02-07-2023  12:18 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Arrest Made in Stolen Yacht Rescue, 'Goonies' Fish Incident

Oregon police called it a series of “really odd” events along the Pacific Northwest coast spanning 48 hours that concluded Friday night with the arrest of a Canadian man.

Portland Cop Fired for Leaking False Allegations Against City Commissioner Reinstated

Mayor Ted Wheeler fired Brian Hunzeker after he leaked a false complaint saying city Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty had been involved in a hit-and-run crash.

Hundreds of Portland City Workers on Strike for Better Pay

Workers represented by the union Laborers’ Local 483 have been without a contract since June. Negotiations over a new four-year deal broke down in December

Washington State Gov. Inslee Tests Positive for COVID-19

He plans to continue working. Trudi Inslee, the first spouse, has tested negative.

NEWS BRIEFS

Allen Temple C.M.E. Church Announces Annual Unsung Heroes & Heroines Award Luncheon

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Bonamici Invites Portland Community College President to 2023 State of the Union

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Market Features Work of Local Black-Owned Businesses for Black History Month

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The Seattle Public Library's Homework Help Program Expands to Eight Locations and Increases Hours

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County Seeks Community Needs Survey Responses From Residents

Clark County Community Services is asking residents who are low-income to complete a survey to help determine what resources and...

1 missing, 2 rescued from crab boat off Washington coast

RAYMOND, Wash. (AP) — A crew member remains missing and two others were rescued from crab boat that sank near Willapa Bay in southwest Washington on Sunday evening, according to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard on Twitter posted a video and said a helicopter crew from Astoria,...

Proposed bill would pay incarcerated workers minimum wage

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state lawmaker who has spent time in prison wants the state to pay incarcerated workers minimum wage for doing their jobs. State Rep. Tarra Simmons, D-Bremerton, is sponsoring House Bill 1024, called the “Real Labor, Real Wages Act,” to raise...

Jones scores 18, Southern Illinois tops Missouri State 73-53

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Lance Jones' 18 points helped Southern Illinois defeat Missouri State 73-53 on Sunday. Jones also added four steals for the Salukis (18-7, 10-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Troy D'Amico shot 5 of 6 from the field and 4 for 4 from the line to add 15 points....

DeVries and Drake earn 85-82 2OT win over Valparaiso

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Tucker DeVries scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Drake beat Valparaiso 85-82 in double overtime on Saturday night. Roman Penn scored 16 points and added 12 rebounds and six assists for the Bulldogs (19-6, 10-4 Missouri Valley...

OPINION

Updates That May Affect Your Tax Season

The IRS released a statement that taxpayers should brace themselves for small tax refunds due to no economic impact payments ...

Unaffordable Rental Costs Now Plague 44 Million People in Every State Economic Inequality Places Most Risk of Eviction on Blacks and the Poor

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The Beating and Murder of Mr. Tyre Nichols, A Black Man

Time to Abolish the Criminal Injustice System ...

It's Time to Irrigate the Fallow Ground of Minority Media Ownership

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AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Arkansas Gov. Sanders to offer State of the Union rebuttal

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, once a White House press secretary for President Donald Trump, is set to return to the national stage when she delivers the GOP response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. Sanders, 40, is giving the...

State of the Union? Congress doesn't fully reflect diversity

WASHINGTON (AP) — When lawmakers gather for President Joe Biden's State of the Union address, the Republican side of the aisle will look slightly different than it did a few years ago. Rather than row after row of white men in suits, the House Republican majority increasingly has...

Missouri governor denies clemency for man facing execution

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Monday he will not grant clemency and halt the execution of Raheem Taylor, who faces lethal injection for the deaths of his girlfriend and her three children. Taylor, 58, is scheduled to be put to death Tuesday evening at the state...

ENTERTAINMENT

List of Grammy winners in top categories

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Winners Sunday in the top categories at the 65th Grammy Awards: — Album of the year: “Harry’s House,” Harry Styles — Record of the year: “About Damn Time,” Lizzo — Song of the year (songwriter’s award): “Just Like...

Viola Davis' Grammy win for audiobook makes her an EGOT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Viola Davis has achieved EGOT status. The actor won a Grammy Award Sunday for best audio book, narration, and storytelling recording for her memoir “Finding Me.” “I just EGOT!” she shouted from the stage as she accepted the trophy, using the...

Grammys 2023 live updates: Latest news from red carpet, show

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Follow along for real-time, on-the-carpet and behind-the-scenes updates on the 2023 Grammy Awards from The Associated Press. Live updates — any times Pacific — are brought to you by AP journalists at the show in Los Angeles and around the country. ___ ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

The Grammys ended in controversy, again. Here’s what to know

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What to Watch: New political vibes this State of the Union

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Lucky player in Washington wins 7 million Powerball prize

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EU Parliament planning for possible Zelenksyy visit in days

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India's aircraft carriers key to Indo-Pacific strategy

NEW DELHI (AP) — India is preparing to relaunch its INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier after a major refit, a...

Hong Kong transgender men win appeal over status change

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s top court ruled Monday that full sex reassignment surgery should not be a...

Robert Burns AP National Security Writer

President Barack Obama confers with National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, right, Chief of Staff Bill Daley, left, and Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, following a conference call on Libya with his national security team, in El Salvador, March 23. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)



WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon is about to pull its attack planes out of the international air campaign in Libya, hoping NATO partners can take up the slack.

The announcement Thursday drew incredulous reactions from some in Congress who wondered aloud why the Obama administration would bow out of a key element of the strategy for protecting Libyan civilians and crippling Moammar Gadhafi's army.

"Odd," "troubling" and "unnerving" were among critical comments by senators pressing for an explanation of the announcement by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Mike Mullen that American combat missions will end Saturday.

"Your timing is exquisite," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said sarcastically, alluding to Gadhafi's military advances this week and the planned halt to U.S. airstrikes. "I believe this would be a profound mistake with potentially disastrous consequences."

Gates and Mullen, in back-to-back appearances before the House and Senate armed services committees, also forcefully argued against putting the U.S. in the role of arming or training Libyan rebel forces, while suggesting it might be a job for Arab or other countries. The White House has said repeatedly that it has not ruled out arming the rebels, who have retreated pell-mell this week under the pressure of a renewed eastern offensive by Gadhafi's better-armed and better-trained ground troops.

"My view would be, if there is going to be that kind of assistance to the opposition, there are plenty of sources for it other than the United States," Gates said.

The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said he saw no contradiction between Gates' remarks and President Barack Obama's statement that "he has not ruled it in or out." As yet, none of Obama's top advisers have publicly advocated a significant expansion of the U.S. role aiding the opposition.

Gates and Mullen were early skeptics of getting involved militarily in Libya, and Gates made clear Thursday that he still worries about the possibility of getting drawn into an open-ended and costly commitment. That explains in part his view that if the rebels are to receive foreign arms, that task - and the training that would necessarily go with it - should not be done by Americans.

Gates said no one should be surprised by the U.S. combat air pullback, but he called the timing "unfortunate" in light of Gadhafi's battlefield gains. He noted that the air attacks are a central feature of the overall military strategy; over time they could degrade Gadhafi's firepower to a point that he would be unable to put down a renewed uprising by opposition forces, he said.

The other major source of U.S. firepower during the two weeks of combat in Libya has been the Navy's Tomahawk cruise missile, launched from ships and submarines in the Mediterranean. None was fired overnight Thursday, U.S. defense officials said Friday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss such details.

It was not clear whether the U.S. would continue attacks with Tomahawks beyond Saturday.

The number of U.S. Navy ships involved in the campaign had shrunk to nine as of Friday, compared to 11 at the start of the operation, and it is likely to shrink further in the days ahead, other defense officials said. Among targets struck in western Libya overnight Thursday by U.S. Air Force F-15 and F-16 fighters were a radar site and a military vehicle that transports and elevates missiles into firing position, one of the defense officials said.

Mullen and Gates stressed that even though powerful combat aircraft like the side-firing AC-130 gunship and the A-10 Thunderbolt, used for close air support of friendly ground forces, will stop flying after Saturday, they will be on standby. Mullen said this means that if the rebels' situation become "dire enough," NATO's top commander could request help from the U.S. aircraft. The U.S. also has used Marine AV-8B Harrier attack jets as well as Air Force F-15 fighters and B-2 and B-1 long-range bombers.

As of Sunday, France, Britain and other NATO countries will handle the task of conducting airstrikes on Libyan military targets, Mullen said. The remaining U.S. role will be support missions such as aerial refueling, search and rescue, and aerial reconnaissance.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., suggested the pullback might jeopardize congressional support for the Libya mission.

"The idea that the AC-130s and the A-10s and American air power is grounded unless the place goes to hell is just so unnerving that I can't express it adequately," Graham said. "The only thing I would ask is, please reconsider that."

Asked by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., whether he was confident that NATO could sustain airstrikes alone, Gates replied, "They certainly have made that commitment, and we will see."

Many lawmakers were angered by what they said was the administration's lack of candor with Congress ahead of the Libya mission. Several complained that the mission is expensive and ill-defined. Gates defended it, asserting that a potential humanitarian disaster was averted when the U.S.-led intervention stopped Gadhafi's forces as they closed in on Beghazi, the de facto rebel capital in eastern Libya. Gadhafi's forces initially were driven back, but they have since regained their lost ground.

Mullen revealed that a major factor in Gadhafi's ability to drive back the rebels - essentially eliminating the territorial gains they had made last week with the help of international air strikes - was bad weather. He said it grounded most combat missions earlier this week.

Obama had made clear that once U.S. air power silenced Gadhafi's air defenses, permitting the establishment of a no-fly zone over the North African country, the U.S. would reduce its role and let NATO take the lead. On Thursday, NATO assumed control of all aspects of the international campaign - including enforcing the no-fly zone and attacking Gadhafi's military.

The U.S. now finds itself in the unusual position of a back-seat partner in the Libya operation, with no clear path to empowering the rebels. A retired Army general, James Dubick, wrote Thursday in a war commentary that a necessary next step is to place NATO combat air controllers on the ground - to include Americans - to precisely direct air power. Trainers also are needed, he wrote.

"Right now, they (the rebels) are more like `guys with guns' than an organized force and they need help," Dubick wrote. He is a former commander of U.S. training mission in Iraq and is now a senior fellow at the Institute for the Study of War, a think tank.

Mullen said Gadhafi's army had lost as much as 25 percent of its firepower, although his ground forces still outnumber the rebels by about 10-to-1.

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Associated Press writers Donna Cassata and Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.

MLK Breakfast 2023

Photos from The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast.