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

The Spectrum


Grant given to support UB ophthalmology research 

The National Eye Institute granted $2.2 million to support the research of Steven J. Fliesler, vice chair and director of research in the department of ophthalmology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, according to UBNow.

The study is examining autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa, specifically type RP59, which causes irreversible blindness in children. The grant will allow researchers to examine models of animals to better determine a solution to the problem.

A UB research team developed the animal models, which are the first of their kind to be used to study arRP.

Fliesler’s research plans to delete the specific DHDDS gene, which causes the RP59 pathology of the disorder.

UB law students combat climate change

Ten UB students will join Professor Jessica Owley in Katowice, Poland next week as part of the 2018 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, according to UBNow.

As part of Owley’s “Climate Change Law and Policy” course, the students will observe delegates discussing how to reduce emissions first outlined in the 1992 international environment treaty. This is the fourth year Owley and her students will travel to the two-week negotiations. In 2015, students witnessed the signing of the Paris Agreement. 

Owley predicts this year to be significant, despite environmental setbacks she said from President Donald Trump, who plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. 

“Hopefully, [in] this meeting will see the countries of the world making a plan to put the Paris Agreement into action and dramatically reduce carbon emissions worldwide,” Owley said. “It’s really a unique opportunity for our students to see how these international negotiations happen — and to see how slow it can be.”

Owley’s students wrote blog posts throughout the semester in preparation for the conference, and will continue to blog about their experiences from Poland. 


Body camera footage of bloody Bills tailgate arrest released

The Erie County Sheriff’s Department released body camera footage of a deputy arresting a Bills fan at a tailgate after swearing at the police, according to The Buffalo News. 

Deputy Kenneth P. Achtyl arrested Nicholas Belsito for cursing at him during an altercation near New Era Field on Dec. 3, 2017. Belsito was tackled, handcuffed and shoved into a police car, despite sustaining a broken nose, which was bleeding profusely during the whole incident. 

The New York Court of Appeals determined swearing at a police officer did not justify the violation of disorderly conduct. Belsito’s lawyer, Aaron F. Glazer, is preparing a wrongful arrest lawsuit on his behalf. 

“The assistant DA took one look at this video and dismissed everything,” Glazer said. “I'm a former prosecutor and I don't like to take on cases against law enforcement. But this was just too egregious.”

Report says Buffalo will see negative side effects of climate change 

Buffalo may not be affected by rising sea levels, increased brush fires or destructive hurricanes, but a new report says Buffalo will still be affected by climate change, according to The Buffalo News. 

A new report from the National Climate Assessment says climate change will negatively affect the quality of the air in the Buffalo region. Warmer waters will also invite invasive species and algal blooms into Lake Erie. 

Scientists from 13 federal agencies who participated in the report said Buffalo will experience a 3-to-5-degree rise in temperature by the middle of the century. This will likely cause winter to come later and spring to come earlier as more carbon is released into the atmosphere, causing the planet, and the region, to warm. 

The report predicts this could shrink the region's agriculture and economy by 3 percent, a seemingly insignificant number compared to coastal areas around the world. 


Magnitude Seven Earthquake Rocks Alaska

 Life for residents of Alaska is returning to normal after Friday morning’s 7.0 earthquake destroyed roads and ripped open buildings in Anchorage, according to CNN.

 The U.S. Geological Survey says there were more than 1,000 aftershocks felt by the initial quake, some of which were felt 400 miles away from Anchorage; the aftershocks measure upwards of 5.7. Zero fatalities were reported according to Anchorage officials.

 Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz told reporters Friday’s quake was the second-largest sustained since 1964, when Alaska endured the most powerful quake in U.S. history, recorded at a 9.2. “It was very clear that this was something bigger than what we normally experience. We live in earthquake country…but this was a big one,” Berkowitz said Friday.

 Airports, hospitals, emergency services, and businesses are operating, but many sustained serious damage.

Homicide disguised as a house fire

Paul Caneiro is accused of murdering his brother, Keith, and his family and setting their house on fire in the early morning of Nov. 20, according to CNN.

The 51-year-old New Jersey resident allegedly shot his brother before proceeding to shoot and stab Keith’s wife, Jennifer. He also stabbed their children, Jesse,11, and Sophia, 8, before setting the house on fire. 

Firefighters arrived on the scene at 12:30 p.m. after a neighborhood groundskeeper smelled smoke.

Caneiro also allegedly set his own home on fire in hopes of making the crime seem like an attack on the whole family.  His wife and children were inside the house at the time, but made it out safely.

Caneiro is currently in Monmouth County jail awaiting his trial.


U.S. and China agree to halt new trade tariffs

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to halt trade tariffs for 90 days to pursue negotiations, according to BBC.

They agreed to make the decision after the G-20 summit meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The White House states that tariffs will jump from 10 percent to 25 percent if a deal has not been made by the deadline. In the meantime, Beijing has stated that the two nations will open up their markets.

The agreement came after Trump accused China of showing no concern for cutting its excess in trade between the two countries. Following the discussion, however, the White House stated that the meeting between Trump and Xi was “highly successful.”

Israeli police say Netanyahu should face bribery charges

Law enforcement officials in Israel suggested that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah should be indicted for bribery, according to BBC.

The allegations are under the name of ‘Case 4000,’ which suspects the couple of interfering in management choices to favor the Bezeq telecom firm. In exchange, the couple would receive positive attention from the media corporation. Majority shareholder of Bezeq, Shaul Elovitch, is also on the police’s suspect list for bribery.

This comes after two previous cases of bribery, one including Netanyahu allegedly received at least $270,000 from wealthy donors like Arnon Milchan.

Netanyahu denies the latest allegations, tweeting with confidence that the authorities will find no grounds to charge him after an investigation.

“There was nothing because there is nothing,” Netanyahu said in a tweet.

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