01-30-2023  1:18 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

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

Democrats Voice Priorities for Coming Year in the Capitol

Highlights from the Democrats 2023 legislative agenda. 

Colorado Lawmakers Look to AI to Detect Wildfires Earlier

A historic drought and recent heat waves tied to climate change have made wildfires harder to fight in the American West and scientists say warming weather will continue to make fires more frequent and destructive.

Justices Weigh Effort to Balance Washington State's Tax Code

Washington is one of nine states without an income tax, and its heavy reliance on sales and fuel taxes to pay for schools, roads and other public expenses falls disproportionately on low-income residents.

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon Graduation Rate Rises With Gains Made In Every Student Group

Class of 2022 graduation rate is second highest In Oregon’s history ...

City Council Approves 13 to Independent District Commission

The commission will lead the effort to establish four new geographic districts for Portland’s next city council. ...

Incorporating Mindfulness Into Social Justice Classes Topic of Feb. 8 Oregon State Science Pub

The free event, which can be attended in person or viewed online, will feature a presentation by Kathryn McIntosh. She will discuss...

Exhibit "Flowers for Elders" Celebrates Living Portland Artists

Free, public, multimedia exhibit runs through Feb. 25 in SE Portland ...

The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual MLK Breakfast to Air on TV

The sold-out event will air on 5 upcoming dates and times on Comcast Xfinity channels at the start of Black History Month. ...

Fully clothed bathing burglar found in Seattle bathroom

SEATTLE (AP) — A man suspected of breaking into a Seattle home has refused to come clean about his intentions, even though police found him fully clothed in a bathtub filled with water. A woman returned to her home Friday night to find a window smashed and an unknown man inside the...

Man accused in substation vandalism is released from custody

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — One of the two men charged with vandalizing electrical substations in Washington state over the holidays to cover a burglary was ordered released from federal custody Friday to seek substance abuse help. A federal judge issued the order for Matthew Greenwood,...

Knight, Illinois State take down Southern Illinois 72-66

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Seneca Knight scored 24 points and Kendall Lewis secured the victory with a jump shot with 37 seconds remaining as Illinois State took down Southern Illinois 72-66 on Sunday. Knight shot 6 for 8, including 3 for 4 from 3-point range, and 9 of 10 from the free...

Deen scores 21 to lead Bradley to 83-76 victory over UIC

CHICAGO (AP) — Duke Deen had 21 points to lead Bradley to an 83-76 win over Illinois-Chicago on Sunday. Deen shot 5 for 10 from the floor (4 for 6 from 3-point range) and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line for the Braves (15-8, 8-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Malevy Leons added 19...

OPINION

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. ...

A Letter to Residents of N. and N.E. Portland from Commissioner Susheela Jayapal

Susheela Jayapal, Multnomah County Commissioner for District 2, North and Northeast Portland, reviews her first four-year term and looks forward to her second term ...

Are Black Individuals Like Kanye West, Van Jones, and Stephen A. Smith ‘Perpetrating a Fraud,’ or is Self-Hate a Primary Motivator for Anti-Blackness

“So, you have two types of Negro. The old type and the new type. Most of you know the old type. When you read about him in history during slavery he was called ‘Uncle Tom.’ He was the House Negro.”-Malcolm X ...

We Need Not Forgive

We need not forgive racial injustices in America’s past, and we must never forget them. But as a nation, we can reconcile. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Trustees picked by DeSantis may change progressive college

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — “Your education. Your way. Be original. Be you.” That's how New College of Florida describes its approach to higher education in an admission brochure. The state school of fewer than 1,000 students nestled along Sarasota Bay has long been known for its...

State of emergency declared over Atlanta 'Cop City' protest

ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency Thursday, giving him the option of calling in the Georgia National Guard in response to a violent protest in downtown Atlanta over the killing by authorities of an environmental activist said to have shot a state trooper. ...

