02-05-2023  3:05 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

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.

Oregon BIPOC Caucus Calls for Action to Support Victims of Gun Violence

The Legislative Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus has released the following statement in response to the tragedy at Half Moon Bay, CA that left seven dead and one person wounded, all of whom were people of color

NEWS BRIEFS

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

MESO Makers Market in Portland to feature the work of 40 local, Black-owned small businesses to celebrate Black History Month in...

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

Homework Help, The Seattle Public Library’s free after school tutoring service, will add two locations and increase hours in...

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...

"Meet Me at Higo" Opens in the Level 8 Gallery of The Seattle Public Library's Central Library

The traveling exhibit from the Wing Luke Museum tells a fascinating community and family history about Seattle’s Japantown ...

NAACP Portland Calls for Justice With Community Prayer Vigil

Community leaders will hold a prayer vigil Tuesday, Jan. 31 at noon, to reflect on the tragic brutality that led to the death of Tyre...

US states take control of abortion debate with funding focus

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Though the Insight Women’s Center sits at the epicenter of a reinvigorated battle in the nation’s culture wars, the only hint of its faith-based mission to dissuade people from getting abortions is the jazzy, piano rendition of “Jesus Loves Me” playing in a waiting...

Oregon brothers cut food waste and created the tater tot

ONTARIO, Ore. (AP) — When brothers Golden and Francis Nephi “Neef” Grigg began renting a frozen foods plant in the tiny Idaho border town of Ontario, Oregon, in 1949, they were hoping to expand their existing frozen corn business to include potatoes. Little did they know they’d taken the...

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...

Bradley defeats Northern Iowa 77-69

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Malevy Leons scored 19 points as Bradley beat Northern Iowa 77-69 on Saturday night. Leons was 5-of-8 shooting, including 4 for 6 from distance, and went 5 for 8 from the line for the Braves (17-8, 10-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Rienk Mast went 8 of 12...

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

For the first time in more than two decades of research, every state now has renters who are nearing a financial breaking point in housing affordability. ...

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

In 2023, one aspect of civil rights and racial justice that barely remains addressed is racial inclusion in media ownership. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

DeSantis eyes 2024 from afar as GOP rivals move toward runs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may be months away from publicly declaring his presidential intentions, but his potential rivals aren't holding back. No fewer than a half dozen Republicans eyeing the White House have begun actively courting top political operatives...

At Nichols' funeral, Black America's grief on public display

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The sound of the djembe drums started as a low tremble and grew more distinct as the musicians drew closer to the hundreds gathered inside the Memphis church. “We love you, Tyre,” the drummers chanted, referring to Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man...

Arkansas Gov. Sanders to give GOP response to Biden address

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will deliver the Republican address to the nation in response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union speech next week as the GOP seeks to show it's creating a new generation of leaders. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and...

ENTERTAINMENT

Jessy Wilson on 'Keep Rising' anthem and the hope it brings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Singer-songwriter Jessy Wilson was ready to give up her musical dream when a film about female African warriors showed her the power of perseverance. Wilson’s Grammy -nominated song “Keep Rising,” was picked by director Gina Prince-Bythewood to be...

Bryan Adams, crafting albums amid Grammy Award nomination

NEW YORK (AP) — Bryan Adams may have nabbed his first Grammy nomination in over two decades, but he won't be at the ceremony. He's got a gig that night. The Canadian rock star had committed to a concert in Las Vegas on Sunday and he didn't want to disappoint his fans or his crew by...

Review: Stafford-Jutz album brings to life forgotten voices

“Lost Voices,” Tim Stafford & Thomm Jutz (Mountain Fever) “Lost Voices” features new songs written in the past tense, and serves as an engaging soundtrack to neglected chapters in American history. The album comes from the formidable singer-storyteller team...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Grammy predictions: AP writers debate who'll win on Sunday

The Beyhive is all abuzz over the possibility that Beyoncé will have a chance to make Grammy history this year,...

Biden makes progress on 'unity agenda' outlined in 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — A year ago, President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address to push top...

Chile wildfires spread amid heat wave as death toll rises

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Chile extended an emergency declaration to yet another region on Saturday as firefighters...

Sri Lanka marks independence anniversary amid economic woes

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka marked its 75th independence anniversary on Saturday as a bankrupt nation,...

Israeli army besieges homes of fugitives in West Bank raid

AQABAT JABR REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank (AP) — The Israeli army raided a refugee camp near the Palestinian city of...

Bolsonaro ponders election defeat, as crowd chants ‘fraud’

MIAMI (AP) — Only a few weeks after his supporters stormed the seat of his country's government, former...

Elise Labott CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The State Department has put a multimillion-dollar bounty on the heads of two Americans who the United States claims belong to an al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, CNN has learned.

Posters and matchbooks in Somali and English emblazoned with the names and pictures of Omar Shafik Hammami and Jehad Serwan Mostafa tout rewards up to $5 million each for information leading to their arrest or conviction. Both men are on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists List.

