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  • Judiciary Committee Votes to Advance Reparations Bill HR-40

    Judiciary Committee Votes to Advance Reparations Bill HR-40

    After decades of effort reparations advocates are celebrating the House Judiciary Committee's decision to send a bill to the U.S. House for a full vote. Democrats pushed the bill through the committee but Republicans are opposing itRead More
  • prosecutor Jerry Blackwell speaks as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill discusses motions before the court Thursday, April 15, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

    What to Expect in Closings for Chauvin trial in Floyd Death

    Attorneys will make closing arguments in a last chance to sway the jury to convict or acquit the former Minneapolis cop on murder and manslaughter chargesRead More
  • The Rev. Jesse Jackson, center left, walks with supporters during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by a police officer during a traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    Armed Patrol Group Tries to Keep the Peace in Minneapolis

    Hundreds of people have gathered outside the heavily guarded Brooklyn Center police station every night since Sunday, to protest the police shooting of 20-year-old father Daunte Wright. Despite the mayor's calls for law enforcement and protesters to scale back their tactics, the nights have often ended in objects hurled, tear gas and arrestsRead More
  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sits alone in St. George’s Chapel during the funeral of Prince Philip, the man who had been by her side for 73 years, at Windsor Castle, Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. Prince Philip died April 9 at the age of 99 after 73 years of marriage to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. (Jonathan Brady/Pool via AP)

    Prince Philip's Funeral Procession Televised From Windsor

    The coffin emerged from the State Entrance of Windsor Castle as those taking part in the ceremonial procession for his funeral took their places. It was loaded on a specially adapted Land Rover, designed by Philip himself, for the eight-minute journey to St. George’s Chapel. Senior military commanders lined up in front of the vehicle, with members of the royal family following behindRead More
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Lents Park Scene of Police Shooting During Protests

Amid protests across Portland against police brutality a man was shot and killed in Lents Park after reports he had a gun. Some protesters described by Mayor Ted Wheeler as a small group of "violent agitators" lit dumpster fires at the ICE and Multnomah County Sheriff's buildings and smashed windows downtown including at the Nike store building and the Oregon History Centre

Lawsuit Describes Night of Fear for Wall of Moms Protester

In the lawsuit filed in federal court in Portland, Jennifer Kristiansen also accused a federal agent of groping her as he trapped her against a wall, leading her to fear she would be raped

Oregon Senate Votes to Extend Grace Period for Past-Due Rent

Currently, tenants have until July to pay back rent, but under the proposed bill, tenants would have until Feb. 28, 2022

Black Leaders Respond to City Council Compromise on Gun Violence Prevention

Nearly million will fund community-centered approaches to uptick in shootings.

NEWS BRIEFS

Ageless Awards Honor Older Oregonians Who Redefine Age

Four Oregonians will be honored for their inspiring contributions later in life during a free, public, virtual celebration on April...

Legislators Introduce Bill to Create a Statue of Shirley Chisholm Inside the U.S Capitol

Rep. Yvette D. Clark introduced the bill as part of a larger effort to increase the representation of Black women within the Capitol. ...

Grants Available For Portland Area Black-Led and Serving Organizations

To become a more equitable and just organization, the Providence Portland Service Area Advisory Council seeks to fund community...

WA Black Lives Matter Alliance: Weekend Legislative Wins Mark an Historic Step Toward Police Accountability

The Alliance urged quick reconciliation on the 9 bills passed this weekend and immediate signing by Gov. Jay Inslee. ...

FEMA Trailers Being Used for Oregon Wildfire Survivors

Rumors that the trailers housed unaccompanied immigrant children spurred people with guns to show up at the site ...

Oregon gun storage law would be among the toughest in the US

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A proposed gun storage law that would be among the toughest in the U.S. is headed for a vote Monday in the Oregon Legislature, with backers saying it will save lives and opponents contending it could lead to deaths. Hundreds of people have testified about...

