05-23-2018  5:36 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Lawmakers hold hearing to discuss Oregon dairy's downfall

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers are asking questions about what went wrong with a large dairy that is facing a lawsuit, regulatory problems and bankruptcy in an effort to find ways to prevent a similar situation in the future.The Senate Interim Committee on Environment and Natural...

Editorials from around Oregon

Selected editorials from Oregon newspapers:_____The Oregonian/OregonLive, May 23, on rebuilding faith in police oversight board:Derek Ashton, an attorney representing former Portland Police Chief Larry O'Dea, didn't mince words in criticizing a committee's recommendation that O'Dea lose his police...

Amazon, Starbucks pledge money to repeal Seattle head tax

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon, Starbucks, Vulcan and other companies have pledged a total of more than 0,000 toward an effort to repeal Seattle's newly passed tax on large employers intended to combat homelessness.Just days after the Seattle City Council approved the levy, the No Tax On Jobs...

14 vehicles destroyed in central Washington brush fire

SELAH, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say 14 vehicles were destroyed in a brush fire in central Washington.The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the fire scorched about a half square mile near Selah on Tuesday.Selah Deputy Fire Chief Jim Lange says the fire threatened multiple homes and burned up to...

OPINION

Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Milwaukee chief apologizes for arrest of Bucks guard Brown

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales apologized to Bucks guard Sterling Brown on Wednesday for a January arrest that started with a parking violation and escalated to include use of a stun gun, and said some officers had been disciplined.Brown responded with a statement...

The Latest: Milwaukee NAACP head: No reason to use stun gun

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Latest on Milwaukee police releasing body-camera footage showing the arrest of Bucks guard Sterling Brown (all times local):7:05 p.m.The president of the NAACP in Milwaukee says he doesn't see anything in a newly released police body-camera video that would warrant...

Offshore worker alleges bias in federal lawsuit

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An African-American offshore oil worker has filed a federal lawsuit saying he was intimidated on the job by a supervisor who drew a picture of him dangling from a high rig structure while surrounded by co-workers in Ku Klux Klan hats.The lawsuit claims the worker was...

ENTERTAINMENT

Deadliest Catch' star pleads guilty to misdemeanor assault

SEATTLE (AP) — Celebrity crab-boat captain Sig Hansen has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge that he spat on an Uber driver last year in Seattle.The Seattle Times reports (https://bit.ly/2s3scWE) the 52-year-old "Deadliest Catch" star pleaded guilty Wednesday.Under the plea deal, a...

Lawyer: Harvey Weinstein targeted by federal prosecutors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Harvey Weinstein's lawyer said in a court filing that federal prosecutors in New York have launched a criminal investigation into the film producer, in addition to a previously disclosed probe by the Manhattan District Attorney.Attorney Benjamin Brafman said in a...

Comedian Josh Denny not sorry about N-word tweets

NEW YORK (AP) — Comedian and Food Network host Josh Denny has called his tweets using the N-word and comparing use of "straight white male" to the racial slur as "very incendiary," but he said he's not sorry.The host of "Ginormous Food" appeared on Van Lathan's podcast "The Red Pill" on...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Family rejoices at finding of soldier's World War II plane

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tom Kelly grew up on a Northern California farm and once thought of becoming a cowboy...

AP source: Jared Kushner granted security clearance

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been granted a security clearance...

US employee in China reported strange sounds, pressure

BEIJING (AP) — A U.S. government employee in southern China reported abnormal sensations of sound and...

French government orders evacuation of Paris migrant camps

PARIS (AP) — Police are preparing to dismantle makeshift camps holding close to 2,500 migrants in the...

2 patients who fled Ebola ward among the dead in Congo

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Two infected patients who fled from an Ebola treatment center in a Congo city of 1.2...

Summits give aged North Korean spies hope of returning home

GWANGJU, South Korea (AP) — He's spent nearly six decades trapped on enemy soil, surviving 29 years in a...

By Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston CNN Investigations

 


UN Security CouncilUN Security Council


Syria has been given a year to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal, or face the threat of a U.S. military strike. Yet it may come as a surprise that the United States has still not destroyed all of its massive supply of deadly nerve agents.

In fact, neither has Russia. Both Washington and Moscow signed the Chemical Weapons Convention of the 1990s, which forbid the use, production and stockpiling of chemical weapons.

And both countries missed the convention's extended deadline last year to destroy all of their chemical weapons.

This fact was highlighted during Friday's ceremony awarding the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is helping to eliminate the Syrian army's stockpiles of poison gas.

"Certain states have not observed the deadline, which was April 2012, for destroying their chemical weapons," the Nobel committee noted in its official announcement of the coveted peace prize. "This applies especially to the USA and Russia."

The United States estimates it will be at least another decade before it completes destruction of the remaining 10% of its chemical weapons, estimated at more than 3,100 tons. Russia has more than five times that amount left to destroy, according to the OPCW. While it's unclear exactly how many chemical weapons Syria has, U.S. intelligence and other estimates put its chemical weapons stockpile at about 1,000 tons stored in dozens of sites.

The United Nations has given Syria until mid-2014 to destroy that arsenal and U.N. weapons inspectors have expressed optimism that this deadline can be reached, despite having to dart in and out of battle zones amid Syria's bloody civil war.

Wade Mathews, who once worked on the U.S. project to destroy its chemical stockpile, isn't so sure that Syria can meet that deadline. He said the U.S. effort took billions of dollars, the cooperation of many levels of government -- including the military -- and a safe environment to make sure the destruction was done safely.

"We had a coordinated effort, we had a government that insisted that it be done safely and that the community was protected," said Mathews, who now works with the Tooele County emergency management team, which makes sure the Utah community is aware of the project. "I don't think those things are in place in Syria."

Mathews briefly worked at the Desert Army Chemical Depot in Tooele, a desert town bracketed by mountains outside of Salt Lake City where 43 percent of the nation's chemical weapons were once stored. The rest was stored at eight other sites around the country.

The weapons were first warehoused at the Tooele facility in 1942, during World War II, and grew over time. At one point, the United States once housed the majority of its chemical arsenal --13,000 tons -- and a million munitions at the facility.

Tooele was chosen because military leaders figured Japanese warplanes could hit the West Coast but not fly over the mountains to Utah without refueling, said Richard Trujillo, who spent 40 years working at the facility.

"There was mustard gas originally ... a lot of smoke-type bombs, smoke pods," Trujillo recalled. Then, in the 1950s, a lot of nerve gas was transported to the facility, he said.

Eventually, the United States signed the international chemical treaty in the 1990s and got serious about getting rid of the chemicals in a way that would not harm the environment or the people working at the plant or living in the area. While the process was slow and expensive, Trujillo said there was not a single casualty despite the volatility of some of the chemicals.

"You know the whole task is nothing short of miraculous in my mind," Trujillo said. "And I was part of it."

Today there are no weapons at the Tooele facility. The process of safely getting rid of these chemicals and munitions took 16 years, and was finally completed last year. Workers there will soon begin the process of dismantling the plants needed to do the job.

Yet, there are still more than 3,000 tons of chemical weapons left in the United States, stored at two remaining facilities at Pueblo, Colorado, and Bluegrass, Kentucky. The majority is in Pueblo, where officials plan to start in 2015 destroying 2,600 tons of mustard blister chemicals stored in projectiles in liquid form. The process is expected to take four years.

At the Bluegrass plant outside Lexington, Kentucky, there are 523 tons of mustard agent, VX and sarin nerve agents. Officials predict the job of destroying that arsenal, which is slated to start in 2020, will be completed in 2023.

The world's attention turned to Syria's chemical weapons stockpile after the United States and other countries accused Syria of using chemical weapons in an August 21 attack outside Damascus, a strike Washington says killed more than 1,400 people -- including many women and children. Syria denies the accusation and says its own troops have faced poison gas attacks by rebel forces in the civil war that began in 2011.

Last month, the U.N. Security Council later voted unanimously to require Syria to eliminate its arsenal of chemical weapons or face consequences. The U.N. team in Syria overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons says the Assad regime is cooperating.

It's unclear how these weapons can be found, secured, and safely destroyed by next year in the middle of a protracted conflict, considering that it is expected to take the United States three years to destroy half of the chemical weapons that Syria is estimated to have -- and that's in a remote part of Kentucky with no civil war.

Asked about that, the U.S. Department of Defense told CNN in a written statement that it's "inaccurate to draw parallels between the U.S. chemical demilitarization program and the international cooperation that will be required to destroy the chemical stockpile in Syria."

CNN's Elizabeth M. Nunez contributed to this report.

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