01-19-2021  6:35 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
MLK Breakfast 2021 Watch Now
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Online Events Honouring Dr Martin Luther King are Underway

 From a jazz concert and a reading challenge to an online film festival we are all invited to celebrate Dr Martin Luther King and complete his work

Interview: Portland Physician on Coronavirus Vaccine, Reaching Out to Wary Communities

Black Americans report highest levels of distrust as country distributes millions of Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines

Blumenauer Calls for Resignations of Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise

Congressman Blumenauer said: "We need to ensure our Republican colleagues acknowledge and accept the consequences for their own involvement in encouraging this insurrection..."

Officials: Republican Lawmaker Let Protesters into Oregon Capitol

House Speaker Tina Kotek said during a news conference about the Capitol operations safety plan that Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, had allowed protesters into the building.

NEWS BRIEFS

St Andrew's Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Features Marilyn Keller

On Sunday, Jan. 17, the St. Andrew community will celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 9:30...

VA Portland Ramping Up COVID-19 Vaccinations for Portland, Vancouver-area Veterans

Portland and Vancouver-area veterans 75 years of age and older to receive a phone call to schedule their COVID-19 vaccination. ...

NFL Reaches More Than $95M in Contributions to Further Advance Social Justice

The Oregon Justice Resource Center will use funding from the NFL to support the Women’s Justice Project – the first and only...

Oregon State Police Warns Against Armed Takeover of Capitol

The agency also asked Oregonians to report anyone who may be planning an armed takeover to authorities. ...

Oregon Marijuana Sales Soared in 2020, Topping $1B

Oregonians began buying a lot more recreational cannabis in March when Gov. Kate Brown instituted a stay-at-home order ...

Police: Thief berated mom for leaving kid in car he stole

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) — A car thief who found a toddler in the backseat of a stolen vehicle drove back and chastised the mother for leaving the child unattended before taking off again, police in Oregon said. The woman went into a grocery store about 15 feet (5 yards) from the car Saturday,...

12 arrested after blocking Interstate 5 lanes in Seattle

SEATTLE (AP) — Twelve people were arrested and two vehicles were impounded Monday after protesters blocked Interstate 5 in Seattle, the Washington State Patrol reports.Troopers responded to the scene, in the northbound I-5 collector-distributor lanes near James Street, at about 12:30 p.m....

Music City Bowl between Iowa and Missouri canceled

The Music City Bowl between Missouri and Iowa was canceled Sunday because COVID-19 issues left the Tigers unable to play.The game scheduled for Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee, is the second bowl called off since the postseason lineup was set on Dec. 20, joining the Gasparilla Bowl. Overall, 18...

No. 17 Iowa, Missouri renew rare rivalry in Music City Bowl

Missouri (5-5, SEC) vs. No. 17 Iowa (6-2, Big Ten), Dec. 30, 4 p.m. ESTLOCATION: Nashville, TennesseeTOP PLAYERSMissouri: RB Larry Rountree III has rushed for 972 yards and 14 touchdowns on 209 carries and ranks fourth in the SEC. He’s the 23rd SEC player to surpass 3,500 career yards...

OPINION

This is America: White Privilege, Black Lives Matter, and Violence at the Capitol

The violence we witnessed in the United States Capitol on January 6 is nothing new. ...

SPLC Action Fund President: Attempted Coup Displays Organized, Extremist Violence Plaguing the United States

Insidious racism took the form of an American president openly encouraging with “love” violent extremists ...

Commentary: Exit in Disgrace

Will Trump leave in the middle of the night, embarrassed by his four years of crude, rude, lying, and beyond belief incompetence? Or will he be escorted out by a secret service detachment? ...

Georgia Senate Races Will Decide the Fate of Biden’s Presidency 

Voter turnout is reportedly lagging in the more rural and conservative areas of Georgia and is higher in more traditionally Democratic areas of the state ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

AP-NORC poll: Virus, economy swamp other priorities for US

WASHINGTON (AP) — Containing the coronavirus outbreak and repairing the economic damage it has inflicted are the top priorities for Americans as Joe Biden prepares to become the 46th president of the United States, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public...

South Africa's trailblazing Black food writer dies of virus

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's trailblazing Black food writer Dorah Sitole's latest cookbook was widely hailed in December as a moving chronicle of her journey from humble township cook to famous, well-traveled author.The country's new Black celebrity chefs lined up to praise her as a...

Inaugural event to celebrate resiliency of Black Americans

DETROIT (AP) — The resiliency, culture and heroism of Black Americans and the African diaspora will be the central theme of a virtual event that will celebrate the nation’s diversity on the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is...

ENTERTAINMENT

Betty White marks 99th birthday Sunday; up late as she wants

LOS ANGELES (AP) — True to form, Betty White has something impish to say about her birthday Sunday.“Since I am turning 99, I can stay up as late as I want without asking permission!” she told The Associated Press in an email.White's low-key plans include feeding a pair of ducks...

Phil Spector's death resurrects mixed reaction from skeptics

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Phil Spector was viewed as a man with two distinct personas: The late music producer was regarded as a rock ‘n’ roll genius who elevated the genre with his “Wall of Sound” style in the 1960s and created hits for several big names from the...

Phil Spector, famed music producer and murderer, dies at 81

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Phil Spector, the eccentric and revolutionary music producer who transformed rock music with his “Wall of Sound” method and who later was convicted of murder, has died. He was 81. California state prison officials said he died Saturday of natural causes at a...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Spain's rising cases give pandemic hospital a second chance

MADRID (AP) — As soon as the lifeless body is silently pushed away on a stretcher, a cleaning battalion...

Exhausted hospital chaplains bring solace to lonely, dying

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Inside hospital rooms across America, where the sick are alone without family to comfort...

Mets fire GM after he sent explicit texts to female reporter

NEW YORK (AP) — Mets general manager Jared Porter was fired Tuesday after sending graphic, uninvited text...

Unions strike over job cuts at French vaccine maker Sanofi

MARCY L'ETOILE, France (AP) — Unions at French drug maker Sanofi held a one-day strike Tuesday at the lab...

Earthquake injures 3 in Argentina; tremor also felt in Chile

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck in northwestern Argentina near the border...

Thai court gives record 43-year sentence for insulting king

BANGKOK (AP) — A court in Thailand on Tuesday sentenced a former civil servant to a record prison term of...

MLK Breakfast 2021 Watch Now
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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