News Briefs

What you need to know in local, national and global news


Campus 

Green Your Commute

On Wednesday UB Parking and Transportation Services is sponsoring Green Your Commute, a day intended for promoting environmentally friendly ways to travel to campus. 

The event is focused on advocating for carpooling, biking, or busing to campus, rather than driving alone, according to UB Now. The goal of Green Your Commute is to show that these “green” modes of transportation can make great changes in the way that we affect the environment.

Everyone who participates in Green Your Commute is encouraged to post a selfie using #GYCD18 and to register for the event. 

There will be one reception on each campus held the afternoon of the event, offering ice cream for participants. The rain date for the event is Sept. 28. 

Campaign for the Community

UB kickstarted its 2018 Campaign for the Community on Thursday. UB donors can pick from over 2,800 health, human service, education and environmental organizations, according to the campaign’s website.  

This year the campaign, which started in 1976, set its goal at $850,000. The university paired with United Way to help raise funds to help assist the Western New York community. Historically, more than 80 percent of the money raised stays in the Buffalo-Niagara region.

Funds from previous campaigns have been used to help local organizations, such as the Family Justice Center of Erie County and Jericho Road Community Health Center, according to UBNow.

Local 

Buffalo Police Department still working out kinks with body-camera policies

The Buffalo Police Department is finalizing plans to equip its officers with body cameras, however there are concerns amongst the Buffalo Police Advisory Board about a lack of transparency to the public, according to The Buffalo News. 

The advisory board is a citizen oversight committee with a stated purpose of ensuring accountability, transparency, and proper conduct from the police department.

The board has identified five concerns in relation to the police department’s body camera policies.

The areas are: the public has had no say on police policy in relation to the use of body cameras; officers’ discretion on when to turn the cameras on and off; a lack of public access to body camera footage; privacy concerns about the use of facial recognition technology from footage and footage should be routinely deleted after six months unless needed for a case.

Amherst pain doctor charged with threatening witness

Dr. Gautam Arora, a pain management specialist from Amherst under investigation for fraud and providing illegal prescriptions, was taken into custody on last Friday upon his return from India, according to The Buffalo News. 

Arora is accused of sending text messages to his wife indicating that he would behead a cooperating witness in his case, and was seen on social media posing with a gun and a knife.

Although Arora initially denied sending the messages he later admitted to investigators that he authored them, but stated that they were sent out of anger and he never meant to act on them.

In addition, he admitted that he fled the country in December to avoid the investigation into his practice.

However, in court last week Arora’s lawyer stated that his client left the country to relieve stress in his life, not to escape the FBI’s investigation.

National

DHS Proposal to Block Visas from Potential Social Services Recipients

The Department of Homeland Security announced Saturday that it’s creating a new law, making immigrants unable to enter the U.S. if they are deemed likely to receive certain social benefits once they’re here, according to CNN.

  Someone who is likely to become dependent on the government is known in the immigration law field as a “public charge.” The proposed law is an expansion on these principles.

  Although it is subject to drastic legal changes before it goes into effect, this could allow many more immigrants to be denied entry. Current immigrant residents could be denied citizenship if they had ever used a social service such as food stamps or public housing.

  Secretary of the DHS, Kristjen Nielsen, said this rule is intended to promote the self-sufficiency of immigrants and protect the American taxpayer from additional financial burdens.

Creator of the 3D Gun to Face a Child Sexual Assault Charge

  Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, is accused of having sexual relations with a 16-year-old girl when he was 30, according to CNN.

U.S. marshals transferred Wilson to Houston.

The Austin Police Department claims he paid the minor $500 for sex and if convicted, Wilson will face upwards of 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Global

Iran blames Ahvaz parade for attack on the U.S.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the U.S. and Gulf States backed an attack where gunmen shot at a parade in the city of Ahvas, according to BBC.

“It is absolutely clear to us who committed this crime... and whom they are linked to,” Rouhani said.

The attack happened on Saturday and left 25 people dead including 12 soldiers, 12 civilians and a four-year-old girl. Ahvaz National Resistance, a group that claims to protect the rights of Arab minorities, says they were behind the attack. ISIS has also claimed to be the perpetrators.

Rouhani will meet Donald Trump at the UN General Assembly next week.

Voters reject proposals for ‘fair food’ in Switzerland

Two proposals on ethical and sustainable food have been rejected by a majority of Swiss voters, according to the BBC. The two initiatives have been struck down by a “no” vote of over 60 percent.

The proposals, called “fair food” and “food sovereignty,” aimed to boost local farming and promote sustainable agriculture. Polls initially showed a positive reception, showing a strong backing for family farms and sustainable farming.

In the closing days of the campaign, however, the government warned citizens that the measures were unable to be enforced. Food retailers also warned that prices would rise.

  The news desk can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com