12-13-2019  1:25 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Louisiana State University President Heading to Oregon Job

F. King Alexander will succeed Ed Ray, who is retiring from the position at Oregon State University at the end of June after 17 years as president. Ray will continue in a teaching role at the university

PHOTOS: Black Santa Visits Northwest African American Museum

The Skanner's Seattle photographer Susan Fried was on hand to snap some photos

English Language Learners' Success Translates Into a $25,000 Milken Educator Award for Teacher Julie Rowell

Oregon educator boosts student achievement and future prospects at Gresham High School

Portland Resident Hoping to Donate Kidney to Black Recipient

Fewer Black patients receive live kidney donations

NEWS BRIEFS

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

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Louisiana State University president heading to Oregon job

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana State University is looking for a new system chief, after President F. King Alexander was appointed Friday to lead Oregon State University.Oregon State's Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to hire Alexander in a special meeting, confirming that Alexander...

As California thins forests to limit fire risk, some resist

SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS, Calif. (AP) — Buzzing chainsaws are interrupted by the frequent crash of breaking branches as crews fell towering trees and clear tangled brush in the densely forested Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco. Their goal: To protect communities such as Redwood...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

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

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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

Donor pulls jumi.5M grant to UNC-Chapel Hill over 'Silent Sam'

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A New York-based not-for-profit foundation has withdrawn a jumi.5 million grant intended for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in light of a financial deal between leaders of the university system and a Confederate group to preserve a controversial...

Belgian carnival removed from UNESCO list over racism row

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A famous Belgian carnival was removed from the U.N.'s cultural heritage list on Friday following complaints that its most recent edition contained blatant displays of anti-Semitism.The Aalst carnival was taken off UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list during a...

Anti-Semitism order raises tough issue of defining prejudice

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ENTERTAINMENT

Greta Gerwig on making 'Little Women' 'at the speed of life'

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'Lemonade' by Beyoncé is named the AP's album of the decade

NEW YORK (AP) — The top 15 albums of the decade by Associated Press Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu:1. Beyoncé, “Lemonade”: At the beginning of this decade, Beyoncé was already the greatest singer of her generation. She won a record six Grammys in a single night, had women...

'Mad Men' actress Christina Hendricks files for divorce

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Mad Men” actress Christina Hendricks filed for divorce Friday from her husband of 10 years, actor Geoffrey Arend. Hendricks filed the marriage dissolution documents in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences. The 44-year-old Hendricks...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Blue-collar character actor Danny Aiello has died at age 86

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‘Rise of Skywalker’ is almost here, but a dark side looms

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In surprise decision, US approves muscular dystrophy drug

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Ex-PM elected Algeria's new president, to protesters' dismay

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El Salvador court gives hefty sentences in mass gang trial

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A court in El Salvador has sentenced 373 convicted members of the...

Battle ahead: Scotland party leader vows independence push

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McMenamins
By Hilary Whiteman

Six years ago, Shinzo Abe started the revolving door of Japanese prime ministers by resigning just one year into the job. The question now whether he is able to stop it.Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is expected to win a majority in Sunday's general election, clearing the way for the 58-year-old to resume the role he left in 2007.

If he does, he'll be Japan's seventh prime minister in six years to take on what is becoming the increasingly difficult task of hitting the economy out of a rough and forging a bright future for an increasingly aging population who feel the best years are behind them.

Can Abe do it?

The LDP leader is seen as hawkish with a nationalistic bent, and charismatic, if not particularly popular, according to opinion polls.

"People don't necessarily see him as a savior, they see him as a doer," said John Lee, an adjunct associate professor at the Center for International Security Studies at Australia's Sydney University.

"At the very least, he represents a change from the dour, Japanese bureaucrat that is plagued by inactivity. I don't think that could be said about Abe."

The son of two politicians, including the former Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe, and the grandson of the late Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, Abe grew up with the LDP, and is said to be conciliatory within the party, yet bold enough to speak his mind.

"Everybody may not be happy with what he says, but finally if we have a Japan that actually says what it thinks on the world stage, that'll be good for everybody, especially the Japanese," said Keith Henry, founder of consultancy Asia Strategy.

