04-22-2024  6:53 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • Cloud 9 Cannabis CEO and co-owner Sam Ward Jr., left, and co-owner Dennis Turner pose at their shop, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, in Arlington, Wash. Cloud 9 is one of the first dispensaries to open under the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board's social equity program, established in efforts to remedy some of the disproportionate effects marijuana prohibition had on communities of color. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

    The Drug War Devastated Black and Other Minority Communities. Is Marijuana Legalization Helping?

    A major argument for legalizing the adult use of cannabis after 75 years of prohibition was to stop the harm caused by disproportionate enforcement of drug laws in Black, Latino and other minority communities. But efforts to help those most affected participate in the newly legal sector have been halting.  Read More
  • Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

    Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

     Seattle is marking the first anniversary of its landmark Race and Social Justice Initiative ordinance. Signed into law in April 2023, the ordinance highlights race and racism because of the pervasive inequities experienced by people of color Read More
  • A woman gathers possessions to take before a homeless encampment was cleaned up in San Francisco, Aug. 29, 2023. The Supreme Court will hear its most significant case on homelessness in decades Monday, April 22, 2024, as record numbers of people in America are without a permanent place to live. The justices will consider a challenge to rulings from a California-based federal appeals court that found punishing people for sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking amounts to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

    Supreme Court to Weigh Bans on Sleeping Outdoors 

    The Supreme Court will consider whether banning homeless people from sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking amounts to cruel and unusual punishment on Monday. The case is considered the most significant to come before the high court in decades on homelessness, which is reaching record levels In California and other Western states. Courts have ruled that it’s unconstitutional to fine and arrest people sleeping in homeless encampments if shelter Read More
  • Richard Wallace, founder and director of Equity and Transformation, poses for a portrait at the Westside Justice Center, Friday, March 29, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

    Chicago's Response to Migrant Influx Stirs Longstanding Frustrations Among Black Residents

    With help from state and federal funds, the city has spent more than $300 million to provide housing, health care and more to over 38,000 mostly South American migrants. The speed with which these funds were marshaled has stirred widespread resentment among Black Chicagoans. But community leaders are trying to ease racial tensions and channel the public’s frustrations into agitating for the greater good. Read More
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NORTHWEST NEWS

The Drug War Devastated Black and Other Minority Communities. Is Marijuana Legalization Helping?

A major argument for legalizing the adult use of cannabis after 75 years of prohibition was to stop the harm caused by disproportionate enforcement of drug laws in Black, Latino and other minority communities. But efforts to help those most affected participate in the newly legal sector have been halting. 

Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

 Seattle is marking the first anniversary of its landmark Race and Social Justice Initiative ordinance. Signed into law in April 2023, the ordinance highlights race and racism because of the pervasive inequities experienced by people of color

Don’t Shoot Portland, University of Oregon Team Up for Black Narratives, Memory

The yearly Memory Work for Black Lives Plenary shows the power of preservation.

Grants Pass Anti-Camping Laws Head to Supreme Court

Grants Pass in southern Oregon has become the unlikely face of the nation’s homelessness crisis as its case over anti-camping laws goes to the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for April 22. The case has broad implications for cities, including whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. Since 2020, court orders have barred Grants Pass from enforcing its anti-camping laws. Now, the city is asking the justices to review lower court rulings it says has prevented it from addressing the city's homelessness crisis. Rights groups say people shouldn’t be punished for lacking housing.

NEWS BRIEFS

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Governor Kotek Announces Investment in New CHIPS Child Care Fund

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With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court wrestled with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness on Monday as it considered whether cities can punish people for sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking. It's the most significant case before the high court in decades...

Oregon lodge famously featured in 'The Shining' will reopen to guests after fire forced evacuations

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's historic Timberline Lodge, which featured in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film “The Shining,” will reopen to guests Sunday after a fire that prompted evacuations but caused only minimal damage. The lodge said Saturday in a Facebook post that it...

KC Current owners announce plans for stadium district along the Kansas City riverfront

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The ownership group of the Kansas City Current announced plans Monday for the development of the Missouri River waterfront, where the club recently opened a purpose-built stadium for the National Women's Soccer League team. CPKC Stadium will serve as the hub...

