09-26-2021  2:51 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Lawmakers Fail to Agree House Districts as Deadline Looms

Republicans failed to show up for a session to redraw the state's congressional districts Saturday, thwarting majority Democrats’ attempts to pass new political maps before a looming deadline

Oregon School Board Ban on Anti-Racist, LGBT Signs Draws Ire

An Oregon school board has banned educators from displaying Black Lives Matter and gay pride symbols, prompting a torrent of recriminations and threats to boycott the town and its businesses.

New, Long-Term Black Lives Matter Public Art Piece Installed at Seattle City Hall

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture today announced that a new, long-term Black Lives Matter public art piece has been installed at Seattle City Hall.

Black Man Fatally Shot Outside Bend Nightclub, Man Arrested

A Black man was shot and killed outside a bar by a white man in central Oregon

NEWS BRIEFS

5th Annual Yard Tree Giveaway Events to Begin

Free trees for all Portlanders continue Portland Parks & Recreation’s Urban Forestry division’s mission to grow, preserve, and...

House Passes Historic Abortion Rights Legislation With Support of Reps. Bonamici, Defazio, Blumenauer and Schrader

Today’s vote to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act comes three weeks after Texas’s radical 6-week abortion ban went into...

Oregon Announces Stabilization Grant Opportunity to Assist Child Care Providers

Oregon received approximately 4 million in grant funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to be paid directly to eligible...

TriMet Plans Weekend Construction Along MAX Red Line to Help Keep Trains Running Efficiently

Shuttle buses will replace MAX Sept. 25-26 between Gateway Transit Center and Portland International Airport ...

Larsen Chairs Hearing on Surge in Air Rage Incidents, Effects on Workers, Airlines, Airports

The hearing was an opportunity for the subcommittee to examine the alarming increase in disruptive and unruly airline passengers, the...

Police: 3 killed in shooting outside bar near Seattle

DES MOINES, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say three people were killed and three others injured in a shooting early Sunday outside a bar in Des Moines, Washington. Police said shots were fired after a dispute between two people inside the La Familia Sports Pub and Lounge, just...

1 killed, WSU football player hurt in shooting near campus

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been arrested in connection with a shooting that killed one person and critically injured another near the Washington State University campus early Saturday morning. Police in Pullman, Washington, later identified the injured...

AP Top 25 Takeaways: Clemson falls during frenetic afternoon

For about 45 minutes late Saturday afternoon, college football was on overload. North Carolina State went from agony to ecstasy against No. 9 Clemson. Baylor stopped a 2-point conversion to upset No. 14 Iowa State. No. 16 Arkansas finished off No. 7 Texas A&M to claim a Lone...

BC beats Mizzou 41-34 in OT on Flowers catch, Sebastian INT

BOSTON (AP) — Denis Grosel threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Zay Flowers in overtime, and Brandon Sebastian’s interception sealed the victory on Saturday as Boston College recovered after blowing two fourth-quarter leads to beat Missouri 41-34. BC coach Jeff Hafley said he...

OPINION

Homelessness, Houselessness in the Richest Country in the World: An Uncommon Logic

When and why did the United States of America chose the wealth of a few over the health, wealth, and well-being of so many ...

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 ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Nonprofit grants propel prosecutor push on racial injustice

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — When Deborah Gonzalez took office in January as the district attorney for the Western Judicial District of Georgia, she noticed that too few defendants, especially Black defendants, qualified for a program that promised treatment for addiction or mental health and not jail. ...

Govt offices in Kosovo targeted as tensions soar with Serbia

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — A public building in Kosovo was set on fire and another was hit by grenades that did not explode in what government officials described Saturday as criminal acts related to ethnic Serbs protesting a symbolic move on license plates. Serbian media quoted...

Biden risks losing support from Democrats amid DC gridlock

NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden is losing support among critical groups in his political base as some of his core campaign promises falter, raising concerns among Democrats that the voters who put him in office may feel less enthusiastic about returning to the polls in next year's midterm...

ENTERTAINMENT

Harry and Meghan visit with students at a Harlem school

NEW YORK (AP) — Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, offered lots of hugs to kids at a Harlem public school Friday where she read her children's book to about two dozen students who sat cross-legged with her husband in the play yard. The hourlong visit to PS 123,...

'BMF' series explores climb of '80s drug kingpin 'Big Meech'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson remembered hearing stories about how two brothers emerged from rough inner-city Detroit streets to become wealthy drug kingpins and eventually embraced by hip-hop culture. Jackson heard Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory’s...

Elon Musk, singer Grimes 'semi-separated' after three years

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Elon Musk and singer Grimes have ended their romantic relationship after three years. The Tesla and SpaceX founder tells the New York Post's Page Six that he and the Canadian singer are “semi-separated.” But he says they remain on...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

UK gas stations run dry as trucker shortage sparks hoarding

LONDON (AP) — Thousands of British gas stations ran dry Sunday, an industry group said, as motorists scrambled...

What's the price of Biden’s plan? Democrats drive for zero

WASHINGTON (AP) — What will it cost to enact President Joe Biden’s massive expansion of social programs? ...

Utah's Lowe killed in shooting less than a year after Jordan

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah sophomore cornerback Aaron Lowe died in a shooting at house party early Sunday, less...

In Mexico, some Haitians find a helping hand

CIUDAD ACUÑA, México (AP) — Some of the thousands of Haitian migrants who briefly formed a camp in the Texas...

So close! Iceland almost gets female-majority parliament

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Iceland briefly celebrated electing a female-majority parliament Sunday, before a...

Israeli troops kill 5 Palestinians in West Bank gunbattles

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli troops conducted a series of arrest raids against suspected Hamas militants across the...

Adel Omran and Lee Keath the Associated Press

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer who was the only person ever convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, died at home in Tripoli Sunday, nearly three years after he was released from a Scottish prison to the outrage of the relatives of the attack's 270 victims. He was 60.

Scotland released al-Megrahi on Aug. 20, 2009, on compassionate grounds to let him return home to die after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. At the time, doctors predicted he had only three months to live.

Anger over the release was further stoked by the hero's welcome he received on his arrival in Libya - and by subsequent allegations that London had sought his release to preserve business interests in the oil-rich North African nation, strongly denied by the British and Scottish governments.

Al-Megrahi insisted he was innocent, but he kept a strict silence after his release, living in the family villa surrounded by high walls in a posh Tripoli neighborhood, mostly bedridden or taking a few steps with a cane. Libyan authorities sealed him off from public access. When the one-year anniversary of his release passed, some who visited him said al-Megrahi bitterly mused that the world was rooting for him to die.

His son, Khaled al-Megrahi, confirmed that he died in Tripoli in a telephone interview but hung up before giving more details.

Saad Nasser al-Megrahi, a relative and a member of the ruling National Transitional Council, said al-Megrahi's health had seriously deteriorated in recent days and he died of cancer-related complications.

Al-Megrahi passed away at his Tripoli home on Sunday morning, according to another NTC member, Moussa al-Kouni.

To the end, al-Megrahi insisted he had nothing to do with the bombing, which killed 270 people, most of them Americans.

"I am an innocent man," al-Megrahi said in his last interview, published in several British papers in December. "I am about to die and I ask now to be left in peace with my family."

In New York City, the father of one of the Lockerbie victims said al-Megrahi's death was "to a degree a relief" and insisted that his 2009 release from jail was a political deal.

"If he had been that bad three years ago, he wouldn't have lived this long. It was a political deal," said Glenn Johnson of Greensburg, Pa, whose 21-year-old daughter Beth Ann Johnson was killed in the bombing.

Al-Megrahi's death, which came seven months after ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed, leaves many unanswered questions that have surrounded the Lockerbie case, despite the conviction.

The U.S., Britain, and prosecutors in his trial contended that he did not act alone and carried out the bombing at the behest of Libyan intelligence. After Gadhafi's fall, Britain asked Libya's new rulers to help fully investigate but they put off any probe.

They also rejected Western pressure to jail or return al-Megrahi.

"He is between life and death, so what difference would prison make?" his brother, Abdel-Nasser al-Megrahi, said at the time.

Little was known about al-Megrahi. At his trial, he was described as the "airport security" chief for Libyan intelligence, and witnesses reported him negotiating deals to buy equipment for Libya's secret service and military.

But he became a central figure in both Libya's falling out with the West and then its re-emergence from the cold.

To Libyans, he was a folk hero, an innocent scapegoat used by the West to turn their country into a pariah. The regime presented his handover to Scotland in 1999 as a necessary sacrifice to restore Libya's relations with the world.

