11-30-2021  4:53 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Attorney General Rosenblum Says She Won’t Run for Governor

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on Monday put to rest rumors and officially said she will not enter Oregon’s crowded race for governor.

Portland’s Black Population Grew in the Last Decade, but That’s Not the Whole Story

The Black population in North and Northeast Portland declined by 13.5% over the last 10 years as more than 3,000 Black residents moved away, new numbers from the 2020 census show.

City’s Budget Windfall Means More for Police, Despite NAACP Demands

Group calls out lack of engagement from City Hall.

Oregon Resists Dropping Controversial Investments

Oregon residents are increasingly pushing for the state to divest from fossil fuel companies and other controversial investments, but the state treasury is resisting and putting the onus on the Legislature.

NEWS BRIEFS

Open Enrollment Deadline Is Dec. 15 for Health Insurance Coverage Starting Jan. 1, 2022

Help applying and financial assistance is available through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace ...

Commissioners From Three Counties Select Lawrence-Spence to Fill Senate District 18 Vacancy

District 18 includes portions of west Portland and Tigard. ...

Congressional Black Caucus Issues a Statement on the Passing of Former Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek

Meek, the first Black person to represent Florida in Congress since the post-Civil War Reconstruction, died Sunday, Nov. 28 at her...

Vsp Global Partners With Black EyeCare Perspective to Eliminate Inequities and Increase Representation of People of Color in the Eye Care Industry

Partnership includes scholarships, leadership development, and outreach to prospective optometrists ...

Shop Local and Earn Free Parking With Parking Kitty

Find the purrfect gift for your loved ones by supporting small businesses and shopping local this holiday season, thanks to the...

Oregon governor calls for special session to protect renters

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — With winter coming and federal funds drying up, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Tuesday she'll call a special session of the Legislature Dec. 13 to approve state funding for rental assistance and extend eviction protections issued because of the COVID-19 pandemic. ...

Oregon tests voluntary electronic tool to verify vaccination

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon is working on an electronic vaccine verification tool that residents could use to share their COVID-19 vaccination status with businesses that ask for proof of verification. The Oregon Health Authority said the tool would be optional and people...

No. 25 Arkansas beats Missouri, caps best season since 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Sam Pittman grinned for almost the entirety of his postgame press conference Friday night. The Arkansas coach and his team had done something no others ever had. The No. 25 Razorbacks capped their regular season with a 34-17 victory over Missouri,...

Mizzou's Drinkwitz returning to Arkansas for rivalry game

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Just 45 miles of interstate highway separate Eli Drinkwitz from where he started and where he is now as Missouri's head football coach. Raised in the small Arkansas town of Alma, Drinkwitz will come full circle Friday when his Tigers visit No. 25...

OPINION

State is Painting Lipstick on Its One-of-a-kind, Long-term-care Law

Starting in January, the unpopular law imposes a stiff new tax of 58 cents per 0 earned for every worker in the state ...

Giving Thanks

Just by being alive we can be sure of having moments of sadness as well as happiness. When you’re active in politics, you experience both wins and losses. Sometimes it can be hard to feel grateful. ...

Acting on Climate will Require an Emphasis on Environmental Justice

Climate change affects us all, but its effects aren’t distributed equally. ...

Small Businesses Cannot Survive With Current Level of Postal Service

At The Skanner News office we received an important piece of correspondence that was postmarked June 12, 2021, and delivered to us on November 4, 2021. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Attorney: Potter will testify at trial; 4 jurors seated

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The suburban Minneapolis police officer who shot Daunte Wright will testify at her trial, her attorney said Tuesday as jury selection began with potential panelists questioned closely about their attitudes on policing, protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. ...

Black artist Josephine Baker honored at France's Pantheon

PARIS (AP) — Josephine Baker — the U.S.-born entertainer, anti-Nazi spy and civil rights activist — was inducted into France's Pantheon on Tuesday, becoming the first Black woman to receive the nation’s highest honor. Baker's voice resonated through streets of Paris'...

