11-29-2021  10:01 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...

Jeannine Aversa AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sketched a more optimistic view of the economy on Friday, but said the Fed's $600 billion bond-buying program is needed because unemployment is likely to stay elevated for up to five more years.

Bernanke told the Senate Budget Committee that there's increasing evidence that a "self-sustaining" recovery is taking hold. He said he expects stronger economic growth because consumers and businesses will boost spending this year.

Bernanke spoke one hour after the government released a disappointing employment report. Employers added only 103,000 jobs in December. The unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent partly because people gave up looking for jobs. Many economists had forecast much bigger job gains and were looking for a signal that businesses were ready to step up hiring.

Asked about Friday's 103,000 job gains, Bernanke said if that pace of job creation were maintained "you won't see sustained declines in the unemployment rate."

The Fed chief defended the central bank's move to buy $600 billion in Treasurys through June and gave no hint that it would change its course.

The bond purchases are designed to boost the economy by lowering interest rates and lifting stock prices.

The program has been criticized by Republicans in Congress and some Fed officials who contend it will do little to help the economy and could hurt it by unleashing inflation and speculative buying on Wall Street. China, Germany and Brazil complained it was really a scheme to push down the value of the dollar, giving U.S. exporters a competitive edge.

The Fed chief said the threat of deflation - a dangerous drop in prices, wages and in the values of homes and stocks - and the potential for persistently high unemployment were sufficient reasons to launch the program.

Bernanke predicted that the overall pace of the economy will be "moderately stronger" this year and said the Fed recently has seen "increased evidence that a self-sustaining recovery" is taking place.

Factories are cranking up production. The service sector is growing at its fastest pace in more than four years. Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits over the past month than in any other four-week period in more than two years. Consumers are spending more freely, and a payroll tax cut is likely to boost their activity further. Tax cuts are also likely to lead businesses to expand and hire more.

But weakness in job growth could slow this momentum, Bernanke cautioned, especially if consumers spend less.

Bernanke said unemployment is likely to be around 8 percent two years from now.

Other threats to the economic outlook, Bernanke said, are:

- A depressed housing market, where growth in foreclosures could push down home prices even more.

- Deeper spending cuts and more layoffs from state and local governments.

- Rising gasoline prices, which now top $3 a gallon.

Bernanke also argued for Congress and the White House to come up with a long-term plan to reduce the government's trillion-plus-dollar budget deficits. However, he warned them not to slash spending or boost taxes now because the economy is too fragile.

President Barack Obama's debt commission at the end of last year failed to reach a consensus on a deficit-reduction plan. Over the coming decade government deficits are estimated in the $10 trillion range. If Congress fails to come up with a reduction plan, the economy could be hurt, Bernanke said. Big deficits could force investors to demand more returns on government loans and interest rates could soar.

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