11-29-2021  10:05 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

City’s Budget Windfall Means More for Police, Despite NAACP Demands

Group calls out lack of engagement from City Hall.

Oregon Resists Dropping Controversial Investments

Oregon residents are increasingly pushing for the state to divest from fossil fuel companies and other controversial investments, but the state treasury is resisting and putting the onus on the Legislature.

COVID-19: Oregon Drops Outdoor Mask Requirement

Oregon still has in place, a statewide indoor mask mandate for all public settings

Oregon Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to Legislative Maps

The Oregon Supreme Court on Monday dismissed two challenges filed by Republicans to new state legislative districts approved by the Legislature in September.

NEWS BRIEFS

Vsp Global Partners With Black EyeCare Perspective to Eliminate Inequities and Increase Representation of People of Color in the Eye Care Industry

Partnership includes scholarships, leadership development, and outreach to prospective optometrists ...

Shop Local and Earn Free Parking With Parking Kitty

Find the purrfect gift for your loved ones by supporting small businesses and shopping local this holiday season, thanks to the...

Oregon Records More Than 5,000 COVID-19 Related Deaths

Today, Oregon health officials reported 103 new COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the state’s death toll to more than 5,000 ...

Northwest Library Site Acquired as Part of Multnomah County Library Capital Bond Projects

Location will help library move towards permanent spaces, expedite other bond projects ...

Four LGBTQ Leaders to Be Inducted Into Hall of Fame

Governor Kate Brown included in 2021 class of inductees to be honored at Victory Fund’s 30th Anniversary Gala ...

Northwest residents urged to stay alert as storms roll in

Weather officials urged Northwest residents to remain alert Sunday as more rain was predicted to fall in an area with lingering water from extreme weather earlier this month. “There's some good news and some pending news,” said Steve Reedy, a meteorologist with the National...

Community systems offer alternative paths for solar growth

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Strolling his church's rooftop among 630 solar panels, Bishop Richard Howell Jr. acknowledged climate change isn't the most pressing concern for his predominantly Black congregation — even though it disproportionately harms people of color and the poor. ...

No. 25 Arkansas beats Missouri, caps best season since 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Sam Pittman grinned for almost the entirety of his postgame press conference Friday night. The Arkansas coach and his team had done something no others ever had. The No. 25 Razorbacks capped their regular season with a 34-17 victory over Missouri,...

Mizzou's Drinkwitz returning to Arkansas for rivalry game

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Just 45 miles of interstate highway separate Eli Drinkwitz from where he started and where he is now as Missouri's head football coach. Raised in the small Arkansas town of Alma, Drinkwitz will come full circle Friday when his Tigers visit No. 25...

OPINION

State is Painting Lipstick on Its One-of-a-kind, Long-term-care Law

Starting in January, the unpopular law imposes a stiff new tax of 58 cents per 0 earned for every worker in the state ...

Giving Thanks

Just by being alive we can be sure of having moments of sadness as well as happiness. When you’re active in politics, you experience both wins and losses. Sometimes it can be hard to feel grateful. ...

Acting on Climate will Require an Emphasis on Environmental Justice

Climate change affects us all, but its effects aren’t distributed equally. ...

Small Businesses Cannot Survive With Current Level of Postal Service

At The Skanner News office we received an important piece of correspondence that was postmarked June 12, 2021, and delivered to us on November 4, 2021. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Former US Rep. Carrie Meek remembered as trailblazer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Carrie Meek, who died Sunday, is being remembered as a trailblazer, a descendent of slaves who became one of the first Black Floridians elected to Congress since Reconstruction. But the late Congressman John Lewis had another way of describing her. ...

Lee Elder, 1st Black golfer to play Masters, dies at age 87

Lee Elder, who broke down racial barriers as the first Black golfer to play in the Masters and paved the way for Tiger Woods and others to follow, has died at the age of 87. The PGA Tour announced Elder’s death, which was first reported Monday by Debert...

PGA Tour says golf pioneer Lee Elder, the first Black golfer to play in the Masters, has died at the age of 87

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., (AP) — PGA Tour says golf pioneer Lee Elder, the first Black golfer to play in the Masters, has died at the age of 87....

ENTERTAINMENT

Chris Diamantopoulos builds a hot career, on screen and off

NEW YORK (AP) — When you see Chris Diamantopoulos on screen, you may get a sense of déjà vu. The actor regularly pops up in movies and TV shows as a variety of characters, and he's fine if you find yourself trying to place where you've seen him before. “I want people...

Pistol Annies craft holiday album for the not-so-sentimental

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country star Miranda Lambert readily admits that she doesn't really like Christmas music at all. The only thing that would get her in the spirit to do a holiday record was singing with her two best gal pals from the Pistol Annies, Ashley Monroe and...

Barbra Streisand, Lea Salonga, more mourn Stephen Sondheim

Tributes quickly flooded social media following the death of Stephen Sondheim as performers and writers alike saluted a giant of the theater: “Rest In Peace, Stephen Sondheim, and thank you for your vast contributions to musical theater. We shall be singing your songs...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

EXPLAINER: Can world powers curb Iran in new nuclear talks?

JERUSALEM (AP) — Can the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers be restored? As Iran and six...

