04-18-2021  11:24 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • Judiciary Committee Votes to Advance Reparations Bill HR-40

    Judiciary Committee Votes to Advance Reparations Bill HR-40

    After decades of effort reparations advocates are celebrating the House Judiciary Committee's decision to send a bill to the U.S. House for a full vote. Democrats pushed the bill through the committee but Republicans are opposing itRead More
  • The Rev. Jesse Jackson, center left, walks with supporters during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by a police officer during a traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    Armed Patrol Group Tries to Keep the Peace in Minneapolis

    Hundreds of people have gathered outside the heavily guarded Brooklyn Center police station every night since Sunday, to protest the police shooting of 20-year-old father Daunte Wright. Despite the mayor's calls for law enforcement and protesters to scale back their tactics, the nights have often ended in objects hurled, tear gas and arrestsRead More
  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sits alone in St. George’s Chapel during the funeral of Prince Philip, the man who had been by her side for 73 years, at Windsor Castle, Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. Prince Philip died April 9 at the age of 99 after 73 years of marriage to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. (Jonathan Brady/Pool via AP)

    Prince Philip's Funeral Procession Televised From Windsor

    The coffin emerged from the State Entrance of Windsor Castle as those taking part in the ceremonial procession for his funeral took their places. It was loaded on a specially adapted Land Rover, designed by Philip himself, for the eight-minute journey to St. George’s Chapel. Senior military commanders lined up in front of the vehicle, with members of the royal family following behindRead More
  • Law enforcement personnel work at the scene following a police involved shooting of a man at Lents Park, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Portland, Ore. Police fatally shot a man in the city park Friday morning after responding to reports of a person with a gun, authorities said. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian/The Oregonian via AP)

    Lents Park Scene of Police Shooting During Protests

    Amid protests across Portland against police brutality a man was shot and killed in Lents Park after reports he had a gun. Some protesters described by Mayor Ted Wheeler as a small group of "violent agitators" lit dumpster fires at the ICE and Multnomah County Sheriff's buildings and smashed windows downtown including at the Nike store building and the Oregon History CentreRead More
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Lents Park Scene of Police Shooting During Protests

Amid protests across Portland against police brutality a man was shot and killed in Lents Park after reports he had a gun. Some protesters described by Mayor Ted Wheeler as a small group of "violent agitators" lit dumpster fires at the ICE and Multnomah County Sheriff's buildings and smashed windows downtown including at the Nike store building and the Oregon History Centre

Lawsuit Describes Night of Fear for Wall of Moms Protester

In the lawsuit filed in federal court in Portland, Jennifer Kristiansen also accused a federal agent of groping her as he trapped her against a wall, leading her to fear she would be raped

Oregon Senate Votes to Extend Grace Period for Past-Due Rent

Currently, tenants have until July to pay back rent, but under the proposed bill, tenants would have until Feb. 28, 2022

Black Leaders Respond to City Council Compromise on Gun Violence Prevention

Nearly million will fund community-centered approaches to uptick in shootings.

NEWS BRIEFS

Ageless Awards Honor Older Oregonians Who Redefine Age

Four Oregonians will be honored for their inspiring contributions later in life during a free, public, virtual celebration on April...

Legislators Introduce Bill to Create a Statue of Shirley Chisholm Inside the U.S Capitol

Rep. Yvette D. Clark introduced the bill as part of a larger effort to increase the representation of Black women within the Capitol. ...

Grants Available For Portland Area Black-Led and Serving Organizations

To become a more equitable and just organization, the Providence Portland Service Area Advisory Council seeks to fund community...

WA Black Lives Matter Alliance: Weekend Legislative Wins Mark an Historic Step Toward Police Accountability

The Alliance urged quick reconciliation on the 9 bills passed this weekend and immediate signing by Gov. Jay Inslee. ...

FEMA Trailers Being Used for Oregon Wildfire Survivors

Rumors that the trailers housed unaccompanied immigrant children spurred people with guns to show up at the site ...