In the months ahead of his release, Tripoli put enormous pressure on Britain, warning that if the ailing al-Megrahi died in a Scottish prison, all British commercial activity in Libya would be cut off and a wave of demonstrations would erupt outside British embassies, according to leaked U.S. diplomatic memos. The Libyans even implied "that the welfare of U.K. diplomats and citizens in Libya would be at risk," the memos say.

But in the eyes of many Americans and Europeans, he was the foot-soldier carrying out orders from Gadhafi's regime. Tony Blair, Britain's prime minister at the time of the conviction, said the verdict "confirms our long-standing suspicion that Libya instigated the Lockerbie bombing."

The bombing that blew up Pan Am Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988, over Lockerbie, Scotland was one of the deadliest terror attacks in modern history. The flight was heading to New York from London's Heathrow airport and many of the victims were American college students flying home to for Christmas.

Gadhafi handed over al-Megrahi and a second suspect to Scottish authorities after years of punishing U.N. sanctions. Four years later, in 2003, Gadhafi acknowledged responsibility - though not guilt - for the Lockerbie bombing and paid compensation of about $2.7 billion to the Lockerbie victims' families. He also pledged to dismantle all weapons of mass destruction and joined the U.S.-led war on terror.

The regime maintained it handed al-Megrahi over and paid compensation only to win the lifting of sanctions. The steps won Gadhafi quick rewards, with Western powers resuming diplomatic contacts and signing lucrative business deals.

In 2001, a Scottish court - set up in the neutral ground of a military base in the Netherlands - convicted al-Megrahi of planting the bomb but acquitted his co-defendant, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, a Libyan Arab Airlines official, of all charges. El-Megrahi ended up serving eight years of a life sentence.

The prosecution's case was built around a tiny fragment of circuit board discovered among the airline wreckage that investigators determined was part of the timer of the bomb, hidden in a suitcase. Investigators said the suitcase was loaded onto a flight from Malta, booked through to Pan Am 103 via Frankfurt.

An executive from a Swiss company testified that he had sold timers of the same make to Libya. Investigators found that al-Megrahi traveled to Malta on a false passport a day before the suitcase was checked in and left the following day.

Key to convicting al-Megrahi was the testimony of a Malta shopkeeper who identified him as having bought a man's shirt in his store. Scraps of the garment were found wrapped around the timing device.

However, a Scottish judicial body that carried out a major review of the evidence cast doubt on the shopowner's ID of al-Megrahi and said there was evidence the shirt was purchased on a day when al-Megrahi was not in Malta.

Al-Megrahi's lawyers also claimed that British and U.S. authorities tampered with evidence, disregarded witness statements and steered investigators away from suggestions the bombing was an Iranian-financed plot carried out by Palestinians to avenge the shooting down of a civilian Iranian airliner by a U.S. warship - in which some 290 people were killed - several months before the Lockerbie bombing. The judicial body, however, discounted theories of intentional misdirection.

Al-Megrahi had appealed his conviction, but had to drop the appeal to be eligible for compassionate release.

"I say in the clearest possible terms, which I hope every person in every land will hear - all of this I have had to endure for something that I did not do," al-Megrahi said in a statement after his release.

"I had most to gain and nothing to lose about the whole truth coming out - until my diagnosis of cancer," he said. "To those victims' relatives who can bear to hear me say this, they continue to have my sincere sympathy for the unimaginable loss that they have suffered."

Some of the victims' families in Britain are also not convinced of al-Megrahi's guilt.

"By abandoning his appeal, we the families will be robbed of the opportunity to find justice," the Rev. John Mosey, whose daughter Helga died aboard Flight 103, said in 2009.

"I came away from the court 85 percent convinced he did not do it, based on the evidence I heard," said Mosey, who is from Cumbria, England, and attended all but one week of al-Megrahi's nine-month trial.

In announcing al-Megrahi's release from prison, Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said he was motivated by Scottish values to show mercy even though al-Megrahi had not shown compassion to his victims.

"Some hurts can never heal, some scars can never fade," MacAskill said. "Mr. al-Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power."

Al-Megrahi is survived by his wife, Aisha, and five children.

---

Keath reported from Cairo. Associated Press writer Deepti Hajela in New York City contributed to this report.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

wer."

Al-Megrahi is survived by his wife, Aisha, and five children.

---

Keath reported from Cairo. Associated Press writer Deepti Hajela in New York City contributed to this report.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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