France is inducting entertainer Josephine Baker into its Pantheon, the 1st Black woman to earn nation’s highest honor

PARIS (AP) — France is inducting entertainer Josephine Baker into its Pantheon, the 1st Black woman to earn nation’s highest honor....

ENTERTAINMENT

Home of Marilyn Manson searched in sex assault investigation

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Media storage devices and other items were seized as a search warrant was served on the home of rocker Marilyn Manson in a months-long investigation of sexual assault and domestic violence, authorities said Tuesday. Manson, 52, whose legal name is Brian...

'The Lost Daughter' wins big at 31st Gotham Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — Maggie Gyllenhaal's Elena Ferrante adaptation “The Lost Daughter" won four Gotham Awards including best feature film at the 31st Gotham Awards, the annual New York independent film celebration that serves as a boozy kickoff to Oscar season. Gyllenhaal won...

Review: In memoir, it's good to be comedy king Mel Brooks

“All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show Business” by Mel Brooks (Ballantine) Bagels and Nova Scotia lox for the writing team’s breakfast while punching up the script for “Blazing Saddles.” Earl Grey tea and English digestive biscuits while developing Gene Wilder’s...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

November delivers another hit to sinking consumer confidence

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence fell to a nine-month low in November, clipped by rising prices and...

Detective: Brothers detailed how Jussie Smollett staged hoax

CHICAGO (AP) — Two brothers arrested for an alleged attack on Jussie Smollett recounted for Chicago police how...

States: Sackler family members abusing bankruptcy process

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge should reject a sweeping settlement to thousands of lawsuits against OxyContin...

German prosecutors probe alleged tax evasion by tax advisers

German investigators searched offices of accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and the homes of current and...

EU draft pulled after Vatican complains Christmas 'canceled'

ROME (AP) — The European Commission on Tuesday retracted internal communication guidelines that had proposed...

Brazil sees 2 confirmed omicron cases, Latin America's 1st

SAO PAULO (AP) — Health officials in Brazil have reported the country's first confirmed cases of the omicron...

Christopher Torchia the Associated Press

FORWARD OPERATING BASE JACKSON, Afghanistan (AP) -- The jarring blast near the American base sent up a cloud of smoke that drifted silently in the breeze. "Not good," a U.S. Marine said. Minutes later, vehicles raced through the gates with the wounded, three Marines and half a dozen Afghans.

Some lay bloodied on stretchers as medics worked on them. Soon, a pair of helicopters swept in and scooped up the injured, including a bomb sniffer dog, for delivery to a military hospital.

Word spread. A suicide bomber in a car packed with explosives had attacked security forces in the Sangin district center, next to the Marine battalion headquarters in an area of southern Afghanistan that has seen some of the war's hardest fighting. Three Afghan police and four civilians were killed.

Marines at Forward Operating Base Jackson called Thursday's attack part of a battle of perceptions with Taliban insurgents in a war triggered by the 9/11 attacks.

The Taliban, driven from power after sheltering Osama bin Laden, need to remind residents they are capable of inflicting damage on any opponent. The Marines must convince the Afghans that they have weakened the Taliban so much that they could never pose a threat - even as the U.S. and its allies transfer security responsibility to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

The Taliban aim to push the Marines onto the defensive with high-profile bombings, forcing them to conduct fewer patrols and hole up in their bases in a sign that their own security is more important than that of the Afghans. U.S. forces, in turn, are trying to expand operations outward from population centers to keep insurgents away from civilians who will ultimately decide the fate of their nation.

By targeting the seat of local government Thursday, insurgents in Sangin apparently sought to show they can dictate the tempo of the conflict, despite heavy pressure since last year by successive Marine battalions. The U.S. military describes such acts as a sign of desperation by an enemy that has lost sway over communities it once controlled.

The challenge of breaking the Taliban grip is especially formidable in Sangin, which lies in the traditional Taliban stronghold of Helmand province. The district acts as a regional transit hub and is a conduit to a major dam that provides electricity.

Here, insurgents oversee opium-bearing harvests of poppy with the profits filling fill their war chests.

