07-09-2020  4:55 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Appeals Court Affirms Portland Renter Relocation Law

The Court affirmed a Portland ordinance requiring landlords to pay tenants’ relocation fees if their rent is increased by at least 10% or if they’re evicted without cause.

Seattle Urged to See a 'World Without Law Enforcement'

Proposals include removal of 911 dispatch from Seattle Police control, budget cuts of 50%

Oregon DOJ to Hold Listening Sessions on Institutional Racism; Leaders Wary

DOJ will hold 11 virtual listening sessions for underserved Oregonians.

Portland Black Community Frustrated as Violence Mars Protests

Black leaders condemn violence from small group of mostly-white activists as Rose City Justice suspends nightly marches

NEWS BRIEFS

OSU Science Pub Focuses on Influence of Black Lives Matter

The influence of the Black Lives Matter movement will be the focus of a virtual Oregon State University Science Pub on July 13 ...

Capital Rx Establishes Scholarship at Howard University to Support Next Generation of Pharmacists

“Each of us has a role to play in paving a more equitable path for the future of the industry,” said AJ Loiacono, Founder and CEO...

Adams Joins Lawmakers in Move to Repeal Trump’s Birth Control Rule

Without action, SCOTUS decision clears way for Trump Admin rule to take effect ...

Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center Announce Artist Fund

The fund will help support artists during COVID crisis and beyond ...

The OHS Museum Reopens Saturday, July 11

The Oregon Historical Society museum will reopen with new hours and new safety protocols ...

Portland: 3rd class-action suit over police use of force

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Another class-action lawsuit has been filed against the city of Portland, marking the third such lawsuit filed related to the use of force and munitions at protests that began after the police killing of George Floyd. The class-action complaint filed this week named...

Driver fires gun into air after clash with protesters

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The driver of a vehicle fired several shots from a handgun into the air after a verbal clash with protesters in Portland early Thursday.The incident, caught on video from multiple angles and shared on social media, shows the driver in a white car surrounded by...

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner hurt in jet ski accident

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner sustained serious injuries when he and a passenger on a jet ski collided with a boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.According to a police report, Koerner and Cole Coffin were hurt at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when their watercraft...

Missouri football program pushes again for racial justice

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Ryan Walters had just arrived at the University of Missouri to coach safeties for the football program when a series of protests related to racial injustice led to the resignations of the system president and the chancellor of its flagship campus.The student-led movement...

OPINION

Recent Protests Show Need For More Government Collective Bargaining Transparency

Since taxpayers are ultimately responsible for funding government union contract agreements, they should be allowed to monitor the negotiation process ...

The Language of Vote Suppression

A specific kind of narrative framing is used to justify voter suppression methods and to cover up the racism that motivates their use. ...

Letter to the Community From Eckhart Tolle Foundation

The Eckhart Tolle Foundation is donating more than 250,000 dollars to organizations that are fighting racism ...

Editorial From the Publisher: Vote as Your Life Depends on It

The Republican-controlled Senate won’t pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, no matter how hard Oregon’s senators and others work to push for change. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Video shows officer point gun at doctor on his own property

A Colorado police department where officers were fired after re-enacting the chokehold death of a young Black man is under scrutiny again after video emerged of an officer pulling a gun on a doctor trying to park at a refugee center he operates. Police body camera video released by Dr. P.J....

Judge blocks removal of more Confederate statues in Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A judge issued an injunction Thursday barring the city of Richmond from removing any more Confederate monuments, a process that began last week after Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the statues cleared away amid weeks of protests over police brutality and racism.Richmond...

Worker advocates file meat plants discrimination complaint

Several worker advocacy organizations have filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging that meat processing companies Tyson and JBS have engaged in racial discrimination during the coronavirus pandemic. The complaint filed Wednesday alleges the companies adopted...

ENTERTAINMENT

Family re-imagines Bob Marley classic for COVID-19 relief

NEW YORK (AP) — Bob Marley’s Grammy-winning children and chart-topping grandson have re-imagined one of his biggest hits to assist children affected by the coronavirus pandemic.Stephen Marley, Cedella Marley and her son, Skip Marley, have joined forces to produce a new version of...

Asian American girls saw pivotal icon in 'Baby-Sitters Club'

Author Ann M. Martin had no master plan when she decided to make one of the core members of “The Baby-Sitters Club” a Japanese American girl named Claudia.Claudia Kishi happened to be everything the “model minority” stereotype wasn't. She got bad grades. She thrived in...

Police: Pop Smoke's social media led killers to LA home

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities believe rising rapper Pop Smoke was shot and killed during a Los Angeles home-invasion robbery in February after his social media posts led five suspects to the house he was renting, police said after detectives arrested the group Thursday morning.Los Angeles...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Big Ten scraps nonconference football games due to pandemic

The Big Ten Conference announced Thursday it will not play nonconference games in football and several other...

Soap opera's kisses outwit virus with tests, spouses, dolls

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hollywood’s technical expertise can awe us with monsters and imaginary worlds....

AP FACT CHECK: Trump team distortions on Biden and police

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's campaign team is misrepresenting Democratic rival Joe Biden's...

COVID-19 pandemic in Africa is now reaching 'full speed'

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The COVID-19 pandemic in Africa is reaching “full speed,” the Africa...

25 years on, Srebrenica dead still being identified, buried

SREBRENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — A quarter of a century after they were killed in Europe’s...

Albania Holocaust memorial honors locals who protected Jews

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania unveiled a Holocaust memorial in the capital on Thursday to honor the dead...

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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