08-12-2020  2:38 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Prosecutor Won't Act on Low-level Portland Protest Arrests

At least several hundred people who have been arrested in the past few months will not face criminal prosecution.

Lawmakers Adjourn Special Session, Restrict Choke Holds

Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, says choke holds are "a tool to take a life."

Seattle Police Chief to Resign Following Department Cuts

Carmen Best, the city’s first Black police chief, said in a letter to the department that her retirement will be effective Sept. 2.

Black Portlanders Struggle to be Heard Amid Protests

The Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing Steering Committee will meet Tuesday, August 11, 2020 from 5:30 –7pm

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon Housing and Community Services Awards $60,822,101 to Build and Preserve 802 Affordable Homes

Investments address the statewide shortage of affordable housing through the development and preservation of affordable rental homes. ...

Phase Two Re:Imagine Grant Deadline August 11

The fund focuses on supporting ten artists with grants of $5,000 as they reimagine their practices and pivot toward the...

U.S. Bank Announces $1 Million in Grants to Black-Led CDFIs; Additional Support for African American Alliance

A total of 15 CDFIs will receive grants ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 while the African American Alliance will receive...

Vote.org Holds #GoodTroublePledge Voter Registration Drive to Commemorate the 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

2020 VRA anniversary observance to honor the memory of voting rights activist and late-Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) ...

White Democrats in Congress Falling Short on Reparations Bill

Democracy in Color releases “The White List” showing 79% of democratic House members haven’t cosigned HR 40 despite popular...

No charges for many arrested at ongoing Portland protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — People who have been arrested since late May on non-violent misdemeanor charges during protests that have racked Oregon’s largest city for more than 70 days won't be prosecuted. The new policy announced Tuesday recognizes the outrage and frustration over a...

Big Ten, Pac-12 pull plug on fall football amid pandemic

A crumbling college football season took a massive hit Tuesday when the Big Ten and Pac-12, two historic and powerful conferences, succumbed to the pandemic and canceled their fall football seasons.Five months almost to the day after the first spikes in coronavirus cases in the U.S. led to the...

LSU adds Missouri, Vanderbilt in revamped SEC schedule

Defending Southeastern Conference and national champion LSU will host Missouri and visit Vanderbilt in its expanded Southeastern Conference schedule, while Alabama will visit Mizzou and host Kentucky in league play revised by the coronavirus pandemic. The league on Friday released two additional...

Missouri's Drinkwitz takes side in mask-or-no-mask debate

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz has been the head coach at Missouri for just over seven months. He has yet to lead the Tigers onto the football field, much less win a game, yet his role in the community already has forced him to take some important stands.First, it was supporting his new...

OPINION

Historians Offer Context, Caution on Lessons 1918 Flu Pandemic Holds for COVID

Scholars find parallels of inequitable suffering between pandemic of 1918 and pandemic of 2020 ...

US Reps Adams and DeFazio Call on Postmaster General to Resign

The legislators say Trump appointee Louis DeJoy is sabotaging the US Postal Service and could harm the election ...

Da 5 Bloods and America Abroad

Even before I returned to the United States from my combat tour in Vietnam, I had decided that we were fighting an unjust war. ...

Falling Behind: COVID, Climate Change, and Chaos

Multiple Crises, Multiple Obstacles ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

He set out to mobilize Latino voters. Then the virus hit.

GRAHAM, N.C (AP) — Like many Americans, Ricky Hurtado had different plans for his summer.He formally announced his first bid for public office in March and expected to spend sweltering days knocking on doors, clenching glossy campaign literature and making his case directly to voters. This...

NHLPA's Fehr buoyed by 0 positive tests; `So far so good'

TORONTO (AP) — Zero players testing positive for COVID-19 in the two weeks since NHL teams arrived at their two respective playoff hub cities. And a powerful opening night statement on social and racial justice issues made by the league and its players.Given the uncertainty professional...

Belgian beach brawl fuels virus, political, climate tension

BRUSSELS (AP) — It started as a Saturday trip to Belgium's coast, a chance to escape a heat wave and coronavirus restrictions for a while. As the tide came in, the beach got crowded. Someone complained about the music being too loud. The mood quickly turned ugly.Within minutes, dozens of...

ENTERTAINMENT

Politically charged 'black-ish' episode gets belated home

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A politically charged episode of “black-ish” from 2017 that was shelved by ABC has found a home on Hulu, a corporate sibling of the Disney-owned broadcast network.“I cannot wait for everyone to finally see the episode for themselves,” series...

The Weeknd, Roddy Ricch, Maluma, CNCO to perform at MTV VMAs

NEW YORK (AP) — Chart-topping Grammy winners The Weeknd and Roddy Ricch are set to perform at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards this month.MTV announced Tuesday that Colombian singer Maluma and Latin boy band CNCO will also perform at the Aug. 30 event, which was originally to take place at...

Fox news, business cable channels to stream internationally

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Fox News and Fox Business channels are going international.A digital streaming service with the pair will launch in Mexico on Aug. 20, expanding to Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom on Sept. 17, Fox News Media said Tuesday.Fox News International will be available...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

1000s of Korean laborers still lost after WWII, Cold War end

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Shin Yun-sun describes her life as a maze of dead ends.The South Korean has spent...

Women say they will fight sexism, 'ugly' attacks on Harris

CHICAGO (AP) — In the weeks before Joe Biden named Sen. Kamala Harris his running mate, women's groups were...

Political novices drawn to anti-Netanyahu protests in Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) — In a summer of protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the accusations...

New Zealand scrambles to find source of new virus infections

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Health authorities in New Zealand were scrambling Wednesday to trace the...

Outcry in Somalia as new bill would allow child marriage

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — An outcry is rising in Somalia as parliament considers a bill that would allow child...

The Latest: Pope decries pandemic's culture of individuality

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has denounced a culture of individuality revealed by the pandemic, which has...

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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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