10-23-2019  1:28 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State Ecology Director Objects to EPA’s Proposed Clean Water Act Rule

Ecology Director Maia Bellon submitted formal objections in which she calls the proposal ill-advised and illegal

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

NEWS BRIEFS

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The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

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Woman sues Oregon clinic over claims of past abuse by doctor

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Police: Body found is missing university student

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AP Top 25: Ohio State jumps Clemson to 3rd; Wisconsin falls

Ohio State edged past Clemson to No. 3 in The Associated Press college football poll and Wisconsin dropped to 13th after being upset ahead of its showdown with the Buckeyes.Alabama remained No. 1 on Sunday in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank, receiving 24 first-place votes. No. 2 LSU held...

Vaughn scores twice, Vandy upsets No. 22 Missouri 21-14

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OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

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AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Farewells to US Rep. Elijah Cummings to begin in Baltimore

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Trump claim brings new pain to relatives of lynching victims

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Willie Edwards Jr., a black truck driver, was killed by Ku Klux Klansmen who forced him to jump off a bridge in Alabama in 1957. Two years earlier, white men had bludgeoned black teenager Emmett Till to death in Mississippi. No one went to prison for either...

Trump 2020 targeting Hispanic vote in nontraditional places

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ENTERTAINMENT

Liam Gallagher talks solo rise, family feud and rock music

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Lori Loughlin, other parents charged again in college scheme

BOSTON (AP) — "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband and nine other parents faced new federal charges Tuesday in a scandal involving dozens of wealthy parents accused of bribing their children's way into elite universities or cheating on college entrance exams.A...

Celebrities to get drag makeovers in RuPaul's new VH1 series

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U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Is the stethoscope dying? High-tech rivals pose a threat

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Trump 2020 targeting Hispanic vote in nontraditional places

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UK prime minister mulls early election over Brexit impasse

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Canada's Trudeau wins reelection but faces a divided nation

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Trump finds no simple fix in Syria, other world hotspots

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McMenamins
Jethro Mullen CNN

(CNN) -- Earthquake experts around the world say they are appalled by an Italian court's decision to convict six scientists on manslaughter charges for failing to predict the deadly quake that devastated the city of L'Aquila. They warned the ruling could severely harm scientific research.

The court in L'Aquila sentenced the scientists and a government official Monday to six years in prison. The court said the group didn't accurately communicate the risk of the earthquake in 2009 that killed more than 300 people.

The trial centered on a meeting a week before the 6.3-magnitude quake struck. At the meeting, the experts determined that it was "unlikely" but not impossible that a major quake would take place, despite concern among the city's residents over recent seismic activity.

Prosecutors said the defendants provided "inaccurate, incomplete and contradictory information about the dangers" facing L'Aquila.

The court agreed, convicting the six scientists from the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) and a member of the Civil Protection Agency.

Seismologists were mortified at the court's decision, noting that earthquakes remain impossible to forecast with any kind of accuracy.

"To predict a large quake on the basis of a relatively commonplace sequence of small earthquakes, and to advise the local population to flee" would constitute "both bad science and bad public policy," said David Oglesby, an associate professor at the earth sciences faculty of the University of California, Riverside.

"If scientists can be held personally and legally responsible for situations where predictions don't pan out, then it will be very hard to find scientists to stick their necks out in the future," Oglesby said in a statement.

Roger Musson, the head of seismic hazard and archives at the British Geological Survey, echoed that feeling in a comment published on the organization's Twitter feed.

"It's chilling that people can be jailed for giving a scientific opinion in the line of their work," he said.

Comments from one of the defendants -- Enzo Boschi, the former president of the INGV -- suggested the scientists were shellshocked by their conviction.

"I'm dejected, despairing. I still don't understand what I'm accused of," Boschi said after the ruling, according to ANSA, Italy's official news agency.

The defense lawyer, Marcello Petrelli, said he would appeal.

The Italian geophysics institute expressed "regret and concern" about the verdict in a statement Monday. It said the ruling "threatens to undermine one of the cornerstones of scientific research: that of freedom of investigation, of open and transparent discussion and sharing of results."

Some experts have argued that the issue was a failure of communications, not calculations.

Domenico Giardini, who held Boschi's old job at the institute for several months, said last year that the trial was about "the number of weak points in the communication chain."

"We all have to work on new, and more clear, protocols, on the transfer of information," said Giardini, who stepped down from the presidency of the institute earlier this year in order to continue his research work in Switzerland.

Survivors of the 2009 quake, some of whom who lost relatives or property in the disaster, have voiced anger at the officials who downplayed the risks despite the worries expressed by residents.

"I can understand the grief of people who lost loved ones and the frustration that people feel when terrible events happen --- especially ones outside their control," said Oglesby. "Convicting honest scientists of manslaughter does nothing to help this situation, and may well put a chill on exactly the kind of science that could save lives in the future."

The ruling may well change the way experts disclose their opinions, according to David Spiegelhalter, a professor specializing in the public understanding of risk at Cambridge University in Britain.

"L'Aquila trial shows public scientists need to take media communication very seriously," he wrote on his Twitter account. "And get indemnity."

 ™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

 

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