09-20-2021  4:05 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

As Shootings Rise Mayor Wheeler Wants to Hire Retired Cops

Wheeler also called for a citywide expansion of Portland Street Response, a team that helps people experiencing homelessness or low-acuity behavioral health issues, to reduce the number of calls police must handle

Illegal Marijuana Farms Take West's Scarce Water

Deer Creek has run dry after several illegal marijuana grows cropped up in the neighborhood last spring, stealing water from both the stream and nearby aquifers

Biden Slammed for Challenging Nuclear Workplace Health Law

The Biden Administration is picking up where the Trump administration left off, challenging a 2018 Washington state law that made it easier for sick Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers to qualify for compensation benefits.

After Humble Beginnings, Oregon's Dutch Bros Launches IPO

After humble beginnings as a pushcart operation in an Oregon town, Dutch Bros Coffee launched an initial public offering Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

NEWS BRIEFS

OHSU Offers Free COVID-19 Testing by Appointment at Portland Expo Center

This newest drive through testing site is open Monday through Friday. ...

Pfizer Vaccine for Children 5 to 11 is Safe with Robust Antibody Response

These are the first such results released for this age group for a US Covid-19 vaccine. Pfizer said it plans to submit to the U.S....

Chris Rock Says he Has Covid-19 and Tells People to Get Vaccinated

The 56-year-old comedian wrote on Twitter: “Hey guys I just found out I have COVID, trust me you don’t want this. Get...

Rep. Beatty Introduces Legislation to Establish National Rosa Parks Day

In coordination with Reps. Jim Cooper and Terri Sewell, U.S. Congresswoman and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty...

Rabid Bat Found in Northeast Portland; First in 7 Years

Make sure pets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccine, and never handle bats or other wildlife without protection ...

Washington governor asks feds for medical staffing help

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inlsee has asked the federal government for assistance staffing hospitals and long-term care facilities in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “In Washington State, our hospitals are currently at or beyond capacity, and we...

OR Senate passes Dems' redistricting plan as debate begins

Oregon lawmakers returned to the state Capitol Monday for a special session to tackle the once-a-decade task of redistricting, which will determine how voters pick state representatives, state senators and members of Congress for the next five election cycles. For the first time...

Bazelak, Missouri make quick work of SE Missouri, 59-28

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Connor Bazelak squeezed a full day of production into one half Saturday as he led Missouri to a 59-28 victory over Southeast Missouri. Bazelak completed 21 of 30 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns for the Tigers (2-1). “You...

CMU's McElwain relishes return to LSU's Death Valley

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain and the Chippewas have demonstrated already this season that they can go into an SEC stadium and be competitive. Yet McElwain is reluctant to characterize a visit to LSU’s 102,000-seat Death Valley, where the...

OPINION

American Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. ...

Waters Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Twenty years ago today, our nation suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our soil and against our people that wholly and completely changed the world as we knew it. ...

Letter to the Editor: Reform the Recall

Any completely unqualified attention seeker with ,000 for the candidate‘s filing fee can be the largest state in the Union’s next governor ...

Grassroots Organizers Should Be Celebrated in Georgia’s 95% Voter Registration Rate

The recent release of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s biennial report brought welcome news that 95% of Georgia’s voting-eligible population is currently registered to vote. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Re-defining 'racial equity' may increase donations for it

Though last year's racial justice protests unleashed an avalanche of donations for minority causes, the philanthropic community remains divided about which donations should be counted as advancing racial equity. Candid, a leading philanthropy research organization, told The...

4 men charged for shouting antisemitic abuse in London

LONDON (AP) — Four men were charged Monday for allegedly shouting antisemitic abuse while driving around in a convoy in north London. The suspects, all in their 20s and from the northwest English town of Blackburn, are accused of using threatening, abusive or insulting words...

New claims in NYC restaurant brawl over vaccine proof

NEW YORK (AP) — New details have emerged about a brawl outside a popular New York City restaurant between several out-of-town visitors and an employee over the restaurant's requirement that the guests show proof of vaccination. Attorneys for Carmine's and for three women from...

ENTERTAINMENT

Emmys: ‘Crown,’ ‘Lasso,’ ‘Queen’s Gambit,' streaming triumph

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Netflix’s “The Crown” and “The Queen’s Gambit” combined with Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” to sweep top series honors at the Sunday’s Emmy Awards, a first for streaming services that cemented their rise to prominence in the television industry. ...

Celebrity birthdays for the week of Sept. 26-Oct. 2

Celebrity birthdays for the week of Sept. 26-Oct. 2: Sept. 26: Country singer David Frizzell is 80. Actor Kent McCord (“Adam 12”) is 79. “The Weakest Link” host Anne Robinson is 77. Singer Bryan Ferry is 76. Actor Mary Beth Hurt is 75. Singer-actor Olivia Newton-John is...

Review: Richard Powers amazes again with 'Bewilderment'

“Bewilderment,” by Richard Powers (W.W. Norton & Company) Here are two words that are so ingrained in Richard Powers’ astounding new novel as to be almost unnecessary: Autism and Trump. The book tells the story of Theo Byrne and his son Robin,...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

UN climate talks: Faint progress on money, none on pollution

Opening pocketbooks wider to fight climate change? That’s looking slightly more doable. Closing more smokestacks...

'I just cry': Dying of hunger in Ethiopia's blockaded Tigray

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — In parts of Ethiopia’s Tigray region, people now eat only green leaves for days. At a...

Pro-Kremlin party keeps large majority in Russian parliament

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s ruling party retained its supermajority in parliament, further cementing President...

Rome court rejects Venezuela extradition bid for ex-oil czar

ROME (AP) — A Rome court has rejected a request by Venezuela to extradite its former oil czar to face corruption...

'Hotel Rwanda' hero sentenced to 25 years on terror charges

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — The man who inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda” for saving hundreds of his countrymen...

Nobody hurt but much damage in Spanish volcano eruption

LA LAGUNA, Spain (AP) — Giant rivers of lava tumbled slowly but relentlessly toward the sea Monday after a...

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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