Police ask for help identifying Portland, Oregon, rioters

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Protesters who smashed windows, burglarized businesses and set fires during demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, caused significant damage, and authorities urged downtown businesses to review security video to help police apprehend more rioters. Police...

Riot declared in Portland protests after police kill man

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Police in Portland, Oregon, said Saturday they arrested four people after declaring a riot Friday night when protesters smashed windows, burglarized businesses and set multiple fires during demonstrations that started after police fatally shot a man while responding to...

OPINION

Portland Commissioners Release Statement on Recent Protests

The murder of Daunte Wright is a reminder that the call for justice for Black lives, accountability, and systemic community safety reform never stops. ...

An Open Letter To the Community From Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese

Sheriff Reese outlines Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office's strategic plan and goals to reinforce equity now and in the future. ...

Candace Avalos On The Right Track With Public Housing

Our unhoused neighbors deserve a safe and clean place to sleep ...

Providence’s Equity Pledge Should Start With Paying Workers a Living Wage

Rep. Mark Meek says Providence’s public commitment to racial equity does not match up with what’s happening inside their hospitals ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Georgia's Abrams navigates voting law fight with eye on 2022

ATLANTA (AP) — President Joe Biden called Georgia's new voting law an “atrocity.” A leading Black bishop called for a national boycott of companies headquartered in the state. But when Stacey Abrams, the state’s well-known voting rights advocate, is asked about the law that has set much of...

Luke Bryan wins top ACM Award, but female acts own the night

NEW YORK (AP) — Carrie Underwood brought the Academy of Country Music Awards to church. Maren Morris won two honors, including song of the year. Miranda Lambert performed three times and held onto her record as the most decorated winner in ACM history. And Mickey Guyton, the first Black woman to...

Vigil, 'peace walk' in Chicago after police shooting of boy

CHICAGO (AP) — People gathered around Chicago on Sunday to remember a 13-year-old boy fatally shot by a police officer and to call for changes in policing and an end to gun violence. Sunday's events followed the release of body-camera footage showing Chicago police Officer...

ENTERTAINMENT

2 documentaries up for Oscars tell stories of nonagenarians

The Oscar isn’t the only one celebrating its 93rd trip around the sun at the Academy Awards ceremony this year. The shorts category features two documentaries, “ A Concerto is a Conversation ” and “ Colette,” about fellow nonagenarians who have led extraordinary and extraordinarily...

Chicago video tests newsroom handling of graphic footage

NEW YORK (AP) — The image that many Americans have of 13-year-old Adam Toledo is frozen in time: He is standing in an alley with his hands up as the gunshot that killed him is heard. This week's release of Chicago body camera footage of the March 29...

The pandemic has upended the Oscars. Good, producers say

NEW YORK (AP) — Ninety seconds. That’s how quickly Steven Soderbergh believes the Academy Awards will convince viewers that this year’s telecast is different. The concept for the show, which Soderbergh is producing with Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins, is to treat the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

GOP White House hopefuls move forward as Trump considers run

WASHINGTON (AP) — Less than three months after former President Donald Trump left the White House, the race to...

Search for 9 missing from capsized boat in Gulf on 6th day

PORT FOURCHON, La. (AP) — For a sixth day, rescue crews returned Sunday to a capsized lift boat in the Gulf of...

AP PHOTOS: Photographers reflect on single shot of pandemic

ROME (AP) — The images show the intimacy of husbands and wives saying goodbye for the last time, or reuniting...

Germany promises help for local staff amid Afghan withdrawal

BERLIN (AP) — The German defense minister says she wants to help bring some Afghan employees of her country's...

Israeli police clash with Palestinian crowd in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police clashed with hundreds of Palestinian protesters outside Jerusalem's Old City on...

Delights of Ramadan disappear for Syrian refugees in Lebanon

BHANNINE, Lebanon (AP) — It was messy and hectic in Aisha al-Abed’s kitchen, as the first day of Ramadan often...

By The Skanner News

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) -- Tunisia's former ruler and his wife were convicted in absentia on embezzlement and other charges on Monday after $27 million (euro18.97 million) in jewels and public funds were found in one of his palaces.

Five months after being forced from power, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Leila Trabelsi were sentenced to 35 years each in prison and fined tens of millions of dollars in the first of what is sure to be a long string of trials.

However, the trial in some ways failed to live up to its billing. With the 74-year-old Ben Ali not present for his judgment, there was a sense of frustration among many. The couple went into exile on Jan. 14 in Saudi Arabia, which failed to respond to an extradition request.

Monday's convictions followed a day-long hearing before the Tunis criminal court.

The ex-president was fined 50 million dinars (about $36 million) and his wife 41 million dinars for embezzlement of public funds and misappropriation.

The trove of jewels, some which the court said had "historic value," and the money were found in a palace in the picturesque town of Sidi Bou Said, outside Tunis, following Ben Ali's departure.

The verdict in a second affair stemming from the discovery of weapons and drugs in the official presidential palace in Carthage, this one targeting only Ben Ali, was postponed. Public defenders assigned to Ben Ali said Monday that they needed time to study the file. The trial was to resume June 30.

Ben Ali vigorously denied the charges in a statement through his French lawyer, calling the proceedings a "shameful masquerade of the justice of the victorious."

"I devoted my life to my country and aspire, at the twilight of my existence, to conserve my honor," Ben Ali said in the statement, referring to his years as interior minister and his 23 years as president.

Ben Ali, and in particular his widely detested wife's Trabelsi clan, are widely accused of treating Tunisia as their personal property to amass money, privilege and power.

An official for the Ministry of State Domains, Mohamed Adel Ben Ismail, has evaluated the fortune amassed by Ben Ali and the Trabelsi clan at a quarter of the value of the Tunisian economy.

The much despised Trabelsi family, alleged to have operated as a mafia, had vast control over the economy of this North African country with stakes in everything from tourist hotels to banks or car dealerships and radio and television.

However, the total value of assets in Tunisia and abroad of Ben Ali and his wife are not known. The Swiss were among the first nations to seize the families' assets and prosecutors said in January they had launched a money laundering investigation into the family's accounts.

Blocked accounts for Ben Ali and some 40 members of his entourage contained tens of millions of Swiss francs, according to the Swiss prosecutors office said.

French judicial authorities are also working to identify any assets, and eventual misdeeds, in France.

According to the act of accusation read at the trial, Ben Ali's monthly stipend skyrocketed during his time in power, which began in 1987 after a bloodless palace coup. Receiving 2,000 dinars per month in 1987, he was taking in nearly 4.7 million dinars by 1998 "with no (fiscal) controls."

The court also accused him of ordering up special privileges "in violation of rules" for the Trabelsi clan and the Ben Ali family.

Ben Ali "vigorously denies" accusations against him, according to a statement issued a day before the trial by his French lawyer, Jean-Yves Le Borgne, who was not allowed by Tunisian law to assist in the proceedings.

More serious charges, including plotting against the security of the state and murder, will be dealt with at future trials. Judicial authorities say that Ben Ali and his entourage are implicated in 93 civil affaires and 182 others that fall under military jurisdiction.

He is expected to have to answer for the deaths of 300 people during the uprisings. Numerous cases are likely to be joined together.

Monday's trial was a veritable media show and included, for the first time, TV cameras in the packed courtroom.

One public defender of the ex-president justified his defense of Ben Ali before the court. Abdessatter Massoudi said he accepted the job of defending Ben Ali - refused by at least one other public defender - "to honor the profession and ensure the basis for a balanced trial."

Backed by his powerful party that controlled all sectors, Ben Ali governed with an iron fist, suppressing dissent and quashing all freedom of expression. Ben Ali's regime unraveled with a monthlong uprising around the country triggered by the fatal self-immolation of an unemployed man in the rural heartland. That sparked protests that moved through the countryside to Tunis, the capital, and failed to die down despite concessions from the president. In a surprise move a day after a third televised speech aimed at appeasing the restive population he left for exile.

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