In response to Pope Francis’ call for a day of prayer and fasting to promote peace in Syria, Notre Dame community leaders galvanized on-campus participation throughout the day on Saturday. Junior Matthew Caponigro, a member of the Notre Dame Peace Fellowship, explained the importance of Notre Dame’s reaction to the papal declaration for a day of peace and prayer. “It’s especially important that so many people were involved at Notre Dame because Pope Francis called for this day of prayer on the feast day of Our Lady, in whose honor our university is founded,” Caponigro said. The centrality of Saint Mary permeated the event. “Opening prayer took place beneath the outstretched arms of the gilded statue of Mary atop the golden dome, and for closing prayer we met again under the auspice of Mother Mary at the Grotto,” Caponigro said. Caponigro said the fasting portion of Saturday’s events, beginning with a morning prayer at the steps of the Main Building at 10 a.m., was a highlight for participants. “Fasting acts as a first step and leads us to solidarity, as it helps us to empathize with the 120,000 refugees in Jordan uprooted by the conflict and the millions of internally displaced persons in Syria without adequate nourishment,” he said. The Eucharistic adoration, in which participants recognized Christ’s own suffering in a display of empathy, emphasized solidarity between the participants and those in Syria. “The central message is building relationships and peace through encountering each other in this way,” Caponigro said. The fasting period followed morning prayer and lasted until 4:30 p.m., at which point participants from across the campus gathered at the Grotto to offer prayers for peace. Senior Christopher Torres, secretary for the Militia of the Immaculata, said that prayer is about more than recitation. “God gives us unique opportunities in which He offers us graces, a moment when we can ally ourselves with the suffering people in the world, and I felt that I could help participate in that saving action through prayer,” he said. As part of the Pope’s call to peace, Torres said prayer can be used to facilitate action for peace in Syria. “Hopefully, the hearts of the government officials are inspired to move toward dialogue rather than violence,” he said. “We must value the people and their lives. I hope for the consolidation of those who are struggling and facing death, and I pray that God consoles and protects them.” Caponigro said institutions on the Notre Dame campus are already participating in this call to peaceful diplomatic resolutions. “The Kroc Institute is researching the possibilities for peace in Syria,” he said. “The situation in Syria is still incredibly convoluted. That is why it is especially important to turn of prayer because the politics are so complicated – that way we can keep in mind the face of the Syrian people, and pray that any diplomatic move operates within that perspective.”
— Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley will enter the NBA draft and sign with an agent, leaving school after a breakout season in which he was an honorable mention All-America selection by The Associated Press. Southeastern Conference coaches voted the 6-foot-3 sophomore Player of the Year after he wasn’t picked for any preseason all-conference teams. Quickley averaged a team-high 16.1 points per game last season with double-figure efforts in his final 20 contests.NASCAR-LARSON SLURKyle Larson suspended for racial slur in virtual raceCHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kyle Larson has been suspended indefinitely by NASCAR and without pay by Chip Ganassi Racing for using a racial slur on a live stream during a virtual race.Larson apologized in a video posted on his social media accounts. The star driver said there was “no excuse” for his conduct, which drew pushback from sponsors. The team agreed to a four-year, $64 million contract extension with McCaffrey on Monday, a person familiar with the contract negotiations told The Associated Press.The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the Panthers have not announced the extension. Details on how much of the contract is fully guaranteed were unavailable.The $16-million-a-year deal eclipses Ezekiel Elliott’s contract with the Dallas Cowboys that is worth $15 million per season.The extension keeps McCaffrey, 23, tied to the Panthers through the 2025 season. The coming season would be the final year of his rookie contract, and Carolina had the option to pick up a fifth year in 2021.It appeared to a matter of when, not if, the extension was coming after Panthers coach Matt Rhule made it clear last week that he viewed McCaffrey as a vital part of the franchise moving forward. Update on the latest in sports: Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditPANTHERS-MCCAFFREYAP source: Panthers make McCaffrey highest-paid running backCHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers have rewarded Christian McCaffrey for his production and versatility, making him the highest-paid running in the NFL. April 13, 2020 In other virus-related developments:—Washington State athletic director Pat Chun, head football coach Nick Rolovich and men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith are taking voluntary 5% pay cuts through the end of the 2020-21 academic year due to revenue reductions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Chun says all Washington State coaches will voluntarily forgo all bonuses or incentives through the end of the next academic year.