05-24-2018  2:47 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Attorney General Forms Hate Crime Task Force

The task force will study hate-motivated crimes and review existing legal protections for victims ...

Portland Art Museum Celebrates Art Museum Day with Free Admission on May 25

Portland Art Museum joins art museums across North America, with great works of art and public programs ...

June Key Delta Community Center Hosts May Week ’18 Health Fair May 26

Event includes vision, glucose screenings, medication disposal and car seat installation ...

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

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

Amazon: Echo device sent conversation to family's contact

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon says an "unlikely" string of events prompted its Echo personal assistant device to record a Portland, Oregon, family's private conversation and then send the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle.The woman told KIRO-TV that two weeks ago an employee of her husband...

Attorney general issues ballot title for assault weapons ban

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's attorney general has released a certified ballot title for an initiative that would restrict the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the state.The title released Wednesday revises the draft caption following comments from the public and the...

Power outages temporarily halt flights at Sea-Tac Airport

SEATTLE (AP) — Officials say scattered power outages halted some flights on the south side of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.KOMO-TV reports airport spokesman Perry Cooper said after 12:30 p.m. Thursday that flights were slowly resuming.Airport officials said on Twitter that all power...

Amazon: Echo device sent conversation to family's contact

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon says an "unlikely" string of events prompted its Echo personal assistant device to record a Portland, Oregon, family's private conversation and then send the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle.The woman told KIRO-TV that two weeks ago an employee of her husband...

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

NFL's policy could mean a new playbook on protests this fall

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Now that the NFL is drawing the line against players kneeling during the national anthem, athletes protesting police brutality and racial inequality may need to find a new playbook.The question is whether they intend to escalate their protests in some way."The owners can...

Court: School can let trans students use bathroom of choice

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Pennsylvania school district can allow transgender students to continue using bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their sexual identity, a federal appeals court panel ruled Thursday.A three-judge panel heard extended arguments in the case before conferring...

Body camera video is latest setback for Milwaukee police

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Body camera video showing police using a stun gun on an NBA player over a parking violation is just the latest setback for efforts to improve the strained relationship between Milwaukee officers and the city's black population.The confrontation involving Milwaukee Bucks...

ENTERTAINMENT

Scenes cut from 'Show Dogs' over resemblance to sexual abuse

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two scenes are being cut from the family movie "Show Dogs" after complaints that they resemble real-life sexual abuse, the movie's distributor has announced.In the movie, a police dog goes undercover at a dog show to catch animal smugglers.In one scene, the dog is told to...

Stoner comedy pioneer Tommy Chong still toking, joking at 80

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yeah man, Tommy Chong says he always knew he'd live to see the day marijuana legalization would be sweeping America.He knew when he and partner Cheech Marin pioneered stoner comedy 50 years ago, a time when taunting the establishment with constant reminders that they...

Paltrow: Brad Pitt threatened Harvey Weinstein

NEW YORK (AP) — Gwyneth Paltrow says ex-boyfriend Brad Pitt threatened producer Harvey Weinstein after an alleged incident of sexual misconduct.The 45-year-old actress told "The Howard Stern Show" on Wednesday she was "blindsided." Paltrow claimed she was 22 when Weinstein placed his hands...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

MLB panel says baseballs getting extra lift, cause unknown

NEW YORK (AP) — Baseballs really have been getting extra lift since 2015, and it's not from the exaggerated...

Body camera video is latest setback for Milwaukee police

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Body camera video showing police using a stun gun on an NBA player over a parking...

Bus driver charged in crash that killed student, teacher

A school bus driver with a history of driver's license suspensions caused a fatal crash on a New Jersey highway...

Israel defense chief plans 2,500 new West Bank settler homes

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's defense minister said Thursday he will seek approval next week to fast-track...

Cyclone Mekunu pounds Yemen island on its path to Oman

SALALAH, Oman (AP) — Cyclone Mekunu roared over the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea on its way...

Saudi Arabia releases 3 women as other activists still held

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi authorities have released three prominent women's rights...

By Nima Elbagir and Laura Smith-Spark CNN

Map of KenyaKenyan counterterrorism sources are looking at a Norwegian citizen of Somali descent as a possible suspect in the Westgate mall attack last month, the sources told CNN on Friday.

The Norwegian citizen is believed to have ties to Mohamed Abdikadir Mohamed, known as Ikrima, who is regarded as one of the most dangerous commanders in the Somali terror group Al-Shabaab.

Norwegian intelligence services are in Kenya investigating Ikrima and the Norwegian citizen, the Kenyan sources said, and have also spoken to the latter's sister in Norway.

Norwegian authorities have not yet released the Norwegian citizen's name.

Kenyan authorities suspect Ikrima of involvement with the Westgate mall attack.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bloody four-day siege at the upscale mall in Nairobi, where at least 67 people died.

U.S. officials said Ikrima was the target of a raid earlier this month by U.S. Navy SEALs on an Al-Shabaab compound near the town of Baraawe in Somalia. It's believed that he escaped after the U.S. troops came under heavy fire.

A Kenyan intelligence dossier seen by CNN alleges Ikrima's involvement with Briton Samantha Lewthwaite, a terror suspect known as the "White Widow," in a foiled Mombasa attack in 2011 with Jermaine Grant, a fellow British citizen currently held in Mombasa on terror charges.

Kenyan intelligence sources say that Ikrima, who speaks six languages and grew up in Kenya, is the main "point person" between al Qaeda in Somalia and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and that he has helped pinpoint Kenyan targets.

Recruiting operatives in the West?

Morten Storm, a former informant who has worked for several Western intelligence agencies, has told CNN that he developed a close relationship with an Al-Shabaab figure called Ikrima between 2008 and 2012. He said he is confident that it's the same person who was targeted by U.S. forces.

Storm, who is Danish, described Ikrima as a Somali-Kenyan Al-Shabaab operative who had spent time in Norway. He said that Ikrima made clear to him via e-mail that he was ready to send recruits from the West back home from Somalia to launch attacks.

Norwegian journalist Bent Skjaerstad told CNN his sources have confirmed that Ikrima had indeed spent time in Norway and had tried to recruit for Al-Shabaab in Europe. Skjaerstad, who reports on security and terrorism for TV2, said Ikrima had lived there between 2004 and 2008. He had failed to gain asylum status but had been given Norwegian travel papers.

Skjaerstad told CNN that according to his sources, Ikrima had traveled to Somalia while living in Norway and had used about a dozen aliases.

Al-Shabaab in Norway

The possible involvement of the Norwegian citizen in the Westgate mall attack has highlighted concerns about the widening reach of the Al-Shabaab group outside Somali borders.

Stig Hansen, a security expert based in Norway and author of the book "Al-Shabaab in Somalia," told CNN that if the Norwegian suspect is who he believes him to be, he lived in a small town in Norway but had connections with a wider group, not all of Somali origin.

He came to Norway at age 8 or 9 and stayed for a couple of years, during which time he gained Norwegian citizenship, Hansen said. He later returned to Somalia.

Al-Shabaab became quite popular among some Somali community groups in Norway from 2007 to 2009, Hansen said, "because they were wrongly seen as some kind of national resistance group."

Observers noticed contradictions between what the group said in its English- and Arabic-language messaging, he said, which contributed to ignorance within the diaspora about its real nature.

"But the terrorist attacks inside of Somalia made it easier for the wider ethnic Somali community to see that this was really a terrorist organization, and it distanced itself," he said, making it less popular now.

However, this development brought its own problems, Hansen said, and not just in Norway.

"What you have to look out for, also in the United States and the United Kingdom and all these other Scandinavian countries, are these small, small networks that are in one sense detached also from the Somali community leaders -- radicalized groups of youths and radical preachers, sheikhs, that go traveling around the various countries to try to incite," he said. "That's what we have to watch these days."

CNN's Nima Elbagir reported from Nairobi and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London. CNN's Atika Shubert, Tim Lister and Paul Cruickshank contributed to this report.

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