05-18-2021  12:59 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Portland Police, FBI Respond to Threats of Gun Violence

Citing intelligence that there are “imminent” efforts from outside groups to “engage and advance gun violence” this weekend, the Portland City Council announced police and the FBI will be on the streets of the city for the next few days

Gov.: Mask Requirement Lifted for Fully Vaccinated in Oregon

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has announced that the state will immediately follow guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Jay Inslee: State on Track to Fully Reopen June 30

Washington is on track to fully reopen its economy by June 30, and a full reopening could happen even sooner if 70% or more of residents ages 16 and older have gotten at least one dose of vaccine by then.

Inslee: Open Carry of Weapons Now Prohibited at Rallies, Capitol

Last week the Oregon Legislature passed a measure that bans guns from the state Capitol.

NEWS BRIEFS

The Skanner To Be Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award

The Daily Journal of Commerce and its Building Diversity program is honoring The Skanner on May 26 for its pivotal role in many...

OHS Looks Back to "Guatemalan Immigration: Indigenous Transborder Communities"

In the 1980s, people from Guatemala, seeking refuge from violence and harsh economic and social inequities, began building sister...

Vancouver Principal Resigns Amid Racist Language Accusations

Johnson had led Mountain View High School since 2014 but had been on paid administrative leave almost two months. ...

Oregon Cares Fund Resumes Disbursement of Funds to Black Community

Funds started being released again last week ...

Audit: Portland Skipped Safeguards to Get Virus Grants Out

The audit found that race was given priority, but women were not prioritized, and it was not documented how various factors weighed in...

Oregon Senate votes to reinstate foreclosure moratorium

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A bill that would reinstate Oregon's moratorium on foreclosures for those experiencing financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic passed the state Senate on Monday. The bill, which would allow homeowners to put their mortgage in forbearance at least...

Police seek suspects in possible bias crime assault

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help to identify people involved in an assault east of Portland at Glenn Otto Park near the Sandy River. At about 7:36 p.m., deputies responded to a report of an assault in Troutdale and...

OPINION

COMMENTARY: America’s Policing and Political Practices Inextricably Linked to KKK and White Supremacy

Several scholars told the Black Press that the United States, its police forces, and politicians now face a solemn question, “from the Klan to White supremacy, where does America go from here?” ...

OP-ED: The Supreme Court Can Protect Black Lives by Ending Qualified Immunity

The three officers responsible for the murder of Breonna Taylor are not the first to walk free after killing an unarmed Black person, and unfortunately, especially if things continue as they are, they will not be the last. ...

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Trade Arron Rodgers

Give Aaron Rodgers a break, Green Bay. Just like Bart Starr & Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers has been a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Packers for 16 years. ...

Editorial From the Publisher - Council: Police Reform Needed Now

Through years of ceaseless protest, activists have tried to hold Portland Police to account. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Arizona sheriff's immigration patrols to cost public 0M

PHOENIX (AP) — The costs to taxpayers from a racial profiling lawsuit stemming from former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s immigration patrols in metro Phoenix a decade ago are expected to reach 2 million by summer 2022. Officials approved a tentative county budget Monday that...

Suit: Georgia election law threatens voting, speech rights

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s sweeping new overhaul of election laws threatens the fundamental right to vote, freedom of speech and the separation of powers, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday. The lawsuit against the secretary of state and the members of the State...

At Athens Varsity, answer to 'What’ll ya have?' is bulldozer

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Chili dogs, onion rings and frosted orange milkshakes could soon be in shorter supply for students at the University of Georgia. The Athens Banner-Herald reports The Varsity has applied for permission to tear down its decades-old...

ENTERTAINMENT

New this week: Chrissie Hynde, loads of zombies & M.O.D.O.K

Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES — In “The Dry,” Eric Bana returns to his native country for a taut, tense thriller...

Celebrity birthdays for the week of May 23-29

Celebrity birthdays for the week of May 23-29: May 23: Actor Barbara Barrie is 90. Actor Joan Collins is 88. Actor Charles Kimbrough (“Murphy Brown”) is 85. Actor Lauren Chapin (“Father Knows Best”) is 76. Country singer Judy Rodman is 70. Comedian Drew Carey is 63....

Poet Carl Phillips wins ,000 Jackson Prize

NEW YORK (AP) — Poet Carl Phillips has received a ,000 honor for a body of work which displays “exceptional talent.” On Monday, Poets & Writers announced that the 61-year-old Phillips has won the Jackson Prize, which in previous years has gone to Elizabeth...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Giuliani lawyers: Feds treat him like drug boss or terrorist

NEW YORK (AP) — Attorneys for Rudy Giuliani say a covert warrant that prosecutors obtained for his Apple iCloud...

Gaetz associate pleads guilty to sex trafficking charges

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A Florida politician who emerged as a central figure in the Justice Department’s sex...

US report: Allies of El Salvador's president deemed corrupt

MIAMI (AP) — Allies of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, including his Cabinet chief, have been included in a...

Ransomware hits AXA units in Asia, hurts Ireland healthcare

PARIS (AP) — Cybercriminals have hit four Asian subsidiaries of the Paris-based insurance company AXA with a...

Bangladesh arrests journalist known for unearthing graft

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Police in Bangladesh's capital have arrested a journalist known for her strong...

Joy for UK pubs and hugs tempered by rise in virus variant

LONDON (AP) — Drinks were raised in toasts and reunited friends hugged each other as thousands of U.K. pubs and...

The Skanner It's Easy
Bill Mears Supreme Court Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Supreme Court kicked off its new term on Monday, struggling to clarify when foreign victims of torture and other crimes against humanity can sue corporations and others in federal courts.

The outcome could have significant global impact from a moral, political, and financial perspective.

At issue, is the scope of a federal law that is increasingly being used in an effort to hold those accountable for human rights atrocities committed overseas.

A dozen Nigerian political activists now living under asylum in the United States claim foreign oil companies were complicit in violent abuse at the hands of their former country's military. The decade-old lawsuits have been blocked from going to trial in American courts.

The Obama administration is siding partly with the foreign businesses.

The justices first heard the case in February, trying to sort out whether individuals alone -- or political groups and corporations also -- are covered by broad civil immunity for alleged international law abuses.

Now the court will decide that and a more fundamental question: whether the 1789 federal law can be applied to any conduct committed entirely outside the United States.

"Do you disagree [there] are fair [international] judicial systems where a plaintiff can get a fair shake?" said Justice Samuel Alito, reflecting general conservative skepticism. "If that's so, then why does this case belong in the courts of the United States, when it has nothing to do with the United States other than the fact that a subsidiary of the defendant has a big operation here?"

But other justices said federal courts for two centuries were open to such foreign claims, initially in response to piracy on the high seas.

"We gave a stamp of approval" to such lawsuits in a 1980 case, said Justice Elena Kagan, "understanding that there were certain categories of offenders who were today's pirates."

Chief Justice John Roberts wasted little time before moving on to the first of two cases. The nine-member bench remains the same, and showed no signs of discord after the controversial, landmark ruling in late June upholding President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

One little-noticed change was Justice Antonin Scalia, no longer wearing glasses after having cataract eye surgery in recent weeks.

The human rights appeal was filed on behalf of residents of the oil-abundant Ogoni area of the Niger River delta. Two decades ago, they protested the long-standing environmental harm caused by Shell and other energy firms from petroleum extraction.

They and their families claim the Nigerian government brutally suppressed them, "aided and abetted" by private corporations doing business there. The Ogoni 9 -- as the key leaders became known -- were allegedly detained, tortured, and tried by a special Nigerian military tribunal, in violation of international human rights treaties.

The Nigerian government's 1993-95 crackdown sparked global outrage after author Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other activists were convicted, then hanged.

Among those bringing suit is his nephew, Charles Wiwa, who escaped the oppression and now lives in Chicago as a political refugee. He described being a student activist beaten by soldiers for hours in front of a crowd of onlookers, then detained and tortured for days

He claims Shell -- based in the Netherlands and Britain -- conspired with the government to keep its business operations going in the face of protests, and should be held accountable for ignoring or encouraging a pattern of killings, rapes, beatings, and property destruction. He said the only place to obtain justice is in the United States.

"Nigeria's dictatorship has grown rich from its oil," Wawa told CNN. "It is important those (oil) companies be held responsible, because we cannot bring any legal action in courts in Nigeria."

The U.S. law in question is the Alien Tort Statute, which gives federal courts jurisdiction over civil claims from foreigners that they were harmed by international law violations. It was largely ignored for decades, but has now become an important legal vehicle for those bring human rights claims.

Similar lawsuits involve Chevron and Exxon energy operations in Indonesia; Chiquita Brand fruit farms in Colombia; and businesses that operated years ago in the now-outlawed apartheid system in South Africa.

The high court in 2004 endorsed use of the statute in question, but only in limited circumstances.

Paul Hoffman, attorney for the Nigerians, said the United States was a proper judicial forum for such limited claims.

"The trend in the world today is towards universal justice for people and corporations that violate these kinds of norms," he told the court. "In fact, the United States has been the leader in that. Our government has proclaimed our leadership position to U.N. bodies and around the world.

All four left-leaning justices were skeptical about giving corporations a judicial free pass of sorts.

When Kathleen Sullivan, attorney for the corporations, suggested prior court precedent did not deal with the current dispute, Sotomayor shook her head.

"You're basically saying [the prior cases] were all wrong," said Sotomayor. "Counsel, how can you say that? Maybe the facts didn't, but certainly the reasoning of the case addressed that issue very directly basically said it does" give Nigerians a chance to make their case in U.S. courts.

A ruling is expected in a few months.

The case is Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (10-1491).

 

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