06-25-2024  9:01 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather

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NORTHWEST NEWS

Parts of Washington State Parental Rights Law Criticized as a ‘Forced Outing’ Placed on Hold

A provision outlining how and when schools must respond to records requests from parents was placed on hold, as well as a provision permitting a parent to access their student’s medical and mental health records. 

Seattle Police Officer Fired for off-Duty Racist Comments

The termination stemmed from an altercation with his neighbor, Zhen Jin, over the disposal of dog bones at the condominium complex where they lived in Kenmore. The Seattle Office of Police Accountability had recommended a range of disciplinary actions, from a 30-day suspension to termination of employment.

New Holgate Library to Open in July

Grand opening celebration begins July 13 with ribbon cutting, food, music, fun

Nurses in Oregon Take to the Picket Lines to Demand Better Staffing, Higher Pay

The Oregon Nurses Association says they're seeking a contract that includes competitive wages and sufficient staffing levels. The CEO of Providence Oregon says they’ve been preparing for the strike for months and have contracted with replacement workers to ensure patient care does not suffer. 

NEWS BRIEFS

Art Exhibit 'Feeling Our Age-Sixty Over Sixty' Opens

The exhibition runs through mid-August, 1540 NW 13th Ave. at NW Quimby. ...

PCCEP Forum on Brain Injuries, Policing, and Public Safety

This Wednesday, June 26, 6-8:30 p.m. in person at The Melody Event Center ...

Tiffani Penson to Kick Off Her Campaign for Portland City Council, District 2

Host Committee Includes Former State Senators Margaret Carter and Avel Gordly ...

Calling All Nonfiction Media Makers: Real to Reel is June 29

Join Open Signal for a day of collaboration and opportunity with Portland's community of nonfiction media makers. ...

Governor Kotek Observes Juneteenth

Governor Kotek joins Oregon Black Pioneers, Just Walk Salem Keizer and the Willamette Heritage Center for In Freedom’s Footsteps...

Olympic champion Athing Mu's appeal denied after tumble at US track trials

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Track officials denied an appeal by 800-meter Olympic champion Athing Mu, who got tangled in a pack of runners and fell at the U.S. trials, denying her a chance to defend her title. Mu's coach, Bobby Kersee, said Mu got clipped by another runner on the...

Jury awards more than million to ultramarathon athlete injured in fall on a Seattle sidewalk

SEATTLE (AP) — A jury awarded .1 million to an ultramarathon athlete who was severely injured when she fell on a Seattle sidewalk in 2021. The award by a King County jury found that the city of Seattle and the owners of an apartment building are responsible for the amount, the...

Kansas governor signs bills enabling effort to entice Chiefs and Royals with new stadiums

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' governor signed legislation Friday enabling the state to lure the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and Major League Baseball's Royals away from neighboring Missouri by helping the teams pay for new stadiums. Gov. Laura Kelly's action came three days...

A Missouri mayor says a fight over jobs is back on. Things to know about Kansas wooing the Chiefs

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A plan in Kansas for luring the Kansas City's two major league sports franchises from Missouri has prompted their hometown's mayor to declare that the move ends a 5-year-old agreement by the states not to poach each other's jobs. The Kansas Legislature has...

OPINION

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 ...

Juneteenth is a Sacred American Holiday

Today, when our history is threatened by erasure, our communities are being dismantled by systemic disinvestment, Juneteenth can serve as a rallying cry for communal healing and collective action. ...

Supreme Court Says 'Yes” to Consumer Protection, "No" to Payday Lenders 7-2 Decision Upholds CFPB’s Funding

A recent 7-2 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court gave consumers a long-sought victory that ended more than a decade of challenges over the constitutionality of the agency created to be the nation’s financial cop on the beat. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Top European rights court says Russia responsible for breaching rights in Crimea after 2014 takeover

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Europe's top human rights court ruled Tuesday that Russia was responsible for a string of human rights violations in Crimea since overrunning and later illegally annexing the Black Sea peninsula in 2014. The European Court of Human Rights said in a...

Alabama town's first Black mayor, who had been locked out of office, will return under settlement

NEWBERN, Ala. (AP) — The first Black mayor of a small Alabama town, who said white officials locked him out of town hall, will return to the role under the terms of a proposed settlement agreement. Patrick Braxton will be recognized as the lawful mayor of the town of Newbern, under...

California lawmakers abandon attempt to repeal law requiring voter approval for some public housing

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers on Monday abandoned their attempt to repeal the nation's only law requiring voter approval for publicly funded affordable housing projects, a provision added to the state Constitution more than half a century ago that aimed to keep people of color...

ENTERTAINMENT

What to stream this weekend: 'Kung Fu Panda 4' chops, PBS hits the disco and Kevin Hart chats

The debut of “Echoes,” a sequel series to “Orphan Black," and the documentary “Bread & Roses” looking at how Afghan women’s lives were impacted after Kabul fell to the Taliban in 2021 are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you. ...

Music Review: Concert album from the Tomasz Stanko Quartet explains the jazz lineup’s staying power

Jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stanko ’s first notes on the new album "September Night,” dark and slightly distant, sound as though they’re coming from the hereafter. Stanko died in 2018, and his new album is a previously unreleased recording of a 2004 concert by his quartet. Along with...

Music Review: Linda Thompson’s family and friends sing her songs on 'Proxy Music'

Linda Thompson, who ranks among the finest singers of her generation, hardly sings a note on “Proxy Music," her first album in over a decade. Instead, Thompson makes herself heard through her songwriting. She’s often remembered for music she made with Richard Thompson, including...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

US surgeon general declares gun violence a public health emergency

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. surgeon general on Tuesday declared gun violence a public health crisis, driven by...

On heartland roads, and a riverboat, devout Catholics press on with two-month nationwide pilgrimage

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (AP) — “Bye bye, Jesus!” a child called out as the riverboat chugged away from shore into...

A potential Trump VP pick backs a controversial CO2 pipeline favored by the Biden White House

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is one of Donald Trump’s most visible and vocal backers,...

With another setback for cease-fire talks, worries of full-scale war for Israel and Lebanon escalate

BEIRUT (AP) — The prospect of a full-scale war between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group terrifies...

International court seeks arrest of Russian officials over attacks on Ukrainian power plants

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The International Criminal Court said Tuesday it issued arrest warrants for...

South Sudan says its 6M antelope make up world’s largest land mammal migration, but poaching on rise

BADINGILO and BOMA NATIONAL PARKS, South Sudan (AP) — Seen from the air, they ripple across the landscape — a...

Malin Rising and Steven Dubois the Associated Press

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- A Muslim American seeking asylum in Sweden claimed Wednesday he was detained at the U.S. government's request while in the United Arab Emirates last summer, tortured in custody and interrogated about the activities of a Portland, Oregon, mosque.

Yonas Fikre told a news conference Wednesday that he was held for 106 days and was beaten, threatened with death and kept in solitary confinement in a frigid cell.

The 33-year-old, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Eritrea, says he had attended the same mosque in Portland as a man who has been charged in a plot to detonate a bomb in the northwestern U.S. city. He moved to Sudan in 2009 and later to the United Arab Emirates. He went to Sweden, where he has relatives, after being released from detention on Sept. 15.

Fikre, who converted to Islam in 2003, is the third Muslim man from Portland to publicly say he was detained while traveling abroad and questioned about Portland's Masjid-as-Sabr mosque. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali American who is awaiting trial on a charge of plotting to set off a bomb in downtown Portland in November 2010, occasionally worshipped there. A decade ago, seven Muslims with ties to the mosque were arrested following a failed effort to enter Afghanistan and fight U.S. forces.

Fikre says he met Mohamud a handful of times, but wouldn't call him a friend or even an acquaintance.

Fikre says he was arrested on June 1 in the United Arab Emirates and taken to a prison in Abu Dhabi, where he was questioned about the activities of the Portland mosque and its imam, Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye.

When he first suggested that his UAE interrogators were working for the FBI, they became very upset, he said.

"They got very angry and they said: We don't work with the Americans, we are an independent country," he said. However, in the final days of his confinement, Fikre said that one interrogator acknowledged that the FBI had been involved in his questioning.

"He confirmed to me that the FBI was there. Also when I was getting beaten, they did admit that the FBI knew exactly what was happening and they were working with the FBI," Fikre said.

Beth Anne Steele, a spokeswoman for the FBI office in Portland, said she could not discuss specifics of the case.

"I can tell you that the FBI trains its agents very specifically and very thoroughly about what is acceptable under U.S. law," she said. "To do anything counter to that training is counterproductive - we risk legal liability and potentially losing a criminal case in court."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called upon the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether Fikre was tortured at the behest of the FBI.

"Barack Obama said that America doesn't torture," said Gadeir Abbas, the group's attorney. "We didn't see the footnote that America relies on others to do its torture."

An aide to Oregon congressman Earl Blumenauer told the AP that last June, Blumenauer's office had been contacted by Fikre's wife and lawyer after he vanished. The aide, Willie Smith, said State Department officials confirmed to the congressman's office that Fikre was detained June 20 in the United Arab Emirates.

A few days later a U.S. official went to the prison where Fikre was being held, Smith said. According to Smith, U.S. government officials told Fikre's wife that he "was fine and that he wasn't being mistreated."

Fikre said he moved to Sudan in late 2009 to pursue business opportunities. A few months later, he was asked to contact the U.S. Embassy to discuss safety and security concerns for Americans in the unstable country. He was met by two men who identified themselves as FBI agents and asked questions about the Portland mosque. Fikre says the agents told him he had been placed on the federal no-fly list, and could only return to the U.S. if he agreed to become an informant, an offer he refused.

In the ensuing weeks, the FBI met a relative of Fikre's in Portland and urged that person to encourage Fikre to cooperate with authorities, he said. Fikre said he began to notice he was being followed on the streets of Sudan, prompting him to leave the country on June 15, 2010. Fikre then visited relatives in Europe for three months and flew to the United Arab Emirates after his European Union visa expired.

In a phone interview with The AP, Smith read what he said was an email from the American Citizens Services bureau about its contact with Fikre and with his family.

"After contacting multiple legal authorities in the UAE and the ministry of foreign affairs, we finally got confirmation that he was being held by the state security department. We were able to conduct a consular visit today and have contacted his wife to update her," the bureau wrote to Blumenauer's office.

Fikre said the person who visited him was a low-ranking embassy official. Fikre said he was warned to say he was being treated well or "more torture would take place." He said the beatings and interrogation continued until his September release.

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Associated Press writer Steven DuBois reported from Portland, Oregon.

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