Jury rejects lawsuit filed by family of teen killed by cop

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal jury has found that a white Ohio police officer did not violate a Black teenager's civil rights when he shot and killed the boy while responding to a reported armed robbery. Jurors reached their verdict Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by Tyre King’s...

ENTERTAINMENT

Smokey Robinson, 'King of Motown,' to release new solo album

NEW YORK (AP) — It's been nearly a decade since Smokey Robinson's last album, but new music from the King of Motown is on the horizon. Robinson will release the nine-track album “Gasms” on April 28, the music legend behind hits like “My Girl” and “The Way You Do the Things...

Jesmyn Ward novel 'Let Us Descend' to be published Oct. 3

NEW YORK (AP) — The next novel by Jesmyn Ward, the two-time National Book Award winner, is the story of an enslaved teenage girl that the publisher is calling a blend of magical realism, historical narrative and Dante's “Inferno.” Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster,...

Jay Leno breaks bones in motorcycle wreck months after fire

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two months after undergoing surgery for serious burns, Jay Leno is now contending with a number of broken bones after being knocked off a motorcycle. The comedian and former “Tonight Show” host told a Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Thursday that he broke...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

'Avatar 2' tops box office for 7th weekend

“Avatar: The Way of Water” claimed the No. 1 spot on the domestic box office charts for the seventh weekend in...

Barrett Strong, Motown artist known for ‘Money,’ dies at 81

NEW YORK (AP) — Barrett Strong, one of Motown’s founding artists and most gifted songwriters who sang lead on...

Automakers Renault, Nissan make cross-shareholdings equal

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan and Renault have changed their mutual cross-shareholdings equal at 15%, ironing out a source...

Puerto Rico's southern region fights for cleaner air, water

SALINAS, Puerto Rico (AP) — Shuttered windows are a permanent fixture in Salinas, an industrial town on Puerto...

France must raise pension age to 64, prime minister says

PARIS (AP) — France’s prime minister insisted Sunday that the government’s plan to raise the retirement age...

Peru's protest 'deactivators' run toward tear gas to stop it

LIMA, Peru (AP) — When police fire tear gas at protesters demanding the resignation of Peruvian President Dina...

By Kyle Almond. Elise Labott and Joe Sterling CNN

Hope flickered in war-torn Afghanistan on Tuesday as national security forces formally took over security leadership and peace talks with the Taliban are now in the works.

NATO-led troops transferred security responsibility to Afghan forces. The United States and an Afghan government group dedicated to peace and reconciliation will hold talks with the Taliban militant group in Qatar.

"I wish a long-term peace in Afghanistan," Afghan President Harmid Karzai told his troops at a handover ceremony in Kabul.

But a senior U.S. official said reconciliation is likely to be "long, complex and messy" because trust between Afghans and the Taliban is extremely low.

The latest moves could portend a hopeful chapter in the long and costly Afghan conflict. What do these developments mean for Afghanistan and the United States? Here are some key questions that will be asked in the coming months:

1. Are the Afghan troops up to the task?

There are certainly doubts.

A Pentagon review in December found that only one of 23 Afghan army brigades was capable of functioning on its own.

Meanwhile, literacy rates are low, desertion rates are high, and many deserters have joined the insurgency. There also have been a troubling number of "green-on-blue" attacks: Afghan troops attacking their American comrades.

But then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spoke positively about the progress Afghans had made in growing their army, reducing violence and becoming more self-sufficient. At the time, Afghan forces were leading nearly 90% of operations across the country.

"We're on the right path to give (Afghanistan) the opportunity to govern itself," Panetta said.

Karzai has said he welcomes the U.S. troop withdrawal and insists his army can defend the country against the Taliban.

"It is exactly our job to deal with it, and we are capable of dealing with it," Karzai said during an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

2. What are the conditions for peace?

Karzai seems eager to resume stalled peace talks with the Taliban and include them in the political process.

