05-17-2022  1:27 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

2022 Midterms: What to Watch as 5 States Hold Primaries

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 is the last day for voters to return ballots. Ballots that are mailed must be postmarked by election day. Ballots deposited in an official drop box must be received by 8 p.m. on election day.

No Sea Serpents, Mobsters but Tahoe Trash Divers Strike Gold

Scuba divers who spent a year cleaning up Lake Tahoe’s entire 72-mile shoreline have come away with what they hope will prove a valuable incentive

House Passes Bipartisan Update to Anti-Poverty Program Led by Bonamici, Thompson

The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program has not been updated since 1998.

Portland Unrest Drives Interest in 2 Congressional Primaries

The problems have given Republicans a megaphone and raised the stakes for Democrats as a crowded field of candidates vies to advance to November in a historically blue state

NEWS BRIEFS

2 Pleasure Boats Catch Fire on Columbia River

Two pleasure boats caught fire on the Columbia River between Vancouver and Caterpillar Island Sunday afternoon. One boat sank,...

WA Childhood Immunization Rates Decline During Pandemic

Immunization rates have decreased by 13% in 2021 when compared to pre-pandemic level ...

Attorney General Rosenblum Warns Against Price Gouging of Baby Formula

This declaration will allow the Oregon Attorney General to take action against any business, or online vendor, who upsells the price...

WA High Court: Drivers Can Get DUIs for Driving While High

A decision that upholds the state’s decade-old law regulating marijuana use behind the wheel of a car. ...

Community Basketball Game and Discussion Events Work to Reduce Gun Violence

Basketball game features Black youth and police officers playing together ...

5-term Idaho attorney general in tough GOP primary battle

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho’s five-term Republican attorney general has handled his duties in the deeply conservative state for 20 years with a strategy he describes as calling legal “balls and strikes.” He's facing two challengers who see a more activist role for the office. ...

Idaho governor faces Trump-backed candidate in GOP primary

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Republican Gov. Brad Little is fighting back a primary challenge on Tuesday from his lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin, a Donald Trump-backed candidate who twice attempted a power grab last year when Little was out of state on business. The intraparty contest...

OPINION

Can Federal Lynching Law Help Heal America?

Despite decades of senseless delays, this new law pushes America to finally acknowledge that racism often correlates to a level of violence and terror woven into the very fabric of this country. ...

The Skanner News Endorsements: May Primary 2022

Primary election day is May 17, 2022. Read The Skanner's endorsements for this important election. ...

Men’s Voices Urgently Needed to Defend Reproductive Rights

For decades, men in increasing numbers have followed women’s lead in challenging gender-based violence and promoting gender equality, so why are we stuck when it comes to abortion? ...

Burying Black Cemeteries: Off the Record

It is a tragedy when we lose a loved one. That tragedy is compounded when are unable to visit their final resting place to honor and remember them. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

New Zealand shooting survivor says violence achieved nothing

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — If the Buffalo supermarket shooter had learned anything from the massacre in New Zealand that apparently inspired him, it should have been that the violence didn't achieve any of the gunman's aims, a survivor said Tuesday. Temel Atacocugu was shot nine...

'Like every other day:' 10 lives lost on a trip to the store

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — They were caregivers and protectors and helpers, running an errand or doing a favor or finishing out a shift, when their paths crossed with a young man driven by racism and hatred and inane theories. In a flash, the ordinariness of their day was broken at Tops...

Tensions over racial justice shadow Louisville mayor's race

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — On Valentine's Day, a man appeared in the doorway of a Louisville campaign office and fired shots at mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg. He wasn't hit — a bullet grazed his sweater — but some of the tensions still lingering over this city flared once again. ...

ENTERTAINMENT

Brandi Carlile, Yola, Allison Russell lead Americana noms

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell and Yola are the leading nominees for the 2022 Americana Honors and Awards, with each one up for album of the year, artist of the year and song of the year. The nominees were announced Monday in Nashville, Tennessee, at the...

Review: 'Team America' plumbs enduring impact of 4 generals

“Team America: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, Eisenhower, and the World They Forged” by Robert L. O’Connell (Harper) Insightful and informative, military historian Robert L. O’Connell’s latest book carries a title that might evoke in today’s readers a group of superheroes...

Yiyun Li wins PEN/Malamud Award for short stories

NEW YORK (AP) — Author Yiyun Li has received one of the top honors for short story writers, the PEN/Malamud Award for “exceptional achievement.” Li, 49, has published the collections “Gold Boy” and “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers,” along with five novels and two...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

New US hospitals face fiscal crisis over COVID relief money

THOMASVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A whole town celebrated in 2020 when, early in the coronavirus pandemic, Thomasville...

North Korea reports another fever surge amid COVID-19 crisis

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Tuesday reported another large jump in illnesses believed to be...

Conspiracy theorists flock to bird flu, spreading falsehoods

Brad Moline, a fourth-generation Iowa turkey farmer, saw this happen before. In 2015, a virulent avian flu...

US vice president, top officials visit UAE to pay respects

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris led a high-powered American delegation to...

Iraqi merchants struggle on amid series of strong sandstorms

BAGHDAD (AP) — The thick layer of dust blanketing the sky did not deter Muhammed Ghalib from walking to work in...

Uyghur county in China has highest prison rate in the world

BEIJING (AP) — Nearly one in 25 people in a county in the Uyghur heartland of China has been sentenced to prison...

Foster Klug and Christopher Bodeen the Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Material that can be used to make nuclear bombs is stored in scores of buildings spread across dozens of countries. If even a fraction of it fell into the hands of terrorists, it could be disastrous.

Nearly 60 world leaders who gathered Tuesday in Seoul for a nuclear security summit agreed to work on securing and accounting for all nuclear material by 2014. But widespread fear lingers about the safety of nuclear material in countries including former Soviet states, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran and India.

While the threat of nuclear terrorism is considered lower now than a decade ago, especially after the death of Osama bin Laden, the nightmare scenario of a terrorist exploding a nuclear bomb in a major city isn't necessarily the far-fetched stuff of movies.

"It would not take much, just a handful or so of these materials, to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people and that's not an exaggeration, that's the reality that we face," President Barack Obama told world leaders at the meeting, a follow-up to a summit he hosted in Washington in 2010.

Building a nuclear weapon isn't easy, but a bomb similar to the one that obliterated Hiroshima is "very plausibly within the capabilities of a sophisticated terrorist group," according to Matthew Bunn, an associate professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

There's an "immense difference between the difficulty of making safe, reliable weapons for use in a missile or combat aircraft and making crude, unsafe, unreliable weapons for delivery by truck," Bunn said.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a Washington-based nonproliferation group that tracks the security of world nuclear stockpiles, said in a January report that 32 countries have weapons-usable nuclear materials. Some countries, such as the United States, maintain strict controls already. However others, including Russia and other former Soviet republics, have struggled to secure their stocks, raising fears of "loose nukes" falling into the hands of terrorist groups.

It's unclear how nations will enforce the summit's goal of securing nuclear material by 2014. The International Atomic Energy Agency shares best practices for securing nuclear material, but the U.N. body has no power to enforce its recommendations.

Some countries on the NTI list are a concern because of their government's ties with militant groups or because of corruption among their officials. Others simply don't yet have good safety practices.

Although Pakistan's small stockpiles of nuclear material are heavily guarded, it is believed to be prone to corruption by officials who may have sympathies to hard-line Islamic militants, Bunn said.

Despite New Delhi's insistence that its nuclear materials are secure, the NTI ranked India among the top five nuclear security risks, saying the government needs more transparency, more independence for its nuclear regulator and tighter measures to protect nuclear material in transit.

India's lax security was displayed in at least two incidents in recent years in which radioactive materials - from a hospital and a university laboratory - were discarded and later ended up in a scrap dealer's shop.

Other recent nuclear scares include a suspected attempt by a crime syndicate in the eastern European country of Moldova to sell weapons-grade uranium to buyers in North Africa. Officials in the country told The Associated Press that 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of highly enriched uranium remains in criminal hands and is probably in another country.

The investigation provided fresh evidence of a black market in nuclear material probably taken from poorly secured Soviet stockpiles.

Russia has dramatically improved its nuclear security over the last 15 years, Bunn said, but it has the "world's largest stockpiles in the world's largest number of buildings and bunkers" as well as corruption and a weak security culture and regulations.

North Korea and Iran are viewed with worry because of fears of nuclear proliferation.

But Bunn said both are "likely small parts of the nuclear terrorism problem."

"North Korea has only a few bombs' worth of plutonium in a tightly controlled garrison state," he said. "Iran has not begun to produce weapons-usable material."

At least four terror groups, including al-Qaida and Japan's Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult, have expressed a determination to obtain a nuclear weapon, said Kenneth Luongo, co-chair of the Fissile Materials Working Group, a Washington-based coalition of nuclear security experts.

Nuclear materials stored at research facilities are generally considered less secure than weapons at military installations, Luongo said. Last year's meltdown at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant also shows how terrorists could launch a radiation hazard simply by sabotaging a facility's functions.

While some groups could develop crude missiles or other delivery systems, unconventional weapons such as a single briefcase containing plutonium and a detonator may be an even bigger threat, said Chang Soon-heung, a nuclear expert at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and technology.

Nuclear security experts say greater political commitment is needed to drive efforts to secure radioactive materials and overcome barriers to international cooperation.

While experts praised this week's nuclear summit as a sign of progress, some doubted whether countries would meet the 2014 deadline for securing the world's loose nuclear material, defined generally as completed weapons, bomb material, or the skills to build them.

"There needs to be more political leadership from the top, and countries need to stop talking about what they're doing individually and acknowledge that this is a cross-border international issue," Luongo said.

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AP writers Sam Kim in Seoul and Nirmala George in New Delhi contributed to this report.

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