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

The Spectrum


National Institutes of Health grant to support research on prenatal drug and alcohol use

UB’s Clinical Research Institute on Addictions received a $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to expand research on the effects of drug and alcohol use during pregnancy, according to the UB News Center. 

Roh-Yu Shen, a senior scientist in pharmacology and toxicology, is studying the effects of prenatal alcohol use on the brain’s ability to plan, organize and problem-solve. She is specifically researching if prenatal alcohol use causes immature development of the prefrontal cortex.

Rina Das Eiden, a senior research scientist in psychology, and Panayotis Thanos, a senior research scientist in pharmacology and toxicology, are running a study on the effects of prenatal tobacco and marijuana use. 

The research will first study humans who were prenatally exposed to tobacco and marijuana and will be translated to an animal study. Subjects involved will have factors such as behavior, memory, attention, body weight and reaction to stress examined and compared to those who were not exposed to the drugs.

HANATSU miroir to give free performance at UB

HANATSU miroir, a France-based ensemble will be playing a free concert on Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Lippes Concert Hall, according to UBNow. 

The group is known for its multidisciplinary shows which incorporate dance, theater and visual arts into its performances. 

During the show, the group will perform pieces written by UB Ph.D. students and will feature three works written by Samuel Andreyev, an oboist and member of the ensemble.


Two priests suspended after accusations of sexual abuse 

Two priests from a parish in Clarence were put on administrative leave Saturday after claims surfaced against them, according to The Buffalo News.

Both Monsignor Frederick Leising and Reverend Ronald Sajdak were accused of sexual abuse last week.

Stephanie McIntyre, a woman who had previously said that she was sexually abused by another priest, indicated that in 1988, Leising grabbed her and forcibly kissed her.

Leising denied the accusations, instead stating that she had caught him completely off guard and kissed him, stating that he was shocked and would never have attempted to do that.

Sajdak did not respond to a request for comment from The Buffalo News. The reverend has a history of abuse claims dating from the ‘70s, prior to being ordained into the church.

Leising has an appointment to meet with Auxiliary Bishop Edward Grosz on Monday.

South Buffalo man arrested in relation to fake bombs placed around Buffalo

On Friday, 54-year-old South Buffalo resident James Timpanaro was arrested and charged with conveying a hoax after leaving fake pipe bombs at the Buffalo Police Department and post office, according to The Buffalo News.

Timpanaro was identified by a South Buffalo food pantry worker and a neighbor from surveillance tapes near the locations of the bombs. Another neighbor familiar with Timpanaro also identified him on the tape.

Buffalo police originally believed Timpanaro did it to imitate the Florida resident Cesar Sayoc, who mailed more than a dozen pipe bombs around the country. 

However, Gary Loeffert, an FBI agent with the Buffalo office, said there wasn’t a motive to Timpanaro’s actions besides instilling fear.

If convicted of the felony offense, Timpanaro could face up to five years in prison .


Gunman kills two in Tallahassee yoga studio

 Friday evening, a man walked into a hot yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, posed as a client and then proceeded to fire a handgun without warning, according to CNN. Tallahassee Police say that the yoga students fought back against 40-year-old Scott Paul Beierle, who turned the gun on himself by the time authorities arrived.

 More information has been released about the history of the gunman in the wake of the shooting. He previously was the subject of police calls “in the Tallahassee area related to harassment of young women”, according to police.

 The New York Times revealed that in 2014, the gunman posted videos to YouTube where he denounced the legitimacy of interracial relationships and put down women who would not have a relationship with him. Beierle claimed to identify with “involuntary celibates” or “incels,” a group of men who react violently toward a women’s right to deny a man’s advances.

Video shows high school teacher punching student

 A music teacher at a Los Angeles-area high school was arrested last week on allegations of child abuse, according to NBC. A classmate’s cell phone video shows Maywood Academy teacher Marston Riley, 64, repeatedly punching a student while holding a cell phone.

 The video shows the student confronting the teacher with curse words and racial slurs while standing threateningly close. The teacher warns the student to get out of his classroom before the altercation ensues.

 Multiple students and an adult woman in a safety vest tried to break up the fight by pulling the student away from Riley by his shirt. The student was rushed to the hospital with minor injuries. Riley was booked at the sheriff’s station on a $50,000 bail and was released early Saturday morning, according to the sheriff’s Inmate Information Center.


Leaders of Bahrain opposition movement sentenced to life in prison

The Bahraini appeals court sentenced three senior members of the outlawed al-Wefaq movement to life in prison, according to Al Jazeera.

The public prosecutor said in a statement that the trio is charged with “acts of hostility” and spying for officials in Qatar. The sentence comes three weeks ahead of Bahrain’s parliamentary election, where al-Wefaq is banned from running.

Those sentenced include the head of al-Wefaq, Sheikh Ali Salman, along with Sheikh Hassan Sultan and Ali al-Aswad. The verdict came months after the trio was acquitted by the high criminal court in June.

Human rights groups say that Salman and others jailed on similar charges are arrested due to government intolerance toward their political views. 

New Caledonia rejects independence from France

Voters in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia have voted in majority to remain part of France, according to BBC.

Eighty-one percent of eligible citizens voted, with 56.4 percent of voters opting to stay in France.

French President Emmanuel Macron has praised the voter turnout, saying it shows “confidence in the French republic.”

New Caledonia, an island located east of Australia, has a history of clashes between the French and indigenous Kanak people. It is one of the 17 “non-self governing territories” listed by the UN, as it has not been fully decolonized.

Kanaks make up about 39 percent of the population, whereas ethnic Europeans consist of 27 percent.

The island also contains large nickel deposits and, for this reason, is seen as an economic advantage to France.

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