Sangin also has one of the highest concentrations of concealed bombs in Afghanistan. More than 100 British troops died there during several years of operations.

The Marines pushed aggressively into Sangin in larger numbers than the British had, forcing the Taliban onto the defensive, often at heavy cost. They tried to lend legitimacy to newly appointed Afghan officials by bankrolling bridge construction and other public works projects in their name.

Fighting ebbed during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which ended more than a week ago, and American troops are poised for any upswing.

"We're kind of waiting for what the next step is," said Lt. Col. Thomas Savage, commander of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, which occupies Jackson, a former British camp. "We've got enough of a lid on it that they're not going to be able to come back hard."

Savage spoke days before Thursday's bombing in a key town that has become relatively secure. There was a time when the Taliban's white flags ringed the Jackson base, the commander said, and insurgent snipers fired on Marines on the perimeter walls. Many Afghan civilians have since returned, and Marines patrolling in armored vehicles drive past merchants manning their kiosks.

After the explosion, Afghan soldiers at Jackson leaped into pickup trucks to collect the wounded. Back at a base clinic, they used a blanket to haul one injured Afghan whose eyes darted wildly. Other men lay inert. A U.S. medic turned one over to check his back for unseen wounds.

The shrapnel wounds of two Marines were described as minor. A third Marine lay on a stretcher with his eyes closed, his face pale, his trouser legs cut away to aid treatment. His life was not in danger.

One of the wounded was a dog used by U.S. Marines to detect crudely made but lethal bombs. His hindquarters were soaked in blood.

"This is Drak. Drak got hit as well," a servicemen said to three dog handlers who put a muzzle on the animal and hoisted him onto a stretcher. "He's got a puncture wound on his hip. I don't know if he's got anything under his tail, but he's dripping pretty bad."

The battle for Sangin, which has a population of about 100,000, plays out most days in a slower, more subtle fashion. The Marine battalion aims to unify a patchwork of tribes, some with long-standing rivalries, and empower Afghans who can represent fractured communities and may be targets for assassination.

"There are no cookie-cutter solutions here," said Marine Capt. Casey Brock of Charlie Company. As an example, Brock, of Bend, Oregon, cited his operational area. It encompasses a fertile belt along the Helmand river with a relatively stable tradition of landownership and, on the other side of a paved highway, an arid zone known as the "Fish Tank" where a fluctuating population leases land and has little to unite it.

Savage, a veteran of three tours in Iraq, said there were a "million little problems" in Sangin and that an overarching solution, such as the U.S.-backed marshaling of Sunni militias that turned against al-Qaida in Iraq, could not work in the territory under his command.

"You can't do what we did in Iraq," he said. "You don't get an entire bloc to flip."

He said Sangin's population was tilting toward the Marines, but acknowledged there are "fence-sitters" whose long-term loyalties are unclear. This summer, when President Barack Obama announced plans for a troop drawdown in Afghanistan, Savage cast U.S. policy in stark terms in his conversations with tribal leaders: Support coalition forces and allow stability to take root, or endure more combat, with all its devastating fallout, before the Americans leave.

Even the Taliban cells in Sangin appear to operate independently, often without signs of coordination. Marines say their leadership in neighboring Pakistan provides broad direction.

On patrol one day, Lance Cpl. Patrick Hawco of Tivoli, New York, described the conflict as a "small unit leader fight" where troops of lower rank make spur-of-the-moment decisions that, drawn together, have a wider impact on the course of the war. In the Marines' case, a decision to walk down one alleyway instead of another, or to stop for tea with a tribal elder, is a matter of instinct and experience.

At this time of year, the corn harvest is approaching. The stalks rise green and strong up to 12 feet, towering over the Marines as they zigzag on paths through the dense fields, their body armor soaked in sweat. Marines can't use their high-tech optics in the corn, but sometimes they move into it to set ambushes.

"We have to make sure the enemy fears the corn, and not the other way around," Brock said. In this battle of perceptions, he said, the goal is to sow doubt in the opponent.

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