— New York Post sports photographer Anthony Causi has died from the coronavirus at age 48. Causi was an exceedingly popular sports photographer who covered the city’s teams for 25 years. He was married with two young children. Many of New York’s professional teams and several players posted messages on Twitter expressing sadness, condolences and paying tribute to him.— The Cleveland Browns will donate net proceeds from sales of their new jerseys to a fund aiding health care professionals, first responders and others who have selflessly served during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team launched the Hats Off to Our Heroes Fund on Monday, two days before it will reveal the new uniforms. The Browns said the team will commit 100 percent of the proceeds “for a significant period of time” to the fund.— Spanish soccer club Real Sociedad (ray-AL’ soh-see-ay-DAHD’) is going back on its plan to resume practicing at the team’s training center during the coronavirus pandemic. The club says it made the decision after discussions with the Spanish government. Spain is starting to loosen some of its lockdown measures this week by allowing non-essential workers to return to their activities while observing social-distancing guidelines. —The mother of Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns has died due to complications from COVID-19. Jacqueline Cruz-Towns had been fighting the virus for more than a month.The native of the Dominican Republic was a fixture at Timberwolves games from the start of her son’s NBA career in 2015. Karl Towns Sr., the father of the two-time All-Star, was also hospitalized with the virus but has since recovered.—The NBA has been sending evaluations to players considering leaving college early and entering the draft. The league will do so for all underclassmen who ask before Thursday’s deadline. The task falls to the league’s Undergraduate Advisory Committee, which understands that what it says in these uncertain times may carry even more weight than usual. No date has been set for the draft.—Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook has donated 650 computers to children in need so they can continue learning with schools shut down because of the new coronavirus. Westbrook’s Why Not? Foundation teamed with Comp-U-Dopt and Houston mayor Sylvester Turner’s office of education to provide computers to underprivileged children across the city.In NBA draft news:— Kansas guard Devon Dotson is entering the NBA draft after leading the Big 12 Conference in scoring his sophomore season. The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4 assists and 2.1 steals while helping Kansas go 28-3 and win its final 16 games. In other NFL news:—Former NFL quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has died in a one-car crash outside Montgomery, Alabama. He was 36. The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro that Jackson was driving went off the road, struck a tree and overturned at 8:50 p.m. Sunday.Jackson was hired as quarterbacks coach for Tennessee State last season after a 10-year NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills.—The NFL and its players union have agreed to conduct “virtual” offseason workout programs until every team is permitted to open its facilities. Teams can hold classroom instruction, workouts and non-football educational programs using online platforms.The three-week virtual offseason starts on April 20 and runs through May 15. Teams with a new head coach have the option to also hold a fourth week for a voluntary veterans minicamp.—ESPN and NFL Network will join forces for this year’s NFL draft. They will produce a broadcast that will air on both networks over all three days. The April 23-25 draft was originally scheduled to be in Las Vegas but has been moved due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will now originate from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.—The San Francisco 49ers have re-signed cornerbacks Dontae Johnson and Jason Verrett to one-year contracts. Johnson and Verrett played sparingly for San Francisco last season but were brought back for depth in the secondary. The Bulls handed the keys to the 48-year-old Karnisovas last week, hoping he can spark a struggling franchise.Paxson is moving into a background role after nearly two decades as the top basketball decision-maker. He took over as general manager for Jerry Krause in 2003 and was promoted to vice president of basketball operations in May 2009 with Forman — who joined the Bulls as a scout in 1998 — becoming GM.But now, Forman is out. And the future of coach Jim Boylen remains unclear.The Bulls thought they were ready to contend for a playoff spot after combining for just 49 wins the past two seasons. Instead, they were 11th in the Eastern Conference at 22-43 when the