01-18-2021  8:52 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
MLK Breakfast 2021 Save the Date
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Online Events Honouring Dr Martin Luther King are Underway

 From a jazz concert and a reading challenge to an online film festival we are all invited to celebrate Dr Martin Luther King and complete his work

Interview: Portland Physician on Coronavirus Vaccine, Reaching Out to Wary Communities

Black Americans report highest levels of distrust as country distributes millions of Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines

Blumenauer Calls for Resignations of Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise

Congressman Blumenauer said: "We need to ensure our Republican colleagues acknowledge and accept the consequences for their own involvement in encouraging this insurrection..."

Officials: Republican Lawmaker Let Protesters into Oregon Capitol

House Speaker Tina Kotek said during a news conference about the Capitol operations safety plan that Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, had allowed protesters into the building.

NEWS BRIEFS

St Andrew's Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Features Marilyn Keller

On Sunday, Jan. 17, the St. Andrew community will celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 9:30...

VA Portland Ramping Up COVID-19 Vaccinations for Portland, Vancouver-area Veterans

Portland and Vancouver-area veterans 75 years of age and older to receive a phone call to schedule their COVID-19 vaccination. ...

NFL Reaches More Than $95M in Contributions to Further Advance Social Justice

The Oregon Justice Resource Center will use funding from the NFL to support the Women’s Justice Project – the first and only...

Oregon State Police Warns Against Armed Takeover of Capitol

The agency also asked Oregonians to report anyone who may be planning an armed takeover to authorities. ...

Oregon Marijuana Sales Soared in 2020, Topping $1B

Oregonians began buying a lot more recreational cannabis in March when Gov. Kate Brown instituted a stay-at-home order ...

Hanford contractor to lay off 30 workers

KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) — Hanford contractor Mission Support Alliance plans to lay of 30 workers as its Department of Energy contract expires.The layoffs are set for Thursday, the last full business day before the expiring contract held by Mission Support Alliance transitions to a new 10-year...

Brown moves forward with closing 3 prisons in Oregon

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown is closing three Oregon prisons, a decision authorities say would save the state more than million.The governor said she believes the money could be better invested elsewhere, such as early childhood education. The prison closure plan was included in...

Music City Bowl between Iowa and Missouri canceled

The Music City Bowl between Missouri and Iowa was canceled Sunday because COVID-19 issues left the Tigers unable to play.The game scheduled for Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee, is the second bowl called off since the postseason lineup was set on Dec. 20, joining the Gasparilla Bowl. Overall, 18...

No. 17 Iowa, Missouri renew rare rivalry in Music City Bowl

Missouri (5-5, SEC) vs. No. 17 Iowa (6-2, Big Ten), Dec. 30, 4 p.m. ESTLOCATION: Nashville, TennesseeTOP PLAYERSMissouri: RB Larry Rountree III has rushed for 972 yards and 14 touchdowns on 209 carries and ranks fourth in the SEC. He’s the 23rd SEC player to surpass 3,500 career yards...

OPINION

This is America: White Privilege, Black Lives Matter, and Violence at the Capitol

The violence we witnessed in the United States Capitol on January 6 is nothing new. ...

SPLC Action Fund President: Attempted Coup Displays Organized, Extremist Violence Plaguing the United States

Insidious racism took the form of an American president openly encouraging with “love” violent extremists ...

Commentary: Exit in Disgrace

Will Trump leave in the middle of the night, embarrassed by his four years of crude, rude, lying, and beyond belief incompetence? Or will he be escorted out by a secret service detachment? ...

Georgia Senate Races Will Decide the Fate of Biden’s Presidency 

Voter turnout is reportedly lagging in the more rural and conservative areas of Georgia and is higher in more traditionally Democratic areas of the state ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Harris prepares for central role in Biden's White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kamala Harris will make history on Wednesday when she becomes the nation’s first female vice president — and the first Black woman and the first woman of South Asian descent to hold that office. But that’s only where her boundary-breaking role...

Correction: Capitol Breach-Civil War story

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — In a story January 16, 2021, about Republican leaders invoking war rhetoric, The Associated Press incorrectly referred to an incoming chairwoman of the Michigan GOP. Instead, she is the incoming party co-chair. A corrected version of the story is below....

Anonymous million gift funding 50 civil rights lawyers

ATLANTA (AP) — The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund launched a million scholarship program on Monday to support a new generation of civil rights lawyers, dedicated to pursuing racial justice across the South.With that whopping gift from a single anonymous donor, the fund plans to...

ENTERTAINMENT

Journalists prepare for protests where they could be targets

NEW YORK (AP) — While monitoring online chatter about protests at state capitols in advance of next week's presidential inauguration, the Seattle Times came across a chilling description for journalists: soft targets.The phrase drove home the importance of safety precautions being put in...

AP Exclusive: Selena Gomez: Big Tech 'cashing in from evil’

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hours after an angry mob of Trump supporters took control of the U.S. Capitol in a violent insurrection, Selena Gomez laid much of the blame at the feet of Big Tech.“Today is the result of allowing people with hate in their hearts to use platforms that should be...

Phil Spector's death resurrects mixed reaction from skeptics

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Phil Spector was viewed as a man with two distinct personas: The late music producer was regarded as a rock ‘n’ roll genius who elevated the genre with his “Wall of Sound” style in the 1960s and created hits for several big names from the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

China economy grows in 2020 as rebound from virus gains

BEIJING (AP) — China eked out 2.3% economic growth in 2020, likely becoming the only major economy to...

'Rooting hard for you': Will departure notes end with Trump?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Presidential traditions are usually known for their solemnity and carry the weight of...

What Biden can and can't get from an evenly divided Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — So what does a 50-50 Senate get President-elect Joe Biden?Washington has barely had time...

UN chief says 9 African nations, Iran in arrears on UN dues

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. chief says nine African nations and Iran are in arrears on paying their dues...

EU insists virus shots will remain voluntary

The European Union sought Monday to ease concerns that citizens might be obliged to get shots against the...

Watchdog: Fossil fuel firms need to curb climate gas leaks

BERLIN (AP) — The International Energy Agency says oil and gas companies aren't doing enough to reduce the...

MLK Breakfast 2021 Save the Date
Nicole Winfield and Colleen Barry the Associated Press

ROME (AP) -- Officials say a German woman who was listed among the missing from the cruise ship grounding off Italy has been located alive in Germany, bringing the number of people still unaccounted for to 21.

The Grosseto prefect's office says Gertrud Goergens identified herself to police. Her name was removed from the official list of missing late Wednesday.

Italian authorities released the names of the missing Wednesday as the search for passengers and crew aboard the Costa Concordia was suspended because the ship shifted slightly from its perch on rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

So far eleven bodies have been recovered; 21 people remain unaccounted for.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

ROME (AP) - The first victim from the Costa Concordia diaster was identified Wednesday - a 38-year-old violinist from Hungary who had been working as an entertainer on the stricken cruise ship.

Sandor Feher's body was found inside the wreck, and identified by his mother who traveled to the Italian city of Grosetto, according to Hungary's foreign ministry.

The $450 million Costa Concordia cruise ship was carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew when it slammed into a reef Friday off the tiny Italian island of Giglio after the captain made an unauthorized maneuver. The death toll stands at 11, with 22 people still missing.

Italian rescue workers suspended operations Wednesday after the cruise ship shifted slightly on the rocks near the Tuscan coast, creating deep concerns about the safety of divers and firefighters searching for the missing.

Jozsef Balog, a pianist working with Feher on the ship, told the Blikk newspaper that Feher was wearing a lifejacket when he decided to return to his cabin to pack his violin. Feher was last seen on deck en route to the area where he was supposed to board a lifeboat.

According to Balog, Feher helped put lifejackets on several crying children before returning to his cabin.

Italian authorities earlier released the names of 24 passengers and 4 crew still missing, a list that includes six bodies which have been pulled from the ship since Monday. The missing included 13 Germans, six Italians, four French, two Americans and one person each from Hungary, India and Peru.

Instruments attached to the ship detected the movements early Wednesday even though firefighters who spent the night searching the area above water for the missing could not detect any movement.

"As a precautionary measure, we stopped the operations this morning, in order to verify the data we retrieved from our detectors, and understand if there actually was a movement, and if there has been one, how big this was," said Coast Guard Cmdr. Filippo Marini.

By late afternoon, officials still did not have enough data to reassure them that the ship had stopped resettling. The latest victims were discovered after navy divers exploded holes in the hull of the ship to allow easier access.

Premier Mario Monti offered his first comment on the disaster Wednesday, telling a press conference in London that it "could and should" have been avoided.

Monti also thanked the residents of Giglio, which has a wintertime population of about 900, for opening their doors to the 4,200 refugees who struggled ashore with nothing and were given clothes, food and shelter.

And he acknowledged concerns about the 500,000 gallons of fuel still aboard the ship.

"Everybody can be assured that the Italian authorities are both taking care of the prevention and limitation of any environmental negative implications of this accident, as well as in the first place providing all the necessary help to those affected."

Passengers were still making their way home, with consistent claims that crew members were ill-prepared to handle an emergency evacuation.

"The crew members had no specialized training - the security man doubled as the cook and bartender, so obviously they did not know what to do," passenger Claudia Fehlandt told Chile's Channel 7 television after being embraced by relatives at Santiago's airport.

"In fact, the lifeboats, even the ones that did get lowered, they did not know how to lower them and they cut the ropes with axes," she said.

Much of the focus has been on the cruise ship captain's actions.

In a dramatic phone conversation released Tuesday, a coast guard official was heard ordering Capt. Francesco Schettino, who had abandoned the ship with his first officers, back on board to oversee the evacuation. But Schettino resisted, saying it was too dark and the ship was tipping dangerously.

"You go on board! Is that clear? Do you hear me?" the Coast Guard officer shouted as the Schettino sat safe in a life raft and frantic passengers struggled to escape after the ship rammed into a reef off the Tuscan coast. "It is an order. Don't make any more excuses. You have declared 'Abandon ship.' Now I am in charge."

The officer confronted him with an expletive-laced order to get back on board, which has quickly entered the Italian lexicon. The four-word phrase has become a Twitter hashtag and Italian media have shown photos of T-shirts bearing the command.

Schettino, later in the same exchange, denied having abandoned the ship, replying that he had tripped and fell.

"I did not abandon a ship with 100 people on board, the ship suddenly listed and we were thrown into the water," Schettino said, according to a transcript published Wednesday in the Corriere della Sera paper.

Jailed since the accident, Schettino appeared Tuesday before a judge in Grosseto, where he was questioned for three hours. The judge ordered him held under house arrest - a decision that federal prosecutors are planning to challenge.

Schettino's lawyer, Bruno Leporatti, told a news conference Wednesday in Grosetto that house arrest made sense given there was no evidence the captain intended to flee. He cited the fact that the captain coordinated the evacuation from the shore after leaving the ship.

"He never left the scene," Leporatti said. "There has never been a danger of flight."

Leporatti added the captain was upset by the accident, contrary to depictions in the Italian media that he did not appear to show regret.

"He is a deeply shaken man, not only for the loss of his ship, which for a captain is a grave thing, but above all for what happened and the loss of human life," the lawyer said.

Criminal charges including manslaughter and abandoning ship are expected to be filed by prosecutors in coming days. Schettino faces a possible 12 years in prison if convicted of the abandoning ship charge alone.

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Barry reported from Milan.

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