News and views from the University of Notre Dame

Author: Dennis Brown and Michael O. Garvey

Campaign 2000: The intense Republican presidential campaign ? tightened further Tuesday by Sen. John McCain’s twin wins in Michigan and Arizona ? is likely to hurt the GOP in the end, says Peri Arnold , professor of government at Notre Dame. “Surprising most of us, the Republican primary race is a cat fight that is eroding Bush’s and McCain’s war chests and reputations,” says Arnold, author of the award-winning book “Making the Managerial Presidency.” “The real winner might be the Democratic nominee in November.” *Professor Arnold can be reached for further comment at (219) 631-5016 or .

  • p. Campaigning Christians: The increasing number of political candidates who use their Christianity as a campaign platform will suffer greater consequences if their personal behavior is lacking, says Nathan O. Hatch , provost at Notre Dame and one of the world’s leading experts on American religious history. “It seems to me that it has crossed into a new area, one of deeply personal, experiential terms,” Hatch, the Tackes Professor of History, said in an interview with The National Journal. “In the process, these candidates are setting a higher bar for themselves. Once you say you live by certain standards, it doesn’t take a theologian to judge whether they are meeting that standard. The average Tom, Dick and Harry are going to notice when they fall short.” *Professor Hatch can be reached for further comment at (219) 631-6631 or .
  • p. Mergers and acquisitions: A study by Tim Loughran , associate professor of finance at Notre Dame, finds that typical mergers and acquisitions fail to add share value. “It’s a zero gain; there’s no effect,” he says in the March issue of SmartMoney magazine. However, Loughran also notes that hostile takeovers usually are better for shareholders than friendly deals. A hostile acquirer “is more prone to get rid of product lines, plants and people that aren’t creating value,” he says. *Professor Loughran can be reached for comment at (219) 631-8432 or .
  • p. Supernova spectacular: A Notre Dame physicist is part of a team of astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope to witness a never-before-seen celestial collision in a galaxy 169,000 light years from Earth. The galactic encounter is the collision between debris from an immense stellar explosion seen in February 1987 and the gas ring that circles the site, according to Peter Garnavich , assistant professor of physics at Notre Dame. Using the Hubble telescope, Garnavich and his colleagues earlier this month were able to observe the gases in the ring begin to glow as they were hit by a 40-million-mile-per-hour blast of debris from the 1987 supernova. In pictures taken Feb. 2, four new knots of superheated gas appeared for the first time since Hubble began monitoring the aftermath of the explosion. “The real fireworks show is finally starting, and over the next 10 years things will get spectacular,” Garnavich said. “It helps that Hubble is giving us an unparalleled view.”p. Note: An image of the event is available on the World Wide Web at:×5.jpg *Professor Garnavich can be reached for further comment at (219) 631-5972 or .
  • p. Finland: The election of Tarja Halonen as president of Finland is an example of the way in which women are making “gradual headway in politics and changing the political culture,” says Raimo Vayrynen , professor of government and international studies at Notre Dame. A native of Finland, Vayrynen is well-acquainted with the new president. “Ms. Halonen has been for the past five years the first female foreign minister of Finland, and in that capacity was in a key position when Finland presided over the European Union in the second half of 1999. Before that, she had served as a Social Democratic Member of Parliament since 1975, and as the minister of social affairs and minister of justice. As a single mother and a Christian social activist ? but not a member of the state-affiliated Lutheran Church ? she adds new elements to the relatively conservative political culture of Finland.” *Professor Vayrynen can be reached for further comment at (219) 631-7857 or .
  • p. Human rights: A Notre Dame Law School professor has written a new book that stands as the first comprehensive treatment of methods to address and rectify worldwide violations of human rights. “Remedies in International Human Rights” (Oxford University Press, 387 pages), by Dinah Shelton , provides a theoretical framework, historical overview, and practical guide for lawyers, judges, academics and others interested in the subject. The cases of the Inter-American and European courts of human rights are included, as well as decisions of the African and Inter-American commissions on human rights, United Nations bodies, the European Court of Justice, administrative tribunals, and national courts that apply human rights law. A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1996, Shelton has published three previous texts: “Protecting Human Rights in the Americas,” “Manual of European Environmental Law,” and “International Environmental Law.” She has served as a consultant to the United Nations, the European Community, the Council of Europe and several individual national governments. *Professor Shelton can be reached for comment on the various human rights stories in the news at (219) 631-7233 or .
  • p. Austria: The rise of Joerg Haider’s far-right Freedom Party in Austria can be explained in part by his ability to “play on the fears of Austrians,” says Robert Wegs , professor of history and director of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at Notre Dame. Located next to the former Yugoslavia, Austria has had to absorb many immigrants ? some 400,000 in a country of less than 8 million, Wegs points out. “Over the past several years, resentment has built up among all but a few Austrians about this influx,” he says. “So while one can understand the resentment among Austrians, one cannot understand Haider’s attempt to gain political advantage from it. His statements concerning the Waffen SS and Nazi labor policy have been troubling. Although he later disavowed them, they were followed with further angry, undiplomatic statements directed at other European leaders. Also, his disavowal does not mean that he might not revert to a similar position later if his party were to gain sufficient strength for him to become chancellor.” *Professor Wegs can be reached for further comment at (219) 631-6470 or .
  • p. Russia: Notre Dame political scientist Martha Merritt says of the March 26th presidential election in Russia: “Boris Yeltsin’s resignation was timed to allow him to do something the Soviet leaders never managed: select a successor. The intense manipulation of state-controlled media prior to the legislative elections in December led to electoral success for Yeltsin’s chosen party, and now acting President Vladimir Putin will try to exercise the same control. This is not democracy. Stage-managed elections, timed for incumbent advantage, do not allow the people a real choice.”
    *Note: Professor Merritt will conduct a policy briefing in February for the State Department on the Russian presidential election and will be in Moscow for the election itself. She can be reached for further comment at (219) 631-7695 or at .

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