09-29-2022  8:04 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Tiny Oregon Town Hosts 1st Wind-Solar-Battery 'Hybrid' Plant

A renewable energy plant being commissioned in Oregon combines solar power, wind power and massive batteries to store the energy generated there is the first utility-scale plant of its kind in North America.

State Senator Weighs in on Lottery Issues

Sen. James Manning of Eugene voices concerns about the Lottery’s special treatment of two of its managers

Oregon Gubernatorial Candidates Clash Over Guns, Abortion

Three candidates clashed over gun control, abortions and the homeless crisis, just six weeks before election day.

Black United Fund Launches Emerging Entrepreneur Program

Pilot program will support promising small business owner ready to take the next step.

NEWS BRIEFS

1st Civil Trial Over Portland Cops’ Use of Force Begins

Civil rights attorneys are paying close attention because the outcome could answer questions about the potential liability the city...

Council Approves Dunn’s Proposal to Expand Hate Crime Reporting System

The King County Council approved legislation that will create a new community-based Stop Hate Hotline and online portal, expanding...

Expiring Protections: 10-Day Notices of Nonpayment of Rent And "Safe Harbor" Protections

Effective October 1, a Landlord will be able to resume use of a 72-hour notice or 144-hour notice when issuing a termination notice...

11 Area Post Offices to Host Hiring Events

Over 100 Northwest USPS Hosting Job Fairs ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Champions Oregon Business and Sets Sights on Strengthening Key Industries

Rep. Bynum invited leaders and experts to discuss ways the state can champion businesses of all sizes, expand broadband, bolster the...

Bodies and floatplane parts recovered from Puget Sound

SEATTLE (AP) — The bodies of some of the 10 victims and most of a floatplane that crashed in Washington state’s Puget Sound earlier this month have been recovered. Island County Emergency Management confirmed Thursday that multiple bodies were recovered, but Deputy Director Eric...

Endangered southern resident orca numbers drop from 74 to 73

SEATTLE (AP) — The population of endangered southern resident orcas has declined from 74 to 73 in the latest census, according to the Center for Whale Research. The center posted on Facebook this week that it had completed its annual census estimate of the southern resident killer...

No. 1 Georgia will try to get ground game going at Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Georgia has one of college football's prolific offenses, triggered by one of its best quarterbacks, so of course the topic of conversation around Athens as the top-ranked Bulldogs head to Missouri on Saturday would be their run game. That's what happens when...

No. 1 Georgia heads back on road to face reeling Missouri

No. 1 Georgia (4-0, 1-0 SEC) at Missouri (2-2, 0-1), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network) Line: Georgia by 28, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Series record: Georgia leads 10-1. WHAT’S AT STAKE? Georgia looked vulnerable for the first time...

OPINION

No Room for Black Folk

A recent interview with Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas and an associate professor, reveals the inability of certain white Americans to share the benefits of our society ...

The Cruelty of Exploiting Vulnerable People for Political Advantage

There is always a new low for Trump Republicans. And that is pretty frightening. ...

The Military to American Youth: You Belong to Me

The U.S. military needs more than just money in its annual budget. It needs access to America’s young people as well — their wallets, their bodies, and their minds. ...

Financial Fairness at Risk With Proposed TD Bank-First Horizon Merger

As banks grow larger through mergers and focus on growing online and mobile services, serious concerns emerge on how fair and how accessible banking will be to traditionally underserved Black and Latino communities. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Sheriff probed after comments surface condemning Black staff

WHITEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff was recorded calling Black employees by derogatory names and saying they should be fired, a television station reported. Several Black officers in leadership positions were later demoted or fired. Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene...

Russia to annex more of Ukraine on Friday at the Kremlin

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia planned to annex more of Ukraine on Friday in an escalation of the seven-month war that was expected to isolate the Kremlin further, draw more international punishment and bring Ukraine extra military, political and economic support. The annexation —...

Top leader of Episcopal Church tests positive for COVID-19

Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, said Thursday that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Curry, who in 2015 became the first African American leader of the denomination, said he will participate in upcoming events either remotely or through pre-recorded...

ENTERTAINMENT

Do the 'Time Warp' again — 'Rocky Horror' show will travel

NEW YORK (AP) — Grab your toilet paper. Bring a flashlight. Don't forget a newspaper — or your fishnets. A touring, interactive version of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is hitting the road to celebrate the cult film's birthday with screenings, live shadow casts, the...

Katie Couric says she's been treated for breast cancer

NEW YORK (AP) — Katie Couric said Wednesday that she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent surgery and radiation treatment this summer to treat the tumor. Couric, who memorably was tested for colon cancer on the “Today” show in 2000, announced her diagnosis in an...

Review: 'Smile' turns twisted grin into bland horror flick

I have mostly frowny faces for “Smile,” a bluntly unsettling and blandly grim new horror flick that wrings as much mileage as it can out of a twisted grin. Parker Finn’s directorial debut, which opens in theaters Friday, adapts his own 11-minute short into a jump scare-rich...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Wall Street drops back to lowest since 2020 as fear returns

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell broadly on Wall Street Thursday as worries about a possible recession and rising...

'Crown,' 'Interview With the Vampire' among TV highlights

LOS ANGELES (AP) — What’s fall got to do with the fall TV season? Summer had yet to roll up its Labor Day...

GOP states sue Biden administration over student loan plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Six Republican-led states are suing the Biden administration in an effort to halt its plan to...

Live Updates: Russia-Ukraine War

KIYV, Ukraine (AP) — WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is denouncing the referendums underpinning Russia’s...

Climate Migration: Blind and homeless amid Somalia's drought

DOLLOW, Somalia (AP) — Blindness heightens the remaining senses. The thud of a toppling camel is more jarring,...

3 Russian cosmonauts return safely from Intl Space Station

MOSCOW (AP) — Three Russian cosmonauts returned safely Thursday from a mission to the International Space...

By Hilary Whiteman

Six years ago, Shinzo Abe started the revolving door of Japanese prime ministers by resigning just one year into the job. The question now whether he is able to stop it.Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is expected to win a majority in Sunday's general election, clearing the way for the 58-year-old to resume the role he left in 2007.

If he does, he'll be Japan's seventh prime minister in six years to take on what is becoming the increasingly difficult task of hitting the economy out of a rough and forging a bright future for an increasingly aging population who feel the best years are behind them.

Can Abe do it?

The LDP leader is seen as hawkish with a nationalistic bent, and charismatic, if not particularly popular, according to opinion polls.

"People don't necessarily see him as a savior, they see him as a doer," said John Lee, an adjunct associate professor at the Center for International Security Studies at Australia's Sydney University.

"At the very least, he represents a change from the dour, Japanese bureaucrat that is plagued by inactivity. I don't think that could be said about Abe."

The son of two politicians, including the former Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe, and the grandson of the late Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, Abe grew up with the LDP, and is said to be conciliatory within the party, yet bold enough to speak his mind.

"Everybody may not be happy with what he says, but finally if we have a Japan that actually says what it thinks on the world stage, that'll be good for everybody, especially the Japanese," said Keith Henry, founder of consultancy Asia Strategy.

Abe first rose to power in September 2006, at the age of 52, making him the country's youngest leader in 52 years.

However, the strong support that pushed him up Japan's political hierarchy was eroded over the following months by a string of gaffes and the resignation of several government ministers, some of whom had been accused of financial or electoral misconduct.

During Abe's year in power, his health minister, Hakuo Yanagisawa, came under fire for branding women as "birth-giving machines," and his defense minister, Fumio Kyuma, resigned after hinting that the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki may have been justified.

The day after his resignation, in September 2007, Abe was admitted to hospital with gastrointestinal inflammation.

Fast-forward five years and Abe appears to be fighting fit and ready to take on the job.

Before being nominated as the country's next leader, Abe made what Henry calls "emphatic" statements on the Bank of Japan, government spending and Japan's relationship with China.

In mid-November, he was reported to have taken China to task over its record in Tibet.

"I swear I will do everything in my power to change the situation in Tibet where human rights are being suppressed. Tibet seeks freedom and democracy and we agree on those values," he said.

"In the world of Japanese politics anything that is kind of emphatic is quite rare, and I think that demonstrates a new sense of confidence and a sense of who he is, which I don't think existed a couple of years ago," Henry said.

The prospect of an Abe-led government has pushed Japan's share market higher in recent days, suggesting that there's some confidence in his ability to reinvigorate the economy.

 

If elected to office, Abe intends to aim his political firepower at deflation, calling for monetary easing by the Bank of Japan to achieve an inflation rate of 2%. He wants the BoJ to buy government bonds to fund a range of public works to stimulate the economy.

In an opinion piece for CNN, Jeffrey W. Hornung, an associate professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu described Abe's major economic policies as "reckless."

"Although the BOJ has been pumping money into the economy with a 1% inflation target, Abe's push for unlimited monetary easing and a 2% target translates into pressure on the BOJ. Worse, his suggestion that the BOJ underwrite government bonds is prohibited under the Public Finance Law, a ban that was put in place after World War II," he wrote.

"Both moves indicate his desire to reduce BOJ independence. What is more, Japan is already the second most indebted nation (Zimbabwe is first). Abe's plan to increase defense expenditures and public works spending will make Japan even more indebted," Hornung added.

Abe's foreign policy priority is to strengthen national security by revising the pacifist constitution introduced after World War II. He's expected to take a stronger stand on China, particularly in relation to regional disputes of the kind seen this year over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The territorial jousting over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands escalated just days before the election after Japan dispatched fighter jets in response to sightings of a Chinese government plane in airspace around the islands.

"I think there's an overwhelming belief now that China, at the very least, doesn't respond to cooperative behavior. What can be said is that China behaves the way it does regardless of whether Japanese behavior is positive or combative," Lee said.

Then there's the question of how Japan powers itself amid the backlash against nuclear energy following the meltdown of the tsunami-hit nuclear reactors in Fukushima.

The LDP has called for safety tests on all nuclear plants over the next three years. Those that pass should be brought back online, Abe has said.

He'll also have to deal with the enduring task of cleaning up communities shattered by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and contend with local anger that the recovery seems to have stalled.

Despite all the challenges, some analysts remain optimistic about Abe's ability to put Japan back on track.

"Japan has never looked better to me. I'm very, very optimistic on it," said Ben Collett, head of Japanese equities at Louis Capital Markets in Hong Kong.

"I'm hopeful for the market and the economy and Abe's timing is solid. He'll initiate a cycle of new industrial development -- a rebirth of heavy industry in Japan that includes energy, hi-tech, space exploration and defense industries."

Henry says it should be "fairly smooth sailing" for Abe for next one or even two years if he watches his words on three key areas.

"He's got to be careful what he says about BOJ policy, he's got to be careful geopolitically about how he approaches Japan's "friends" and competitors in the Asia region, and he also has to be careful about putting his own Cabinet together to make sure that a week or two into his Cabinet we don't have any resignations because somebody has done something."

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