit the public, humanitarian assistance aid in case of natural disasters, and peacekeeping missions. CFE works jointly with the rest of the military, and conducts interagency operations with the National Civil Police and other government agencies. CFE members carry out a regular training program of 24 weeks. Upon completion, they can choose one of 10 specialties, such as combat parachute, free fall, assault teams, and snipers, among others. CEAT’s origins CEAT was established in 1985 to carry out counterterrorism tasks, hostage rescue, and dignitary protection. “We have highly qualified personnel to fulfill different missions, especially with our hostage rescue capabilities, or in case of a terrorist attack,” said Salvadoran Army Lieutenant Colonel José Carlos Estrada Villafuerte, commander of CEAT. According to the officer, the training, discipline, and spirit of camaraderie and partnership, added to the command’s experiences in El Salvador and Iraq, are a fundamental part of the unit’s prestige. “The U.S. Army Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) joins our training and helps us with logistics and know-how. We conduct combined training,” he added. ODA is the Green Berets’ primary combat force. It leverages its expertise and experience to train with partner nations and improve force interoperability. Parachute Battalion The Parachute Battalion was inaugurated in 1963, with three maneuver squadrons, a combat support squadron, and a command squadron. The unit specializes in combat parachute, rigging, and precision free fall. “We conduct airborne and air mobile operations at the orders of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” said Salvadoran Army Lieutenant Colonel Óscar René Velásquez, commander of the Parachute Battalion. “We are a strategic unit, and we can fulfill infantry battalion missions.” With a 55-year history, the battalion is recognized for its integrated work among CFE elite units, humanitarian operations, and mission in Iraq. “We joined to work together as a team, as a command,” Lt. Col. Velásquez said. “Our personnel are highly qualified. Often times, they must work on the field on their own and know the rules of whatever they face.” Special Operations Group GOE was created in 1983 and is recognized for its Hacha and PRAL (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols, in Spanish) commands, both specialized in specific special operations. GOE also has combat swimmers and divers. The Hacha command prepares soldiers to carry out ambushes, swift attacks, interdiction and sniper operations, and night vision training. The PRAL command bases its training on underwater, land, and air missions. “We carry out direct action operations, interdictions, support missions for other units such as training, ambush missions, and swift attacks,” said Salvadoran Army Major Hugo Alexander Campos Bonilla, GOE commander. “These commands are important for their training and equipment. They can make an incursion in the enemy’s rearguard,” Maj. Campos said. “Our own training is very important, as well as what ODA offers, as it helps us improve our courses and interact with the doctrine,” Maj. Campos said. “It serves to help and support us; we get new equipment, techniques, and training exercises, all of which we include in our plans to make our preparation more professional,” he added. Contribution to peace FAES’s experience in Iraq defined its history, while also reinforcing ties of cooperation with the United States. The country is one of four in Central America and 12 worldwide that sent troops to the U.S.-led international coalition to fight the insurgency and terrorism that afflicted the Middle Eastern country. Alongside Spanish and Polish soldiers, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and El Salvador made up the Plus Ultra Brigade of the Multinational Division Center-South, one of four operational divisions of the multinational peacekeeping force deployed to Iraq. Out of 2,500 service members in the division, 360 belonged to the El Salvador’s Cuscatlán Battalion. With a wide range of operations, from the mission in Iraq to supporting the fight against gangs and narcotrafficking, GOE, the Parachute Battalion, and CEAT show their versatility, effectiveness, and high capacity to conduct combat missions involving direct and indirect action. For its members, the mission in Iraq left an unprecedented legacy. “Our personnel were able to train in real combat situations. We felt the heat of bullets and combat, as we contributed to the reconstruction of Iraq,” Col. Miranda said. “It helped us position ourselves and be recognized not only in Latin America, but also in the world, as a very professional army that contributes to strengthening democracies in other countries.”last_img read more

NAPF highlights repeat offenders on remuneration

first_imgThe National Association of Pension Funds has named eight companies that have failed to take seriously shareholder concerns on pay.While acknowledging that the “flash points” belied a downward trend in resistance to remuneration policies, the organsation’s corporate governance policy lead, Will Pomroy, said the “significant shareholder dissent” did not reflect well.Compared with 28 FTSE 350 companies that last year saw “significant concerns” expressed about pay, by mid-August, eight companies – including budget airline easyJet, First Group and Lonmin – had investors once again complaining.The NAPF said companies with successive years of dissent were those that in 2013 saw pay votes rejected by at least 15% of shareholders and a further 20% this year. Other named companies included Ocado Group, Ophir Energy, SVG Capital, Mitie Group and Capital & Counties Properties.First, which has several contracts to maintain public transport in UK cities, was criticised for the high level of executive pay when compared against peers in the sector, as well as “inappropriate and un-stretching metrics”.Pomroy added: “We urge all those firms whose shareholders have so clearly signalled their dissatisfaction this year to begin in earnest a conversation to resolve the concerns well ahead of next year’s AGM season.”Under new UK regulation, remuneration votes are split in two – with a policy report drawn up by the company and put to a vote every three years, while pay is put to binding votes and each AGM.“We are glad to see greater transparency and hope more companies next year use their reporting to communicate better with their investors, as opposed to simply complying with the regulations,” Pomroy said.New requirements for auditors to discuss in greater detail the process for companies were also welcomed, with Pomroy saying they had achieved “the almost impossible task of keeping both investors and companies happy”.last_img read more

