09-24-2020  11:39 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Wildfires Taint West Coast Vineyards With Taste of Smoke

No one knows the extent of the smoke damage to the crop, and growers are trying to assess the severity.

Black Lives Matters Protestors, Organizers Keep Up Momentum

Hazardous air quality stopped protests for a week, interrupted the more-than-100 nights of demonstrations.

Seattle City Council Overrides Mayor's Veto of Policing Cuts

Seattle will reduce the police department’s budget and reallocate some money to community programs

US Judge Blocks Postal Service Changes That Slowed Mail

The Yakima, Washington judge called the changes “a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service” before the November election.

NEWS BRIEFS

Black Leaders Endorse Sarah Iannarone for Portland Mayor

Iannarone seeks to unseat an embattled Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has increasingly high unfavorable approval ratings. ...

Today in History: Senate Confirms Nomination of First Female Justice to Supreme Court

On Sept. 21, 1981, the Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female justice on the...

Free Masks and Gloves Now Available for Small Businesses

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees that are headquartered in Oregon with principal operations in Oregon are eligible. ...

Forest Service Explains 'Containment'

US Forest Service, Riverside Fire provides a special update to explain how they achieve wildfire containment. ...

Oregon Receives Approval of Federal Disaster Declaration for Wildfires

Decision will enable federal aid to begin flowing, as unprecedented wildfires ravage state and force evacuation of thousands ...

Molotov cocktails hurled at Portland police by protesters

PORTLAND (AP) — Protesters in Portland hurled Molotov cocktails at officers in Oregon’s largest city during a demonstration over a Kentucky grand jury’s decision to not indict officers in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, police said Thursday. Thirteen people were...

Wildfires taint West Coast vineyards with taste of smoke

TURNER, Ore. (AP) — Smoke from the West Coast wildfires has tainted grapes in some of the nation's most celebrated wine regions with an ashy flavor that could spell disaster for the 2020 vintage.Wineries in California, Oregon and Washington have survived severe wildfires before, but the...

No. 2 Alabama visits Missouri to begin SEC-only campaign

No. 2 Alabama at Missouri, Saturday at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN).Line: Alabama by 27 1/2.Series record: Alabama leads 4-2.WHAT’S AT STAKE?The second-ranked Crimson Tide will go for their fifth straight win over Missouri when the teams open their SEC-only schedule at Faurot Field. The Tigers will be...

No. 2 Crimson Tide visit Mizzou to begin SEC-only schedule

Alabama coach Nick Saban had nothing but praise for Eli Drinkwitz when discussing his Missouri counterpart this week.Hard to find much fault when Drinkwitz has only lost one game as a head coach.Of course, the up-and-coming boss of the Tigers also only has one season under his belt. But the 12-win...

OPINION

National Bar Association Statement on Breonna Taylor Decision

Not only was justice not served, the desultory and insufficient result we received today was also unacceptably slow in manifesting. ...

All Officers Responsible for Breonna Taylor’s Murder Must Be Held Accountable

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued a statement in response to the grand jury’s findings regarding the police who murdered Breonna Taylor ...

ACLU Statement on Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Verdict

Carl Takei, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, issued a statement about today's charges ...

True Justice Denied to Police Murder Victim Breonna Taylor, Greenlining Institute Says

The organization's president and CEO releases a response to today’s announcement of only minor charges -- "wanton endangerment" -- for one of the Louisville police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

California deputies fatally shoot Black man during struggle

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Orange County sheriff's deputies shot and killed a Black man Wednesday after he allegedly tried to grab one of their guns during a struggle, authorities said.The latest killing of a Black person by law enforcement came the same day as the decision not to charge Kentucky...

Lawyer: Case of Black inmate set to die reveals racial bias

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — The lawyer for the first Black inmate scheduled to die this year as part of the Trump administration’s resumption of federal executions says race played a central role in landing her client on death row for slaying a young white Iowa couple and burning them in...

Officials plead for calm amid anger over Breonna Taylor case

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Authorities pleaded for calm while activists vowed to fight on Thursday in Kentucky’s largest city, where a gunman wounded two police officers during anguished protests following the decision not to charge officers for killing Breonna Taylor.Outrage over a grand...

ENTERTAINMENT

New Year's Eve in Times Square incorporates virtual elements

NEW YORK (AP) — New Year's Eve in Times Square will incorporate virtual elements, organizers said Wednesday as they gear up for a celebration that will have to be scaled down and socially distant in response to the coronavirus.Details are still coming together, but the Times Square Alliance,...

