06-06-2020  11:08 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Thousands March Peacefully for 7th Night in Portland

NBA Portland Trail Blazer star Damian Lillard walked at the front of the crowd arm-in-arm with young demonstrators

Districts Jettison School Police Officers Amid Protests

Mayor Ted Wheeler: “Leaders must listen and respond to community. We must disrupt the patterns of racism and injustice.”

Two De La Salle North Grads Forge Thrilling Paths

A med student and a Fulbright scholar reflect on their time at the school.

OHSU Resident Uses TikTok, Student Outreach, to Show Representation in Medicine

A group of high school students weighing careers in health care were recently greeted on Google Meet by a physician whose social media star is on the rise.

NEWS BRIEFS

Resources for Supporting Racial Justice in Oregon

Learn about how to get involved with local organizations that have been fighting for decades for racial justice. ...

Business Donates Profits

On Sunday, June 7, the owners of Pine State Biscuits are donating all of their profits to the NAACP and ACLU from all five of their...

NAMC-Oregon Statement on Racism, Inequity & Violence Against Black People

All of us at NAMC-Oregon are angered and deeply saddened by the police murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the...

Civil Rights and Social Justice Organizations Call for a National Day of Mourning Today

At 12:45 p.m. PT today, the NAACP is asking for everyone to take a moment of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. ...

ACLU Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Minneapolis Police for Attacking Journalists at Protests

The lawsuit’s lead plaintiff, Jared Goyette, a journalist covering the demonstrations, was shot in the face with a rubber bullet ...

The Latest: Statue of Gen. Wickham toppled in Richmond

TOP OF THE HOUR:— Statue of Confederate Gen. Wickham toppled in Richmond, Virginia— Police use flash bang devices, pepper spray to disperse Seattle protesters— Mayor of Portland, Oregon, orders police not to use CS gas except as last resort___RICHMOND, Va. — In the...

Oregon city joins others in curbing tear gas, police tactics

SEATTLE (AP) — Portland, Oregon, Mayor Ted Wheeler on Saturday ordered the city’s police to stop using a common type of tear gas except as a last resort in life-threatening situations, making it one of several cities that have started restricting law enforcement tactics in response to...

Kansas, Missouri renew Border War with 4-game football set

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas and Missouri are resuming their bitter Border War in football after the former Big 12 rivals agreed to a four-game series in which each school will play two home games beginning in September 2025.The fourth-longest rivalry in college football dates to 1891, but...

OPINION

Responding to Challenging Questions in a Nation Still in Upheaval

Nate McCoy attempts to answer tough questions in a letter to his sons ...

Mayor Ted Wheeler: Portland and the Path Forward

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler invites Portlanders, as public servants, to join him "in insisting that we never return to business as usual." ...

Local Business Leaders Share Messages of Hope

President, CEO of SAIF says each of us must move forward in "our understanding of the problem, in holding ourselves accountable for our own attitudes and biases, and in coming together, not apart." ...

Time to Stop Messing Around and Strike at the Root of Police Violence

Thomas Knapp says the root of police violence is the creation of "police forces" as state institutions separate from the populace and dedicated to suppressing that populace on command ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Protesters topple Confederate statue in Virginia capital

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A small group of demonstrators toppled a statue of a Confederate general in the the former capital of the Confederacy late Saturday, following a day of largely peaceful protests in the Virginia city.The statue of Gen. Williams Carter Wickham was pulled from its pedestal...

Asia Today: South Korea's cases surpass 50 for 2nd day

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea on Sunday reported 57 additional cases of the coronavirus, marking a second day in a row that its daily jump is above 50 as authorities struggle to suppress a spike in infections in the densely populated Seoul area.The new cases took the country’s...

Washington protesters express optimism after week on edge

WASHINGTON (AP) — On Monday, they were forcibly removed from the street by law enforcement. On Saturday, they danced. The tens of thousands of racially diverse demonstrators who flooded Washington to protest injustice and police brutality reshaped the mood of a city that has been on edge...

ENTERTAINMENT

Kanye West attends Chicago protest, donates [scripts/homepage/home.php]M to victims

Kanye West has donated [scripts/homepage/home.php] million to support the families and legal teams for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.A representative for the rapper confirmed that some of the money donated would fully cover college tuition costs for Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna. Floyd died...

Shouts of solidarity for black reporter pulled from protests

A black reporter from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was told she could not cover the city’s protests over the death of George Floyd because of a tweet, and now dozens of her colleagues, fellow journalists, her union and even the city’s mayor are speaking out in support of her. On Friday...

AP Photos: Ahead of Tom Jones' 80th birthday, a look back

For nearly 60 years, Tom Jones has been delighting audiences with stunning stage performances and hits like “It's Not Unusual” and “Delilah.”The Welsh baritone who drew comparisons to Elvis turns 80 on Sunday. This gallery of images shot by The Associated Press shows...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

AP PHOTOS: Massive protests punctuate a week in the streets

They held up signs and their fists and the memory of George Floyd.Tens of thousands of protesters marched...