NBA suspended play because of the COVID-19 pandemic.In other NBA news: The WWE-backed XFL canceled the rest of its return season last month because of the coronavirus pandemic. It suspended operations and laid off its employees Friday.The XFL had eight franchises this season and played five games out of a planned 10-game schedule. It drew decent TV ratings early on and had deals with ESPN and Fox.NBA-BULLS-FRONT OFFICEBulls fire Forman, announce Karnisovas hire, reassign PaxsonCHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls fired general manager Gar Forman on Monday, while officially hiring Denver Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas as their executive vice president of basketball operations and moving John Paxson into an advisory role. NASCAR ordered Larson to complete a sensitivity training course before he’s eligible for reinstatement.Larson was competing in an iRacing event Sunday night when he appeared to lose communication on his headset with his spotter. During a check of his microphone, he asked his spotter, “You can’t hear me?” That was followed by the N-word. The slur was directed at his spotter, who is white.iRacing suspended Larson indefinitely Monday for “offensive and inappropriate” language, and the driver could face short- and long-term sponsorship ramifications.Credit One Bank denounced Larson’s “highly offensive language” and said it supports the “quick actions” by NASCAR and Larson’s team. Chevrolet suspended its personal services relationship with Larson “as we do not tolerate this behavior.” McDonalds is another one of his primary sponsors.VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTS —The Los Angeles Rams have signed kickers Lirim Hajrullahu and Austin MacGinnis as potential replacements for longtime incumbent Greg Zuerlein. Hajrullahu has spent the past six seasons playing for three Canadian Football League teams. MacGinnis kicked in the defunct Alliance of American Football and in the defunct XFL over the past 14 months.XFL-BANKRUPTCYXFL files for bankruptcy, cites COVID-19 crisisUNDATED (AP) — The XFL has filed for bankruptcy, likely spelling the end of the second iteration of the league.The filing Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware estimates the organization has between $10 million and $50 million in both assets and liabilities. Former coaches Bob Stoops and Marc Trestman are among the creditors with the largest unsecured claims. Get ready for the Madrid Virtual OpenUNDATED (AP) — Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are among 12 players confirmed to play in the virtual Madrid Open tennis tournament, April 27-30.The online competition will be played from players’ homes and is expected to be broadcast live on TV and social media channels.There will be 150,000 euros ($164,000) distributed in prize money for each of the men’s and women’s events. The winners then decide how much they want to donate to tennis players who are having a hard time financially without any tournaments to play.Another 50,000 euros ($55,000) will be donated to reduce the social impact of the pandemic. Associated Press — IOC President Thomas Bach tells a German newspaper that the Olympic body will face “several hundred million dollars” of added costs because of the postponement of the Tokyo Games. Estimates in Japan place the overall cost of the postponement at between $2 billion-$6 billion. All of those costs will be borne by the Japanese side except for the IOC portion. Bach says he is confident the Olympics could be held in 2021 despite the current pandemic caused by the coronavirus.— Athletes completing doping bans over the next year will be eligible to compete in the postponed Tokyo Olympics. It’s an unintended effect of the coronavirus pandemic that has some crying foul. Irish race walker Brendan Boyce says, “It doesn’t seem like a fair punishment.” The 2020 Olympics were officially postponed last month for one year, with the opening ceremony now set for July 23, 2021.— Premier League soccer club Tottenham has reversed a decision to use government money to fund some staff salaries during the coronavirus pandemic. Staff put on furlough during the pandemic receive 80% of their salaries up to a maximum of 2,500 pounds ($3,000) per month from the government. And Tottenham had said non-playing staff not being furloughed would have their pay cut 20%.— A lower-level German soccer team has sold more than 125,000 tickets to a fictional game. Fourth-division club Lokomotive Leipzig says it has set an “attendance record” by selling so many tickets for a “virtual game against an invisible opponent on May 8.” The former East German league club has been selling symbolic tickets for 1 euro ($1.10).,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6
The last image taken of Ultima Thule before New Horizons flew by the rocky body. By Paul VoosenJan. 1, 2019 , 3:30 PM NASA/APL LAUREL, MARYLAND—Cheers erupted just after 10:30 a.m. today in a small control room at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) here. Alice Bowman, the mission operation manager for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, had just announced that the spacecraft had successfully rendezvoused with MU69, a tiny, frigid object on the edge of the solar system, far beyond Pluto. “We’ve just accomplished the most distant flyby,” she said.Because of transmission delays and the finite speed of radio waves, the triumph occurred last night, at 12:33 a.m., while the team was celebrating the New Year with sparkling wine and a new song from Brian May, the Queen guitarist—and, thanks to his astrophysics degree, a participating scientist on the mission. The 10-hour lag had been a tense wait for some of the team, fretful that their weekslong search for hazards around MU69 (or “Ultima Thule,” its nickname), such as fugitive moons or rings, had missed something before the spacecraft sped past at a distance of some 3500 kilometers. But Alan Stern, a planetary scientist from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, who is principal investigator for the $800 million mission, which explored Pluto in 2015, said he was confident. “I wasn’t worried about it. Got a nice night’s sleep.”Finally, after a 4-hour wait for the probe to complete a series of automated observations with its three cameras and six more hours for the transmission to reach Earth from MU69’s location in the distant Kuiper belt, 6.6 billion kilometers from Earth, the first drips of data arrived via NASA’s 70-meter Deep Space Network antenna in Madrid: New Horizons had hurtled past MU69 at 14 kilometers per second and survived. “In lock with telemetry,” Bowman said. Surviving encounter beyond Pluto, NASA probe begins relaying view of Kuiper belt object A roll call of the spacecraft’s instruments followed, with each reporting back “green”—healthy. And then came the most important confirmation: The spacecraft’s solid state hard drives were full of new science data, Bowman announced. “We have a healthy spacecraft.”A half-hour later, the New Horizons team poured into an APL auditorium to a 5-minute standing ovation and a parade of high-fives from APL staff. “I can’t think a better reason to stay up late and get up early than this,” said APL’s head of space science, Michael Ryschkewitsch. Because of the government shutdown, which includes NASA, the agency’s acting director of planetary science, Lori Glaze, was attending as a private citizen and could not speak in her official role. But, Ryschkewitsch added, “Lori asked me to tell you how proud the agency is.”With the festivities over and confirmation of the spacecraft’s survival, the real science begins. Unlike every other object previously visited by NASA, including Pluto, MU69 is believed to be unchanged since it formed in its current orbit billions of years ago, granting a window to the solar system’s earliest days. This pristine, primordial history should allow scientists to tease out important clues about the history of the Kuiper belt, the distant and unknown menagerie of objects beyond Neptune, along with insights to the formation and migration of the planets. The data will be slow in coming. Given the uncertainty of MU69’s position—it was discovered only 4 years ago and only a fraction of its orbit is known—New Horizons’s first images had to cover a wide field, at low resolution. By this evening, the team should have a 100-pixel image in hand; higher resolutions will follow in the next couple of days, with the best shots not arriving until February. But these first images, Stern added, “will reveal the basic geology and structure for us. We’re going to start writing our first scientific paper next week.” That means some late nights; the team has a meeting scheduled at 10 p.m. tonight.At a press briefing after confirmation of the flyby’s success, the team released its last view of MU69 before the encounter, taken some 800,000 kilometers away. The image (above) revealed what looked like a peanut or bowling pin, some 32 kilometers long by 16 kilometers wide, with a slight possibility still that MU69 could be a binary object.The mission had already cleared up one mystery: why the light reflecting off the object does not fluctuate, as might be expected from an irregular spinning body. A series of three approach photos revealed the reason: The rotation axis of MU69 was pointed toward the spacecraft, said Hal Weaver, the mission’s project scientist. “It’s almost like a propeller blade. And that explains everything.” The object makes a full rotation every 15 or 30 hours, he added.Whatever the return is from its MU69 flyby, Stern hopes its mission isn’t done. The spacecraft is funded through 2021; during much of that time, it will be beaming back data from its flyby. But the spacecraft will scan two dozen other Kuiper belt objects with its modest telescope, in the hopes of extrapolating its findings from MU69 to the broader belt.The MU69 encounter has also left New Horizons with enough fuel and power to attempt another flyby, albeit one not as close as its pass today, Stern noted last month. “We will be in the Kuiper belt until 2027 or 2028,” he said. While astronomers on Earth would strain to find another target, it’s likely that New Horizons itself could track one down. “There’s plenty of time to think that search through.”For more on the MU69 flyby and what it could reveal, start here.