10-31-2020  3:08 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Anguish Over Fatal Police Shooting in Vancouver Washington

Hundreds march and shots are fired in Vancouver as grief over death of a young father, 21-year-old Kevin E. Peterson Jr., boils over into unrest

Judge Cites Trump Tweets in Restricting Feds at Protests

U.S. District Judge Mosman said he couldn’t ignore the tweets, and remarked how odd and new it is for a court to be asked to examine Twitter messages to determine the intent of the executive branch.

Father: 21-Year-Old Black Man Killed by Washington Deputies

Law enforcement remained tight-lipped about the Thursday night shooting, but Kevin E. Peterson Sr. told the media the person killed was his son, Kevin E. Peterson Jr.

Hundreds of Shelter Dogs, Cats Flown Across the Pacific

The rescue flight arriving in Seattle Thursday, was necessary because the coronavirus pandemic has led to overcrowding in Hawaii pet shelters.

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon Leaders Unite Against Hate & Election-Related Violence

Mayor Wheeler, Governor Kate Brown, and more than sixty other individuals and organizations signed a joint letter to, “unequivocally...

COVID-Related Assistance Applications Open Friday, Oct. 30

Portlanders struggling from health or financial impacts of COVID-19 will have the opportunity to apply for 0 in household...

Providence Launches African American MS Registry

The goal is to foster better treatment for Black patients ...

SPLC Launches $25,000 Ad Campaign Supporting Mississippi’s Ballot Measure 2

Measure would change statewide elections process, replacing Jim Crow-era law ...

Confederate Flag Not Welcome in Oregon Historic Cemeteries

Oregon’s Commission on Historic Cemeteries recommends Confederate flags not be allowed in historic cemeteries, but cemeteries that...

Judge orders Postal Service to take extraordinary measures

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Postal Service to take “extraordinary measures” to deliver ballots in time to be counted in Wisconsin and around Detroit, including using a priority mail service.Chief U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian in Yakima,...

Federal agencies fall short of Trump forest protection goals

Nearly two years ago, President Donald Trump stood amid the smoky ruins of Paradise, California, where he blamed the deadliest wildfire in the state's history on poor forest management."You've got to take care of the floors, you know? The floors of the forest, very important," the president said.He...

Week 9: Ohio State faces its biggest test; Florida returns

The potential Big Ten game of the year lost some luster last week. No. 18 Penn State was upset by Indiana so instead of returning to Happy Valley to host No. 3 Ohio State with an unbeaten record, the Nittany Lions are trying to avoid going 0-2 for the first time since 2013.No Big Ten team has...

No. 10 Florida plays 1st game in 3 weeks, hosts hot Missouri

Missouri (2-2 SEC) at No. 10 Florida (2-1), Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network Alternate).Line: Florida by 12 1/2.Series record: Missouri leads 5-4.WHAT’S AT STAKE?Florida returns to the field for the first time in three weeks after a COVID-19 outbreak. More than 30 players and coaches...

OPINION

Black Voters Cannot Afford Four More Years of Trump

It is more imperative than perhaps at any other period in many of our lifetimes that we vote at record numbers this year. ...

Open Letter to the Community on the Multnomah County Circuit Court Judicial Election

History has shown us that judges impact systemic change and have the opportunity to include the voices of our communities in the process. ...

Squaring Away the Cube

When I first heard that entertainer Ice Cube is supporting Donald Trump in his 2020 re-election bid, I did not believe it. ...

The Skanner News National 2020 Election Endorsements

Vote like your life depends on it. Read The Skanner News' endorsements for US President, and more ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Obama: Trump failed to take pandemic, presidency seriously

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Calling Joe Biden his “brother,” Barack Obama on Saturday accused Donald Trump of failing to take the coronavirus pandemic and the presidency seriously as Democrats leaned on America's first Black president to energize Black voters in battleground Michigan...

Canfield, Stars+Stripes win Gold Cup, match racing title

HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) — Skipper Taylor Canfield and Team Stars+Stripes have won the 70th Bermuda Gold Cup and 2020 Open Match Racing World Championship.The victory was Canfield’s third at the Bermuda Gold Cup and second Open Match Racing World Championship.“I can’t...

Noose displayed at Missouri poll covered up amid complaints

GALENA, Mo. (AP) — A replica hangman's noose on display near voting booths in a southwest Missouri county building has been covered up following complaints from Democrats that it amounted to intimidation of Black voters.The Missouri Democratic Party released a photo Friday of the display...

ENTERTAINMENT

Sans gala or red carpet, a stylish fashion show at the Met

NEW YORK (AP) — The annual hoopla around the celebrity-studded Met Gala is so intense, it's often forgotten who the real star is: the fashion exhibit inside.This year, it's the only star. A stylish Costume Institute show at the Metropolitan Museum has opened, six months behind schedule. But...

Curious about going to a movie theater? 7 things to know

It’s been over two months since movie theaters started reopening in the U.S., but there is still a fair amount of consumer confusion about moviegoing in the COVID-19 era.Movie studios and theater owners have found themselves in the unique position of having to re-educate audiences on how to...

Actor Lori Loughlin reports to prison in college scam

BOSTON (AP) — “Full House” actor Lori Loughlin has reported to a federal prison in California to begin serving her two-month sentence for her role in the college admissions bribery scandal, authorities said Friday.The U.S. Attorney's office in Boston said Loughlin was being...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Exorcism: Increasingly frequent, including after US protests

In popular culture, exorcism often serves as a plot device in chilling films about demonic possession. This month,...

AP Explains: Why France incites such anger in Muslim world

PARIS (AP) — Many countries, especially in the democratic West, champion freedom of expression and allow...

Orthodox priest shot at church in France, motive unknown

LYON, France (AP) — A Greek Orthodox priest was shot Saturday while he was closing his church in the French...

Sudan says deal with US blocks further compensation claims

CAIRO (AP) — Sudan says it has signed an agreement with the U.S. that could effectively stop any future...

Tanzania, once envy of the region, watches democracy slide

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Vote-counting was far from over when Tanzanian opposition leader Seif Sharif Hamad...

AP Explains: Why France incites such anger in Muslim world

PARIS (AP) — Many countries, especially in the democratic West, champion freedom of expression and allow...

Vote like your life depends on it
CNN Staff

(CNN) -- Woulda, shoulda, coulda. But now? Can't.

That was the conclusion of scientists in Lausanne, Switzerland, who described on Thursday their exhaustive -- but inconclusive -- efforts to answer a question that has swirled around some corners of the Middle East and beyond since Yasser Arafat died in a Paris military hospital in 2004: Was the Palestinian leader poisoned by a radioactive isotope?

"Was polonium the cause of death?" asked professor Francois Bouchud, director of Lausanne University Hospital's Institute of Radiation Physics. "Our study has not been able to prove categorically a hypothesis of poisoning or another of non-poisoning by polonium."

He was fielding questions from reporters about his group's work a day after Al Jazeera released a report prepared by his laboratory that concluded that levels of polonium-210 in Arafat's personal effects and tissues from his exhumed body "moderately" support a proposition that he died of polonium poisoning.

Bouchud said Thursday that the results "support reasonably the hypothesis of poisoning" by polonium, but he bemoaned the lack of tissue samples from just after death, which the hospital has destroyed.

"If we had access to samples, we could be more categorical. Unfortunately, they disappeared."

Still, "Poisoning from polonium-210 was possible," Bouchud said.

The findings, released by the University Center of Legal Medicine of Lausanne, do not address how Arafat, who died at age 75, might have been poisoned or who might have done it.

Bouchud also cited the passage of nine years since Arafat died as a complicating factor. The half-life of polonium is 138 days, which means less than a millionth of the isotope that was present at death would still be there.

A polonium expert who was not involved in the work praised the Swiss researchers' efforts as scientifically sound, but said they were given a tough job.

"It's like a blindfolded man holding the tail of an elephant and using that to estimate the weight of the elephant," said Paddy Regan, a professor of radionuclide metrology in the physics department at the University of Surrey in Guildford, England. "You can do it, but there is a huge amount of extrapolation involved."

And the mere presence of the isotope -- even in amounts significantly higher than what occurs naturally -- does not necessarily mean that that is what killed Arafat, he told CNN in a telephone interview, citing the scientists' measurement of a urine stain on Arafat's underwear. "If you were being cynical about such a thing, if you wanted to put a false trail out there, you could put a tiny amount of polonium-210 on that urine stain. That doesn't mean that the urine stain came from inside him."

Regan described the amount of polonium needed to kill a man as "terrifyingly small ...the size of a grain of salt, something like that."

Professor Patrice Mangin, director of the forensics center at Lausanne University Hospital, underscored the uncertainty. "We have never said in a categorical way we have the absolute proof that we're dealing with polonium poisoning," he said.

But that caution was not shared by Arafat's widow. "I'm convinced it was a political murder, a political assassination," Suha Arafat told CNN in a telephone interview from Doha, the capital of Qatar.

"They wanted to get rid of him," she said, without saying who "they" are.

"I'm not pointing fingers, but this polonium came from a nuclear reactor, and the next step is to identify its source."

It was her suspicions that led authorities to exhume Arafat's body after polonium-210 was found last year on his personal belongings.

Yet another complication: The chain of custody of Arafat's personal effects -- from the time he died to 2012, when the center began to study them -- is unclear.

But the report said that Suha Arafat had "certified that the measured personal effects have been stored in a secured room."

Invoices for the two analyses, whose cost Mangin would not disclose, were sent to the Palestinian Authority and to Suha Arafat.

The report may renew suspicions over how Arafat -- the most prominent face of Palestinian opposition to Israel for five decades -- died. The Palestinian Authority, which runs the West Bank, has said Israel would have been behind any poisoning of Arafat, who was regarded by many Palestinians as a father figure.

"I believe that all fingers are pointed at the Israeli occupation ... who have experience in such cases of poisoning," said Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Yousef called for a "criminal international committee" to be formed to look into the report.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday that any such accusation would be "utter nonsense."

"This is nothing to do with us, and for the moment they refrained (from) making accusations," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. "They know why -- there's no strictly no connection to Israel."

Arafat, who first led the Palestine Liberation Organization and then the Palestinian Authority, died in November 2004 after suffering a stroke, ending weeks of illness. Palestinian officials said in the days before his death that Arafat had a blood disorder -- though they ruled out leukemia -- and that he had digestive problems.

Rumors of poisoning circulated at the time, but the Palestinian Authority's then-foreign minister, Nabil Shaath, said he "totally" ruled them out.

French authorities, responding to a request from Arafat's widow, opened a murder inquiry last year after the isotope was found on Arafat's toothbrush, clothing and his keffiyeh, the black-and-white headscarf he often wore. France opened the investigation partly because Arafat died there.

Forensic experts from Switzerland and Russia took their own samples for independent analysis.

Radiation poisoning caused by polonium-210 looks like the end stage of cancer, according to medical experts. The substance can enter the body via a wound or through contaminated food, drink or even air.

CNN's Richard Greene, Matthew Chance, Michael Schwartz, Kareem Khadder, Tom Watkins, Jason Hanna and Ashley Fantz contributed to this report.

 

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