Coronavirus disrupts global fight to save endangered species

WASHINGTON (AP) — Biologist Carlos Ruiz has spent a quarter-century working to save golden lion tamarins,...

As Trump blames antifa, protest records show scant evidence

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scott Nichols, a balloon artist, was riding home on his scooter from the protests...

China urges citizens to shun Australia as dispute simmers

BEIJING (AP) — China is advising its citizens not to visit Australia, citing racial discrimination and...

One man lays wreaths in Normandy on this unusual D-Day

BENOUVILLE, France (AP) — The essence of war remembrance is to make sure the fallen are never forgotten....

UK's rapid-fire changes on face coverings advice criticized

LONDON (AP) — The British government faced criticism Saturday for another sudden change in its advice on...

McMenamins
Evan Perez CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Barack Obama's decision to seek congressional authorization of a military attack against the Syrian government is in part his way of trying to fix a legal problem.

The president's decision to launch military strikes that would be "limited in duration and scope" is illegal under international law, legal experts say. The United Nations charter generally doesn't allow nations to attack other nations unless the attack is in self-defense or has the approval of the U.N. Security Council, neither of which is the case in Syria.

That's a problem for a president, who has tried to distinguish his administration from that of President George W. Bush on the idea that he is bringing the United States back into compliance with international law.

To help fix the legal problem, the Obama administration over the weekend asked Congress to authorize the use of military force.

It's a departure for the president, who didn't seek similar approval when the United States joined a United Nations-sanctioned bombing campaign in Libya. But it is more in line with the view that Obama expressed as a senator and presidential candidate, that presidents need congressional approval to wage war.

Congressional approval wouldn't solve the problem with international law, a senior administration official said, but it would enhance the legitimacy of military action.

Obama, in a Rose Garden statement Saturday, spoke of the humanitarian and moral reasons to respond to what the United States says is clear proof that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces have used chemical weapons against civilians. Obama called the most recent alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus "an assault on human dignity."

A senior administration official acknowledged the international legal constraints but said the president is authorized to take action with or without Congress, in part for U.S. national security reasons.

The president in his Saturday statement said the use of chemical weapons against civilians poses "a serious danger to our national security."

The administration uses similar language in the Authorization for Use of Military Force proposal it is presenting to Congress, citing the need to protect the United States and its allies and partners from the threat of chemical weapons.

The thorny political and legal problems the president faces were on display over the weekend as some lawmakers returned to Washington early to receive intelligence briefings and to prepare to vote on the authorization. The administration's proposed authorization for action in Syria is broad and open-ended, and many lawmakers emerged from briefings with deep misgivings.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said that among about 100 members present, the biggest single concern was the "very broad request for authority" that is at odds with the narrow scope of the mission the president outlined.

Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Sunday told reporters he would propose a more narrowly tailored authorization.

Fears grew over the weekend that the administration's broad proposal could lead to a wider conflict and perhaps U.S. military strikes in Iran or Lebanon, because Iran's Lebanon-based Hezbollah allies are providing support to the Assad regime.

The administration official said the military authorization was written narrowly to address Syria but asserted it also has to take contingencies into account. If the United States found chemical weapons were being transferred to Iran, and the only way to stop such a move was by striking in Iran, then the proposed authorization wouldn't prevent Obama from ordering such strikes.

John Bellinger, former legal adviser to the State Department and the National Security Council under President George W. Bush, said Obama's international law problem is of his own making.

"This particular president has boxed himself into a corner to distinguish himself from his predecessor," he said.

Of Obama's planned Syria military strikes, Bellinger said, "even if it's with the purest of motives, it makes him look hypocritical."

Robert Chesney, a University of Texas law professor, drew parallels to the Clinton administration's bombing against Serbian forces to protect Kosovo. In that case, President Bill Clinton ignored the fact that a proposed military force authorization was voted down in Congress.

Chesney said the problem is that international law doesn't necessarily take into account events like those in Syria or Kosovo. In these cases the argument becomes, Chesney said, that "it was legitimate, but illegal (under international law). It was the good thing to do because of the moral reasons."

Some human rights groups have long pushed for international law to allow outside intervention to stop atrocities. The United States and other nations have been reluctant to accept such a broad change, Bellinger said.

The administration's lawyers have been careful to guide the choice of words used by top officials. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who made a forceful case for military action on Friday, have carefully portrayed al Assad's actions as violating "international norms."

That's in part because Syria isn't among the 188 countries, including the United States, that signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, the treaty that prohibits the production and use of such weapons.

Obama has long grappled with the issue of how to deal with civil war atrocities when international law doesn't offer a way to stop them. In his December 2009 speech to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama endorsed a call for an "evolution of human institutions."

On one hand, he said, it is important for the United States and other nations to respect international rules, saying "when we don't, our actions appear arbitrary and undercut the legitimacy of future interventions, no matter how justified."

But then he also noted the need to "prevent the slaughter of civilians by their own government, or to stop a civil war whose violence and suffering can engulf an entire region."

Obama added: "I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. That's why all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace."

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