EXPLAINER: What we know and don't know about omicron variant

GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization says it could still take some time to get a full picture of the...

Doctor: Many South Africans ill in surge have mild symptoms

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's rapid increase in COVID-19 cases attributed to the new omicron variant is...

EXPLAINER: What we know and don't know about omicron variant

GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization says it could still take some time to get a full picture of the...

Scotland's leader aims for independence referendum in 2023

LONDON (AP) — Scotland’s leader said Monday that she will renew her push for independence from the United...

Jailed former president of ex-Soviet Georgia faces court

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — The imprisoned former president of ex-Soviet republic Georgia appeared in court Monday...

Mary Clare Jalonick the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Massachusetts company is asking the Food and Drug Administration to approve the marketing of genetically engineered salmon, which would become the first such animal OK'd for human consumption.
The FDA has not yet decided whether to approve the product, but it is holding two days of hearings on the subject. Ron Stotish, CEO of AquaBounty, said at the meeting Monday that his company's modified fish are environmentally sustainable and safe to eat.
The agency has already said the salmon is as safe to eat as the traditional variety.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Tinker with the genetics of salmon and maybe you create a revolutionary new food source that could help the environment and feed the hungry.
Or maybe you're creating what some say is an untested "frankenfish" that could cause unknown allergic reactions and the eventual decimation of the wild salmon population.
The Food and Drug Administration hears both arguments Monday when it begins a two-day meeting on whether to approve the marketing of the genetically engineered fish, which would be the first such animal approved for human consumption. The agency has already said the salmon, which grows twice as fast as conventional salmon, is as safe to eat as the traditional variety.
Approval of the salmon would open the door for a variety of other genetically engineered animals, including an environmentally friendly pig that is being developed in Canada or cattle that are resistant to mad cow disease.
"For future applications out there the sky's the limit," said David Edwards of the Biotechnology Industry Association. "If you can imagine it, scientists can try to do it."
AquaBounty submitted its first application for FDA approval in 1995, but the agency decided not until two years ago to consider applications for genetically engineered animals - a move seen as a breakthrough by the biotechnology industry.
Genetic engineering is already widely used for crops, but the government until now has not considered allowing the consumption of modified animals. Although the potential benefits - and profits - are huge, many individuals have qualms about manipulating the genetic code of other living creatures.
Genetically engineered - or GE - animals are not clones, which the FDA has already said are safe to eat. Clones are copies of an animal. With GE animals, their DNA has been altered to produce a desirable characteristic.
In the case of the salmon, AquaBounty has added a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon that allows the fish to produce their growth hormone all year long. The engineers were able to keep the hormone active by using another gene from an eel-like fish called an ocean pout that acts like an on switch for the hormone, according to the company. Conventional salmon only produce the growth hormone some of the time.
In documents released ahead of the hearing, the FDA said there were no biologically relevant differences between the engineered salmon and conventional salmon, and there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from its consumption.
Critics have two main concerns: The safety of the food to humans and the salmon's effect on the environment.
Because the altered fish has never been eaten before, they say, it could include dangerous allergens, especially because seafood is highly allergenic. They also worry that the fish will escape and intermingle with the wild salmon population, which is already endangered.They would grow fast and consume more food to the detriment of the conventional wild salmon, the critics fear.
A wide range of environmental, food safety and consumer groups have argued that more public studies are needed and the current FDA process is inadequate because it allows the company to keep some proprietary information private. Modified foods are regulated under the same process used for animal drugs.
"It is outrageous to keep this vital information secret," said Wenonah Hauter, director of the advocacy group Food & Water Watch. "Consumers have a right to know what FDA is trying to allow into our food supply."
Dr. Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, says the agency is relying on too little data, much of which is supplied by the company itself.
"FDA has set the bar very low," he said.
Ron Stotish, the chief executive of AquaBounty, countered that the company has more than addressed the concerns, and his product has come under much more scrutiny than most food.
"This is perhaps the most studied fish in history," he said. "Environmentally this is a very sustainable technology."
The company has several safeguards in place to allay concerns. All the fish would be bred female and sterile, though a small percentage may be able to breed. They would be bred in confined pools where the potential for escape would be very low.
In its environmental analysis of the fish released earlier this month, the FDA agreed with the company that there are enough safeguards in place.
Stotish says the fish would be bred in better conditions than many of the world's farmed salmon, and could be located closer to population centers to help feed more people. The company has also said the increase in engineered salmon production could help relieve endangered wild salmon populations.
The company is also arguing that the fish do not need to be labeled as genetically engineered, so the common customer would not know if they were eating the modified product or the conventional product. The second day of the FDA meeting will focus on the labeling question.
"This fish is identical to the traditional food," maintained Stotish. "The label could even be misleading because it implies a difference that doesn't exist."
At the meeting Monday, the FDA, the company and critics will present their findings to an advisory committee, which will in turn advise the FDA. A decision will come after the meeting, though it is unclear how long that will take. If approved, the fish could be in grocery stores in two years, the company estimates.
The industry says their job will be to counter the common impression that the modified salmon are "frankenfish."
"In the story of Frankenstein it was the fear of the people driving it, it wasn't the monster that was evil," says Edwards of the Biotechnology Industry Association. "If you look at the science and the safety and you look at the benefits, they become very exciting products."

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