Two-time world champ J’den Cox retires at US Olympic wrestling trials; 44-year-old reaches finals

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — J’den Cox walked off the mat after dropping a 2-2 decision to Kollin Moore at the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials on Friday night, leaving his shoes behind to a standing ovation. The bronze medal winner at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 was beaten by...

OPINION

Op-Ed: Why MAGA Policies Are Detrimental to Black Communities

NNPA NEWSWIRE – MAGA proponents peddle baseless claims of widespread voter fraud to justify voter suppression tactics that disproportionately target Black voters. From restrictive voter ID laws to purging voter rolls to limiting early voting hours, these...

Loving and Embracing the Differences in Our Youngest Learners

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Gallup Finds Black Generational Divide on Affirmative Action

Each spring, many aspiring students and their families begin receiving college acceptance letters and offers of financial aid packages. This year’s college decisions will add yet another consideration: the effects of a 2023 Supreme Court, 6-3 ruling that...

OP-ED: Embracing Black Men’s Voices: Rebuilding Trust and Unity in the Democratic Party

The decision of many Black men to disengage from the Democratic Party is rooted in a complex interplay of historical disenchantment, unmet promises, and a sense of disillusionment with the political establishment. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Mississippi lawmakers move toward restoring voting rights to 32 felons as broader suffrage bill dies

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi legislators advanced bills Monday to give voting rights back to 32 people convicted of felonies, weeks after a Senate leader killed a broader bill that would have restored suffrage to many more people with criminal records. The move is necessary due...

William Strickland, a longtime civil rights activist, scholar and friend of Malcom X, has died

BOSTON (AP) — William Strickland, a longtime civil rights activist and supporter of the Black Power movement who worked with Malcom X and other prominent leaders in the 1960s, has died. He was 87. Strickland, whose death April 10 was confirmed by a relative, first became active in...

Foundation to convene 3rd annual summit on anti-Asian hate, building AAPI coalitions

NEW YORK (AP) — A foundation launched in the wake of anti-Asian hate will hold a wide-ranging conference bringing together Asian American and Pacific Islander notable figures for a third year. The Asian American Foundation will hold a Heritage Month Summit next month in New York...

ENTERTAINMENT

What to stream this weekend: Conan O’Brien travels, 'Migration' soars and Taylor Swift reigns

Zack Snyder’s “Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver” landing on Netflix and Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department” album are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you. Also among the streaming offerings worth your time as...

Music Review: Jazz pianist Fred Hersch creates subdued, lovely colors on 'Silent, Listening'

Jazz pianist Fred Hersch fully embraces the freedom that comes with improvisation on his solo album “Silent, Listening,” spontaneously composing and performing tunes that are often without melody, meter or form. Listening to them can be challenging and rewarding. The many-time...

Book Review: 'Nothing But the Bones' is a compelling noir novel at a breakneck pace

Nelson “Nails” McKenna isn’t very bright, stumbles over his words and often says what he’s thinking without realizing it. We first meet him as a boy reading a superhero comic on the banks of a river in his backcountry hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia....

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

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Biden marks Earth Day by going after GOP, announcing billion in federal solar power grants

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Chinese general takes a harsh line on Taiwan and other disputes at an international naval gathering

QINGDAO, China (AP) — One of China's top military leaders took a harsh line on regional territorial disputes,...

Mexico's likely next president has a Jewish origin. Is that relevant in a deeply Catholic country?

MEXICO CITY (AP) — By mid-2024, Claudia Sheinbaum will most likely become Mexico’s first female president. She...

Nasir Habib and Jethro Mullen CNN

ISLAMABAD (CNN) -- The Pakistani government came under attack from two angles Tuesday as the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of the country's prime minister and a rowdy anti-government rally took place near the national parliament.

Even by the standards of Pakistan's often turbulent politics, it was a stormy day that ratcheted tensions ahead of national elections later this year.

The Supreme Court, which has clashed repeatedly with Pakistan's political leaders in recent years, issued the arrest order for Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and a number of other officials over allegations of illegal payments for electricity-generating projects when Ashraf was minister for water and power.

Speaking on local broadcaster Dunya News, Fawad Chaudhry, one of Ashraf's advisers, called the court's decision "a soft coup" against democracy. The prime minister has consistently denied the allegations, he said.

Last year, the Supreme Court ousted Ashraf's predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, in a contempt case related to old corruption charges against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The Karachi Stock Exchange crashed Tuesday on the news of the Supreme Court action. The KSE shed 500 points in just 10 minutes.