Abe first rose to power in September 2006, at the age of 52, making him the country's youngest leader in 52 years.

However, the strong support that pushed him up Japan's political hierarchy was eroded over the following months by a string of gaffes and the resignation of several government ministers, some of whom had been accused of financial or electoral misconduct.

During Abe's year in power, his health minister, Hakuo Yanagisawa, came under fire for branding women as "birth-giving machines," and his defense minister, Fumio Kyuma, resigned after hinting that the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki may have been justified.

The day after his resignation, in September 2007, Abe was admitted to hospital with gastrointestinal inflammation.

Fast-forward five years and Abe appears to be fighting fit and ready to take on the job.

Before being nominated as the country's next leader, Abe made what Henry calls "emphatic" statements on the Bank of Japan, government spending and Japan's relationship with China.

In mid-November, he was reported to have taken China to task over its record in Tibet.

"I swear I will do everything in my power to change the situation in Tibet where human rights are being suppressed. Tibet seeks freedom and democracy and we agree on those values," he said.

"In the world of Japanese politics anything that is kind of emphatic is quite rare, and I think that demonstrates a new sense of confidence and a sense of who he is, which I don't think existed a couple of years ago," Henry said.

The prospect of an Abe-led government has pushed Japan's share market higher in recent days, suggesting that there's some confidence in his ability to reinvigorate the economy.

 

If elected to office, Abe intends to aim his political firepower at deflation, calling for monetary easing by the Bank of Japan to achieve an inflation rate of 2%. He wants the BoJ to buy government bonds to fund a range of public works to stimulate the economy.

In an opinion piece for CNN, Jeffrey W. Hornung, an associate professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu described Abe's major economic policies as "reckless."

"Although the BOJ has been pumping money into the economy with a 1% inflation target, Abe's push for unlimited monetary easing and a 2% target translates into pressure on the BOJ. Worse, his suggestion that the BOJ underwrite government bonds is prohibited under the Public Finance Law, a ban that was put in place after World War II," he wrote.

"Both moves indicate his desire to reduce BOJ independence. What is more, Japan is already the second most indebted nation (Zimbabwe is first). Abe's plan to increase defense expenditures and public works spending will make Japan even more indebted," Hornung added.

Abe's foreign policy priority is to strengthen national security by revising the pacifist constitution introduced after World War II. He's expected to take a stronger stand on China, particularly in relation to regional disputes of the kind seen this year over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The territorial jousting over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands escalated just days before the election after Japan dispatched fighter jets in response to sightings of a Chinese government plane in airspace around the islands.

"I think there's an overwhelming belief now that China, at the very least, doesn't respond to cooperative behavior. What can be said is that China behaves the way it does regardless of whether Japanese behavior is positive or combative," Lee said.

Then there's the question of how Japan powers itself amid the backlash against nuclear energy following the meltdown of the tsunami-hit nuclear reactors in Fukushima.

The LDP has called for safety tests on all nuclear plants over the next three years. Those that pass should be brought back online, Abe has said.

He'll also have to deal with the enduring task of cleaning up communities shattered by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and contend with local anger that the recovery seems to have stalled.

Despite all the challenges, some analysts remain optimistic about Abe's ability to put Japan back on track.

"Japan has never looked better to me. I'm very, very optimistic on it," said Ben Collett, head of Japanese equities at Louis Capital Markets in Hong Kong.

"I'm hopeful for the market and the economy and Abe's timing is solid. He'll initiate a cycle of new industrial development -- a rebirth of heavy industry in Japan that includes energy, hi-tech, space exploration and defense industries."

Henry says it should be "fairly smooth sailing" for Abe for next one or even two years if he watches his words on three key areas.

"He's got to be careful what he says about BOJ policy, he's got to be careful geopolitically about how he approaches Japan's "friends" and competitors in the Asia region, and he also has to be careful about putting his own Cabinet together to make sure that a week or two into his Cabinet we don't have any resignations because somebody has done something."

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