The rewards are being offered through the State Department's Rewards for Justice Program.

Hammami and Mostafa are members of Al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, and "have made significant contributions to this terrorist organization's media and military activities," according to a State Department statement on the rewards, obtained by CNN. They are both are believed to be in Somalia and speak English, Arabic and Somali.

A senior FBI official said the United States has information that both men "had a persistent interest in targeting U.S. interests" and are "believed to be involved in planning attacks on U.S. persons or property." But it is unclear what specific attacks against Americans, even ones that have been thwarted, these men have taken part in. Officials said that information is classified.

Hammami, a 29-year-old Alabama native, moved to Somalia in 2006. The State Department claims he joined Al-Shabaab there and received training from Islamic militants, rising through the organization's ranks to command a contingent of foreign fighters. Officials say he was also a "propagandist" for the group, helping to recruit English-speaking youth through writings, rap songs and video statements.

An Alabama court indicted him in 2009 on charges of providing support to a terrorist group.

In July 2011, the Treasury Department placed him on a blacklist prohibiting Americans from doing business with individuals and groups threatening stability in Somalia.

Hammami has been engaged in a public rift with Al-Shabaab over the past year. Last March, he first expressed concern about his safety in an extraordinary Web video. He has since criticized the group's leaders for corruption and living extravagant lifestyles with money fighters collect from Somali residents, and for fighting only in Somalia while ignoring global jihad.

Hammami's family has said they fear for his life.

But the senior FBI official told CNN that Hammami's current status with the group is "immaterial" and that the reward is based on the actions he has already taken to threaten U.S. interests.

"We still believe he is an individual of great significance to the activities that are going on in Somalia with Al-Shabaab," the official said.

Mostafa is believed to be either 27 or 32. He was born in Wisconsin before moving California, where he attended college. He traveled to Somalia in 2005, where officials say he led foreign fighters for Al-Shabaab and served as a media expert and recruiter. He was indicted in California on charges of providing material support to Al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab was labeled a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department in 2008. The group was responsible for the July 2010 suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda, that killed more than 70 people, including a U.S. citizen, gathering to watch a World Cup final soccer match. Al-Shabaab is also believed to be responsible for numerous other attacks in Somalia that have killed international aid workers, journalists, civilian leaders and African Union peacekeepers.

In February 2012 the group's leader, Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed and al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri released a video announcing the alliance of the two organizations. The Rewards for Justice Program is already offering up to $7 million for information on seven other Al-Shabaab leaders.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton approved the rewards before leaving office. Officials said they hope the rewards will generate new leads from both Somalia and in Somali-American communities in the United States. In addition to the posters and matchbooks, U.S. officials will be talking with local media in Somalia to reach people that may have information about the men's whereabouts.

It is rare for the United States to offer a reward for an American citizen. The most notable previous reward offered for an American was $1 million for Adam Gadahn, who has served as senior operative and spokesman for the core al Qaeda organization.

Officials said that in addition to their leadership roles with a terrorist group, the men are of great interest because of their work trying to recruit other English-speaking youth.

"Anytime we have U.S. citizens who are trying to affiliate with groups to obtain experience and training and have the opportunity to bring back that lethal experience back to the United States, it's a concern," a State Department diplomatic security official said. "There is no question the cases against these two guys are based on their activities to date. However, we have a continuing interest in terrorist activates in Somalia right up to now. And these men serve as very powerful images for radicalization and recruitment."

The new bounties raise the question of what the United States will do with the men once they find them. The Obama administration drew fire from Congress and human rights groups for killing two Americans who belonged to the al Qaeda branch in Yemen. In September 2011, U.S. drone strikes killed Anwar al -Awlaki, a firebrand preacher from New Mexico who began running propaganda for al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula and rose to become a senior operative in the group, and Samir Khan from North Carolina, who created an English-language Internet magazine for the group

Both officials said the Rewards for Justice Program -- administered by the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security -- is not involved in drone programs and the intent of the reward is to obtain information that will lead to the men's apprehension and prosecution.

"The purpose of the program is to gather information to bring these guys back lawfully," the senior FBI official said. "We want to bring these people before a court."

The Rewards for Justice Program pays large sums of money for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of anyone who plans, commits or attempts international terrorist acts. Earlier this year, President Obama expanded the program to include payments for information about people involved in transnational organized crime or foreign nationals wanted by any international criminal tribunal for war crimes or genocide.

The program has a track record of gaining actionable intelligence. Since its inception in 1984, the program has paid more than $125 million to more than 80 people who provided information that put terrorists behind bars or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide. The program was central to the capture of Saddam Hussein's sons Odai and Qusai; Ramzi Yousef, convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; and others.

Under the Rewards for Justice Program, a $25 million reward was offered for information leading to the capture of Osama bin Laden.

 

MLK Breakfast 2023

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