04-14-2024  8:04 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Grants Pass Anti-Camping Laws Head to Supreme Court

Grants Pass in southern Oregon has become the unlikely face of the nation’s homelessness crisis as its case over anti-camping laws goes to the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for April 22. The case has broad implications for cities, including whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. Since 2020, court orders have barred Grants Pass from enforcing its anti-camping laws. Now, the city is asking the justices to review lower court rulings it says has prevented it from addressing the city's homelessness crisis. Rights groups say people shouldn’t be punished for lacking housing.

Four Ballot Measures for Portland Voters to Consider

Proposals from the city, PPS, Metro and Urban Flood Safety & Water Quality District.

Washington Gun Store Sold Hundreds of High-Capacity Ammunition Magazines in 90 Minutes Without Ban

KGW-TV reports Wally Wentz, owner of Gator’s Custom Guns in Kelso, described Monday as “magazine day” at his store. Wentz is behind the court challenge to Washington’s high-capacity magazine ban, with the help of the Silent Majority Foundation in eastern Washington.

Five Running to Represent Northeast Portland at County Level Include Former Mayor, Social Worker, Hotelier (Part 2)

Five candidates are vying for the spot previously held by Susheela Jayapal, who resigned from office in November to focus on running for Oregon's 3rd Congressional District. Jesse Beason is currently serving as interim commissioner in Jayapal’s place. (Part 2)

NEWS BRIEFS

Americans Willing to Pay More to Eliminate the Racial Wealth Gap, Creating a New Opportunity for Black Business Owners

National research released today provides encouraging news that most Americans are willing to pay a premium price for products and...

Vibrant Communities Commissioner Dan Ryan Directs Development Funding to Complete Next Phase of Gateway Green Project

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is beginning a new phase of accessibility and park improvements to Gateway Green, the...

Application Opens for Preschool for All 2024-25 School Year

Multnomah County children who will be 3 or 4 years old on or before September 1, 2024 are eligible to apply now for free preschool...

PCC and LAIKA Partner to Foster Diversity in Animation

LAIKA is contributing ,000 to support student scholarships and a new animation and graphics degree. ...

Mt. Hood Community College Hosts Spring Career Fair Featuring Top Portland Employers

The event will be held April 24 at Mt. Hood Community College. ...

Can homeless people be fined for sleeping outside? A rural Oregon city asks the US Supreme Court

GRANTS PASS, Oregon (AP) — A pickleball game in this leafy Oregon community was suddenly interrupted one rainy weekend morning by the arrival of an ambulance. Paramedics rushed through the park toward a tent, one of dozens illegally erected by the town's hundreds of homeless people, then play...

Authorities say 4 people are dead after a train collided with a pickup in rural Idaho

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Four people are dead after the vehicle they were traveling in was struck by a train in rural Idaho Saturday, authorities said. Idaho State Police said the pickup was carrying a 38-year-old man, 36-year-old woman and two children, who were all from Nampa. The...

Caleb Williams among 13 confirmed prospects for opening night of the NFL draft

NEW YORK (AP) — Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams, the popular pick to be the No. 1 selection overall, will be among 13 prospects attending the first round of the NFL draft in Detroit on April 25. The NFL announced the 13 prospects confirmed as of Thursday night, and...

Georgia ends game on 12-0 run to beat Missouri 64-59 in first round of SEC tourney

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Blue Cain had 19 points, Justin Hill scored 17 off the bench and 11th-seeded Georgia finished the game on a 12-0 run to beat No. 14 seed Missouri 64-59 on Wednesday night in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Cain hit 6 of 12 shots,...

OPINION

Gallup Finds Black Generational Divide on Affirmative Action

Each spring, many aspiring students and their families begin receiving college acceptance letters and offers of financial aid packages. This year’s college decisions will add yet another consideration: the effects of a 2023 Supreme Court, 6-3 ruling that...

OP-ED: Embracing Black Men’s Voices: Rebuilding Trust and Unity in the Democratic Party

The decision of many Black men to disengage from the Democratic Party is rooted in a complex interplay of historical disenchantment, unmet promises, and a sense of disillusionment with the political establishment. ...

COMMENTARY: Is a Cultural Shift on the Horizon?

As with all traditions in all cultures, it is up to the elders to pass down the rituals, food, language, and customs that identify a group. So, if your auntie, uncle, mom, and so on didn’t teach you how to play Spades, well, that’s a recipe lost. But...

A Full Court Press to Get the Lead Out

With a “goal of identifying and remediating lead hazards in at least 2,800 Lancaster County homes,” LG Health is setting an example for the private sector. And the Biden-Harris administration’s focus on environmental justice and access to clean and safe...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Gene Herrick, AP photographer who covered the Korean War and civil rights, dies at 97

RICH CREEK, Va. (AP) — Gene Herrick, a retired Associated Press photographer who covered the Korean War and is known for his iconic images of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and the trial of the killers of Emmett Till in the early years of the Civil Rights Movement, died Friday. He was 97. ...

A Pittsburgh congressional race could test Democrats who have criticized Israel's handling of war

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — An election this month in Pittsburgh and some of its suburbs is emerging as an early test of whether Israel’s war with Hamas poses political threats to progressive Democrats in Congress who have criticized how the conflict has been handled. U.S. Rep. Summer...

AI-generated fashion models could bring more diversity to the industry - or leave it with less

CHICAGO (AP) — London-based model Alexsandrah has a twin, but not in the way you’d expect: Her counterpart is made of pixels instead of flesh and blood. The virtual twin was generated by artificial intelligence and has already appeared as a stand-in for the real-life Alexsandrah...

ENTERTAINMENT

Book Review: Jen Silverman’s gripping second novel explores the long afterlife of political violence

Earlier this year a former member of the far-left Baader-Meinhof gang who spent decades in hiding was arrested by German police in connection with a string of crimes. It was just another example of the long afterlife of the anti-war movement of the late 1960s, which Jen Silverman explores in a...

What to stream this week: Billy Joel sings, Dora explores and 'Food, Inc. 2' chows down

A Billy Joel concert special celebrating his residency at Madison Square Garden and Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal playing cowboys and former lovers in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Strange Way of Life” are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you. ...

Movie Review: ‘Food, Inc. 2’ revisits food system, sees reason for frustration and (a little) hope

The makers of the influential 2008 documentary “Food, Inc.” never planned to make a sequel. They figured they’d said it all in their harrowing look at a broken, unsustainable food system — a system led, they argued, by a few multinational corporations whose monopoly squeezes out local...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

The shadow war between Iran and Israel has been exposed. What happens next?

BEIRUT (AP) — Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel early Sunday marked a change in approach for Tehran, which...

World paid little attention to Sudan's war for a year. Now aid groups warn of mass death from hunger

CAIRO (AP) — On a clear night a year ago, a dozen heavily armed fighters broke into Omaima Farouq’s house in...

AI-generated fashion models could bring more diversity to the industry - or leave it with less

CHICAGO (AP) — London-based model Alexsandrah has a twin, but not in the way you’d expect: Her counterpart is...

West Bank sees biggest settler rampage since war in Gaza began as Israeli teen's body is found

Al-MUGHAYYIR, West Bank (AP) — Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank went on the largest rampage against...

The Latest | Israel says 99% of drones and missiles launched by Iran were intercepted

Israel on Sunday praised the success of its defenses in the face of an attack by Iran involving hundreds of...

US judge tosses out lawsuits against Libyan commander accused of war crimes

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A U.S. judge has tossed out a series of civil lawsuits against a Libyan military...

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.

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast