08-09-2020  7:39 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Portland Protests Persist with Some Flashes of Violence

Tear gas was used by police on protesters Wednesday for the first time since the U.S. agents pulled back their presence

Reimagine Oregon Issues Equity Demands, Gains Legislative Support

Coalition of Black-led and Black-focused organizations takes new approach to concrete change 

Oregon Criminal Justice Commission: Initiative Petition 44 Will Nearly Eliminate Racial Disparities for Drug Arrests, Convictions

The initiative would expand access to drug addiction treatment and recovery services, and decriminalize low-level drug possession.

Inslee, Culp Advance to November Ballot in Governor's Race

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NEWS BRIEFS

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New Rule by The U.S. Department of Education Would Misdirect $11M from Oregon Public Schools

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Barbara Bush Foundation Partners with Barbershop Books and Penguin to Provide Child-Friendly Reading Spaces in Baltimore and Detroit Barbershops

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All Classical Portland Awards Grant to Support Emmanuel Henreid's 'Livin' in the Light'

Livin’ in the Light documents Onry’s experience as a Black, male, professional opera and crossover singer in Portland, Ore. ...

For pandemic jobless, the only real certainty is uncertainty

CHICAGO (AP) — For three decades, Kelly Flint flourished as a corporate travel agent, sending everyone from business titans to oil riggers around the planet. Then came the worst pandemic in a century, leaving her jobless and marooned in an uncertain economy.Furloughed since March, Flint has...

For pandemic jobless, the only real certainty is uncertainty

CHICAGO (AP) — For three decades, Kelly Flint flourished as a corporate travel agent, sending everyone from business titans to oil riggers around the planet. Then came the worst pandemic in a century, leaving her jobless and marooned in an uncertain economy.Furloughed since March, Flint has...

LSU adds Missouri, Vanderbilt in revamped SEC schedule

Defending Southeastern Conference and national champion LSU will host Missouri and visit Vanderbilt in its expanded Southeastern Conference schedule, while Alabama will visit Mizzou and host Kentucky in league play revised by the coronavirus pandemic. The league on Friday released two additional...

Missouri's Drinkwitz takes side in mask-or-no-mask debate

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz has been the head coach at Missouri for just over seven months. He has yet to lead the Tigers onto the football field, much less win a game, yet his role in the community already has forced him to take some important stands.First, it was supporting his new...

OPINION

Da 5 Bloods and America Abroad

Even before I returned to the United States from my combat tour in Vietnam, I had decided that we were fighting an unjust war. ...

Falling Behind: COVID, Climate Change, and Chaos

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Bill Deiz urges Oregonians to Defend their Constitutional Rights

Elements of federal police, sent in by our president, are nightly tormenting our citizens with tear gas, impact munitions, kidnappings and beatings, and other criminal acts, in order to suppress our rights of free speech and free assembly ...

The Power of Love

Powerful lessons for me today on forgiveness. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Missouri town divided by move to change its 'Savages' mascot

SAVANNAH, Mo. (AP) — A nearly all-white northwest Missouri town is divided over an effort to change its high school's “Savages” mascot that depicts a Native American amid a nationwide movement calling for racial justice.The high school had a “Savannah Savages”...

Amid pandemic, future of many Catholic schools is in doubt

NEW YORK (AP) — As the new academic year arrives, school systems across the United States are struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Roman Catholic educators have an extra challenge — trying to forestall a relentless wave of closures of their schools that has no end in...

Rajapaksa sworn in as PM in Sri Lanka, cementing family rule

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the prime minister for the fourth time Sunday after his party secured a landslide victory in parliamentary elections that cemented his family's hold on power. Rajapaksa took oath before his...

ENTERTAINMENT

Q&A: Cineworld CEO on re-opening Regal theaters in U.S.

Regal movie theaters have been closed for almost five months in the U.S. due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they are gearing up to open on Aug. 21. And this time it might just stick. Exhibitors have postponed plans several times as cases spiked in various cities. Mooky Greidinger, the CEO of...

Eminent scholar of early U.S., Bernard Bailyn, dies at 97

NEW YORK (AP) — Bernard Bailyn, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and educator of lasting influence whose “The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution” transformed how many thought about the country’s formation, has died at 97.Bailyn's wife, Lotte, told The...

Lorenzo Soria, president of Golden Globes group, dies at 68

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lorenzo Soria, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and former editor of the Italian news weekly L’Espresso, died Friday, the association said. He was 68.Soria died peacefully at his Los Angeles home, the association said in a statement, lauding his...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Amid pandemic, future of many Catholic schools is in doubt

NEW YORK (AP) — As the new academic year arrives, school systems across the United States are struggling to...

Masks in class? Many questions as Germans go back to school

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Trump orders encroach on Congress' powers, invite challenges

BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) — President Donald Trump has bypassed the nation's lawmakers as he claimed the...

Masks in class? Many questions as Germans go back to school

BERLIN (AP) — Masks during class, masks only in the halls, no masks at all. Distance when possible, no...

New Zealand marks 100 days of virus elimination

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand on Sunday marked 100 days since it stamped out the spread of the...

Starvation looms for Morocco's horses as tourism collapses

MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) — Abdenabi Nouidi sold his favorite horse for 0 to help feed the others on the...

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Malin Rising and Steven Dubois the Associated Press

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- A Muslim American seeking asylum in Sweden claimed Wednesday he was detained at the U.S. government's request while in the United Arab Emirates last summer, tortured in custody and interrogated about the activities of a Portland, Oregon, mosque.

Yonas Fikre told a news conference Wednesday that he was held for 106 days and was beaten, threatened with death and kept in solitary confinement in a frigid cell.

The 33-year-old, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Eritrea, says he had attended the same mosque in Portland as a man who has been charged in a plot to detonate a bomb in the northwestern U.S. city. He moved to Sudan in 2009 and later to the United Arab Emirates. He went to Sweden, where he has relatives, after being released from detention on Sept. 15.

Fikre, who converted to Islam in 2003, is the third Muslim man from Portland to publicly say he was detained while traveling abroad and questioned about Portland's Masjid-as-Sabr mosque. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali American who is awaiting trial on a charge of plotting to set off a bomb in downtown Portland in November 2010, occasionally worshipped there. A decade ago, seven Muslims with ties to the mosque were arrested following a failed effort to enter Afghanistan and fight U.S. forces.

Fikre says he met Mohamud a handful of times, but wouldn't call him a friend or even an acquaintance.

Fikre says he was arrested on June 1 in the United Arab Emirates and taken to a prison in Abu Dhabi, where he was questioned about the activities of the Portland mosque and its imam, Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye.

When he first suggested that his UAE interrogators were working for the FBI, they became very upset, he said.

"They got very angry and they said: We don't work with the Americans, we are an independent country," he said. However, in the final days of his confinement, Fikre said that one interrogator acknowledged that the FBI had been involved in his questioning.

"He confirmed to me that the FBI was there. Also when I was getting beaten, they did admit that the FBI knew exactly what was happening and they were working with the FBI," Fikre said.

Beth Anne Steele, a spokeswoman for the FBI office in Portland, said she could not discuss specifics of the case.

"I can tell you that the FBI trains its agents very specifically and very thoroughly about what is acceptable under U.S. law," she said. "To do anything counter to that training is counterproductive - we risk legal liability and potentially losing a criminal case in court."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called upon the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether Fikre was tortured at the behest of the FBI.

"Barack Obama said that America doesn't torture," said Gadeir Abbas, the group's attorney. "We didn't see the footnote that America relies on others to do its torture."

An aide to Oregon congressman Earl Blumenauer told the AP that last June, Blumenauer's office had been contacted by Fikre's wife and lawyer after he vanished. The aide, Willie Smith, said State Department officials confirmed to the congressman's office that Fikre was detained June 20 in the United Arab Emirates.

A few days later a U.S. official went to the prison where Fikre was being held, Smith said. According to Smith, U.S. government officials told Fikre's wife that he "was fine and that he wasn't being mistreated."

Fikre said he moved to Sudan in late 2009 to pursue business opportunities. A few months later, he was asked to contact the U.S. Embassy to discuss safety and security concerns for Americans in the unstable country. He was met by two men who identified themselves as FBI agents and asked questions about the Portland mosque. Fikre says the agents told him he had been placed on the federal no-fly list, and could only return to the U.S. if he agreed to become an informant, an offer he refused.

In the ensuing weeks, the FBI met a relative of Fikre's in Portland and urged that person to encourage Fikre to cooperate with authorities, he said. Fikre said he began to notice he was being followed on the streets of Sudan, prompting him to leave the country on June 15, 2010. Fikre then visited relatives in Europe for three months and flew to the United Arab Emirates after his European Union visa expired.

In a phone interview with The AP, Smith read what he said was an email from the American Citizens Services bureau about its contact with Fikre and with his family.

"After contacting multiple legal authorities in the UAE and the ministry of foreign affairs, we finally got confirmation that he was being held by the state security department. We were able to conduct a consular visit today and have contacted his wife to update her," the bureau wrote to Blumenauer's office.

Fikre said the person who visited him was a low-ranking embassy official. Fikre said he was warned to say he was being treated well or "more torture would take place." He said the beatings and interrogation continued until his September release.

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Associated Press writer Steven DuBois reported from Portland, Oregon.

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