08-03-2021  7:46 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Community Honors Slain Washington Detective

Hundreds of law enforcement and first responder vehicles lined up at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington to honor Clark County Sheriff’s Detective Jeremy Brown

Seattle Mayoral Primary Will Be a Test of Progressive Movement

A year after racial justice and anti-police demonstrators took over part of Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, there are lines outside the restaurants in and around the former protest zone.

Unemployed Oregonians to Lose Pandemic Benefits in September

The state will stop paying the 0 weekly unemployment bonus after Labor Day

Statue of Black Hero on Lewis & Clark Trip Toppled in Portland

A statue in Mt. Tabor Park commemorating York, an enslaved Black member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, has been toppled and damaged

NEWS BRIEFS

Statement: Oregon Legislative BIPOC Caucus Condemns Actions by Newberg School Board to Revoke Anti-Racist Policy

The intent of the Every Student Belongs legislation was to protect children in the classroom and create a competitive workforce ...

Free Parking Option Available for Portlanders on the Go

5-minute Fast Stops will be installed initially along five commercial corridors across the city ...

Mayor Declares State of Emergency Due to Extreme Heat

The City of Portland opens additional cooling centers and three outdoor misting centers ...

Obituary: Joan Brown-Kline, June 13, 1948 - July 17, 2021

A service for Joan Brown-Kline, held in Georgia, will be livestreamed starting at 11:50 a.m. PT (2:50 p.m. EDT) on Saturday, July 31 ...

Portland Bars Camping in Forested Areas During Fire Season

The move aims to protect protect individuals experiencing homelessness and people in nearby homes from potentially deadly wildfires ...

Community honors slain Washington detective

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Hundreds of law enforcement and first responder vehicles lined up at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington on Tuesday for a procession to honor Clark County Sheriff’s Detective Jeremy Brown, who was shot to death while doing surveillance work. ...

Huge California fire grows as heat spikes again across state

GREENVILLE, Calif. (AP) — California's largest wildfire exploded again after burning for nearly three weeks in remote mountains and officials warned Tuesday that hot, dry weather would increase the risk of new fires across much of the state. Firefighters saved homes Monday in...

Drinkwitz, Pittman back for Southeastern Conference encores

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Missouri and Arkansas both had some encouraging signs, if not great records, in their first seasons under new coaches. Now, the Tigers’ Eliah Drinkwitz and Razorbacks’ Sam Pittman are among four second-year Southeastern Conference coaches trying to...

OPINION

Services Available for Victims and Survivors of Community Violence in Multnomah County

The number of incidents of community violence — domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking, person-to-person violence and gun violence — is devastating ...

Black America Needs a ‘New Normal’: Equitable Credit Access to Build Wealth

The rippling effects of a massive economic downturn has caused the nation to lose 9.5 million jobs - more losses than even those of the Great Recession ...

The President Needs to Pull Out All Stops

Majority Whip Clyburn, Democratic leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, made the observation that the filibuster currently being used in the U.S. Senate to block the Voting Rights Bill as well as the George Floyd Bill, is a matter of tradition and not...

NAACP Vancouver Letter to the Community: Police Accountability

NAACP Vancouver reacts to the descision in the case of Jonah Donald, a Black man shot and killed by a Clark County deputy ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Black women, across generations, heed Biles’ Olympic example

NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Osaka. Simone Biles. Both are prominent young Black women under the pressure of a global Olympic spotlight that few human beings ever know. Both have faced major career crossroads at the Tokyo Games. Both cited pressure and mental health. The glare is...

Dearing, who brought swimming diversity debate, loses race

TOKYO (AP) — Coming into the Olympics, Alice Dearing made a huge impact in the debate over ways to make swimming a more diverse sport. She had hoped to further her efforts with a strong performance in Tokyo Bay, but it wasn’t to be. The first Black female...

Report drills NCAA on equity, calls for combined Final Four

The NCAA has fallen short of upholding its commitment to gender equity by prioritizing its cash cow Division I men's basketball tournament “over everything else,” according a scathing review released Tuesday after an uproar over how the association conducts its championship events. ...

ENTERTAINMENT

Kathy Griffin says she is undergoing surgery for lung cancer

Kathy Griffin has revealed that she is undergoing surgery for lung cancer and her doctors are optimistic she “should be up and running around as usual in a month or less.” The comedian took to Instagram and Twitter Monday to say her cancer was caught early and confined to...

A road not taken: verified Cormac McCarthy account is fake

NEW YORK (AP) — Sorry, Cormac McCarthy fans. That blue-checked Twitter account for the famous, and famously media-shy author is fake. “The account referenced was verified by mistake and that has since been reversed,” a Twitter spokesperson told The Associated Press on...

Sundance Film Festival sets vaccination requirement for 2022

Anyone looking to go to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah next year is going to need more than a badge. All participants must be fully vaccinated too, festival director Tabitha Jackson said Tuesday. The 2022 Festival is requiring people attending the festival or...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

AP PHOTOS: Olympic jumpers return to Earth in spray of sand

TOKYO (AP) — Every Olympic athlete who soars to the heavens as part of the “Faster, Higher, Stronger —...

Black women, across generations, heed Biles’ Olympic example

NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Osaka. Simone Biles. Both are prominent young Black women under the pressure of a global...

DeSantis won't move on masks as Florida COVID wards swell

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday downplayed a spike in COVID-19 cases that’s...

At least 3 wounded in Sweden shooting amid rise in violence

HELSINKI (AP) — At least three people have been wounded in a shooting in the southern Swedish city of...

Harris to focus on security, economic ties on SE Asia trip

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Southeast Asia later this month aiming to bolster U.S....

France's Macron uses social media to push for vaccination

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron has taken to popular social media apps in a new push to encourage...

By The Skanner News | 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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