The High Peace Council of Afghanistan -- a government group devoted to reconciliation and peace -- will go to Qatar and participate in talks with the Taliban, Karzai said Tuesday.

The United States will have a first formal meeting soon in Doha, Qatar, after the Afghans and Taliban huddle, senior administration officials said. The meetings coincide with the Taliban opening an office in the Gulf nation of Qatar.

For their part, the Taliban told reporters in Doha on Tuesday that they want to improve relations with the world. They are calling themselves the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan."

The Taliban back "supporting a political process and a peaceful resolution that will bring an end to the occupation in Afghanistan and establishing an Islamic and independent government in it" and forging "true security," a representative said.

At the same time, the Taliban representative advocated the idea of political resistance.

The United States and Afghanistan have several conditions the Taliban ultimately need to meet for a peace deal -- breaking ties with al Qaeda, ending violence and accepting the Afghan Constitution, including sections on women's rights, senior administration officials told reporters Tuesday.

The first meeting between the United States and Taliban is expected to be an exchange of agendas and what each side wants to talk about, followed by another meeting in a week or two.

One of the administration officials said foremost on the U.S. mind is hearing how the Taliban are going to cut ties with al Qaeda and urging them to talk seriously with the Afghan government. Exchange of detainees are expected to be on the agenda -- including Bowe Bergdahl -- the U.S. soldier believed to be in militant captivity.

"Peace is not at hand," another senior official cautioned, adding there is "no guarantee this will happen quickly if at all."

3. How big a threat do the Taliban still pose?

The Taliban are still "resilient and determined," according to a recent Pentagon report, and pose a major security threat.

The Taliban continue to carry out high-profile attacks in the capital, Kabul, even targeting the Afghan Supreme Court during a suicide attack in June. Another strike targeted a building near Kabul airport.

On Tuesday, a suicide bomber attacked the convoy of Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, a member of parliament, killing three people and wounding 21 others. Three bodyguards were among the injured. Mohaqiq -- a Shiite and an ethnic Hazara -- is a member of Afghanistan's political opposition.

The Taliban regime in Afghanistan was sheltering al Qaeda when the terror network launched attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001. The next month, the United States cranked up military operations that led to the toppling of the Taliban government.

Ever since, international forces have been fighting radical Islamic militants in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.

4. What are the biggest challenges?

The main fear among Afghans is that the country could revert to another civil war once the United States withdraws its combat troops.

"Some people we've spoken to sort of take it for granted that there's going to be a civil war when the United States leaves," said CNN's Erin Burnett on a trip last year to Afghanistan. "It happened before when the Soviet Union left (in 1989)."

Above all, Karzai said the Afghan army needs the tools to battle the insurgents, namely more equipment and firepower. He came to the Pentagon in January with a wish list asking for more helicopters, drones and other hardware, according to a senior defense official.

"We need an air force. We need air mobility," Karzai told Amanpour. "We need proper mechanized forces. We need, you know, armored vehicles and tanks and all that."

Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, once America's top commander in Afghanistan, said the Afghan people are "terrified because they think they have something to lose."

"There has been progress made," he said. "But they're afraid that if we completely abandon them in 2014, as they perceive we did in 1989, (things) would all go back."

5. What support will the United States and allies provide?

American forces, now at about 66,000, are expected to dip to 32,000 by the end of the year and further throughout 2014.

The plan is to withdraw all combat troops but keep a residual force in the country to help train Afghans and carry out counterterrorism operations when needed.

The size of that force is still being discussed.

Gen. John Allen, the former commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, recommended between 6,000 and 15,000 troops. But that figure was lowered to a range between 2,500 and 9,000, according to a defense official.

The United States and NATO have pledged to continue to support and train Afghan forces in what NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen deems a "new relationship," starting in 2015.

Acknowledging that there is still much to do in the interim 18 months, Rasmussen said, "Today, our shared goal is in sight."

CNN's Ed Payne and Roba Alhenawi contributed to this report.

MLK Breakfast 2023

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