Pirate Whaler Used to Attack KSL Sydney Blown Up

first_imgEU NAVFOR military personnel seized and destroyed an active pirate action group (PAG) whaler, which was used in an attack against the Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier KSL Sydney earlier this month. The bulker was fired upon in the Gulf of Aden, while transiting the area on October 16. The shots were fired from a skiff that tailed the vessel, some 340 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia in the Somali Basin.However, as the armed guards on board the ship returned fire the gang from the skiff abandoned their plan of boarding the vessel and departed.EUNAVFOR’ informed that the master had already evacuated the crew to the citadel when the armed security team responded to the attack. Both the vessel and its crew were reported to be safe.EU NAVFOR coordinated with other counter-piracy missions to ensure an investigation was carried out, deploying counter-piracy assets in the Somali Basin to maintain heightened vigilance. Air surveillance of the area managed to detected the whaler which was later seized and destroyed.“Using the resources of Op Atalanta we were able to identify, track and destroy the equipment of a pirate action group making it harder for them to attack maritime shipping in the future. We will continue to deter and prevent acts of piracy with every chance we get in order to ensure vulnerable shipping and their crews remain safe while they transit the Western Indian Ocean,”  Rear Admiral Alfonso Perez de Nanclares, the EU NAVFOR Force Commander, said.last_img read more

Southern Indiana ginseng thefts under investigation

first_imgHarrison County, In. — Indiana Conservation Officers are asking for the public’s assistance in slowing a string of environmental thefts in southern Indiana. Charles Cole Jr., 44, of New Salisbury, is wanted on an active felony arrest warrant, stemming from an investigation earlier this month.On October 10, 2018, Indiana Conservation Officers received a report of trespass in northern Harrison County, after a landowner’s trail camera captured a late-night photo of a man suspected of stealing ginseng plants from the property. The landowner also discovered that a separate trail camera had been stolen from a tree.Upon viewing the trail camera photo, Indiana Conservation Officers immediately identified the man as Charles Cole Jr., from recent dealings with him involving a separate trespass/ginseng theft case. After speaking with Cole, they discovered stolen ginseng and a stolen memory card from another trail camera at his residence.During the course of their investigation, Indiana Conservation Officers recovered stolen ginseng in addition to 9 stolen trail cameras and memory cards. As a result, they sought an arrest warrant through the Harrison County Prosecutor’s Office on 10/19/18.Meanwhile, on 10/21/18, Indiana Conservation Officers fielded additional complaints after Cole was again caught on a property owner’s trail camera trespassing and digging ginseng in Washington County.To date, Cole has sold at least 40 pounds of ginseng, much of which is believed to have been stolen from unsuspecting landowners. Current market value for dry ginseng in Harrison County is approximately $500-$650 per pound.Ginseng is regulated to ensure a healthy population for the future. For more information on Indiana’s ginseng program, follow this link:  https://www.in.gov/dnr/naturepreserve/8235.htm.If anyone has information concerning this case, they are encouraged to contact Indiana Conservation Officers Central Dispatch at 812-837-9536, or their local law enforcement agency.All charges are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.last_img read more

Florida man pleads not guilty after officials find 78-pounds of meth in van

first_imgOn Monday, 29-year-old Nicholas James Imhoff from Florida plead not guilty to a federal drug charge after he was caught with 78 pounds of meth on a Montana highway, authorities said.Authorities say it was the largest amount of meth ever seized in a traffic stop in the state.Imhoff was traveling rental from Las Vegas and the drugs were found under floor storage compartments in garbage bags, according to police. He told a state trooper that he was headed to North Dakota for “work.”Imhoff headed back to custody after appearing  in federal court in Billings.last_img read more

Kennard Memorial Turf Club Boxing Day Horserace meet slated for December 26

first_imgTHE much-anticipated Kennard Memorial Turf Club Boxing Day horserace meet will be held on December 26 at the Club’s facility, Bush Lot Farm, Corentyne, Berbice.The event which gets underway at 13:00hrs will have as its feature event a nine-furlong race for horses classified `B2’ and Lower and carries a first prize of $1M, while the second to fourth place finishers will earn $500,000, $250,000 and $125,000 respectively.There will also be two races each over five, six and seven furlongs with three-year-old Guyana-bred horses seeking to claim the $230,000 first prize money. The second to fourth place finishers will receive $110,000, $55,000 and 27,000 in that order.The other six-furlong race is opened to horses classified `J3 and `K’ and Lower with a first prize of $180,000. The second place horse will earn $90,000, while the third and fourth place finishers will receive $45,000 and $22,000 respectively.Animals classified `L’ open will battle over five furlongs for a first prize worth $150,000. The second to fourth place finishers will pocket $75,000, $38,000 and $19,000 respectively.The other five-furlong race is for horses classified `L’ non-winners and the winning stable will receive $130,000, while the second place finisher will receive $60,000. The third and fourth place finishers will take home $30,000 and $15,000 respectively.The two seven-furlong is opened to horses classified `F’ and Lower and `H’ and Lower and the `FD’ and lower animals will compete for the $350,000 first prize. The second to fourth place finishers will take home $175,000, $88,000 and $44,000 in that order, while the race for `H’ and Lower horses will carry a first prize worth $280,000. The second place finisher will win $140,000, while the third and fourth place finishers will earn $70,000 and $35,000 respectively.These races will be conducted under the rules of the Guyana Horse Racing Authority and interested owners/trainers and handlers can call the following persons for more information; Ivan Dipnarine (331-0316), Justice Kennard (623-7609 or 235-4818), Fazal Habibulla (657-7010) or Dennis Deroop (640-6396).last_img