Annual Lennon tribute, in 40th year, goes online

NEW YORK (AP) — Like many other events, an annual John Lennon tribute concert that takes place in his adopted city of New York on his Oct. 9 birthday has been forced online because of the coronavirus pandemic.There was no way it was being canceled, not on what would have been Lennon's 80th...

Disney delays 'Black Widow,' Spielberg's 'West Side Story'

NEW YORK (AP) — The Walt Disney Co. has further postponed its next mega-movies from Marvel, including “Black Widow,” while also postponing Steven Spielberg's “West Side Story” a full year in the company's latest recalibration due to the pandemic.Ten of Disney's...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Australian offers free coffee, chat from his kitchen window

It all started when Rick Everett walked out of his home in Sydney and put up a sign on his kitchen window that...

As virus surges, critics say UK hasn't learned from mistakes

LONDON (AP) — Britain bungled its response to the coronavirus the first time around. Now many scientists...

Fraud, backlogs disrupt US unemployment benefit payments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Many American workers applying for unemployment benefits after being thrown out of a job...

Agency: No Cyprus passports for wealthy investors' families

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ top oversight body urged lawmakers on Thursday to rethink new...

UK may take part in COVID-19 vaccine 'challenge studies'

LONDON (AP) — The British government says it may take part in a study that tries to deliberately infect...

Kremlin critic Navalny's apartment seized, his aide says

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian authorities seized Alexei Navalny’s Moscow apartment while the opposition...

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Maggie Michael and Hamza Hendawi the Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) -- Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of Benghazi on Monday, claiming control of the country's second largest city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time. Moammar Gadhafi's son vowed that his father and security forces would fight "until the last bullet."

Protesters demanding Gadhafi's ouster planed new marches in the capital's main Green Square and at the leader's residence for Monday evening. That was likely to bring a new round of violence after a similar march the night before prompted clashes that lasted till dawn, with witnesses reporting snipers opening fire on protesters and Gadhafi supporters racing through crowds in trucks and cars, firing automatic weapons and running people over.

During the day Monday, a fire was raging at the People's Hall, the main hall for government gatherings where the country's equivalent of a parliament holds its sessions several times a year, the pro-government news web site Qureyna said. It also reported the first major sign of discontent in Gadhafi's government, saying justice minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil resigned from his post to protest the "excessive use of force against unarmed protesters."

The capital was largely shut down, with schools, government offices and most stores closed, as armed members of pro-government organizations called "Revolutionary Committees" circulated in the streets hunting for protesters in Tripoli's old city, said one protester, named Fathi.

The protests and violence were the heaviest yet in the capital of 2 million people, a sign of how unrest was spreading after six days of demonstrations in eastern cities demanding the end of the elder Gadhafi's rule.

Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, went on state TV late Sunday night, warning civil war will break out if protests continue, a theme continued Monday on Libyan state TV, where a pro-regime commentator spoke of chaos and "rivers of blood" turning Libya into "another Somalia" if security is not restored.

Gadhafi's regime has unleashed the bloodiest crackdown of any Arab country against the wave of protests sweeping the region, which toppled the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia. More than 200 have been killed in Libya, according to medical officials, human rights groups and exiled dissidents.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, visiting neighboring Egypt, called the Libyan government's crackdown "appalling."

"We can see what is happening in Libya which is completely appalling and unacceptable as the regime is using the most vicious forms of repression against people who want to see that country - which is one of the most closed and one of the most autocratic - make progress. The response they have shown has been quite appalling," he told reporters in Cairo.

Fragmentation is a real danger in Libya, a country of deep tribal divisions and a historic rivalry between Tripoli and Benghazi. The Arab world's longest ruling leader in power for nearly 42 years, Moammar Gadhafi has held an unquestioned grip over the highly decentralized system of government he created, called the "Jamahiriya," or "rule by masses."

Libya's former ambassador to the Arab League in Cairo, Abdel-Moneim al-Houni, who a day earlier resigned from his post to side with protesters, issued a statement demanding Gadhafi "be put on trial along with his aides, security and military commanders over the mass killings in Libya."

"Gadhafi's regime is now in the trash of history because he betrayed his nation and his people," al-Houni said.

The spiraling turmoil in Libya, an OPEC country that is a significant oil supplier to Europe, was raising international alarm. Oil prices jumped $1.67 to nearly $88 a barrel Monday amid investor concern.

Two leading oil companies, Statoil and BP, said they were pulling some employees out of Libya or preparing to do so. Portugal sent plane to pick up its citizens and other EU nationals and Turkey sent two ferries to pick up construction workers stranded in the unrest-hit country. EU foreign ministers were discussing on Monday the possible evacuation of European citizens. Mobs attacked South Korean, Turkish and Serbian construction workers at various sites around the country, officials from each country said.

