News briefs

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

The Spectrum


UB Engineers Without Borders to bring clean water to Nicaragua

UB Engineers Without Borders has been working to bring clean water to La Laguna, Nicaragua, according to UB Now. 

As part of its five-year partnership with the community, EWB has sent students to La Laguna to evaluate its situation and has plans to go back next spring to begin implementing its project.

The team is faced with the challenge of providing drinking water in a place that is spread across rainforest, mountains and quick sand, according to UBNow. 

While visiting, students conducted water tests to check the quality of the water. They began planning ways to provide a sustainable system that can be easily repaired with resources that are readily available to the community. 

On its next trip, EWB plans to install a pipeline and filtration system that will be sourced by a stream located half a mile from La Laguna.

UB Cytocybernetics receives grant to further neurological research

UB spinoff Cytocybernetics has developed a device to test the ways that medications affect individual cells’ electrical activity, according to UB Now.

The research is funded by a $250,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health and is primarily focused on neuronal drug development.

The grant has allowed Cytocybernetics to add two more positions to its existing seven full-time positions. 

Once running, the device will help to determine the ways that electrical activity of cells is altered by drugs given to treat neurological disorders. This research will help to pinpoint the specific ways that drugs affect neurons.


Drug dealer may serve lifetime in jail 

East Side drug dealer Rashawn Crule, 42, pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to possession with intent to sell 100 grams of heroin, according The Buffalo News. 

On Nov. 2, 2015, after making two heroin deals to a DEA affiliate, Crule had his home raided and was found to be in possession of heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and crack cocaine.

Law enforcement also found a gun with 11 rounds of ammunition, roughly $75,000 in cash and a 14-karat white gold necklace.

 Crule now has a 10-year minimum sentence and could be facing up to a life sentence in prison, according to prosecutors.

Teen arrested at Niagara Falls air Base with a gun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition freed

Simeon W. Brovont, 18, was arrested on June 10 at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station during its Thunder over Niagara event for possession of an unregistered handgun, according to The Buffalo News.

Brovont brought a .22-caliber pistol with hundreds of rounds of ammunition to the event apparently without realizing the significance of owning an unregistered handgun in New York State.

During a search of Brovont’s car, state police also found a drone and fireworks, which they thought were explosives, and called for a bomb squad to examine the car.

At his sentencing on Oct. 11, Brovont was given a youthful offender status and allowed to go free.

Brovont had originally pled guilty to attempted second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a felony, and had already served four months at the Niagara County Jail by the time of his release.

Brovont purchased the pistol in Idaho, a state which allows anyone over 18 to purchase a handgun and does not require registration of said gun, before coming to visit some friends in western New York and running afoul of state laws.

Due to his youthful offender status, Brovont’s felony designation will be lifted.


Pennsylvania governor approves anti-hazing bill

 Since 2005, there have been more than 77 fraternity-related deaths in the U.S. thus making the push for legislature on hazing more and more prevalent.

After a year of lobbying from parents and lawmakers the Timothy J. Piazza Anti Hazing Law was confirmed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, according to CNN.

The law forces Pennsylvania schools to put forth policies and reporting procedures to make reporting aggravated hazing easier.

 The law got its name from a 19-year-old Penn State University student who died last year pledging Beta Theta Pi. Piazza suffered a head injury due to a series of falls, coupled with extreme intoxication, he was found dead the next morning.

  Penn State students who are found guilty of hazing will be subjected to a range of punishments, from fines to expulsion.

 Pennsylvania is now the 45th state to have implemented anti-hazing laws and at least 12 have included felony charges if hazing results in death or serious injury. State legislators passed the bill unanimously.

Biden takes aim at Trump as he eyes 2020 bid

 On Saturday, Former Vice President Joe Biden cast referenced the current president in a rally in Las Vegas, according to CNN. 

“It’s all about Donald. It’s not about anything else,” Biden said to local union workers.

 He traveled to advocate for democratic candidates running against republican incumbents. With plans on being one of the most active democratic rallying voice before the midterms, Biden will appear in Florida to campaign for democratic candidates.

 Biden claims that the current partisan attitudes are destroying American values.

The results of the midterm elections will determine if he places a bid for 2020 but Trump is already writing him off as a potential opponent.

 “He never had more than one percent. So we call him either Sleepy Joe Biden or One Percent,” Trump said on the same night as the Biden rally.


Trump says the U.S. will withdraw from a Cold War-era treaty with Russia

President Donald Trump says that the United States will pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, according to NPR. Trump accused Russia of violating the treaty, stating that the U.S. has “honored the agreement” while Russia has not. American officials have been accusing Russia of violating the treaty for many years.

The treaty, according to the State Department, forbids the U.S. and the Soviet Union from having nuclear missiles that flew from “500 to 5,500 kilometers” and mandated that missiles, launchers and other supporting equipment were to be destroyed.

National security adviser John Bolton will reportedly travel to Moscow to tell Russian President Vladimir Putin the news.

Afghanistan’s elections face Taliban resistance

Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections were held on Saturday despite Taliban disruption threats, according to the Washington Post.

The election was postponed due to a string of attacks that resulted in the deaths of 10 candidates. The Taliban claims responsibility for 164 attacks on the day of the election. A suicide bomber, for example, is reported to have killed at least 10 voters and five police officers after trying to infiltrate a polling place.

Two-thousand five-hundred candidates, including 400 women, are running for 249 parliamentary seats. Polling places faced late openings and long lines of voters waiting to cast their ballots. The long waits were a result of disorganization in the polls, ranging from inaccurately recorded names to missing ballot boxes.

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