07-21-2024  12:31 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather

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NORTHWEST NEWS

SneakerWeek 2024 Launches in Pioneer Courthouse Square July 26

The event brings together industry experts, BIPOC designers and sneaker enthusiasts.

Money From Washington's Landmark Climate Law Will Help Tribes Face Rising Seas, Climate Change

Tens of millions of dollars raised by a landmark climate law in Washington state will go to Native American tribes that are at risk from climate change and rising sea levels to help them move to higher ground, install solar panels, buy electric vehicles and restore wetlands. The Quinault Indian Tribe on the Olympic Peninsula is getting million to help relocate its two main villages to higher ground, away from the tsunami zone and persistent flooding.

The Top Draft Pick of the Mariners Pitches Lefty and Righty. Jurrangelo Cijntje Wants to Keep It Up

Cijntje threw right-handed to lefties more often in 2024 but said it was because of discomfort in his left side. The Mariners say they want Cijntje to decide how to proceed as a righty and/or lefty as a pro. He says he wants to continue pitching from both sides.

Wildfire Risk Rises as Western States Dry out Amid Ongoing Heat Wave Baking Most of the US

Blazes are burning in Oregon, where the governor issued an emergency authorization allowing additional firefighting resources to be deployed. More than 142 million people around the U.S. were under heat alerts Wednesday, especially across the West, where dozens of locations tied or broke heat records.

NEWS BRIEFS

Merkley, Senators Urge VA to Expand Access to Medical Cannabis for America’s Veterans

Senators’ letter follows DEA’s recommended rescheduling of cannabis from earlier this year ...

Federal Appeals Court Declines to Restore Voting Rights in Mississippi

Thousands of Mississippians Face “Especially Cruel” Disenfranchisement Scheme ...

Draft of Statewide Wildfire Hazard Map Mandated by Legislature Released

The Oregon Department of Forestry today released drafts of new statewide wildfire hazard and wildland-urban interface maps developed...

Southwest Washington's Lemonade Day Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Named by the Greater Vancouver Chamber

Tatum Talbert was recognized for her exceptional achievement and creativity in the GVC’s 2024 Lemonade Day program. ...

Oscar Arana Selected as NAYA's Permanent CEO

The NAYA Family Center Board of Directors selected Oscar Arana (Chichimeca) as the organization's...

Seattle police officer fired over ‘vile’ comments after death of Indian woman

SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle police officer has been fired for making callous remarks about the death of a graduate student from India after she was struck last year by another officer’s vehicle in a crosswalk. Seattle interim police Chief Sue Rahr fired Officer Daniel Auderer on...

Oregon authorities recover body of award-winning chef who drowned in river accident

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon authorities said Wednesday that they have recovered the body of award-winning chef Naomi Pomeroy following her drowning in a river accident. The Benton County Sheriff's Office said it located her body Wednesday morning in the Willamette River between...

Chiefs set deadline of 6 months to decide whether to renovate Arrowhead or build new — and where

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs have set a deadline of six months from now to decide on a plan for the future of Arrowhead Stadium, whether that means renovating their iconic home or building an entirely new stadium in Kansas or Missouri. After a joint ballot initiative with the...

Missouri governor says new public aid plan in the works for Chiefs, Royals stadiums

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday that he expects the state to put together an aid plan by the end of the year to try to keep the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals from being lured across state lines to new stadiums in Kansas. Missouri's renewed efforts...

OPINION

The 900-Page Guide to Snuffing Out American Democracy

What if there was a blueprint for a future presidential administration to unilaterally lay waste to our constitutional order and turn America from a democracy into an autocracy in one fell swoop? That is what one far-right think tank and its contributors...

SCOTUS Decision Seizes Power to Decide Federal Regulations: Hard-Fought Consumer Victories Now at Risk

For Black and Latino Americans, this power-grab by the court throws into doubt and potentially weakens current agency rules that sought to bring us closer to the nation’s promises of freedom and justice for all. In two particular areas – fair housing and...

Minding the Debate: What’s Happening to Our Brains During Election Season

The June 27 presidential debate is the real start of the election season, when more Americans start to pay attention. It’s when partisan rhetoric runs hot and emotions run high. It’s also a chance for us, as members of a democratic republic. How? By...

State of the Nation’s Housing 2024: The Cost of the American Dream Jumped 47 Percent Since 2020

Only 1 in 7 renters can afford homeownership, homelessness at an all-time high ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

In a California gold rush town, some Black families are fighting for land taken from their ancestors

COLOMA, Calif. (AP) — In a tiny town where the California gold rush began, Black families are seeking restitution for land that was taken from their ancestors to make way for a state park now frequented by fourth graders learning about the state's history. Their efforts in Coloma, a...

Legal fight continues with appeals over proposed immigration initiative for Arizona Nov. 5 ballot

PHOENIX (AP) — The fight to keep a proposed border initiative off Arizona’s Nov. 5 ballot is not over yet. Immigrant advocates kept the issue alive this week by filing notice to the state Supreme Court that they will appeal the judge’s ruling. A Maricopa County...

What Usha Vance's rise to prominence means to other South Asian and Hindu Americans

Usha Chilukuri Vance, entered the spotlight this week as the wife of JD Vance, former President Donald Trump's running mate in the 2024 presidential election. Her rise comes at a time when, across the aisle, there's another prominent figure of South Asian descent: Vice President...

ENTERTAINMENT

On anniversary of Frida Kahlo's death, her art's spirituality keeps fans engaged around the globe

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Frida Kahlo had no religious affiliation. Why, then, did the Mexican artist depict several religious symbols in the paintings she produced until her death on July 13, 1954? “Frida conveyed the power of each individual,” said art researcher and curator Ximena...

Celebrity birthdays for the week of July 21-27

Celebrity birthdays for the week of July 21-27: July 21: Actor Leigh Lawson (“Tess”) is 81. Singer Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) is 76. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau (“Doonesbury”) is 76. Actor Jamey Sheridan (“Homeland”) is 73. Singer-guitarist Eric Bazilian of The Hooters is 71....

Canadian officer says Alice Munro claimed her daughter was lying about being abused by stepfather

TORONTO (AP) — A retired police detective involved in the arrest 20 years ago of the husband of Canadian Nobel laureate Alice Munro, said Friday he was disturbed by the writer's reaction 20 years ago when she learned her husband would be charged for sexually assaulting her daughter. ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

With GOP convention over, Milwaukee weighs the benefits of hosting political rivals

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Downtown Milwaukee turned red last week as thousands of Republican National Convention...

Behind Biden's asylum halt: Migrants must say if they fear deportation, not wait to be asked

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Posters inside a complex of giant, white tents tell migrants in English, Spanish, Mandarin...

The biggest of stories came to the small city of Butler. Here's how its newspaper met the moment

BUTLER, Pa. (AP) — When gunshots echoed at the Trump rally where she was working, Butler Eagle reporter Irina...

How Olympics opening ceremony artistic director Thomas Jolly is capturing the essence of France

PARIS (AP) — In a luxurious hotel room on the 16th floor, overlooking the heart of Paris and the iconic Seine...

Myanmar's civil war has seen a devastating increase in attacks on schools, researchers say

BANGKOK (AP) — An intensification of fighting in Myanmar’s civil war has brought a sharp increase in...

11 dead and dozens missing after a highway bridge in China crumbles in flooding and heavy storms

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Chinese authorities say at least 11 people have died and 30 are missing in the partial...

Jeannine Aversa AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sketched a more optimistic view of the economy on Friday, but said the Fed's $600 billion bond-buying program is needed because unemployment is likely to stay elevated for up to five more years.

Bernanke told the Senate Budget Committee that there's increasing evidence that a "self-sustaining" recovery is taking hold. He said he expects stronger economic growth because consumers and businesses will boost spending this year.

Bernanke spoke one hour after the government released a disappointing employment report. Employers added only 103,000 jobs in December. The unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent partly because people gave up looking for jobs. Many economists had forecast much bigger job gains and were looking for a signal that businesses were ready to step up hiring.

Asked about Friday's 103,000 job gains, Bernanke said if that pace of job creation were maintained "you won't see sustained declines in the unemployment rate."

The Fed chief defended the central bank's move to buy $600 billion in Treasurys through June and gave no hint that it would change its course.

The bond purchases are designed to boost the economy by lowering interest rates and lifting stock prices.

The program has been criticized by Republicans in Congress and some Fed officials who contend it will do little to help the economy and could hurt it by unleashing inflation and speculative buying on Wall Street. China, Germany and Brazil complained it was really a scheme to push down the value of the dollar, giving U.S. exporters a competitive edge.

The Fed chief said the threat of deflation - a dangerous drop in prices, wages and in the values of homes and stocks - and the potential for persistently high unemployment were sufficient reasons to launch the program.

Bernanke predicted that the overall pace of the economy will be "moderately stronger" this year and said the Fed recently has seen "increased evidence that a self-sustaining recovery" is taking place.

Factories are cranking up production. The service sector is growing at its fastest pace in more than four years. Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits over the past month than in any other four-week period in more than two years. Consumers are spending more freely, and a payroll tax cut is likely to boost their activity further. Tax cuts are also likely to lead businesses to expand and hire more.

But weakness in job growth could slow this momentum, Bernanke cautioned, especially if consumers spend less.

Bernanke said unemployment is likely to be around 8 percent two years from now.

Other threats to the economic outlook, Bernanke said, are:

- A depressed housing market, where growth in foreclosures could push down home prices even more.

- Deeper spending cuts and more layoffs from state and local governments.

- Rising gasoline prices, which now top $3 a gallon.

Bernanke also argued for Congress and the White House to come up with a long-term plan to reduce the government's trillion-plus-dollar budget deficits. However, he warned them not to slash spending or boost taxes now because the economy is too fragile.

President Barack Obama's debt commission at the end of last year failed to reach a consensus on a deficit-reduction plan. Over the coming decade government deficits are estimated in the $10 trillion range. If Congress fails to come up with a reduction plan, the economy could be hurt, Bernanke said. Big deficits could force investors to demand more returns on government loans and interest rates could soar.