The Internet has been largely shut down in Libya, residents can no longer make international calls from land lines and journalists cannot work freely, but eyewitness reports trickling out of the country suggested that protesters were fighting back more forcefully. Most witnesses and residents spoke on condition they be indentified by first name only or not at all, out of fear of retaliation.

In Libya's second largest city, Benghazi, protesters were in control of the streets Monday and took over the main security headquarters, known as the Katiba, after bloody clashes Sunday that killed at least 60 people, according to a doctor at the main hospital.

Cars honked their horns in celebration and protesters in the streets chanted "Long live Libya." Protesters took down the Libyan flag from above Benghazi's main courthouse and raised the flag of the country's old monarchy, which was toppled in 1969 by the military coup that brought Moammar Gadhafi to power, according to witnesses and video footage posted on the Internet.

Benghazi's airport was closed, according to an airport official in Cairo. A Turkish Airlines flight trying to land in Benghazi to evacuate Turkish citizens Monday was turned away, told by ground control to circle over the airport then to return to Istanbul.

There were fears of chaos as young men - including regime supporters - seized weapons from the Katiba and other captured security buildings. "The youths now have arms and that's worrying," said Iman, a doctor at the main hospital. "We are appealing to the wise men of every neighborhood to rein in the youths."

Youth volunteers were directing traffic and guarding homes and public facilities, said Najla, a lawyer and university lecturer in Benghazi. She and other residents said police had disappeared from the streets.

Benghazi has seen a cycle of bloody clashes over the past week, as security forces kill protesters, followed by funerals that turn into new protests, sparking new bloody shootings. After funerals Sunday, protesters fanned out, burning government buildings and police stations and besieging the Katiba.

Security forces battled back, at times using heavy-caliber machine guns and anti-aircraft guns, according to residents. One witness said she saw bodies torn apart and that makeshift clinics were set up in the streets to treat the wounded. Ahmed Hassan, a doctor at the main Al-Jalaa hospital, said funerals were expected Monday for 20 of those killed the day before, but that families of 40 others were still trying to identify their loved ones because their bodies were too damaged.

In some cases, army units reportedly sided with protesters against security forces and pro-Gadhafi militias. Mohamed Abdul-Rahman, a 42-year-old Benghazi merchant, said he saw an army battalion chasing militiamen from a security compound.

After seizing the Katiba, protesters found the bodies of 13 uniformed security officers inside who had been handcuffed and shot in the head, then set on fire, said Hassan, the doctor. He said protesters believed the 13 had been executed by fellow security forces for refusing to attack protesters.

Protest leaders and army units that sided with them were working to keep order in the streets Monday, directing traffic and guarding homes and official buildings, several residents said.

On Sunday night, Gadhafi's son Seif el-Islam - long seen as his likely successor - took to state TV, trying to take a tough line in a rambling and sometimes confused speech of nearly 40 minutes.

"We are not Tunisia and Egypt," he said. "Moammar Gadhafi, our leader, is leading the battle in Tripoli, and we are with him."

"The armed forces are with him. Tens of thousands are heading here to be with him. We will fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet," he said.

He warned the protesters that they risked igniting a civil war in which Libya's oil wealth "will be burned." He also promised "historic" reforms in Libya if protests stop.

Seif has often been put forward as the regime's face of reform. Several of the elder Gadhafi's sons have powerful positions in the regime and in past years have competed for influence. Seif's younger brother Mutassim is the national security adviser, with a strong role in the military and security forces, and another brother Khamis heads the army's 32nd Brigade, which according to U.S. diplomats is the best trained and best equipped force in the military.

Even as Seif spoke, major clashes had broken out for the first time in Tripoli.

Sunday afternoon, protesters from various parts of the city began to stream toward central Green Square, chanting "God is great," said one 28-year-old man who was among the marchers.

In the square, they found groups of Gadhafi supporters, but the larger number of protesters appeared to be taking over the square and surrounding streets, he and two other witnesses said. That was when the backlash began, with snipers firing down from rooftops and militiamen attacking the crowds, shooting and chasing people down side streets. they said.

Gadhafi supporters in pickup trucks and cars raced through the suqare, shooting automatic weapons. "They were driving like mad men searching for someone to kill. ... It was total chaos, shooting and shouting," said the 28-year-old.

The witnesses reported seeing casualties, but the number could not be confirmed. One witness, named Fathi, said he saw at least two he believed were dead and many more wounded.

After midnight, protesters took over the main Tripoli offices of two state-run satellite stations, Al-Jamahiriya-1 and Al-Shebabiya, one witness said.

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