Police ask for help identifying Portland, Oregon, rioters

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Protesters who smashed windows, burglarized businesses and set fires during demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, caused significant damage, and authorities urged downtown businesses to review security video to help police apprehend more rioters. Police...

OPINION

Portland Commissioners Release Statement on Recent Protests

The murder of Daunte Wright is a reminder that the call for justice for Black lives, accountability, and systemic community safety reform never stops. ...

An Open Letter To the Community From Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese

Sheriff Reese outlines Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office's strategic plan and goals to reinforce equity now and in the future. ...

Candace Avalos On The Right Track With Public Housing

Our unhoused neighbors deserve a safe and clean place to sleep ...

Providence’s Equity Pledge Should Start With Paying Workers a Living Wage

Rep. Mark Meek says Providence’s public commitment to racial equity does not match up with what’s happening inside their hospitals ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Colorado judge resigning after censure for racial slur

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado judge will resign after being censured for repeatedly saying a racial slur in a conversation with a Black employee, expressing her views on racial justice while on the bench as well as using court employees to work on personal business. The Colorado...

DeSantis signs Florida's anti-riot bill, cites Chauvin trial

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida's top Republicans cited events in cities around the country — but not the Jan. 6 riots in Washington — as Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Monday to create tougher penalties for people who participate in violent protests. The so-called...

Myanmar junta cracks down on celebrations of new shadow govt

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Security forces in Myanmar used violence on Monday against demonstrators who sought to celebrate last week’s formation of a shadow government to serve as an alternative to the military junta that has held power since a February coup. Myanmar media and...

ENTERTAINMENT

Celebrity birthdays for the week of April 25-May 1

Celebrity birthdays for the week of April 25-May 1: April 25: Actor Al Pacino is 81. “Dancing With the Stars” judge Len Goodman is 77. Bassist Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater Revisited is 76. Singer Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA is 76. Actor Talia Shire is 76. Actor Jeffrey DeMunn...

Luke Bryan wins top ACM Award, but female acts own the night

NEW YORK (AP) — Carrie Underwood brought the Academy of Country Music Awards to church. Maren Morris won the most awards of the night, including song of the year. Miranda Lambert performed three times and held on to her record as the most decorated winner in ACM history. And Mickey Guyton, the...

Review: New collection of columns by the late Jenny Diski

“Why Didn’t You Just Do What You Were Told?” by Jenny Diski (Bloomsbury Publishing) A lot of criticism doesn’t age well because it’s tied to ephemeral moments in our cultural life. Jenny Diski’s is likely to stand the test of time because it offers readers a bracing...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Rwanda report blames France for 'enabling' the 1994 genocide

PARIS (AP) — The French government bears “significant” responsibility for “enabling a foreseeable...

Key events since George Floyd's arrest and death

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A timeline of key events that began with George Floyd's arrest on May 25, 2020, by four...

'Downton Abbey' cast returns for sequel opening in December

NEW YORK (AP) — The original principal cast of “Downton Abbey” are returning for a second film that will...

Endangered venomous Mexican lizards hatch at zoo in Poland

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Two endangered Mexican beaded lizards have hatched at the Wroclaw Zoo in Poland, boosting...

Group urges UN to probe China for crimes against humanity

KASHGAR, China (AP) — A human rights group appealed to the United Nations on Monday to investigate allegations...

Cuba's Communist Party chooses Miguel Díaz-Canel as leader

HAVANA (AP) — In many ways, Cuba's new maximum leader is nothing like those who have governed the island for the...

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Sara Sidner and Laura Smith-Spark CNN

(CNN) -- A decision by world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking not to attend a conference in Israel in support of an academic boycott of the country has sparked controversy in Israel and a vitriolic debate online.

Hawking, who's a professor at Britain's Cambridge University, had initially accepted an invitation to the high-profile Israeli Presidential Conference, taking place in Jerusalem in June.

His change of heart this week appears to be the result of pressure from Palestinian academics to abide by a boycott set up in protest over Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.

