04-20-2018  9:40 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

April 24 is Voter Registration Deadline for May 15 Primary Election

Tuesday, April 24, is voter registration and party choice deadline for May 15 Primary Election ...

Portland Libraries Celebrate National Poetry Month

April poetry events and recommended reading from Multnomah County libraries ...

PCRI Launches the Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan

Pathway 1000 a bold and ambitious 10-year displacement mitigation initiative ...

AG Rosenblum Launches New Resource on Oregon’s New Gun Safety Laws

One-page handout aims to educate Oregonians about the new law ...

Ethos Music Center Honors Portland Attorney Dave Baca with Annual Resonance Award

Founder Charles Lewis to receive first-ever Ethos Visionary Award at the May 2 event ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

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Julianne Malveaux questions HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s ability to enforce the Fair Housing Act ...

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Reggie Shuford on the daily indignities African-Americans face in Philadelphia and around the country ...

Black People Must Vote or Reap the Consequences

Jeffrey Boney on the importance of voting in the Black community ...

Civil Rights Community Doesn’t Need to Look Farr for Racism in Trump Court Nominees

Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO, explains organization's opposition to Trump's nomination of Thomas Farr ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Jamie Crawford and Chris Lawrence CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States has signed a deal with the central Africa nation of Niger that allows deployment of surveillance drones to keep tabs on Islamic militants in the region, officials from both countries said Tuesday.

Niger is next door to Mali, where France joined the fight against Islamic rebels earlier this month

Pentagon spokesman George Little said the role of the U.S. military in Niger "has not yet been defined" -- but Niger's ambassador to the United States, Maman Sidikou, told CNN that his government has agreed to let U.S. drones operate from its territory.

Sidikou said his understanding of the agreement is the drones will be unarmed and used for surveillance to monitor extremist movements. He refused to discuss where in the country the drones would be based or when they will be operational.

Niger lies to the east of Mali, where French troops and warplanes are fighting alongside government troops to push back Islamist fighters who seized much of the former French colony in 2012.

The rebels took advantage of the chaos that followed a revolt by Touareg separatists and a military coup, and banned music, smoking, drinking and watching televised sports in the territories under their control.

Washington is backing its NATO ally by sharing intelligence, flying French troops to neighboring countries and refueling French jets.

Mali is the home of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African offshoot of the terrorist movement. The group has been connected to the recent assault on the natural gas facility in Algiers and the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Little said the group does not pose a direct threat to the U.S. homeland, but that could change.

"I'm unaware of any specific or credible information at this time that points to an AQIM threat against the homeland, but, again, I'm not ruling it out," he said. "We take al Qaeda, wherever they are, very seriously. We are not going to rest on our laurels until we find that that kind of specific and credible information."

A U.S. official said that intelligence-gathering in that part of Africa is a challenge. The United States has a drone base in Djibouti, at the southern tip of the Red Sea -- on the opposite side of the continent from Mali.

"Djibouti is a long way from Bamako, and there's certainly a growing need for intelligence-gathering," the official said.

While not confirming the reports about establishing a drone base, the official noted that if one was created, the operation would need infrastructure, security and support.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

 

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