The arrest order for Ashraf was music to the ears of supporters of Tahir ul Qadri, a Muslim cleric who wants Pakistan's leaders thrown out in favor of a caretaker government to bring about electoral reform and flush out corruption.

The demonstrators welcomed the court decision, chanting, "Long live the Supreme Court."

Just ahead of the court's announcement, Qadri, housed in a bulletproof container, addressed thousands of people gathered near the parliament in central Islamabad, singling out the judiciary and the military as the only two institutions that he said were functioning in Pakistan.

He had previously called on the civilian government to disband by Tuesday morning to allow the formation of the caretaker government. That deadline has passed, and he has urged his supporters to continue their demonstration in central Islamabad and to double their numbers each day.

Claims of a conspiracy

The timing of the arrest order against Ashraf appeared to play to Qadri's advantage.

A senior official of the governing Pakistan People's Party, which is headed by Zardari, called the court's decision "a conspiracy."

Speaking on Dunya News, Sharjeel Memon suggested the order had "a direct connection" with Qadri's movement.

Corruption is widely considered a chronic problem in Pakistan's political system; Zardari has served prison time on corruption charges.

And during his time as minister of water and power, Ashraf is accused of accepting kickbacks from power companies to approve expensive projects, known as Rental Power Projects, that in reality generated very little electricity.

Pakistan regularly grapples with chronic power outages, with its booming population putting a strain on the public power grid. So the government had to rely on private power producers.

Ashraf is alleged to have used the kickback from these private firms to buy property abroad. The accusations earned him the derisive nickname "Rental Raja," and the Supreme Court eventually stripped him of his former ministerial role.

If authorities follow through on the court's order and arrest Ashraf, he will remain prime minister for the time being, said Salman Akram Raja, a constitutional expert.

"The court hasn't convicted him; he is an accused at this stage," he said in an interview on local broadcaster Geo News.

The political drama set off by the Supreme Court followed unrest in Islamabad's streets earlier Tuesday.

Brief clashes took place between security forces and Qadri's supporters as the crowd moved into the area near the parliament where protests regularly take place.

Local media reported that police fired shots into the air and lobbed tear gas at the crowd. The unrest subsided after 10 to 15 minutes, and the protesters continued peacefully.

Qadri's supporters accused police of starting the unrest by trying to arrest the cleric, but Interior Minister Rehman Malik said police were doing their best to protect Qadri and control the crowd. He said the reported clashes are under investigation.

Footage from local broadcaster Ary News showed chaotic scenes of people running and objects being thrown as gunshots echoed in the background.

'The beginning of the revolution'

Qadri had already held a nighttime rally around 2 a.m. Tuesday after he and his convoy of followers arrived in Islamabad on Monday after traveling for more than a day from the eastern city of Lahore.

"It's the beginning of the revolution," he said, referring to Zardari as "ex-president" and to Ashraf as "ex-prime minister."

But the group's numbers fell far short of what organizers of the "Million Man March" had predicted, with witnesses estimating that about 20,000 people took part.

Malik, who visited rally sites Monday by helicopter, said the turnout numbers showed that Qadri's event had "badly failed."

Qadri had promised a Pakistani equivalent of Egypt's Tahrir Square protests.

After eight years in Canada, Qadri returned last month to Pakistan, where he is waging a campaign against the political elite. He has called for a caretaker administration to replace the current government and to carry out election reforms.

His suggestion that the judiciary and the military weigh in on the composition of the interim government has raised concerns in a country where military leaders have repeatedly seized power and ruled for long periods of time.

Some Pakistanis, noting that Qadri served as a lawmaker in the early 2000s, when Gen. Pervez Musharraf was leading the country, have suggested he may be working on behalf of the military.

Qadri denies those allegations and maintains he is simply seeking to ensure a corruption-free electoral process.

The current government and opposition have rejected his requests for a caretaker administration, insisting that nothing will stand in the way of timely elections and the democratic process.

"We will not succumb to these illegal demands," Malik said last week.

If this year's elections take place without major difficulties, it would represent the first time in Pakistan's history that a civilian government made it through a five-year term.

CNN's Nasir Habib reported from Islamabad, and Jethro Mullen wrote from Hong Kong. CNN's Shaan Khan in Islamabad contributed to this report.

 

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast