03-01-2024  1:06 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump Receives Honorary Doctorate from Lewis & Clark College

Crump has represented the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Henrietta Lacks. 

Washington State House Overwhelmingly Passes Ban on Hog-tying by Police

The vote on Wednesday came nearly four years after Manuel Ellis, a 33-year-old Black man, died in Tacoma, Washington, facedown with his hands and feet cuffed together behind him.

Amid Fentanyl Crisis, Oregon Lawmakers Propose More Funding for Opioid Addiction Medication in Jails

Democrats are looking to counterbalance restoring criminal penalties for possession with expanding access to treatment for a potentially growing number of people in the criminal justice system. The proposal would create a million grant fund for jails looking to provide opioid addiction medication. Federal data shows only 24% of jails provide such medication to people with prior prescriptions.

NEWS BRIEFS

Senate Passes Emergency Housing Stability and Production Package with Bipartisan Support

Major legislation works to stabilize and house Oregonians living on the streets, put affordable housing within reach for everyone ...

House Passes Oregon Drug Intervention Plan (ODIP)

New approach to crisis response aims to increase opportunities for treatment, reduce recidivism, and prevent overdoses ...

House of Representatives Addressed Oregon’s Addiction Crisis

We are committed to closely monitoring the rollout of this bill, particularly with concerns to racial disparities. ...

Moving Ahead to 'A Better Red'

Tri Met’s MAX Red Line trains will begin serving the new Gateway North MAX Station on Monday, March 4. ...

Portland Value Inn Is Renamed Jamii Court

The new name for this affordable housing redevelopment, Jamii, means community and togetherness in Swahili ...

Orchard expansion in Canada's wine country stirs fears a key wildlife corridor will be harmed

KELOWNA, British Columbia (AP) — Just below the fog line hanging over the central Okanagan Valley, rows of saplings for a cherry orchard expansion span the eastern stretch above Highway 33 on the outskirts of Kelowna in Canada's wine country. New cherry varieties and climate change...

Lawsuit seeks up to .5M over allegations that Oregon nurse replaced fentanyl drip with tap water

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — The first lawsuit brought amid reports that a nurse at a southern Oregon hospital replaced intravenous fentanyl drips with tap water seeks up to .5 million on behalf of the estate of a 65-year-old man who died. The wrongful death suit was filed Monday against...

Samuel leads No. 24 Florida against No. 18 South Carolina after 28-point outing

Florida Gators (20-8, 10-5 SEC) at South Carolina Gamecocks (23-5, 11-4 SEC) Columbia, South Carolina; Saturday, 12 p.m. EST BOTTOM LINE: No. 24 Florida plays the No. 18 South Carolina Gamecocks after Tyrese Samuel scored 28 points in Florida's 83-74 victory over the...

East leads Missouri against Ole Miss after 20-point game

Ole Miss Rebels (19-9, 6-9 SEC) at Missouri Tigers (8-20, 0-15 SEC) Columbia, Missouri; Saturday, 8:30 p.m. EST BOTTOM LINE: Missouri takes on the Ole Miss Rebels after Sean East scored 20 points in Missouri's 83-74 loss to the Florida Gators. The Tigers...

OPINION

Message from Commissioner Jesse Beason: February is 'Black History and Futures Month'

I am honored to join the Office of Sustainability and to co-sponsor a proclamation to mark “Black History and Futures Month” ...

Ending Unfair Contracts Harming Minority Businesses Will Aid Gov. Kotek’s Affordable Housing Goals

Senate Bill 1575 will protect small businesses from state and local government’s unfair contract practices while also allowing the building industry to help the governor meet her affordable housing project goals. ...

February is American Heart Month

This month is a time to recognize that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, especially in the African American community ...

Thrilling History of Black Excellence in Our National Parks

In every facet of American life -from exploration; conquest; defense; economy; resistance; conservation and the pursuit of human rights – I can show you a unit of the National Park System where the event took place, where African Americans made the...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Indiana University officials ditch plan to split off Kinsey Institute, known for its sex research

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana University's board of trustees abandoned a proposal to turn the Kinsey Institute into a nonprofit Friday, dispelling monthslong uncertainty over the future of the famous sex research center targeted by Republican lawmakers. Lawmakers blocked state...

Black Americans' significant economic and civil rights progress threatened, report says

WASHINGTON (AP) — Black Americans have endured considerable injustices and barriers to prosperity and equality throughout U.S. history. But their social, economic and political advances in the 60 years since the enactment of major civil rights legislation have been unsatisfactory, according to a...

Orchard expansion in Canada's wine country stirs fears a key wildlife corridor will be harmed

KELOWNA, British Columbia (AP) — Just below the fog line hanging over the central Okanagan Valley, rows of saplings for a cherry orchard expansion span the eastern stretch above Highway 33 on the outskirts of Kelowna in Canada's wine country. New cherry varieties and climate change...

ENTERTAINMENT

Bon Jovi to lead the field to green in IndyCar season-opener in promotion with Meyer Shank Racing

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jon Bon Jovi will be featured at the first two IndyCar races of the season and take a ride in the “Fastest Seat in Sports” with four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. Meyer Shank Racing said Wednesday that...

New varieties of tried-and-true vegetables invite gardeners to experiment

Tomatoes, garlic, chives, basil, parsley, thyme and sage have been permanent residents in my garden for ages. But every year, I experiment with new -– or new to me -- crops. Many turn out to be transient, like the Instagram-worthy Voyager tomatoes that disappointed in the flavor...

Larry David, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben Stiller pay tribute to comedian Richard Lewis after death at 76

Fellow comedians, famous fans, co-stars and friends react to the death of Richard Lewis, who died Wednesday at age 76. “Richard and I were born three days apart in the same hospital and for most of my life he’s been like a brother to me. He had that rare combination of being the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Elon Musk sues OpenAI and CEO Sam Altman, claiming betrayal of its goal to benefit humanity

Elon Musk is suing OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman over what he says is a betrayal of the ChatGPT maker's founding...

Judge in Trump's classified documents case hears arguments about a trial date during crucial hearing

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — The federal judge overseeing the classified documents prosecution of Donald Trump heard...

Why Missouri currently doesn't allow pregnant women to be legally divorced

A Missouri lawmaker has introduced legislation to clarify that the state’s judges can grant divorces even when...

A car strikes a crowd at a tram stop in Poland, injuring at least 19 people. The driver was arrested

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A car struck a crowd of people waiting at a tram stop Friday in the northwestern Polish...

Pope asks an aide to read a speech aloud for him, raising further concerns over his health

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis, who has been suffering from the flu, asked an aide to read out his prepared...

Veteran British left-wing disruptor George Galloway wins a special election dominated by war in Gaza

LONDON (AP) — A veteran left-wing British political disruptor has won a special election in a town in northern...

By The Skanner News | The Skanner News

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) -- Tunisia's former ruler and his wife were convicted in absentia on embezzlement and other charges on Monday after $27 million (euro18.97 million) in jewels and public funds were found in one of his palaces.

Five months after being forced from power, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Leila Trabelsi were sentenced to 35 years each in prison and fined tens of millions of dollars in the first of what is sure to be a long string of trials.

However, the trial in some ways failed to live up to its billing. With the 74-year-old Ben Ali not present for his judgment, there was a sense of frustration among many. The couple went into exile on Jan. 14 in Saudi Arabia, which failed to respond to an extradition request.

Monday's convictions followed a day-long hearing before the Tunis criminal court.

The ex-president was fined 50 million dinars (about $36 million) and his wife 41 million dinars for embezzlement of public funds and misappropriation.

The trove of jewels, some which the court said had "historic value," and the money were found in a palace in the picturesque town of Sidi Bou Said, outside Tunis, following Ben Ali's departure.

The verdict in a second affair stemming from the discovery of weapons and drugs in the official presidential palace in Carthage, this one targeting only Ben Ali, was postponed. Public defenders assigned to Ben Ali said Monday that they needed time to study the file. The trial was to resume June 30.

Ben Ali vigorously denied the charges in a statement through his French lawyer, calling the proceedings a "shameful masquerade of the justice of the victorious."

"I devoted my life to my country and aspire, at the twilight of my existence, to conserve my honor," Ben Ali said in the statement, referring to his years as interior minister and his 23 years as president.

Ben Ali, and in particular his widely detested wife's Trabelsi clan, are widely accused of treating Tunisia as their personal property to amass money, privilege and power.

An official for the Ministry of State Domains, Mohamed Adel Ben Ismail, has evaluated the fortune amassed by Ben Ali and the Trabelsi clan at a quarter of the value of the Tunisian economy.

The much despised Trabelsi family, alleged to have operated as a mafia, had vast control over the economy of this North African country with stakes in everything from tourist hotels to banks or car dealerships and radio and television.

However, the total value of assets in Tunisia and abroad of Ben Ali and his wife are not known. The Swiss were among the first nations to seize the families' assets and prosecutors said in January they had launched a money laundering investigation into the family's accounts.

Blocked accounts for Ben Ali and some 40 members of his entourage contained tens of millions of Swiss francs, according to the Swiss prosecutors office said.

French judicial authorities are also working to identify any assets, and eventual misdeeds, in France.

According to the act of accusation read at the trial, Ben Ali's monthly stipend skyrocketed during his time in power, which began in 1987 after a bloodless palace coup. Receiving 2,000 dinars per month in 1987, he was taking in nearly 4.7 million dinars by 1998 "with no (fiscal) controls."

The court also accused him of ordering up special privileges "in violation of rules" for the Trabelsi clan and the Ben Ali family.

Ben Ali "vigorously denies" accusations against him, according to a statement issued a day before the trial by his French lawyer, Jean-Yves Le Borgne, who was not allowed by Tunisian law to assist in the proceedings.

More serious charges, including plotting against the security of the state and murder, will be dealt with at future trials. Judicial authorities say that Ben Ali and his entourage are implicated in 93 civil affaires and 182 others that fall under military jurisdiction.

He is expected to have to answer for the deaths of 300 people during the uprisings. Numerous cases are likely to be joined together.

Monday's trial was a veritable media show and included, for the first time, TV cameras in the packed courtroom.

One public defender of the ex-president justified his defense of Ben Ali before the court. Abdessatter Massoudi said he accepted the job of defending Ben Ali - refused by at least one other public defender - "to honor the profession and ensure the basis for a balanced trial."

Backed by his powerful party that controlled all sectors, Ben Ali governed with an iron fist, suppressing dissent and quashing all freedom of expression. Ben Ali's regime unraveled with a monthlong uprising around the country triggered by the fatal self-immolation of an unemployed man in the rural heartland. That sparked protests that moved through the countryside to Tunis, the capital, and failed to die down despite concessions from the president. In a surprise move a day after a third televised speech aimed at appeasing the restive population he left for exile.

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The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast