News briefs

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

The Spectrum


Sustainability Month gets underway at UB

A symposium hosted by the School of Social Work focusing on poverty as a human rights issue kicked off Sustainability Month on Wednesday, according to UB Now.

There are more than 40 events lined up for the month, many of which encompass issues not usually associated with sustainability.

This includes a workshop called “The Transgender Umbrella” presented by UB’s Intercultural and Diversity Center, the ever popular Erie Hack competition and multiple business events.

Sustainability Month culminates with the Western New York Sustainable Business Summit on May 8 at Hotel Henry, where some 200 people will discuss ways to reduce their environmental footprint.

Hunter James Kelly Research Institute awarded $2 million

Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) awarded $2 million dollars to UB’s Hunter James Kelly Research Institute on Thursday, according to UBNow.

The funding will come from the National Institutes of Health, and is expected to aid research into Krabbe’s disease, which results in progressive damage to the nervous system. 

The Hunter James Kelly Research Institute specializes in research pertaining to myelination in the nervous system. 

“What’s exciting about this grant is that we are leading research on Krabbe’s in a new direction,” M. Laura Feltri, professor of Biochemistry and Neurology said.


Local identity theft operation broken up

Eight people were arrested in connection with an identity theft scheme centered in Buffalo over Tuesday and Wednesday, according to The Buffalo News.

Darrius Outling is accused of stealing social security numbers from juveniles across the U.S. and then selling them to the other seven members of the operation.

The other seven members used the stolen social security numbers to open credit lines and purchase approximately $420,000 worth of goods.

One of the eight accused, Cynthia Lockwood, is the cousin of Buffalo’s police commissioner, and another, Robert Johnson Jr, is a Buffalo firefighter.

Proposed Chick-fil-A in Buffalo airport not happening

The NFTA’s plans for a Chick-fil-A in Buffalo Niagara International Airport were less than a day old when they were discarded, according to The Buffalo News.

Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services manages food service at the Buffalo airport and decided against introducing a Chick-fil-A on Friday after Democratic Assemblyman Sean Ryan lodged a protest.

Ryan protested Chick-fil-A’s introduction due to LGBT discrimination allegations against the company.

Chick-fil-A denied all claims of discrimination in a statement, saying that they support all people regardless of their differences.

An NFTA spokeswoman said that the NFTA is brainstorming alternative restaurant options with Delaware North Cos. for the airport.


Floods Devastate Mid-West

Flooding continues to hit midwest exposing flaws in the levee security system according to The New York Times.

Those affected are still without power, many still have several feet of water outside their home.

The most pertinent problem is the lack of clean water. Several residents have private wells which are unsafe due to pollutants carried in with the flood water 

Residents blame poor regulation and lack of upkeep, as the levees have been there for decades and have proven no match against this year’s floods.

U.S. halts humanitarian aid to Central American countries

On Saturday the State Department confirmed the halting of financial aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Under the Trump administration this aid has already dropped severely from previous years according to USA TODAY..

Trump claims his decision is due to a caravan originating from Central America heading towards the U.S. Trump has asked Mexico to handle the ordeal before it reaches the southern border with no result.


Leaked medical reports expose abuse in Saudi Arabian prison

Leaked medical reports prepared for King Salman exposed Saudi political prisoners have endured physical abuse and malnutrition, according to Al Jazeera. 

Some of the reports included potential pardoning or early release due to health concerns from the alleged abuse. 

There have been several reports in recent months that claimed torture in Saudi prisons. These leaked documents provide conditions that are consistent with recent accusations.

The reports said prisoners had a number of wounds, bruises and weakness due to malnutrition.

The Saudi government did not challenge the accuracy of the leaked documents.

Slovakia elects first female president

Suzana Caputova won 58.3% of votes against Slovakia's ruling party’s opponent, Maros Sefcovic, to become Slovakia’s first female president, according to Al Jazeera.

Caputova is known for being an outspoken critic of the government, with the campaign slogan “stand up to evil.” 

“I am happy not just for the result but mainly that it is possible not to succumb to populism, to tell the truth, to raise interest without aggressive vocabulary,” Caputova said to a crowd after her win.

An aid in her win came from her involvement in a protest after the murder of a journalist and his fiancee. The journalist, Jan Kuciak, was going to publish a report alleging ties between Slovak politicians and the Italian mafia.

Caputova vows to fight for justice for all, promises better care for the elderly and environmental protection.