"A letter was sent on Friday to the Israeli president's office from Stephen Hawking regarding his decision not to attend the Presidential Conference, based on advice from Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott," a Cambridge University spokesman told CNN on Thursday.

Hawking is also unable currently to fly for health reasons, the spokesman said.

Cambridge University initially said Hawking's poor health was the reason he was no longer attending, according to local media reports. Hawking, who is quadriplegic as a result of an incurable degenerative disease, has had repeated health problems.

Hawking's letter said he had first accepted the invitation "to express my opinion on the prospects for a peace settlement but also because it would allow me to lecture on the West Bank," the conference organizers said.

His decision to boycott the conference, hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres, a Nobel peace laureate, has prompted a "Twitterstorm."

Some tweeters accuse him of anti-Semitism or comment on his physical disabilities, while others applaud his support for the Palestinian academics.

One tweeter, Ali Abunimah, observes: "Amazing how many Israelis on Facebook want Stephen Hawking dead, electrocuted or made to suffer in other nasty ways."

Haaretz writer Chemi Shalev, who describes himself as a "political junkie, proud father, concerned Israeli, veteran journalist," tweets: "My take: Stephen #Hawking is now the academic boycott movement's unlikely poster boy."

'Outrageous and improper'

Israel Maimon, chairman of the Presidential Conference, said Hawking's decision to pull out of the event was wrong.

"The academic boycott against Israel is in our view outrageous and improper, certainly for someone for whom the spirit of liberty lies at the basis of his human and academic mission," he said in a statement.

"Israel is a democracy in which all individuals are free to express their opinions, whatever they may be. The imposition of a boycott is incompatible with open, democratic dialogue."

Some 5,000 people from around the world are expected to attend, Maimon said, to hear speakers who include global technology company executives, academics, Nobel laureates, artists and past and present world leaders.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Soviet-era President Mikhail Gorbachev and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair are all expected to attend, he added.

Hawking, who's also a cosmologist, astronomer and mathematician, is the author of books including the best-seller, "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes."

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement was established in 2005 by Palestinian civil society groups, which called for international groups and "people of conscience" to boycott or put pressure on Israel "until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights."

Omar Barghouti, one of the founding members of the movement, told CNN: "Stephen Hawking is the most prominent academic today to respect the Palestinian boycott guidelines and to refuse to visit Israel. This reminds us of the moral weight of academics in the boycott of apartheid of South Africa."

He said Hawking had been convinced by the "unanimous Palestinian voice" he heard from his contacts within the Palestinian community.

"There is deep appreciation among the Palestinians for Professor Hawking's respecting the boycott, and we sincerely hope that we convince many hesitant academics to follow suit and to shoulder a moral responsibility of boycotting Israel until it complies with international law," Barghouti said.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Hawking has visited Israel four times, most recently in 2006, when he lectured at Israeli and Palestinian universities.

West Bank housing

Israel's government gave initial approval Wednesday to plans to build 296 housing units in the settlement of Bethel, near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas strongly condemned the decision, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA said Thursday.

Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina, in a media statement quoted by WAFA, said the Israeli move would sabotage the peace process and efforts made by the U.S. administration to move it forward.

A U.N. Human Rights Council report in January said Israeli settlements had taken a "heavy toll" on the rights and sovereignty of Palestinians.

It outlined the consistent violation of Palestinians' rights in what it called a "creeping annexation" by Israel in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Palestinians welcomed the report's findings, but Israel, which considers the Human Right Council to be biased, said the report would hurt the peace process.

There are about 250 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the report said, all started since Israel seized the lands after the Six Day War in 1967.

Israel's consistently growing presence in East Jerusalem and the West Bank has caused great tension between Israel and the Arab world, including Palestinians. Israel says its presence is needed for security.

CNN's Kareem Khadder, Stephanie Halasz, Michael Schwartz and Saad Abedine contributed to this report.

 

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