News briefs

What to know in local, national and global news

briefs
The Spectrum

Campus

University awarded first ever MAC Diversity and Inclusion Institutional Award

UB received the Mid-American Conference’s inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Institutional Award, recognizing the university’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion on campus and within the athletics program.

In a press release, President Satish K. Tripathi thanked the MAC for recognizing the university’s efforts to promote diversity on campus and reinforced the topic as one of UB’s main priorities.

“Diversity and inclusion are core values of our institutional mission — central to our identity as a public research university and, therefore, central to all of our programs across Buffalo,” Tripathi said. “That the MAC, with this inaugural institutional award, is celebrating our athletics department’s success in fostering a welcoming, inclusive environment is a source of great pride for all of us at UB.”

The university also won the NCAA and Minority Opportunities Athletic Association’s 2018 Award for Diversity and Inclusion last December.

University awarded grant to fund cybersecurity training

UB is the recipient of a five-year $2.39 million National Science Foundation grant to train students to fend off cyberattacks, according to UB Now. As a part of NSF’s CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service program, UB’s Center of Exellence in Information Systems, Assurance, Research and Education (CEISARE) will use the grant to pay for 16-18 students’ graduate school and provide them with the opportunity to participate in research about cybersecurity.

Shambhu Upadhyaya, professor of computer science and engineering and director of CEISARE said training students to be the next line of defense against cyberattacks is important, as the government, large companies and corporations are under constant threat.

“This impacts our economy, national security, politics and other aspects of society. That’s why we must continue to find and train cybersecurity professionals who can make a difference,” Upadhyaya said in a UB Now article.

This is the third time UB has received the grant since CEISARE began training cybersecurity professionals at UB in 2008, totaling $5 million. To date, 30 scholars have graduated from the CyberCorps program.

Local

After Indictment, Collins returns to work

After being arrested and arraigned on insider trading charges last month, Rep. Chris Collins returned to work Tuesday evening in the nation’s capital, according to The Buffalo News. The House resumed operations after a five-week summer recess, allowing Collins, a Republican from Clarence, to cast four votes.

Collins avoided questions about his Aug. 8 indictment by using an alternative entrance to the building, avoiding doorways or elevators lawmakers typically use. Sarah Minkel, Collins’ spokeswoman, said he would not respond to the media.

Collins was joined by Rep. Duncan Hunter, an indicted republican from California charged with using campaign funds for personal expenses. GOP leaders have been trying to navigate New York State election law to remove and replace Collins from November’s ballot.

Tonawanda Coke could shut down

Tonawanda Coke Company returned to federal court Tuesday after the company allegedly violated its consent decree with the Department of Justice, which requires it to comply with emission standards, according to WBFO.

Aaron Mango, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who handled the company’s criminal trial in 2013, requested a court order Tuesday to shut down the plant, for “forcing” residents to breathe in “poison gas.” Judge William Skretny said before he approves closing the plant, he wants to gather as much information to make an ethical decision.

The company also faces a cease-and-desist from the Department of Environmental Conservation on Oct. 10.

National

Tumultuous Kavanaugh confirmation hearing

After a gruelingly long day filled with delays from Senate Democrats, Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing to be the next Supreme Court Justice continued Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to The New York Times.

On Tuesday, Democrats repeatedly interrupted Sen. Charles Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, arguing a lack of access to thousands of documents pertaining to Kavanaugh’s court records. Last week the White House said it would not release 100,000 documents from the judge’s time during the Bush presidency.

On Wednesday, Kavanaugh faced 30-minute rounds of questioning on topics including environmental regulations, Roe v. Wade, President Trump and empowering of women in courts. While some argue President Trump handpicked Kavanaugh, Senators from both sides of the aisles defended the judge, arguing he’d rule unbiased.

Facebook and Twitter testify in front of Congress

Internet and social media giants accepted an invitation to return to Capitol Hill Wednesday, to talk about foreign influence operations meddling with U.S. elections through social media, according to The New York Times.

Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey as Alphabet –– Google’s parent company –– declined to send CEO Larry Page. The social media CEOs answered lawmakers’ questions and expressed efforts across the board to deal with meddling and disinformation problems.

The CEO’s expressed that they’re trying to gain the trust of the public and apologized for doing too little too late after reports of Russian meddling in the 2016 election have raised questions about cyber security at the national and personal level.

Global

Cebu mayor is third Philippines mayor killed in three months

They mayor of a town in the Philippines’ Cebu province was killed Wednesday, making him the third mayor killed in three months, according to CNN. Mariano Blanco, mayor of Ronda, was shot dead in his office by an unidentified gunman early Wednesday morning. Provincial police are investigating the incident but have yet identified a subject or motive. The town’s vice-mayor, Jonah John Ungab, was also shot dead five months ago.

In July, Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili was shot by a sniper during a flag-raising ceremony outside the City Hall. During the same week, Tinio mayor Ferdinand Bote, was also gunned down by an individual riding a motorcycle.

More than 15 mayors have died since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in the middle of 2016. Officials say some deaths are linked to drug trading or the government’s increased war on drugs.

Typhoon Jebi brings destruction to Japan

Jebi, the strongest typhoon to hit mainland Japan in 25 years, has killed at least 10 people since Tuesday, according to CNN. Seven victims were killed in the Osaka Prefecture, the others in Mie, Aichi and Shiga.

Jebi has created extremely fast winds and torrential downpours, destroying everything in its path and canceling hundreds of flights. Jebi stirred up the ocean on the country’s coast, uprooting an 89-meter-long tanker from its anchor point and tossing it into the bridge connecting the Kansai airport with the mainland.

The bridge reopened Wednesday, but roughly 3,000 passengers were stranded at the airport overnight. A fire caused by short-circuited wires also delayed daily activity near the airport, when 187 cars caught fire. Firefighters couldn’t access the fire at first because of flooded streets.

Jebi comes only two weeks after Typhoon Cimaron hit the same area. Storm surges are calming down, but Jebi has done its damage, leaving close to 20 inches of accumulated rain in affected regions.

The News Desk can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com