12-06-2019  8:21 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Food Professionals See Opportunities to “Scale Up” in School Cafeterias and on Store Shelves

Two Portland women are addressing disparities in the local food scene with Ethiopian and Haitian flavors, ingredients

Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone Climbing Historic Ladders

In 1995, Boone was the first African American woman hired by Portland Fire & Rescue; this year she became its first African American Chief

Christmas Tree Shopping is Harder Than Ever, Thanks to Climate Change and Demographics

For Christmas tree farms to survive, shoppers will need to be more flexible

November Holiday Travel at PDX Brings More Comfort, Convenience and Furry Friends

If you’ve not been to Portland International Airport in a few months, you’re in for some surprises.

NEWS BRIEFS

Conservation Breakthrough for Endangered Butterfly

The Oregon Zoo's breeding success provides new hope in an effort to save Oregon silverspots ...

Meet 80 Local Authors at OHS 52nd Holiday Cheer Book Sale and Signing

This free Oregon Historical Society event will be held this Sunday, December 8 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. ...

Need for Blood Doesn’t Stop for Holidays – Donors Needed

Those who come to give through Dec. 18 will receive a Amazon.com Gift Card ...

North Carolina Court Decision Upholds Removal of Confederate Monument

Lawyers argued that the monument was installed at the end of Reconstruction to further the false “Lost Cause” narrative,...

Artist Talk with 13-year-old Local to be Held This Tuesday, Nov. 26

Hobbs Waters will be discussing his solo exhibit “Thirteen” at The Armory in Portland ...

Driver gets 16 years for striking pregnant woman in Gresham

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man on methamphetamine was driving his Jeep with a suspended license in 2010 when he crossed into oncoming traffic and crashed into a sedan, causing catastrophic injuries to the pregnant woman inside, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.The Oregonian/OregonLive...

North by Northwest: Minor league hires prez with proper name

HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) — The short-season Northwest League has named a new president with a most fitting name for the post: North Johnson.The Class A loop made the announcement Friday, appointing the longtime minor league executive."I was literally born to have this job," Johnson kidded in an...

Missouri fires football coach Barry Odom after 4 seasons

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri fired football coach Barry Odom on Saturday, ending the four-year stay of a respected former player who took over a program in disarray but could never get the Tigers over the hump in the brutal SEC.The Tigers finished 6-6 and 3-5 in the conference after...

Powell, Missouri snap 5-game skid with win over Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — In a game started by third- and fifth-string quarterbacks, the outcome was decided by one of their backups. It was appropriate enough for Arkansas and Missouri, two teams facing their longest losing streaks in decades.Fayetteville High School graduate Taylor Powell...

OPINION

Will You Answer the Call for Moral Revival?

In embracing and expanding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Revs. Barber and Theoharis have asked Presidential candidates to consider a debate that focuses exclusively on poverty ...

What I’m Thankful For This Season

Ray Curry gives thanks for a human right that shaped our country throughout the 20th century and that made Thanksgiving possible for so many Americans who, like him, didn’t get here by way of the Mayflower ...

Congressional Black Caucus Members Visit U.S.-Mexico Border: “Mistreatment of Black Immigrants is Another ‘Stain on America’”

Members said they witnessed first-hand the deplorable treatment and plight of Black immigrants ...

Portland, I'm Ready

Last month I had the privilege to stand with hundreds of supporters and announce my intention to run for re-election ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Illinois prison guards face federal charges in inmate death

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Three Illinois prison guards were arraigned in federal court Friday on charges of assault and civil rights violations in the May 2018 death of an inmate at Western Illinois Correctional Center. A grand jury indicted the correctional officers, who also face charges...

Haley: Killer 'hijacked' Confederate flag meaning for some

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Germany's Merkel voices 'shame' during 1st Auschwitz visit

OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced a feeling of "deep shame” during her first-ever visit on Friday to the hallowed grounds of the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Adolf Hitler's regime murdered more than a million people.Merkel...

ENTERTAINMENT

R. Kelly charged with paying bribe before marrying Aaliyah

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors are accusing singer R. Kelly of scheming with others to pay for a fake ID for an unnamed female a day before he married R&B singer Aaliyah, then 15 years old, in a secret ceremony in 1994.The revised indictment, filed Thursday in New York, accuses...

Bloomberg: His news reporters need to accept restrictions

NEW YORK (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg says employees at his news organization need to accept restrictions with their paycheck, including the ban on investigating their boss.Bloomberg, billionaire founder of Bloomberg News, was asked in a CBS News interview about...

Billy Joel, Kardashians Diplo descend on Miami for Art Basel

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — As gallerists and collectors descend on Miami's most prestigious art fair by day, the Hollywood crowd knows it's all about the exclusive after parties. Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder and Pharrell were in town while DJ Khaled and rappers Travis Scott and Gucci Mane held...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Let's cancel 'OK Boomer' in 2020, and the humblebrag, too

NEW YORK (AP) — Either loudly sing your own praises or don’t in the new year, but let’s leave...

Officials list pot vape brands reported in US outbreak

NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials investigating a nationwide outbreak of vaping illnesses have listed, for...

US firms keep hiring, easing worries of weakening economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — American businesses have complained for years that they can’t find the workers...

World powers press Iran to reverse nuke deal violations

VIENNA (AP) — World powers pressured Iran on Friday to reverse recent atomic activities that violate the...

Germany's Merkel voices 'shame' during 1st Auschwitz visit

OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced a feeling of "deep shame” during her...

US hits Iran-backed Iraqi militia leaders with sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Friday slapped sanctions on three Iran-backed Iraqi militia...

McMenamins
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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